My Ssec Capstone Project Introduction Diversity Management can be defined as the process of planning

Introduction Diversity Management can be defined as the process of planning

Introduction
Diversity Management can be defined as the process of planning, directing, organizing and applying all the comprehensive managerial attributes for developing an organizational environment, in which all diverse employees irrespective of their similarities and differences, can actively and effectively contribute to the competitive advantage of a company or an organization (Dike, 2013). Diversity can generally be defined as recognizing, understanding and accepting individual differences irrespective of their race, gender, age, class, ethnicity, physical ability, and race. Sexual orientation, spiritual practice and so on. (Grobler, 2002:46 cited in Dike, 2013) also supports this view by adding that each individual is unique but also share a number of environmental or biological characteristics. Diversity can be classified into two dimensions. The primary dimension such as age, gen- der, sexual orientation and so on, exhibits the main differences between various individuals. These primary differences also have the most impact on initial encounters and can be easily noticed and serve as filters through which people view the world. The secondary dimensions such as religion, education, geographical location, income etc., are those qualities that are not noticeable in the first encounter and can even change throughout different encounters. These qualities are only noticed after some interactions occur between individuals (Ashton 2010 cited in Dike, 2013). Whereas globalization focuses on differences among people from different countries, workforce diversity addresses differences among people within given countries. Workforce diversity has important implications for management practice. Managers will need to shift their philosophy from treating everyone alike to recognizing differences and responding to those differences in ways that will ensure employee retention and greater productivity while, at the same time, not discriminating (Dike, 2013; Robbins, 2002). Organizational performance is the extent to which the organization is achieving its goals and objectives (Osaze and Anao, 2000 cited in Ogbo, et al, 2014). Shell (2010 cited in Ogbo, et al, 2014) explains organizational performance as the extent to which the organization is fulfilling the promises it has made to its shareholders. Krietner and Kinichi (2004 cited in Ogbo, et al, 2014), observed that managing workforce diversity is very important in harmonizing the differences and similarities of workers so that the organization and the individuals within them can achieve their goals and objectives. Although organizational diversity is relevant in achieving Organizational objectives in the diversity management discuss, this essay will argue that organizational diversity is relatively deficient due to managing diversity cons and management orientation.
Relevance of Organizational diversity in achieving Organizational objectives
• Various opinions and perspectives
Employees with different background and experiences will bring together a variety of perspectives, thereby evoking alternative solutions and approaches when discussing a topic or issue. If managed well, the strengths and best insights of every individual can be harnessed to heighten productivity and deliver better results.
According to Claudia Cadena, director of strategic human capital management at SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd, the composition of a team will dictate its potential for success. There needs to be a mix of capabilities to ensure that essential components and skills from strategic planning, execution, follow up to communication abilities and conflict resolution are present.
“At times we overlook the need for diversity given the pressures that a limited pool of resources puts in organizations. However, if we give in to this pressure, we will ultimate suffer the consequences of having a workforce composed of individuals that can only see things from the same perspective and are unable to contribute different points of view or alternatives due to their limited and similar background, exposure and experience,” adds Cadena.
This amalgamation of diverse individuals also sets the stage for creativity as different ideas can be tested against one another, and new ones may be birthed. Employees stand to experience more personal growth in an environment where they are exposed to differences in culture, opinions and ideas.
“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” goes the Aristotelian saying. The following can is also be said: The more you know, the better your capacity to test and refine your own perspectives and opinions.
• Growth of employees
Employees stand to experience more personal growth in an environment where they are exposed to differences in culture, opinions and ideas.
“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” goes the Aristotelian saying. The following can is also be said: The more you know, the better your capacity to test and refine your own perspectives and opinions.
Employers will have to improve their ability to adapt to different circumstances in a diverse environment. They have to work through differences in personality, culture and background. Underlying ethno-centric notions may finally be brought to the fore and confronted as they learn to work with different styles and cultures.
• Unity of diverse strengths
Diversity also presents the opportunity to unite specific strengths to the advantage of the organization. As every person has different skills and possesses varying strengths, these can be combined for greater performance and productivity. Technical strengths in one individual can be united with the management strengths of another, and the sales strength of yet another.
Likewise, the cultural expertise of diverse individuals can be leveraged for the benefit of the company. Especially for global organizations, diversity in a workforce can optimize an organization’s ability to meet the needs of each market. Representatives of specific demographics can be paired with clients of the similar backgrounds, helping clients feel more comfortable and sense an affinity with the employee, and thereby, the organisation.

• Makes company attractive
From the marketplace perspective, a company that promotes workplace diversity and an inclusive work environment adds to its attractiveness as an employer.
A work place that is open to exploring new ideas and styles is especially appealing for the adventurous open-minded employees of Generation Y.
If an organization makes it known that they focus on what individuals can bring to the table more than the candidate’s socio-economic background, ethnicity and the like, they are more likely to attract a diverse range of applicants.
• The schedule advantage
There is also a practical advantage in having a diverse workforce. As individuals have their unique time commitments, having a varied group helps ensure that work tasks can be fulfilled at all times of the year.
Power generation company Malakoff Corp Bhd ensures that various races are represented particularly in their roles that involve shift work, as pointed out by Siti Hajar Mohd Dahlan, AVP of human resources. Acknowledging that various ethnicities and religions have different celebrations they adhere to, making sure they have a diverse group of employees ensures there is a workforce across different festival periods during the year.
However, since managing diversity still remains a challenge in organizations, managers tend to learn managerial skills needed in a multicultural working environment and prepares themselves to teach others within their organizations to value cultural differences and treat all employees with dignity. For some business leaders and managers point of view, diversity is a big challenge to them although it knows no organizational boundary and has no limitations. As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse (Forbes, nd).
Many organizations throughout Nigeria are unsure of what it takes to effectively manage diversity. This is partly due to the fact that top management only recently became aware of the combined need and importance of this issue. At this point, it is necessary to provide a framework for categorizing organizational initiatives. Researchers and practitioners have developed relevant frameworks (Ogbo, et al, 2014).
Managing Diversity to attain company’s objectives is a strategy that goes far beyond valuing individual differences or developing human resources policies. It takes into account the globalization of the world economy, as well as changes to the domestic demographic characteristics of the population (diversity). Managing Diversity to achieve goals, is a four-step process:
• Recognizing the economic consequences to the business.,
• Developing an effective strategy for managing diversity.
• Implementing an action plan for organizational change and
• Evaluating the diversity strategy.
In order to promote Diversity, Organizations must involve every employee possible in formulating and executing diversity initiatives at workplace and fostering an attitude of openness in organization is also needed. Diversity training can be as a tool to shape the diversity policy. Leaders and managers within organizations must incorporate diversity policies into every aspect of the organization’s functions and goal (Forbes, nd).
There are certain common barriers to effectively manage workforce diversity. First and foremost is inaccurate stereotypes and prejudice. This barrier manifests itself with differences that are viewed as weaknesses. In turn, this promoted the view that diversity hiring will mean sacrificing competence and quality. Secondly is the lack of political savvy on the part of diverse employees. Diverse employees may not get promoted because they do not know how to ‘play the game’ of getting along and getting ahead in an organization. Research revealed that women and people of colour are excluded from organizational networks (Ely and Thomas, 2001:229, cited in Ogbo, et al, 2014).
For example a comparative research on diversity for 5 companies including Coca cola, Ford Motor, Miljoy Group, Dabboussi International company limited and Dastia siivious Oy discovered that diversity management tools and techniques that the 5 companies used have been successful even though there were some challenges such as discrimination or nepotism, communication problems and resistance to change by coworkers, racism etc. existed (Dike, 2013).
Consequently most of the problems of diversty management faced by managers for achieving organizational goals are
• The inability of some managers to effectively manage diversity due to the nature of the company and its activities.
• Some of the managers do not have enough knowledge about how to manage their workforce effectively.
• There is lack of open communication between managers and employee. Due to the means manager use to communicate to its workers.
• The Employee Resource Groups that are created by the big companies to guide the employees are not enough to eradicate diversity management challenges (ibid).
Out of the three companies researched there were some bad experiences with employees accepting each other’s culture and religion? However some of the employees felt they have been discriminated upon as explained by the managers (ibid).
With regards to the lack of knowledge on the part of managers about workplace diversity management, the companies could sponsor their managers to attend workshops and annual conferences; Regular internal emails should create awareness when the need arises.
Managers need to communicate more to employees, to give the workers the room to confide in them with their challenges (ibid).
Cultural mentoring is one of the proven ways to orient manager and employees both new and old to cope with the working environment and their responsibilities. So many benefits are derived from a mentor
Managers should be prepared to change some part of their company techniques, when the diversity management techniques adopted are not working effectively but before doing so, the vision for the change must be communicated effectively. Moreover, managers should adopt some change management principles to guide them on the decision making of the change (ibid).

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