Research Proposal: Workplace Diversity

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Aviation Strategy Workplace Diversity

Diversity may serve as a learning opportunity instead of a liability in an organizational culture that promotes and practices diversity. In line with the contemporary literature, this paper asserts that diversity in the workplace may lead to improved organizational performance as the inclusion of diverse individuals in the organization may enhance similarities that promote positive communication and practices and simultaneously minimizes differences that may divide individuals personally and as vital members of the organization. The literature reviewed for this research paper confirms that diversity in the workplace contributes to the organization's ability to leverage its similarities as it also helps the organization, along with the diverse individuals who comprise it, appreciate their unique differences.

WORKPLACE DIVERSITY

Organizations need the benefits of diversity in order to leverage…[the organization's] similarities and appreciate & #8230;[the organization's] differences.

- Elmer Davis Jr. (2006, ¶ 4).

INTRODUCTION

In an organizational culture that promotes and practices diversity, diversity may serve as a learning opportunity instead of a liability. In the study, "A longitudinal evaluation of senior managers' perceptions and attitudes of a workplace diversity training program," Kenneth P. De Meuse, PhD, of Lominger International, Todd J. Hostager, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and Kathryn S. O'Neill (2007), PhD, Rock-Tenn Company, assert that workplace diversity constitutes a contemporary critical challenge that organizations in the Unites States routinely face. In line with current literature, this paper asserts that diversity in the workplace may lead to improved organizational performance as the inclusion of diverse individuals in the organization may enhance similarities that promote positive communication and practices and simultaneously minimizes differences that may divide individuals personally and as vital members of the organization.

To support the thesis for this research paper, the researcher addresses the following three questions.

1. Why is workplace diversity a contemporary concern that increasing challenges an organization?

2. In what ways may diversity influence the organization's performance?

3. What strategies may leaders in an organization implement to ensure that cultural diversity proves to be a positive factor in/for the organization?

During the late 1990s, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey which found that more than 80% of the Fortune 500 companies had either implemented diversity program or had implemented plans to employ one within a year. Attaining workforce diversity is perceived to have a number of "positive social, legal, strategic, and competitive benefits for an organization" (¶ 2). De Meuse, Hostager, Claire, and O'Neill (2007) note Jackson, et al. To define diversity as "the presence of differences among members of a When not well managed, albeit, social identity differences may contribute to emotional conflict among employees "(Jackson, et al., as cited in De Meuse, Hostager, Claire, & O'Neill). When not managed in positive ways, social identity differences may contribute to emotional conflict among employees. Organizations that manage diversity well, albeit, may leverage the ensuing conflict to help clarify values and promote honest communication.

Understanding contemporary issues relating to workplace diversity may help an organization avoid discrimination and harassment, as well as prevent potential complaints and lawsuits and create a positive work environment. Elmer Davis Jr. (2006), chief diversity officer of Financial Dimensions Inc. (FDI), Pittsburgh, explains that "the word 'diversity' literally means 'variety, assortment, range'. It does not merely mean 'differences'" (¶ 3). In the article, "Embracing diversity and preventing workplace discrimination," Davis notes that diversity in the current workplace includes a variety of ethnic backgrounds, races, religious beliefs and sexes. In the past, the U.S. workplace primarily consisted of young, white males. During 2006, however, white males comprised only 38% of the total workforce today, with the rest consisting of is a mixture of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, women, disable individuals and others.

Nancy R. Lockwood (2005), an HR content expert for the Society for Human Resource Management, relates a broad definition of diversity, pointing out that it may range from personality and work style to "all of the visible dimensions such as race, age, ethnicity or gender, to secondary influences such as religion, socioeconomics and education, to work diversities such as management and union, functional level and classification or proximity/distance to headquarters" (Lockwood, 2005, Diversity defined, ¶ 2). In the article, "Workplace diversity: Leveraging the power of difference for competitive advantage," Lockwood stresses that contrary to the past perception of workplace diversity as an anti-discrimination compliance, it has evolved to focus on inclusion, while it simultaneously impacts the organization's bottom line. Currently, as organizations link workplace diversity to their strategic goals and objectives, they hold management responsible for results. More and more, workplace diversity is perceived to be a significant strategic resource which gives an organization a competitive advantage.

WORKPLACE DIVERSITY CONSIDERATIONS

Contemporary Workplace Diversity Challenges

In the past, diversity interventions included assimilation, based on perception that individuals were all the same, to promote equal opportunity and differentiation, which evolved from the contention of celebrating differences that individuals reflect. "The emerging paradigm is integration and learning. That is, companies promote equal opportunity and value cultural differences, using the talents of all employees to gain diverse work perspectives" (Lockwood, 2005, Integration and…, ¶ 2). Racism and sexism constitute two contemporary workplace diversity challenges that may contribute to discrimination in the workplace (De Meuse, Hostager, Claire, & O'Neill, 2007). In addressing these and other diversity concerns, Lockwood (2005) purports that the diversity initiatives the organization implements may not meet expectations.

Nicholas Montagu (2006), former chairman of the Inland Revenue, a British government board that collects and administers primary direct taxes, stresses that although equal opportunities constitute a significant aspect of diversity, they are not all exclusive. Internal diversity, Montagu explains, relates to the organization attracting and retaining the best individuals for the job, as well as developing these individuals to their maximum potential. "Failing to attract or keep the best people from any single group means operating at less than maximum efficiency" (Montagu, ¶ 4). Motivated managers may not ignore true workplace diversity, Montagu asserts. True workplace diversity does not involve pressing the individual into the firm's mould profit, but relates to values, as it respects and celebrates difference as factors that enrich the organization,

External diversity, according to Montagu (2006), consists of understanding the customer and the goods or services he/she desires. When a business restricts the customer's choices, he/she will most likely choose to conduct business with the competitor who analyses and meets the customer's needs and desires (Montagu, ¶ 5).

In the journal publication, "Workplace diversity: Realizing the benefits of an all-inclusive employee base," Anthony Birritteri (2005) points out that even though a business may be profitable and have efficient operations, its stock price will be negatively impacted if it receives negative press due to alleged minority-group abuse (Birritteri, 2005, ¶ 9). Because the customer/client group includes individuals from all walks of life, the workplace should similarly reflect this diversity. This constitutes yet another challenge for the organization.

David A. Hoffman, a lawyer, mediator and arbitrator with Boston Law Collaborative, and Lamont E. Stallworth (2008), of Loyola University in Chicago, note one inherent challenge in diversity is that individuals in society possess both conscious and unconscious forms of racial and ethnic bias. In the article, "Leveling the playing field for workplace neutrals: A proposal for achieving racial and ethnic diversity," Hoffman and Stallworth point out that due to these biases, some commentators assert that the differences distract from the resolution process in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Hoffman and Stallworth, albeit, disagree with this perception and argue that "more diversity provides people with more choice and more experience, especially where having more perspectives would be useful" (Hoffman & Stallworth, Conclusion section, ¶ 1). The duty of mediators, Hoffman and Stallworth, insist, is to be "omnipartial."

Workplace Diversity's Impact

In the article, "Language diversity in the workplace," Cristina M. Rodri-guez (2006), Assistant Professor of Law, NYU School of Law, states that she perceives the workplace to consist of more than the one-on-one economic transaction. Instead, it notes a "critical site of public participation in social life" (Rodri-guez, Language and…section, ¶ 2). A-guez asserts that for the majority of individuals work constitutes more than simply earning a living. Work involves more than the production arena as it provides "a source of citizenship, community, and self understanding" (Rodri-guez, 2006, Language and…section, ¶ 3-4). It also presents a way for the individual to contribute to the larger society, to challenge their own selves, to cultivate and nurture friends and create communities.

The article, "A new study says that mandatory diversity training backfires: After looking at data from 830 workplaces, researchers discovered that sensitivity seminars and their ilk led to declines in the number of women and minorities in management" (2008), notes that sometimes mandatory diversity training backfires. This article reports that after assessing data from 830 workplaces, researchers found that sensitivity seminars and their ilk contribute to "declines in the number of women and minorities in management. Black men seemed to suffer the most. & #8230;The worst offenders, according to the study, are corporations that parrot a politically correct… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Workplace Diversity.  (2009, June 28).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/workplace-diversity/507393

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