Managing Diversity Essay
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Various literatures indicate that managing diversity within today’s labor force has become a primary concern for companies and organizations today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), compared with the labor force of past decades, today’s labor force is older, more racially and ethnically diverse, and composed of more women. Over the next decade, the labor force will become even more racially and ethnically diverse (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).
Non-Hispanic whites made up 67.5 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2010 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), projects that this group will compose 62.3 percent of the labor force in 2020, a decline of 5.2 percent. By 2020, the Hispanic, Asian, and African American labor force are all supposed to make up 18.6, 5.7, and 12.0 percent, respectively (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). The only way that diversity can be managed successfully is in an organizational culture that values diversity (Sidel, 2009). According to Kulik and Roberson (2009), when an organization values diversity, the people work better together.
If people don’t work well together, the organization does not work well (Kulik & Roberson, 2009).
The purpose of this paper is to explain the difference between the terms managing diversity and valuing diversity, and the four key components that make up diversity management. Differences between Managing Diversity and Valuing Diversity In order to better understand how diversity management fits into an organizational culture that values diversity, certain distinctions must first be made. One must know the difference between diversity management and culture of diversity. Diversity management involves establishing long term goals to develop, promote, and utilize the skills of a diverse workforce (Marquis, Lim, & Scott, 2008). By culture of diversity, it is meant that an institutional environment is built on the values of fairness, diversity, mutual respect, understand, and cooperation (Loden & Rosener, 1991). A culture that values diversity emphasizes the importance of employees of different races, cultures, ages, genders, sexual orientations, values, beliefs, ethics, and abilities to work together effectively (Lussier, 2012). Diversity Management with an Emphasis on Valuing Diversity
There are four main aspects of diversity management are the support of top management, diversity leadership, policies and procedures, and diversity training (Lussier, 2012). There must be an emphasis of valuing diversity into each of the four aspects of diversity management: management support, diversity leadership, policies, and training. Management Support
Diversity management begins with support from top management. While valuing diversity most often begins at the bottom in organizations, it must involve those at the top if it is to succeed long term (Loden & Rosener, 1991). Fostering the right organizational culture is one of the most important responsibilities of a chief executive (McDermott, 2001). Billings-Harris and Anderson (2010) state: The CEO’s understanding and willingness to engage and challenge the organization’s leaders with respect to the vision, business strategy, financials, goals, and objectives are critical for survival. This is no less true for the CEO’s involvement with the inclusion and diversity strategy.
When led effectively, these initiatives are embedded in the overall strategy and can act as one of a few powerful people-focused catalysts that drive business results. (p.28) Cox (2001), asserts that to ensure management support in diversity initiatives, an organization should create a separate senior executive position focused on diversity objectives. This diversity director should be involved in all aspects of the firm and should attempt to make diversity an overall business requirement (Cox, 2001). Loden and Rosener (1991) state that once diversity is accepted as an organizational value, a new set of assumptions begins to operate within the organization, and that these assumptions are based on the positive contributions that diversity is perceived to offer. As part of a long-term strategy aimed at changing the corporate culture, many executives participate in team building sessions and other activities designed to encourage open dialogue among employees about diversity issues (Loden & Rosener, 1991). Diversity Leadership
The second key aspect to diversity management is diversity leadership. Leaders should be able to influence employees to work toward the organization’s objectives (Lussier, 2012). The organization’s leadership should cultivate a mindset that acknowledges that diversity requires long-term cultural change and interprets diversity to include all people (Loden, 1996). Loden (1996) states that rhetorical statements advocating diversity will not by themselves motivate change, and extensive leadership involvement is needed to help diffuse the principles of diversity throughout the organization and into the attitudes of employees. This involvement requires time and energy on the part of senior leaders and is the most significant sign that diversity is a high priority in an organization (Loden, 1996). Policies and Procedures
Policies and procedures of an organization regarding diversity make up the third aspect of diversity management. “EEO is a legalistic response to workplace discrimination originally mandated by law. Affirmative action programs are outgrowths of equal employment law.” (Loden & Rosener, 1991) Loden and Rosener (1991) conclude that while these programs have led to changes in the composition of the labor force, they have not been linked to an organizational culture change. They state that valuing diversity builds on the basic premise of equal employment law and affirmative action, and that by focusing on the quality of the work environment, valuing diversity moves beyond affirmative action (Loden & Rosener, 1991). It acknowledges that hiring and promoting diverse people does not automatically lead to mutual respect, cooperation, and true integration (Loden & Rosener, 1991). Diversity Training
The last aspect of diversity management is diversity training, also sometimes referred to as awareness training. Diversity training programs aim to make people more aware of the issues and the opportunities that exist in reducing differential treatment, including awareness of attitudes behaviors, and biases (Morrison, 1992). According to Morrison (1992), focusing on theories, principles, demographic changes, and organizational benefits of increased diversity is common in diversity training, but it is unlikely to cause individuals to examine their personal values, attitudes, and behaviors.
Diversity education is not achieved by one or two workshops, but requires a consistent, continuous effort to understand diversity concepts (Thomas, 2005). Diversity or awareness training for most organizations should consist of three major steps: (1) Begin with leadership education. (2) Follow up with general manager and employee education about stereotyping and the dimensions of diversity. (3) Continue with ongoing seminars in managing diversity as a vital resource, understanding the dimensions of diversity, career development/efficacy of training for diverse employees, and so on (Loden & Rosener, 1991, p. 204). Accountability for Diversity
Even though it is not one of the four main aspects of diversity management, it is important to talk about rewarding behavior that values diversity. As efforts to create the culture of diversity evolve, Morrison (1992) states that the three most commonly revised administrative procedures to hold employees accountable are performance evaluations and resulting financial rewards, succession planning, and promotion systems. Employees and management at all levels should be held accountable for nurturing a culture that values diversity, and responsibility must be distributed throughout the organization if diversity goals are to be achieved (Morrison, 1992). Even in cases where employees do not personally endorse the philosophy, their workplace behavior should still be expected to support this change (Loden & Rosener, 1991). Conclusions
In conclusion, diversity management does not focus on recruitment and hiring practices. Recruitment and hiring polices, such as Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action, are short term objectives and do not address organizational growth and development (Marquis, Lim, & Scott, 2008). Diversity management is a long term focus on developing and utilizing the skills of a divorce labor force and focuses on striving to achieve organizational objectives while creating a positive work environment (Marquis, Lim, & Scott, 2008). However, diversity management is only effective if the culture of the organization values diversity (Sidel, 2009). An emphasis on valuing diversity needs to be implemented and supported by top management, and the leaders of an organization need to cultivate the belief and value of diversity (Loden, 1996). Programs and policies must go above and beyond the minimum legal requirements for recruitment and selection (Loden & Rosener, 1991). Training and awareness programs should include education about differences in beliefs, cultures, and opinions (Morrison, 1992).