Importance of Understanding Cultural, Ethnic, and Gender Differences Essay
Importance of Understanding Cultural, Ethnic, and Gender Differences
The United States is and will continue to be a very diverse place. More than 8 million legal immigrants came to the U. S. between 1981 and 1990, and an undetermined number of undocumented immigrants enter the United States each year. In addition, the United States includes people of many religions, languages, economic groups, and other cultural groups. In order to be a successful manager in today’s very diverse society a manager needs to be open and understanding of cultural differences, different ethnicities, and gender differences among employees.
Diversity is the presence of people from a wide range of backgrounds all possessing different traits. Some possible contributors to diversity include but are not limited to differences in age, race, ethnic origin, culture, physical abilities, religion and sexual orientation. As the text book states, ‘bringing diverse workers into an organization is seldom a seamless transition. ’ People tend to prejudge and place stereotypes or generalized beliefs that all members of a group possess the same characteristics from different cultures, race, or sex; this must be overcome.
To be effective, managers and employees need to recognize, respect, and capitalize on each other’s differences. By being diverse in its employees, a business has a better opportunity for new ideas and growth potential. As discussed this week in class, when the department head turned down the Jamaican friend for the position, even though he seemed better qualified, it showed stereotyping and prejudices can have a negative effect in the workplace. The situation made for an uncomfortable, even negative environment in the workplace.
By the department head’s negative behavior it caused a barrier for productivity and potentially harmed working relationships. It is essential in today’s business world for managers and professionals to understand the importance of cultural, ethnical and gender differences to make a positive work environment possible. While performing the ball and sock experiment, I was put outside of my comfort zone and was forced to see what it was like in someone else’s shoes. I found the lefty experiment to be awkward and difficult. I started in the early morning as I was getting ready for work.
The seemingly thoughtless tasks that I completed every morning such as showering, brushing my teeth and hair, and eating breakfast now became hard and tedious. I continued the experiment when I returned home from work. Preparing dinner as a lefty was virtually impossible and almost dangerous. Most tasks as a lefty were manageable after some time and practice, but operating a knife was not. I am sure that with a little time and patience these tasks could have become easier to me. I can see how it could be frustrating living as a lefty in a right handed world. This is the same concept as being from a different culture, ethnicity, and gender then those in your workplace.
Although the transition into a new company can be difficult, with time and some adjustment it is possible. I can relate the ball in the sock experiment to the importance of understanding cultural, ethnic, and gender differences in the work place because adjusting to something that we are not accustomed to can be challenging. It is important to understand that people we come into contact with everyday come from a background that we may not know much about. It can be difficult to adjust when meeting new people or entering a new work environment.
I believe an organizations success can be attributed to its ability to embrace diversity and appreciate the benefits. A workplace who supports diversity can supply an assortment of solutions to problems. A diverse workplace can facilitate a broader service range. It can allow a company to provide their service to those all around the world. I think the most significant benefit to supporting diversity in the workplace is the inspiration it gives to all of its employees to perform to their greatest capacity. Diversity allows employees to come together to accomplish a common goal as a team.
Employees will feel comfortable to share their viewpoints and ideas to execute a goal or solve a problem. I believe diversity opens the door for workplaces to achieve higher productivity, result in higher profits, and benefit the community. Diversity may not be something that people are familiar with and may even have a difficult time adjusting to, which is similar to trying to using your opposite hand in daily tasks. I believe understanding diversity will show employees the importance of it in the workplace and how it can enhance the quality of work.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 24 December 2016
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