Business Management Leadership and Choices

Abstract

This paper is about the managing diversity in a work environment. This paper will critically examine the challenges and choices HR Managers now face in regard to managing diversity in an organization. Diversity can be defined as the difference that exists between the people like the different countries they belong too. Within this diversity of national origins there is an even wider diversity of cultures, religions, languages, dialects, educational attainment, skills, values, ages, races, genders and other differentiating variables. Knowledge of these variations challenges the managers and the HR professionals in the organizations to develop proactive policies and practices.

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Globalization plays an important role in diversity in a company. It must be remembered that creating a productive and enjoyable work environment is the dual responsibility of HR managers and HR experts. HR managers are responsible for marshaling the organization’s human and nonhuman resources to achieve the company’s business objectives. HR managers and professionals provide the people expertise, procedures and systems that enable the HR managers to meet their challenges. Ultimately the company has a competitive advantage in a way that adds value to the company or it fails. HRM is one of the ways a company can gain a competitive advantage, which is not easily duplicated by any other company, as in the case of technology. Globalization amplifies the cultural diversity of an organization and requires members of the HR department to become increasingly aware of cultural differences so that other managers can be properly advised. Managers and the HR department further their contributions to the organization by being informed about cultural differences among the company’s international operations.

Background to the Briefing Paper

Diversity can be defined as the difference that exists between the people like the different countries they belong too. Within this diversity of national origins there is an even wider diversity of cultures, religions, languages, dialects, educational attainment, skills, values, ages, races, genders and other differentiating variables. Knowledge of these variations challenges the managers and the HR professionals in the organizations to develop proactive policies and practices. If there is a diverse culture in a company, there will be a health competition between the employees and the result of that competition would be that the employees will do well in their work activities and the company will be able to retain its employees. Acceptance of diversity is becoming especially important because of socio-cultural changes and the changing of workforce.

As globalization increases diversity would also increase, as the growing number of immigrants increases it presents mangers with more complex communication issues with dealing with people whose native language is not the same as that of the vast majority of their coworkers. Creating a productive and enjoyable work environment is the dual responsibility of HR managers and HR experts. HR managers are responsible for marshaling the organization’s human and nonhuman resources to achieve the company’s business objectives.

The costs of ignoring diversity for a company and its HR department is that the company’s image is tarnished, there is a lot of financial lost for the company, there is very creativity from the employees and there are no new ideas and the productivity of the employees is very low.

What the Assignment is asking

The assignment is asking to find out about workforce diversity in a working environment and what kind of challenges the human resource managers are being faced with regarding diversity.

What I know about the subject

What I already know about the subject is that globalization and diversity go together hand in hand. Globalization plays an important role in workforce diversity. Diversity in the population, the workforce and the marketplace is facts of life that no HR manager can afford to ignore today just like globalization. All managers including the HR managers daily face the challenges of managing employee diversity. The management of employee diversity includes recruiting, training and fully utilizing workers who reflect the society in all areas for example, age, sex, race, disability, nationality, education, economic level and religion etc.

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The Focus of the Paper

The focus of the paper would be on diversity that what it is, how is it connected to globalization. Then what are the challenges that are being face by the HR managers of the company, what are its solutions that is how to overcome it, the advantages and disadvantages of workforce diversity.

Arguments to make

The arguments of the paper would be based upon the following, when focusing on the paper, one thing that is always looked upon is the pros and cons, present in that paper. And these in turn create the argument for which the conclusion is to be based upon. Let’s take up an example of a hair care product on which a paper is to be written upon. The mention of the products that take care of your hair will obviously be mentioned. If we see in terms of major companies like L’Oreal or Pantene etc. then while researching for this paper the arguments can be based on what these companies think that how a person’s hair should be taken care of. Hence even research can present argumentative aspects that someone may go with one company and that they are right and another thinking that the other company is right and they agree with their opinions.

Specific Information

The specific information that is required for the paper would be a clear understanding of workforce diversity and that how it can affect the company in its day to day routine. And what kind of challenges are being faced by the management, and how can these challenges be overcome.

Diversity is the difference that exists between the people like the different countries they belong too. Within this diversity of national origins there is an even wider diversity of cultures, religions, languages, dialects, educational attainment, skills, values, ages, races, genders and other differentiating variables. Knowledge of these variations challenges the managers and the HR professionals in the organizations to develop proactive policies and practices.

Journals and Books

The books and journals that I will need to make this paper would be based upon the management of the company and the organizational behavior of the company as well.

The Structure of the Final Paper

The structure of the final paper would be something like this:

  • Introduction about globalization and its role in diversity.
  • Introduction about diversity and its dimensions.
  • Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace that are being faced by the HR managers.
  • Solutions that are needed to solve the challenges that are being faced by diversity.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of workforce diversity.
  • And how to motivate the diversified workforce of the company.

Preliminary Introduction

Globalization plays an important role in diversity in a company. It must be remembered that creating a productive and enjoyable work environment is the dual responsibility of HR managers and HR experts. HR managers are responsible for marshaling the organization’s human and nonhuman resources to achieve the company’s business objectives. HR managers and professionals provide the people expertise, procedures and systems that enable the HR managers to meet their challenges.

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Diversity is the difference that exists between the people like the different countries they belong too. Within this diversity of national origins there is an even wider diversity of cultures, religions, languages, dialects, educational attainment, skills, values, ages, races, genders and other differentiating variables. Knowledge of these variations challenges the managers and the HR professionals in the organizations to develop proactive policies and practices.

For example a lot of professors and teachers from any ethnic background are quite ill prepared to handle these multicultural differences. Many Americans attended segregated schools, lived in racially unmixed neighborhoods and were unexposed to people who were substantially different from themselves. Another example from an organizational environment would be, a manager declines a gift which is offered by a new employee of the company, an immigrant or a person belonging to a different background; who wanted to show his or her gratitude for the job. The manager, who was very concerned about ethics and policies of the company, explained the rules and procedures about not accepting any sort of gifts. The employee felt insulted therefore he or she quit their job.

Summary

Several important ideas pertain to workforce diversity, which is the inclusion of people with different human qualities and from different cultural groups. Dimensions of diversity are both primary such as age, gender, race and religion and secondary, such as education, marital status and income. Ethnocentric attitudes generally produce a monoculture that accepts only one way of doing things and one set of values and beliefs, therefore excluding non-traditional employees from full participation.

  • Action Plan
  • Appendix- A
  • Individual Paper
  • Globalization

As we know that diversity in organizations is created due to globalization. Globalization can be defined as a way that the world is getting interconnected both economically and culturally. Globalization is actually the process of economic, technological, political and socio-cultural forces i.e. globalization refers to the adaptation or development of values, knowledge, technology and behavioral norms across different societies and countries around the world. The characteristics of globalization are mostly linked with global networking (i.e. internet, electronic communication or technology etc.) with interflow of information in the economic, social, political and cultural learning areas, interflow between international alliances and competitors, international collaboration and multi-cultural integration and global village and technology. (Globalization)

There are four dimensions to globalization: 1) building the global economy of the world, 2) formation of the world opinion, 3) democratization i.e. the emergence of a global community and 4) the creation of global political institutions. As we know that globalization is the process of economic, technological, political and socio-cultural forces. There are different kinds of dimensions to globalization such as Economic, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Cultural, Communication, Political and Geographic etc.

Globalized HR management places a wide variety of new pressures on traditional HR activities, but at the same time it is the manager’s ability to meet those challenges that provides an opportunity to make significant contributions to the company. With better qualified people executing the company’s strategy on a global scale, managers can work with the HR department to create a source of competitive advantage for the company. For managers and the HR department to be a source of competitive advantage, the department generally must evolve to support the organization’s transformation from a domestic to an international to a global oriented company. This evolution requires an awareness of the assumptions and employee rights that are likely to be encountered in the international arena and rethinking of the department’s structure and activities. (Daft, 1997)

Virtually every activity of the HR department is affected directly or indirectly by the internationalization of the company’s business. The need to do international succession planning arises, as do policy decisions about the use of foreign nationals and expatriates in the assignments abroad. Internal barriers to international assignments need to be identified and reduced and the company must identify external sources of needed talent. Then within a wide variety of legal constraints, the HR department must select qualified people who can be assimilated into the company and the local culture.

Globalization amplifies the cultural diversity of an organization and requires members of the HR department to become increasingly aware of cultural differences so that other managers can be properly advised. Managers and the HR department further their contributions to the organization by being informed about cultural differences among the company’s international operations. Projects and innovations that have been successful in one country are often duplicated and applied in others. Technically or financially oriented innovators may focus on technological or financial feasibility, unaware of cultures differences that could reduce their success. The department’s role is not to object to or block technology transfers or other innovations to facilitate them. Proactive departments work with operating managers and project leaders to identify solutions to cultural or national difference that may impede a company’s strategy. (Fullmer, 1983)

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The implications of increased competition and workforce diversity are considered to be countess. One obvious implication is that the HR department will be pressured for additional employment flexibility and additional child care and elder care assistance by their workers. This flexibility probably achieved through flexible benefits, flexible schedules, part-time workers, telecommuting and temporary workers. Rapid rises in health care costs and slow productivity growth rate will put a downward pressure in real (i.e. inflation and tax adjusted) wage increases, causing compensation of the employees, to almost certainly be used more closely to performance of the employee of the company.

Diversity

What is diversity? Diversity can be defined as the difference that exists between the people like the different countries they belong too. Within this diversity of national origins there is an even wider diversity of cultures, religions, languages, dialects, educational attainment, skills, values, ages, races, genders and other differentiating variables. Knowledge of these variations challenges the managers and the HR professionals in the organizations to develop proactive policies and practices. For example, in a study t was found that workforce diversity lowered the psychological attachment of group members to the organization, calling for more proactive efforts by the human resource department in the face of increased diversity. Knowledge about diversity comes from personal observations and from demography, the statistical study of population characteristics. For example, the workforce demographics describe its composition; education level, race, age, sex, percentage of the population participating in the workforce and other characteristics. The changes in the workforce demographics usually are known in advance, they occur slowly and are very well measured. (Daft, 1997).

For example from an organizational environment would be, a manager declines a gift which is offered by a new employee of the company, an immigrant or a person belonging to a different background; who wanted to show his or her gratitude for the job. The manager, who was very concerned about ethics and policies of the company, explained the rules and procedures about not accepting any sort of gifts. The employee felt insulted therefore he or she quit their job. Another example on diversity from an organization perspective would be a manager learned, if he friendly patted the arm or back of his employees, the employees would feel good. The manager took every opportunity to pat his subordinates. His Asian employees hated being touched and thus they started to avoid their manager, and several of them even asked for a transfer.

As globalization increases diversity would also increase, as the growing number of immigrants increases it presents managers with more complex communication issues with dealing with people whose native language is not the same as that of the vast majority of their coworkers. Creating a productive and enjoyable work environment is the dual responsibility of HR managers and HR experts. HR managers are responsible for marshaling the organization’s human and nonhuman resources to achieve the company’s business objectives. HR managers and professionals provide the people expertise, procedures and systems that enable the HR managers to meet their challenges. Ultimately the company has a competitive advantage in a way that adds value to the company or it fails. HRM is one of the ways a company can gain a competitive advantage, which is not easily duplicated by any other company, as in the case of technology. (Werther & Davis, 1996)

Having a diverse culture in a company is considered to be a beneficial process that will help in an employee’s growth while it also increases the cultural sensitivity and as well as the mentoring skills of the HR department members, it is considered to be a 2 way process, the employees teach their supervisors or mentors while they are learning from them. If there is a diverse culture in a company, there will be a health competition between the employees and the result of that competition would be that the employees will do well in their work activities and the company will be able to retain its employees. Acceptance of diversity is becoming especially important because of socio-cultural changes and the changing of workforce.

Dimensions of Diversity

Dimensions of Diversity

From an individual’s point of view, diversity can be defined as including people different from themselves along the dimensions such as age, ethnicity, gender or race. (Daft, 1996)

Several important dimensions of diversity are shown in the above figure. The inner square of the chart shows the primary dimensions of diversity. The primary dimension has inborn differences or differences that a person has and which will leave an impact on one’s life. These dimensions include: age, ethnicity, race, physical ability and sexual orientation. These dimensions are considered to be the main elements that will shape a person’s self-image and world view. Secondary dimensions of diversity are shown in the outer square of the chart; these elements can be developed or changed by a person throughout his or her lifetime. These dimensions tend to have an impact on a person’s self-definition and worldview. For example a 55 year old male, an MBA from Oxford and the father of 2 grown children, who is a vice-president of a Fortune 500 company, may be perceived very differently from a female clerical worker, age 25, who is a single mother of 2 children and is attending evening classes to earn a college degree. Based on this information a person can predict the personal priorities and career expectations each person may have of the organization? The challenge for all kinds of institutions would be today is to recognize these differences and use the unique strengths of the individuals.

Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace

The challenges that are being faced the HR managers in the working environment are as follows:

  • Communication differences: people from some cultures tend to pay more attention to the social context like, social settings, nonverbal behavior etc. of their verbal communications. Communication barriers arise perceptual, cultural and language problems are created.
  • Resistance to change: sometimes it so happens that the employees are not willing to change themselves or are not willing to accept the social and the cultural changing environment of the company therefore they resist it and this resistance creates a diversity barrier for the HR managers.
  • Implementation of diversity in the workplace: implementation of diversity in a workplace policy can create diversity barriers for the HR managers. What happens is that the management has to build a customized strategy; this strategy in return creates more problems regarding diversity.
  • Financial costs: a company loses all the money they have invested in an employee. When he or she leaves the company.
  • Productivity: the productivity of an employee decreases when the employees are faced by diversity. For example, women and minorities experience prejudice and non-acceptance in the working environment, therefore their productivity decreases and it costs the company it valuable time and money. (Greenberg, 2008).

Solutions to Workforce Diversity Challenges

Solutions that should be implemented by the management of the company to solve workforce diversity challenges are as follows:

  • Inclusion (i.e. participation of employees) will help removing change resistance of employees.
  • The management should encourage all of their employees to provide the management with new ideas and opinions.
  • Diversity should be introduced in all the levels of the company, especially in leader based positions.
  • Use diversity as tool to train employees, it will help the employees to work with other employees who are from a different culture.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Diversity

As we know that diversity in company around the world is inevitable whether it may be domestic or global diversity. Diversity provides numerous advantages. The advantages of diversity are as follows:

  1. The first benefit of diversity is that it provides the employees and the management an opportunity to develop themselves.
  2. Diversity also helps with developing the organization’s potential.
  3. It produces better relationships between the employees because people need to have these skills that will help them recognize, understand and accept cultural differences.
  4. There is high morale within the organization’s environment because the employees feel that they are valued.
  5. With the help of diversity the employee minorities are retained.
  6. Multiple perspectives of employees towards work.
  7. Great openness to new ideas and increased creativity.
  8. Increased in problem solving skills and flexibility.
  9. There is an enhancement in the creativity and problem solving from diverse employee body. It has been researched that diverse groups tend to be more creative than homogenous groups, because diverse groups bring different perspectives to problem solving. (Daft, 1996).

There are some disadvantages that are connected with diversity. The disadvantages are as follows:

  1. Due to diversity employees leave the organization, because they are able to understand different cultures etc.
  2. Absenteeism is high in the company.
  3. Conflicts arise between employees of different cultures.
  4. Due to diversity there is a decrease in the employees productivity.
  5. Ambiguity in employees and confusion.
  6. Complexity.
  7. Miscommunication.
  8. Difficulty in reaching a single decision by the employees.
  9. The reputation of the organization and its human resource department is tarnished (Daft, 1996).

Motivating the Diversified Workforce

Motivation is a process that is divided into 3 elements and they are as follows intensity, direction and the persistence of effort of an individual or a group towards the achievement of a goal or an objective. But if it is viewed generally motivation is concerned with effort towards any goal and here we are talking about the attainment of an organizational goals and objectives. As we know that there are three elements in motivation they are:

  1. Intensity which is concerned with hard working that is how hard a person tries to achieve a goal or an objective.
  2. Direction is mostly based with effort that is directed towards the achievement.
  3. Persistence is mostly based the effort of an individual.

Motivation can be defined as a reason to do something, over here the case would be to provide en employee to perform better on his or her job. In a work environment there are three characteristics that affect the motivation of the employees. Those three characteristics are as follows:

  • harmony,
  • expectancy,
  • attitude.

But the management must remember that everyone is not motivated by money or a challenging job. The needs of women, singles, immigrants, the physically disabled, senior citizens and others from diverse groups are not the same as married, white American male with three dependents. For example, employees who are attending college typically place a high value on flexible work schedules. Such individuals may be attracted to organizations that offer flexible work hours, job sharing or even temporary assignments. If the company wants to maximize the employee’s motivation, the HR department has to understand and respond to diversity. You must be thinking how? The word to guide the HR managers would be flexibility. The managers must be ready to design work schedules, compensation plans, and benefits, work settings and like to reflect the employees varied needs. It might also include offering flexible leave policies for immigrants who want occasionally to make extensive return trips to their homelands or even by creating work teams for employees who come from countries with a strong collectivist orientation or allowing employees who are going to school to vary their work schedules from semester to semester. (Werther & Davis, 1996)

Reflection Paper

Acceptance of diversity is becoming especially important because of socio-cultural changes and the changing of workforce. Diversity in the company shows the employees that have to deal with people who are different from them therefore diversity within the company shows a reflection of diversity in the larger environment. Innovative companies are initiating a variety of programs to take advantage of the diverse culture and societies. For example, breaking down glass ceiling ultimately means changing the corporation culture within institutions; changing internal structures and policies toward employees, accommodating their special needs and providing diversity awareness to help employees become aware of their own cultural boundaries and prejudices.

Diversity awareness helps the employees learn to communicate with other members of the company from other cultural context. Increasing diversity within companies means that the faculty of the company needs to develop programs that deal with global and as well as domestic diversity and with potential conflicts, such as sexual harassment, that arise. Diverse ethnic groups within a university environment can be very competitive and even antagonistic towards one another. To overcome such problems the faculty members must use diversity awareness programs and other methods like overcoming communication differences etc. The time and energy a HR department member of the company spends on dealing with interpersonal issues may dramatically increase in a diverse environment.

Appendix-A

Action Plan

Action Plan

References

Burke, R J. & Cooper, C L. (2008), ‘Building More Effective Organizations: HR Management and Performance in Practice’. Cambridge University Press.

Daft, R. L. (1997), ‘Management’. The Dryden Press.

Fullmer, R.M. (1983), ‘The New Management’. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

Gardenswartz, L & Rowe, A (1998), ‘Managing Diversity: A Complete Desk Reference and Planning Guide’. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Globalization (2001). Web.

Greenberg, J (2008), ‘Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions’, Web.

Robbins, S. P. (2000), ‘Organizational Behavior’. Prentice Hall.

Stockdale, M S. & Crosby, F J. (2004), ‘The Psychology and Management of Workplace Diversity’, Blackwell Publishing.

Werther, W.B. & Davis, K. (1996), Human Resource & Personnel Management. McGraw-Hill.

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