Abstract Choosing to focus on the Mexican Immigrant in the United States workplace will help to develop an understanding of how organizational decisions insure the acceptance and inclusion of the group with those of the organization’s in-group creating a unified work environment. Chao and Willaby (2007) theorized that everyone had their own vision of how the world works and acting upon it based on what they have perceived as being true; sometimes the visions of others are difficult to understand or accept, which can cause strife and alienation in the workplace.
According to Adu-Febiri (2006) the responsibility of transformational leadership is to raise employee awareness; thus, beginning the journey for an all-inclusive and unified work environment. Mei and Russ (2007) identified that management’s objective should be to help organizational employees to establish a foundation of developing the core and cultural competencies that are critical to developing effective methods for advocating change and cultural blending.
The results of this essay and the completion of employee interviews will help to heighten areas of self-actualization and ethnic and linguistic competencies of the author and all cultural groups she will be accountable. Mexican Immigrants in the United States Workplace Introduction Chao and Willaby (2007) advised that everyone had their own vision of how the world works and that everyone performs according to their perception of the right way to live as a part of that world.
Greenwood (2007) contends there are differing perceptions of how the world operates creates complex challenges when working to blend differing beliefs toward a unified environment. The following literature review focuses on raising the level of diversity consciousness as it relates to Mexican immigrants in the workplace. Deaux, Reid, Martin, and Bikmen (2006) identified that the Hispanic sociohistorical perspective provided significant information reflecting an independent group that is dedicated to their families and struggling to survive in an environment that often resents them being in the workplace.
Parrado and Kandel (2010) contend the Hispanic group is one of the fastest growing minority groups that has magnified the supply of low-skilled workers. The author also identified the group’s struggle with linguistic challenges as being what prevented many from achieving educational needs, which exacerbates the group’s equality in the workplace. Trends in Workplace Diversity Globalization, technology, and increased mobile ability have created diverse ethnic and linguistic challenges felt around the globe.
Greenwood (2008) contended that some of the Hispanic group chose to move to the United States in pursuit of a higher quality of life; others made their decisions based on a lower cost of living and others came only to make an income that could be sent back to their homeland to take care of family left behind. Whatever the reason for the influx challenges to achieving unity in the workplace begin at the onset and will become more complex in nature as the number of ethnic and linguistic minorities continue to grow.
The qualitative study performed by deCastro, Fujishiro, Sweitzer, and Oliva, (2006) theorized the negative workplace experiences of minority groups were inclusive of linguistic barriers, poor and unsafe working conditions, illegal methods of pay, work related injuries, and, finally, a consistent loss of jobs. Adu-Febiri (2006) theorized that workplace environments require the creation of opportunities for inclusion of all associated with the organization that matriculates all toward a true multicultural identity.
Impact of Global Economy deCastro, et al (2006) provided that the impacts of a global economy are far reaching and have served to change the very fabric of cultural beliefs and community structures. The authors explain that many of the in-migrants see the expanding economies as a new and promising dimension of prosperity; while many of the native group believes it to be the portent of doom. For better and worse, everyone will have to learn about and from one another.
Rizvi (2009) theorized the impact of a global economy as being realized in everyday activities such as processes at work, cultural interrelationships, capital, information exchanges, food and goods, and ideas. The global economy changed the dynamics of doing business with the enhancement of technology, communication, politics, and immigration. Adu-Febiri’s (2006) contentions of the global environment included the potential for cultural erosion due to a lack of human factor competency. As employment globalization grows so do the challenges for maintaining ethnic cultural norms in a manner that creates workplace inclusion.
Chao and Willaby (2007) echoed Adu-Febiri’s thoughts when they asserted the globalization has created the challenge of the hiring of immigrants around the world; the authors maintain, “…has no geographic, political, or cultural bounds” (Chao and Willaby, p. 32, 2007). The authors further identified challenges of minority ethnic and linguistic groups have been to hold onto their cultural and linguistic makeup: Globalization has encouraged many to dress the way the other dresses and eat what the other eats, the result being a cultural homogenization process and the subtle emotions of ethnic cultural shame within groups.
Chao and Willaby (2007) explained that reducing and ultimately eliminating the impact of cultural homogenization, the overt and more subtle forms of discrimination, ethnic and linguistic bias requires the expansion of diversity consciousness in the form of implicit cognitive awareness of management and employees. Discrimination Practices Carr-Ruffino (2005) explained that challenges to ensuring discrimination does not exist in the workplace requires a thorough understanding of the context it occurs, which requires high levels of self-awareness and a significant understanding of all ethnic groups in the workplace.
Findler, Wind, and Mor Barak (2007) asserted that the ever growing challenge of diversity has worked to create demands that organizations determine and implement methods for effectively coping with workforce diversity. A number of theoretical viewpoints and studies identify common threads that include perceptions of inclusion or exclusion, fairness, social and organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and the overall sense of well-being.
Another study performed by Krings and Olivares (2007) questioned the impact of ethnicity, job type, bias, and the commitment to interview discrimination practices from the employer perspective. The study resolved there was a higher potential for bias and discriminatory practices when there was a lack of diversity consciousness. Echautegui-de- Jesus, et al (2006) explained that working alongside an ethnic and gender group the native group perceives as being different from themselves creates challenges arising from imbalanced group powers.
The Rubini, Moscatelli, Albarello, and Palmonari (2006) study compared the discriminatory effects of group power and social identification as it relates to linguistic discrimination. The study found higher levels of discriminatory practices were present when in-group participants responded in more positive way to other in-group members than they did with those considered the outside group. Another study completed by Echautegui-de-Jesus, Hughes, Johnston, and Hyun (2006) examined the effects of the employee’s psychological sense of well-being and job satisfaction as it relates to employee performance.
Echautegui-de- Jesus, et al (2006) identified that minority groups often perceive themselves as being threatened with the loss of their interpretation of the world; the result being the loss of ability to achieve a sense of belonging, which brings into focus Robinson’s (2008) contention that identifying discriminatory practices often relies on perceptions of contentions of discrimination of the receiver. The need for higher levels of understanding diversity and the relationship between achieving a sense of well-being will be critical to the Hispanic group’s continued growth as a part of a global world.
The studies and theoretical viewpoints reviewed provided a deeper insight to potential discriminatory practices arising from the diversification of the workplace. Ruane (2010) elucidated that as globalized employment continues to evolve and grow, talent pools will increase in a way that greatly enhances an organization’s ability to do business anywhere in the world. Taking advantage of the globalized potential requires management and employees raise the bar on diversity consciousness to create a sense of well-being for everyone in the workplace environment.
Accommodating Diversity Ruane (2010) identified the need for accommodating diversity in the workplace and that it required training, strategies, and methods for managing diversity that created equality and a sense of well-being for everyone involved with working environment. A critical step toward identifying the level and expanding needs of diversity consciousness requires the identification of attitudes and implemented plans that will maintain and increase the common ground between all related to the workplace.
The study performed by Greenwood (2008) stipulated the more a workplace environment diversifies the more difficult it would become for employees to maintain the sense of being a part of a unified work environment, which necessitates high levels of commitment to diversity practices on a consistent basis. Ruane (2010) theorized the importance of willingly and openly creating opportunities of inclusion begins with creating opportunity for shared diversity experiences that will increase diversity consciousness over time.
The Nielsen and Fehmidah study (2009) identified the relationship between transformational leadership and the employees’ sense of well-being. Understanding that creating an effective diversity oriented work environment will help to ensure workers’ job satisfaction, inclusiveness, and sense of well-being continues to grow is not difficult; however, establishing strong leadership that is committed to ensuring prior underrepresented groups, such as the Mexican group requires strong diversity skill sets. Nielson and Munir’s (2009) article argued that the multifaceted workforce environment of the United States requires
transformational management, laws ensuring equitable equality, and strong diversity training practices: Practices that encompass the perceived challenges of a Hispanic workforce. Most can agree the only way to manage diversity is to plan for it. Effects of Cultures in the Workplace Greenwood (2008) rationalized the world’s workplace environment is consistently changing and with each change comes different cultures, religions, sexual orientations, and ethnic groups; the objective is to welcome and support each group equally so as to create a new unified environment.
Robinson (2008) provided that efforts to blend diverse cultures can have both negative and positive effects on operations, interrelationships, productivity, and the future growth of the company. Understanding differences between groups is a critical first step toward understanding how to make diverse cultures work together. The interviewing of three separate organizations helped to provide a better understanding of how both negative and positive effects of differing cultures can affect organizational outcomes.
Greenwood (2008) explicated that cultural diversity affected each member of a work group; he also identified that challenges arising from linguistic barriers, differing work ethics, communication misunderstandings, and group power imbalances represented major trials to diversity. de Castro, Fujishiro, Sweitzer, and Oliva (2006) explained that diversity challenges require the commitment of management to ensure the positive effects outweigh the potential negative effects.
Each of the three organizations interviewed believed strongly that it is only by creating flexible and inclusive work environments that organizations can reap the benefits of diversity in the workplace. Organizations that have planned for diversity understand that the right employee and management diversity planning and training will open the tap for contributions resulting from the perceptions of a multicultural workforce that is focused on one objective; the health and growth of the organization and the communities being served (Gabe Hooper, Personal Communication, January 20, 2011).
Employer Attitudes The three organizations interviewed for the review work in the service delivery areas of healthcare. Each organization is focused on providing care and services to the communities under their care. The three interviewees chosen for the project presented diversity attitudes that were similar in their perceptions of cultural diversity. Each offered a definition of diversity that relates to being anything and everything associated with human life inclusive of the way an individual thinks, feels, dresses, communicates, and behaves.
Each considered the value of diversity consciousness as being a critical component to the continued success of the organizations. However, each of the interviewees offered differing perspectives for overcoming culture challenges and the elimination of bias and discriminatory perceptions of all concerned. Some of the differences in perspectives are due to a noted lack of diversity within the organization; some of the differences are due to a lack of prior experience dealing with multicultural groups within the workplace.
Appalachian Community Services (ACS) of western North Carolina offers strict protocols for agency professionals and support staff to ensure agency service delivery eliminates the potential for bias, prejudicial and any other discriminatory practices. Gabe Hooper the Program Manager for ACS was open to allowing a review and discussion of agency published agency policies as it relates to diversity initiatives of the organization.
The agency policy offers stipulations inclusive of 1) a working environment that promotes dignity and respect, 2) the commitment to diversity and equality, good management practices that make sense, 3) the commitment to monitor and review on an annual basis, and 4) promises to address all forms of misconduct as defined in the organization’s code of ethics manual. After reviewing the agency standards for diversity management Mr. Hooper was asked why the agency did not seem to have a diverse base of employees within the agency. Mr.
Hooper explained that ACS was largely a non-profit organization requiring high levels of professional credentialing to even be employed with the agency and that eliminated a number of the minority populace. Another reason provided was the fact the organization was based in rural environment, which does not lend well to the procuring and retaining of high quality and diverse professionals. Mr. Hooper stated, “The organization holds what comes their way and whether or not it balances diversity initiatives is secondary” (Gabe Hooper, Program Manager, Personal Communication, January 20, 2011).
ACS professionals participate with one another and with their communities to create a strong sense of inclusion and well-being; the agency participates and supports community group histories and cultural celebrations. Hooper identified that everything experienced represents a new knowledge and it is brought into the work environment. ACS requires ongoing and consistent training for diversity related challenges that are becoming a part of the changing landscape; however, the organization has been unsuccessful with attracting minority groups to the organization.
ACS has and enforces strong diversity protocols that are designed to ensure clients of the agency are not subjected to any forms of bias, prejudicial, or any other discriminatory practices and these same protocols are intended to serve the organization as the workplace culture evolves (Gabe Hooper, Program Manager, Personal Communication, January 20, 2011). Harris Regional Hospital offered by far the most culturally diverse workforce reviewed and diversity was represented at all levels of the organization.
Janet Millsaps, Vice President of Human Resources explained the hospital’s objective for being ‘the place to work’ in western North Carolina. To fulfill the hospital’s objective requires the valuing, utilizing, and recognizing the unique potential of everyone working for the hospital. Millsaps explained that every new employee, no matter the position or department, is required to attend diversity-training sessions prior to stepping into their assigned positions and to attend annual seminars as they are presented.
Finally, all employees must read and sign an agreement to uphold the organization’s code of ethics, which includes a number of diversity professional conduct requirements. The objective of the hospital is to achieve a 90 percent consumer success rating from each employee that serves that consumer. Diversity consciousness represents the biggest challenge to the hospital and it is taken very seriously. All employees are encouraged to share in community celebrations whether from the perspective of the resident Cherokee, Mexican immigrants, or any other group; employees are expected to share and respect each other’s cultural beliefs as well.
Harris Regional takes a great deal of pride in their commitment to all staff members and encourages each one to share and promote ideas and concepts that will serve to unite the hospital with the communities it serves (Janet Millsaps, VP, Personal Communication, February 01, 2011). The third and final interview performed was conducted with the Hospice House Foundation of WNC, Inc. Michele Alderson, President defines the objective of the Hospice House as being to provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place, for the right patient, and on their terms.
Alderson explains the development of a diversity-sensitive organization as being a part of the groundwork that is critical to being an accepted help facility in any community. Mrs. Alderson believes overcoming diversity challenges in western North Carolina represents a tougher obstacle than in other areas of the country. The diversity of her workforce is currently limited to three or four multicultural subgroups inclusive of Cherokee, Mexican, African American, and Caucasian groups that outnumber the other organizational groups.
Hospice House encourages all of their employees to learn from one another and the clients they serve. Alderson also explained there is no official diversity training program in place to raise the organization’s diversity consciousness; however, the organization does have formal written codes of ethics that include organizational directives for ensuring equal treatment and respect for all employees of Hospice. Contribution of Policies and Procedures Each of the three organizations interviewed offered formal written policies and procedures’ for guiding their respective organizations toward a balanced multicultural environment.
ACS enforces their guidelines, encourages their employees to collaborate with the communities being served, and provides continuing diversity education; however, the organization’s management has been unsuccessful with creating opportunities for hiring multicultural staff and professionals due to the rural environment being served. The Hospice House Foundation of WNC has formal policies put into place but those policies do not seem to function as a part of the organization’s processes, nor was there a lot of organizational diversity noted at the time of the interview.
The organization does not offer ongoing diversity training to their employees or professional staff members; however, the organization is supportive of community event attendance. Finally, Hospice House does not have any initiatives for creating a balanced multicultural workforce, which would make the environment more difficult for the smaller subgroups as the environment changes. Again, Harris Regional Hospital was the most thorough and impressive organization interviewed as it relates to diversity sensitivity. The hospital’s commitment to diversity and individual needs is readily evident.
The hospital’s staff is encouraged to not only acknowledge and respect the needs of one another they are provided critical training to accomplish organizational objectives. All staff is encouraged to share knowledge and to create opportunities for inclusion that brings with it a strong sense of well-being; the employees spoken with confirmed they liked working with the hospital. Real-Life Practices and Recommended Practices Each of the organizations interviewed reflected a level of understanding for the needs of diverse employee populations and the needs of multicultural communities.
Each of the professionals interviewed understood the relationship between work place environments and employee satisfaction. Each of the interviewees expressed their organizations had the commitment levels necessary to ensuring employee inclusion and the elimination of power group struggles. Adu-Febiri (2006) revealed that creating shared experiences and maintaining the balance of unity in the workplace as being a significant component to achieving a well-blended work environment. Not one of the organizations has a plan that will help workers overcome linguistic barriers.
Rizvi (2009) identified one of the more critical needs of minority groups were programs and training modules designed to help with eliminating linguistic barriers in the work environment. Harris Regional was the only organization that believes they were up to the challenge of globalization and the evolving impacts of ethnicity. ACS and Hospice House of WNC have put the right policies and procedures in place but have not created the initiatives to attract minority groups to the workplace, which also infers the organizational leadership is not in a position to offer transformational skills that would unify all employees (Ruane, 2010).
Harris Regional has already experienced challenges arising from perceptions of discrimination and worked to resolve struggles relating to power groups. ACS and Hospice House are relying on the formal policies that were put in place at the time they opened operations, which means the leadership has not had the opportunity to see if what was established works in real-life practice.
Robinson (2008) contended that without having experienced diversity the potential for implied segregation will be high as the organizations expand and new groups come seeking employment; both organizations agreed this would be a potential event with their organizations. Harris Regional has been afforded the opportunity to actively recruit multicultural groups; the other two organizations claim they have not had applicants apply for available positions and both agreed they had not pursued any recruiting initiatives.
Harris Regional Hospital reflects transformational leadership and they are committed to high levels of minority representation, subgroup retention, staff skill development, and the inclusion of everyone as a unified group, which is in line with the thoughts presented in an article published by Dreachslin (2007). ACS and Hospice Home of WNC have only begun the journey toward achieving objectives of diversity consciousness but both organizations are committed to learning and welcoming the new workplace trends. Myths and Stereotypes of the Mexican Group.
Nielson and Munir (2009) recognized that the opening of dialogue in the workplace that addresses cultural myths and stereotyping challenges can be difficult and complex as many do not even realize their part in promulgating myths and stereotyping. Much research inclusive of Nielson and Munir (2009) identify that cultural myths and stereotyping have been a part of the world likely since the beginnings of the human race and that myth and stereotyping is alive and well in the United States. People believe and then attribute that belief by applying it generally.
An individual that bites into a bad apple offers the potential for creating myths that all apples are bad rather than taking the time to sort through each one. The Mexican group has not been an exception to stereotyping and myths. Aaracho and Spodek (2007) identified that many have perceived the Mexican American father as being cold, distant and the authoritarian, which often translates into an unwillingness to be an active participant with a community or even with their own children.
The stereotype of being a cold, distant, and unforgiving individual can give way to stereotyping that all the male portion of the group is interested in what they might gain in the workplace environment rather than what they can give. The authors, Aaracho and Spodek (2007) also identified that women of the Mexican group are portrayed as being quiet, submissive, and dedicated to their husbands, which creates even further myths and stereotyping as it relates to the potential of the Mexican women’s abilities in the workplace environment. Mulholland (2007) identified challenges arising from the myth that the entire Mexican group was uneducated and thereby, qualified for only the most rudimentary jobs, which represented the jobs no one else wanted.
Krings and Olivares (2007) noted there were higher levels of stereotyping when Mexican applicants applied for positions that required linguistic skills. Language, accents, and body language represents the foundation of all cultures and it represents self-identification. Bernstein’s (2007) thoughts provided that Mexican Americans have been made to feel their communication style is incorrect and somehow lacking; the group has been stereotyped by others believing the differences in language integrity means the group is less intelligent.
Schwartz, Domenech, Field, Santiago-Rivera, and Arredondo (2010) identified the challenges of minority professionals entering the workforce without sufficient linguistic competency as having attributed to stereotyping and myths of cultural groups. Bernstein (2007) revealed that many of the in-groups were quick to point out the Mexican groups were in the United States to earn monies, send them home to be put toward economic security needs in Mexico, and returning themselves when enough had been earned.
Introducing these types of myths and stereotypes creates challenges to the group in the workplace because it gives momentum to even more harmful forms of stereotyping; a minority group entering the workplace environment where myth and stereotyping is present and unchecked will be all but forced to suffer the consequences of belief systems they had nothing to do with creating. Effects of Stereotyping and Cultural Myths The effects of stereotyping and cultural myths can cripple the working environment. McDonald (2010) described the stereotyping and cultural myth challenges to minority groups as being representative of a cycle.
First, the stereotypes and myths begin with the unknown and this is often followed by competition between groups; most often, the competition is in the perspective of an in-group rather than the minority group. The next step occurs as conflicts between groups arise and this is followed even deeper rooted and malignant stereotyping and myths. McDonald (2010) contended people learn and apply attributes to what they perceive and this represents only one of less dangerous effects of stereotyping and myth. The Mexican American populace struggles with becoming a part of the mainstream environment, whether in the workplace or at home.
Aberson and Gaffney (2009) revealed that the struggles of minority groups can find its root in the forced isolation caused by stereotyping and cultural myths they feel has been made their self-image. The articles presented by Mulholland (2007) and Wolfe, Cohen, Kirchner, Montoya, and Insko (2009) agree that the effects of stereotyping do not stop with the Mexican American adults it is funneled down through children via their parents, which infers the damaging effects continue through the generations of Mexican American group.
Bernstein (2007) pronounced that failing to address and education all cultural groups within the workplace will result in deeply seeded divisions between the workforce; between group competition that will cause anger and frustration for all involved, and it will continue growing and expanding until the minority group has been squeezed out of the environment entirely. Exposing and Discrediting Myths and Stereotypes.
Carr-Ruffino (2005) provided that exposing and discrediting cultural myths and stereotyping require that everyone be listening and hearing one another. MacDonald (2010) identified that people achieved their understanding by believing their perceptions and that it influenced the way they think and behave thereafter. Individuals helped to realize how important it is to recognize the beginnings and nuances of cultural myths and stereotyping are more likely to change attitudes and behaviors in a way that compliments the whole rather than individual groups.
Wolf, et al (2009) provided that a critical step to creating a unified workplace environment required tools and methods that will help everyone to learn to critically interpret different cultures, uncover embedded ideologies, and learn to become socially responsible employees and citizens. Schwartz, et al (2010) articulated the critical need for getting everyone to question the deeper meanings of all cultural groups within the workplace will enhance knowledge that will provide the potential for critical thought; thus, bringing awareness of individual beliefs and value systems that can be blended with others.
Sarach and Spodek (2007) revealed the need for organizations to create shared experiences between groups supports acculturation and assimilation processes that are critical to creating a unified environment dedicated not only to the good of the organization but to the good of one another. Transformational leadership is also critical to safeguarding initiatives to expose and discrediting myths and stereotyping.
Schwartz, et al (2010) identified that leadership that is positioned to help overcome cultural linguistic challenges such as the Mexican American that can speak English but cannot write it is able to overcome it without being subjected to the stereotyping that hinders self-esteem will help level the playing field between groups. Creating multicultural teams in a workshop that is designated as support groups is another method of bringing differing groups together to achieve a truer and more just understanding of one another.
The objective of bringing everyone together in a workshop should be to make certain no one is alienated; it is also not about identifying the one committing a wrong he or she does not even realize as being done or said. The workshop is a great environment for working together to grow cultural awareness, agree on methods and strategies for overcoming the challenges, and unify to eliminate the harmful effects of cultural myths and stereotyping. A workshop is for getting to know one another, learning about differences, and asking questions about perceptions received.
Debunking cultural myths and stereotyping requires a long-term commitment from the leadership and all employees of the organization to one another and it begins with implemented learning strategies. Conclusion As previously identified globalization and new technologies have created opportunities for connecting differing cultural groups from all over the world; the Mexican immigrant is no exception. Aberson and Gaffney (2009) identified the Mexican cultural group as being one of the fastest growing cultural groups in the United States.
The authors also identified the group is being consistently challenged by some that wish the group to maintain a social stratification level that is far below that of an in-group in the workplace. Chao and Willaby (2007) provided that bringing unknown cultural groups into the work environment can serve to alienate those of the minority groups from those of the in-group; some of the exhibited behaviors have included everything from forced segregation to critically malignant forms of discrimination that can contribute to group elimination. Mei and Russ (2007) identified that the establishment and upholding of organizational policies that have been designed to protect immigran
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