Social Issues / Managing Diversity

Managing Diversity

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Autor:  anton  09 December 2010
Tags:  Managing,  Diversity
Words: 1408   |   Pages: 6
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Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Workplace diversity refers to having a variety of different types of people working together within a place of business. Employee gender, race, religion, sexual preference, physical appearance, family or marital status, education, culture, personality, or tenure establishes diversity in the workplace. Diversity is rapidly becoming a very important necessity in today’s business world.

As we move forward into the 21st century, the workplace is evolving into a place where, in order to excel, companies must become more diverse. The United States of America is becoming more diverse. Consequently, the perception that companies have toward diversity is changing. Companies are beginning to shift more of their focus towards having a diverse staff. Employers are beginning to see diverseness as a qualification for employment.

Many employers are seeking bilingual persons to fill jobs in every market. In a study done by The Center for Immigration Studies, “Mexico alone accounted for 43 percent of the growth in the foreign-born population between 1990 and 2000” (Center for Immigration Studies, 2003). The recent rise in ethnic groups moving into America in search of opportunity and success has led to a shift in demographics that will soon lead to White, or Caucasian people, becoming a minority. White males are not the majority of the employed workforce in America any more, as it was in the 1950s.

Women play an important role in the diverseness of the workplace. Today's workforce has the highest levels of employment participation ever by women. With the need to gain higher income in today’s society, many mothers feel the need to work in order to help provide income. There are also more single mothers in today’s society. With a divorce rate around 50%, many women find themselves working one or more jobs in order to provide for their children.

There are many ways in which diversity is helpful to an organization. There is usually an increase in creativity among persons working in diverse organizations. Microsoft is a prime example of a very diverse company that is responsible for some of the most creative and innovative technology since the 1970s. Microsoft is responsible for some of the most creative software for businesses and personal use on the market. Gaming is becoming a very popular form of entertainment in the world today. The Microsoft Xbox 360 is a testament to the creativeness of a diverse staff dedicated to providing the most exciting games on the market.

Companies with diverse staff also have the benefit of increases in productivity. In situations where there is a need for employees that are bilingual, a diverse staff is extremely beneficial. An example of this would be in a call center where people from many different nationalities require someone who can speak to them in their native language in order to communicate their problem or situation properly. Less time is spent trying to communicate with persons who speak Spanish, for instance, and more time is spent resolving the issue.

There are also competitive advantages to having diversity in the workplace. Diversity within skill sets can have very positive affects within an organization. Consider the idea that a person with less skills in a position could, quite possibly, strive harder to do a better job than some persons that possess more skills. Also consider that in some cases competition presents itself within gender diversity. This is extremely evident in the military. The concern of women in combat has always been that, women do not possess the strength to fight an enemy. This could not be more incorrect. As more women are now involved in close quarters combat with our enemies in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the military is beginning to view women as not only capable, but a great asset to our military.

Companies and organizations have the benefit of broader communication with diversity. Again, companies such as Microsoft, who deal with consumers from around the world, must be able to communicate properly with people of many different nationalities. Governments must also be able to communicate with other governments regarding matters of commerce, trade agreements, and even war. Whenever any government has dealings with another government, it is necessary to familiarize all involved parties with the customs of the government to which they are dealing with. For instance, whenever meeting formally with anyone from Japan, a person must first bow before beginning conversation.

Employers are now, because of the equal opportunity laws, required to give equal consideration and opportunity for all persons, regardless of age, gender, color, handicap, or sexual preference. “A 2004 lawsuit — Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch — accused the company of discriminating against minority employees by offering desirable positions to White American employees (Wikipedia, 2006)”. Any company or organization employing a diverse staff can operate without fear of being sued.

Diversity within an organization or company can offer multiple points of view. When there are many different types of people giving input on their views of a certain subject or task, a company or organization is usually better able to move forward on the subject or task, having heard multiple angles of thoughts or plans of attack. Referring back to the military; every mission is discussed between commanding officers and intelligence personnel before executing. In our current situation in Iraq, it is common to have Iraqi intelligence present in order to give advice, offer intelligence, and alternate points of view.

Naturally, if there is diversity among an organization or company, multiple intelligences can offer positive results in any number of ways. Our nation’s space program employs some of the most intelligent people in the world. Most of these people specialize in only a few fields at best. One person may specialize in rocket propulsion, another in navigation, and another person may specialize in physics. Separate from each other they could not achieve space travel. Together the ability to travel to space is possible. Of course, it takes more people than that to travel to space, but the idea remains that multiple intelligences are a byproduct of having diversity within the organization.

Although there are many ways that diversity can be helpful within an organization, there are also instances where diversity can have a negative impact. One of the negatives that comes along with diversity can be the communication barriers associated with people who speak different languages. For example, the construction industry is now becoming an industry populated by an increasing number of Mexican immigrants that do not speak English. This causes a communication barrier between superintendents that do not speak Spanish. Often, a super will tell a Mexican contractor or laborer how he or she wants a certain job to be done, only to have the job done wrong because the contractor or laborer did not fully understand what the super instructed to have done. A mistake in the pitch of the roof on a house can be a costly one.

Another negative associated with diversity in the workplace occurs when a person of a minority is introduced into a majority of another group of people. The minority person could be a minority because of race, gender, age, sexual preference, or anyone seen as ‘different’. The person of the minority may experience discrimination, prejudice, stereotyping, and even racism on the part of one or more of the persons in the majority. For example, a woman who is older than most of the employees at her job may experience age discrimination. She may be overlooked for a promotion because of the idea that she would not be a long term employee, on account of her age.

Diversity is the fabric of our society. As employees and employers of both large and small companies take a look at diversity, many realize the importance of having a diverse staff. The positives that can result from diversifying far outweigh the negatives. As Americans, we realize that diversity is what makes our country great, and in order to keep it great we must all take measures to make certain that every individual is given the chance to voice their opinions and ideas, and ensure that everyone’s opinions and ideas are valued and appreciated. We must also remember that everyone has something that he or she can offer.


Wikipedia. (2006). Contraversy and Criticism. Retrieved December 09,2006, from

Center for Immigration Studies. (2003, September). Where Immigrants Live. S. Camerota, N. McArdle. Retrieved December 07, 2006, from Center for Immigration Studies Web site:

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