Published 05 Aug 2017
Diversity in the workplace involves a complex set of forces which influences the way the organizations operate in the current changing world. A diversified range of trends and issues is usually classified into four aspects which include; people, structure, technology and the environment in which the organization is operating on. People should work together in an organization to achieve their goals and objectives where by a certain structure is followed. Technology is also used to get the job well done; therefore there is interaction between people, structure, technology and the environment in which the organization is working on.
People compose the social system of the organization whereby the system consists of individuals and groups. Groups are usually forceful thus bringing by a great change in the organization. Organizations usually exists to serve people not people to serve the organizations therefore people in an organization bring about a diverse range of talents, educational backgrounds and perspectives in what they do. This diverse trends and patterns brought about by people bring challenges in the organization where the managers should be ready and prepared to adapt and work with them. Structure is the formal setup of relationships in the organization which should be practised by managers and employees. Different jobs are usually carried out in an organization to achieve the objectives of the organization and all the parties involved should be related in a structural way so that they can effectively coordinate the activities of the organization. This structural way of relationship creates a simpler form of decision-making, negotiation and cooperation. (Tsui, Egan and. O’Reilly, 1992)
Workforce diversity is largely attributed to the concept of globalization. Globalization can be termed as the interaction of people from dissimilar cultures, social orders, and different backgrounds in carrying out assorted business practices with the intention of achieving their objectives e.g. profitability Globalization therefore has increasingly disregarded national boundaries and many firms have gone international which has also enabled workforce diversity. The authenticity and existence of the concept of globalization can be observed when patterns of diversity in workforce are considered; for example Coca Cola and BAT Companies have always employed staff from different countries apart from those who originate from the host countries where the firms are set up. The existence of integrated financial system has also enabled workforce diversity since employees of various companies can be paid with less difficulty for example the existence of common exchange rate systems. (Chatman, Polzer, Barsade and Neale, 1998)
Globalization is also now intensely clear because of the way human resources migrate from one nation to another devoid of much complexity, for instance different states have relaxed their tough itinerant regulations to permit sufficient time for trading practices to be carried out thus the spread of workforce around the globe. Globalization and workforce diversity is heavily influenced by new innovations, enhanced infrastructure. Workers are now taking advantage of such technology thus the need to shift to look for greener pastures which will assist them in developing their careers since many workers like the working in challenging environments. Therefore globalization has resulted to affluence to all firms practicing the concept and the main component to it has been the presence of workforce diversity that posses different kind of skills which if combined together yield great results in terms of production purposes. More specifically development in technology together with communication effectiveness and enhanced global relations has contributed immensely to the endorsement of workforce diversity
Diversification in structure has come by where the organizations are forced to restructure so as to reduce costs and at the same time remain competitive. Complexity in structure has also occurred where there are mergers, acquisitions and venturing in to new fields. Also companies are moving from traditional structure to team-based structure. Technology affects the way people work and its diversification allows people to do more and better work but it also restricts people in different ways thus it has its own pros and cons. The rapid change in technology for example the widespread use of internet gives firms a great pressure to maintain a great balance between technical and social systems.
Organizations operate in different environments which are both internal and external .An organization doesn’t exist alone, it is a part of different mergers which include other organizations, government and the society at large. Numerous diversifications in the environment gives new demands to the organization for example people expect an organization to be socially responsible and also create products which satisfy them. The quick globalization of production departments, supply of materials and marketplaces creates a great pressure which brings vibrant groups of people which affects the organizations in turn. (Weaver, 2001)
There are different factors which may make an organization diversify its workforce thus effecting its operations. A company may diversify the workforce as a strategy to market it products. With the high rate of globalization the ability of a product to sell well comes from people in all forms of life and for a company to make sure that it products sell well and reach a diversified number of people, it employs people from all walks of life for special purposes.
Another factor which may make a company diversify its workforce is that it may be a legal requirement by the state to do so, so that it can maintain its contracts with the government and also to avoid discrimination in employing their workers. Social responsibility can also make an organization diversify it work force so that the less advantaged in the society can benefit from that by giving them freedom to earn their living in different ways which suit themselves.
Workforce diversity has its own negative impacts which include reduction of cohesion within the group, for example men working alone give a less turnover as compared to when they are working together with women, and also whites working alone bring lesser returns as compared to them working with blacks. These problems can be solved by making the employees of an organization realize the importance of diversification. It is important for organizations to embrace the workforce diversity because it creates a good environment where everyone feels appreciated and this may motivate the employees to work well and produce good results. (Argyris and Schoen, 1996)
- Argyris, C. and Schoen, D. (1996): Organizational Learning II: – Theory Method, and Practice. Reading, Addison-Wesley
- Chatman, J., Polzer, T., Barsade, G. and Neale, M. (1998): Being Different yet Feeling Similar: – The Influence of Demographic Composition and Organizational Culture on Work Processes and Outcomes. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 43
- Tsui, A., Egan, D. and. O’Reilly, A. (1992): Being Different: – Relational Demography and Organizational Attachment. Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 37
- Weaver, V. J. (2001): What These CEOs and Their Companies Know About Diversity. Business Week, Sept 10, 2001, Special Section