Workplace Diversity the Benefits Research Paper

Pages: 9 (2915 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Careers

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[. . .] Hence, the organizational goal -- in addition to profit -- is to address diversity in "…recruitment, hiring, promotions, and training," which means building a "house for diversity" rather than trying to address specific needs for African-Americans, Latinos, immigrants from Southeast Asia, Cameroon or Iraq (109). Why is anthropology an appropriate field to use when creating a "house for diversity"? Qirko goes on to explain that anthropologists are uniquely qualified to assist in the management of diversity because they relate in a professional context to "…the acquisition and transmission of culture, cultural variability and change, and subcultural and multicultural relationships" (110). The bottom line for Qirko is that while many businesses tend to "…minimize anthropological contributions to the subject of organizational culture," the theory and methods of anthropology are "…particularly well suited for diversity work" (120).

Impact of Nationality on Employees' Perceptions of HR Management Policies

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How do employees from diverse backgrounds perceive the HRM policies that have a direct affect on them? This relates in a very real way to the question of whether managers really grasp the importance of diversity. A peer-reviewed article in the journal Asian Social Science uses research data to back up the assertion that if individuals in a diverse workforce "…perceive certain practices in a positive light, then there's a very good chance that they will consider the rest of HR practices with the same positive outlook" (Jacob, et al., 2012, 31). The first hypothesis presented by Jacob posits that the nationality of an employee has a "significant relationship with their perception towards HRM policies" (32).

Research Paper on Workplace Diversity the Benefits of Assignment

A sample 4,000 questionnaires were sent to a diversity of employees from countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and other Asian nations (questionnaires were in the language appropriate for individuals from countries where English is not spoken); and from the 3,850 that were completed the researchers discovered that responses to specific aspects (like salary structure, working conditions, etc.) were strongly associated with nationality (Jacob, 36). For example, workers from Bangladesh showed negative attitudes to nearly all HR practiced except supervision. Indeed, nearly all Asian nationalities represented had a positive response to supervision. What is the salient message in this research? Managers need to take into consideration the "…interrelatedness of employee perceptions" of diverse HR practices, even when they are focused on one single practice (Jacob, 38). That is good advice because if an employee from, say, Vietnam, finds one HR practice to be fair and reasonable, the chances are that person will view other HR practices in the same positive light (Jacob, 38).

Non-Discrimination is a Moral Issue

Philosophy professor Geert Demuijnck puts the need for diversity management squarely in the category of a moral obligation. His research helps to answer the question, do managers and employees fully understand the importance and value of diversity, because his theory is that too many don't fully comprehend diversity's value and importance. For Demuijnck, it isn't just good business to embrace employees from diverse ethnicities and nationalities, Demuijnck asserts; in fact, it is morally reprehensible to fail to embrace diversity in the workplace (Demuijnck, 2009, 83). Paying "lip service" to the principle of non-discrimination is therefore a "moral shortcoming," the author insists.

When individuals have similar levels of talent and ability, and the "same willingness to use" those talents as others in the organization, their prospects should be the same as others in the social system irrespective of "their income class," where they were born, or their ethnicity (Demuijnck, 84). In this sense, the author is portraying a kind of diversity logic, which certainly plays a role in HM management. Moreover, even though the impact of "well-known tools" for managing diversity "are limited," Demuijnck asserts that first and foremost managers must "accept their moral responsibility with respect to non-discrimination" (85).

Secondarily, managers must address diversity issues with "…a full-fledged program which includes but is not limited to the countering of micro-social discrimination processes through specific policies" (Demuijnck, 85). For those "honest" managers that have "no knowledge" of the scope of the diversity problem or of the "weakness" of simply putting on a "one-day diversity training" -- they cannot be morally condemned (85). After fully explaining "unintended bias" and "intended bias" in the workplace (concepts that need no extrapolation) Demuijnck concludes with the thought that notwithstanding legal measure to "protect" employees from discrimination, "the phenomenon of discrimination is still widespread" (97). Hence, big corporations that assign diversity training to one particular component within the company, but fail to implement company-wide programs to more fully address diversity, are "morally blameworthy" (98).

Diversity from the Perspective of Equality vs. Utilitarian Business Arguments

Still on the subject of moral reasoning, a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Business Ethics posits that while arguments in support of equality in the workplace are grounded in "deontology" (the study of moral obligation), the "foundations of the business case perspective" embrace "utilitarian arguments" (Dijk, et al., 2012, 73). Hence, there is a built-in "equality vs. business" debate within some companies, but those differences when approaching diversity in the workplace do not necessarily have to be at loggerheads, Dijk explains. That is because a third perspective, the "moral perspective," embraces the idea of "virtue values," which can reduce prejudice when applied to recruitment (Dijk, 73).

If the values of the company in question are positive, they are then the key to "…aligning virtues with each other and with corporate strategy" (Dijk, 73). Hence, the authors believe that an approach based on values can lead to outcomes that are "inspired by equality as well as by business case scholars" (81). There need be no "stalemate" between the desire for equality and the need to approach diversity from a strict business profitability standpoint. A values and virtues approach is far more "sustainable," the authors suggest, then either a push for equality or a strict pro-profit business approach (Dijk, 82).

Recommendations for Managers

The scholarly narratives presented in this paper could be and should be used as homework for the leaders in organizations that are still uncomfortable with ethnic and cultural diversity. Those leaders and managers that lack the knowledge needed to develop a holistic approach to diversity, or lack the willpower to launch a respectable, workable strategy for diversity, are going to be seen by alert, responsible leaders as either incompetent or totally out of touch with the global marketplace. Reading up on the contemporary literature is imperative for those managers that are not in touch with diversity.

Kathy Hannan with KPMG hits the proverbial nail on the head when she points to the sustainable strategy that her company has embraced, which is represented across four important areas: Ethics, Citizenship, Environmental and Diversity. "The train has left the station" she explains, and those managers that are left standing on the platform are clearly lacking in what she calls "cultural intelligence." Not only are those companies unsustainable, they won't be as profitable, according to Hannan and to the author of the Forbes article, Glenn Llopis.

In conclusion, if a company wishes to be financially and culturally fulfilled, there is a great deal of good information in the literature that can show the way to those goals. It starts with wise managers who are not only sensitive to the traditions and needs of diverse employees but are also in full understanding of the value those diverse workers bring to a company. As mentioned previously, diversity is not a new concept for the American workforce; but building financial and brand-related successes from that diverse work culture in the 21st century requires new approaches from thoughtful, open-minded managers.

Works Cited

Childs, J.T. (Ted). (2005). Managing Workforce Diversity at IBM: A Global HR Topic That

Has Arrived. Human Resource Management, 44(1), 73-77.

Demuijnck, Geert. (2009). Non-Discrimination in Human Resources Management as a Moral Obligation. Journal of Business Ethics, 88(1), 83-101.

Dijk, Hans van, Engen, Marloes van, and Paauwe, Jaap. (2012). Reframing the Business Case for Diversity: A Values and Virtues Perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 111(1), 73-84.

Jacob, Cherian, and Jolly, Jacob. (2012). Impact of Nationality on Employees' Perception

towards Human Resource Management Policies. Asian Social Science, 8(15), 31-39.

Llopis, Glenn. (2011). Diversity Management Is the Key to Growth: Make it Authentic.

Forbes. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com.

Martin-Alcazar, Fernando, Romero-Fernandez, Pedro M., and Sanchez-Gardey, Gonzalo. (2012).

Transforming Human Resource Management Systems to Cope with Diversity. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(4), 511-531.

Qirko, Hector N. (2012). Applied Anthropology… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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