Section 1: Background
Workplace diversity has been claimed to have immense effects on the business operation of entities of different sizes. Essentially, diversity may be expressed through tribal differences, racial diversity, varying experiences as well as differences in physical appearance. As a matter of fact, workplace diversity can be tapped to produce significantly positive effects on organizational business processes. However, diversity may also lead to failure of the business if its negativity is not curbed or cracked down before hurting the operations of any company. In particular, positive diversity can lead to pronounced benefits such as proactive decision-making processes as well as the overall improvement in the problem-solving prospects. Similarly, positive workplace diversity may provide extensive opportunities towards enhancing innovation and creativity within the framework of the business; thus, motivating efficient product development (Mor-Barak 2005). Besides, any business that carefully controls its diverse workforce, and manipulates contingent human capital in particular, may have successful marketing through the established network with a wide range of consumers.
Moreover, workplace diversity enables an organization to compete successfully in the global arena. Consequently, the recognition of diversity within the layout of a corporation’s business agenda assists in linking various talents across the organization. Furthermore, the recognition of diversity may improve the esteem talent holders, which subsequently leads to increased commitment to organizational goals. Besides, workforce diversity allows each employee to project a unique contribution to the organization’s business framework. According to the standpoint theory, the critically marginalized groups of employees contribute from different perspectives towards the organization, thus challenging the status quo as the marginal groups’ socially constructed perceptions often differ from dominant groups’ perception at the workplace (Canias & Sondak 2008). However, the standpoint of dominant groups in the workplace may act as a threat to the potential benefits of diversity. Consequently, it may take a transformational leader a step to encourage the co-existence of conflicting standpoints in an organization, thus generating an environment for ensuing sanctioned conflicts (eds Konrad, Prasal & Pringle 2006).
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Based on the aforementioned data, workplace diversity is eminently a factor to consider in developing a pronounced and effective workforce. Indeed, workplace diversity may spark challenges, especially when minority groups or individuals challenge the mode of operations in an organization. Consequently, the perspective of the standpoint theory provides for the leaders in an organization to perceive the behavior patterns, which cannot be adequately addressed by individuals deeply immersed in the culture. Thus, the unique and varying standpoints posed by diversity often assist in eradicating groupthink, an instance that may arise from working in homogenous groups. In fact, research indicates that heterogeneous groups often out-perform homogeneous ones in a variety of tasks (eds Stockdale & Crosby 2003). Therefore, this paper focuses on the effective usage of workplace diversity which could be essential in developing a successful task team.
Statement of Problem/Opportunity
Essentially, workplace diversity has been a major concern for most global-based business organizations. As a matter of fact, diversity has profound effects on the profit generation of any entity with a diverse workforce, particularly for multinational corporations and large business networks. Consequently, the knowledge and utilization of employee diversity have been critical to the performance of most organizations globally. However, the ability to effectively tap diverse potentials of various employees has been accompanied by profound challenges across the globe. As a result, workplace diversity has become extensively difficult to manage, and therefore worth critical analysis to wipe out negative effects, while utilizing the formidable potential advantages in human resource productivity.
Rationale/Significance of the Project
Fundamentally, this project will unveil basic and entrenched facts about workplace diversity. In addition, it will provide extensive analysis of the essentials of effective workplace diversity that can be utilized within an organizational human resource management in order to realize bumper advantages on the company’s performance. As a result, this project will provide sound analysis and recommendations that would help enhance business performance through an integrated approach to managing workplace diversity while mitigating challenges accruing to diversity. Consequently, this project may be applied to promote business profit maximization motives.
(i) What forms of workplace diversity are present in virtually all types of business organizations?
(ii) What are the internal and external effects of workplace diversity on human resource development in a business organization?
(iii) What are the theoretical and empirical perspectives of workplace diversity and the regarded measures to address the effective usage of diversity in the workplace?
(iv) What could be done to workplace diversity with a view to enhancing improved manipulation of diversity via the potential diverse employees for organizational development?
(i) To identify the various forms of workplace diversity
(ii) To investigate the effects of diversity on human resource performance in an organization
(iii) To provide a theoretical framework upon which workplace diversity can be utilized, manipulated and used to enhance an organization’s operations
(iv) To elaborate on the effects of workplace diversity with a view to creating a well-informed improvement plan for negative externalities posed by ineffective workplace diversity.
Section 2: Literature Review
As stated earlier, careful management of the diversities at the workplace may result in good performance of the organization as far as it’s aggregate productivity is concerned. With regard to Singapore’s diverse workplace, results of the republic of Singapore unveils all-encompassing and harmonious workplaces, the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) indicated that 87% of companies came into a consensus that workplace integrations were a vital tool in shaping up the outcomes of any given firm. Therefore, further research shows that properly managed diverse crews in the business environment excel in the outcomes of any team that comprises of a similar individual with equal capacities and abilities (Mor Barak 2005). Indeed, diversified teams have been found out to be more innovative and effective to a great extent in the process of problem-solving. However, despite the positive accruing benefits that diverse teams bring, they can be exclusively disadvantageous since may result in communication mishap as well as the loss of trust in one another. On aggregate conclusion, the latter result in low performance of the teams in the long-run.
As a matter of fact, diversity in an organization should be properly managed so as to enhance a good reputation within the market and beyond. Indeed, diversity management results in the attraction of a qualified pool of professionals willing to work in the organization. Consequently, professionalism increases the level of performance and spearheads the quantity of output realized per given time. Indeed, the more the employees feel included in the organizational tasks, the more they are motivated and focused on bringing the best results to the company. Therefore, employee input leads to the success of the organization and therefore, an injection towards the performance of the organization (Weiss 2007).
A world survey further showed that effective creation of employees’ fateful level of satisfaction and the subsequent performance of the organization is a key contributor towards individual employees’ engagement and commitment to the job placement. However, the aggregate global survey on the engagement of employees through enhancement of positives of diversities unveils that high engagement of the workers results in diminishing turnover and vice versa. In particular, studies by Gallup Management Group of the US in 2008 shows that highly engaged workers contribute to a reduced turnover by an average margin of 51%
Diversity is Virtually Inevitable in an Organization
By virtue of the above statement, it has been identified beyond a reasonable doubt that diversity in the job placement is an inevitable variable that any organization, which has the prospects of performing, has to develop in order to contain its hazards and embrace its benefits. Consequently, the human resource management and the entire management of the organization have, therefore, been entrusted with the singular responsibility of ensuring that diversity in the job placement is treated dispassionately and the probable impediments are eliminated. As a matter of fact, careful treatment of diversity is a key factor in the utilization of the full potential of the employees as far as their singular skills are concerned. In addition, the entire perimeter of the performance-based track of employees’ output revolves around the capacity of the workers to understand and conceive the differences pertaining to their immediate co-workers and subsequently, going through a process of thorough exchange of best ideas for the improvement of the respective business performance (Hicks 2003).
Positive Effects of Workplace Diversity
One of the most inherent and positive impacts of diversity in the provision of a varied pool of experience. Indeed, it brings about the integration of knowledge and expertise to the benefit of the organization. The sharing of experience may result in a positive performance of the company. In particular, workers from diverse cultural backgrounds, who converge into a given organization, bring about uniquely placed perceptions and skills within their respective working teams in an entity. On this note, each independent employee in a given organization possesses unique experiences that together contribute towards the success of the organization through increased output generation. However, success also depends on the organization’s ability to tap the knowledge base and utilize it in the day to day activities of the company (Thiederman 2003). Indeed, proper management of diversity at the workplace may leverage individual strengths as well as smooth respective individual weaknesses. The result is a huge impact of taskforce beyond the means of individual compliments.
Other than the enhancement of varied expertise, well-managed diversity may result in the creation of an avenue for learning and the consequential growth of the individual expertise of the employees leading to the growth in the aggregate output of the organization. Exposure to new ideas and cultures can help spearhead the integration of diverse views, which is vital for the elimination of the subconscious blocks regarding xenophobia and ethnocentrism. On aggregate, the aspect smoothens out the ethnicity and encourages coherence at a workplace, which later contributes to the overall progress of the organization (ed Klarsfeld 2010).
Diversity in communication aspects can either dampen or uphold the productivity of an organization. However, well-managed diversity helps the organization to build up its public relations strategies through upgraded and strategic approaches to matters of new entrants of customers and the maintenance of special grouping of customers. Indeed, increased time spending with a speckled pool of employees can help dismantle the various communication challenges in the long-run. It is an important tool in the fortification of organizational relationships with prospective clients. In fact, the organization management can use the diversity of the employees within the organization strategically by pairing them up with certain clients from the same ethnic background (Thomas 2004). Consequently, such a strategy promotes the client’s level of satisfaction and leads to increased revenue generation.
Managing Internal Workplace Diversity
The performance of an organization is pegged on its ability to put the employees into a common pool with similar focus and ideas. In order to achieve the common point, the organization should follow a set of procedures that would enhance the capacity of the individual employees to effectively handle differences and turn them into advantages to both the organization and themselves. To achieve such a scenario, there are five main strategies that the employees may use to revamp the organizational output and at the same time minimize the cost of incurring the diverse perceptions. Indeed, the human resource management of any organization with the optimal goal of maximizing the levels of output and minimizing the operational costs would adopt a series of strategies as presented below (Henderson 1994).
Human resource management of any organization is a key developer of policies and codes that dictates the manner in which companies manage their diversities with respect to their task force. Undeniably, the human resource department manages workplace diversities towards the improvement of particulate human resource policies and development strategies. Human resource departments are responsible for the provision of basic guidelines on the particular sources of differences among the employees. Furthermore, the department is also responsible for the scrutinizing of the viability of contemporary human resource practices. As a result, human resource management is accountable for the modification of human resource pattern charged with the responsibility of developing viable strategic diversity (Kossek & Lobel 1997).
To begin with, the organization should adopt a personnel policy regarding the procedures of hiring and promotion, which is performance-based for each employee. Indeed, the management should at all cost sideline the adoption of an implementation base established on tenure and ethnic background. Besides, the management should factor out all policies that confine to categories of humans within its human resource as far as hiring policies are concerned. The key to the effective management of workplace diversities is the development of fortified policies with the virtue of equity within the company. The policies set the pace at which the company aims to carry out diversity measures across the organization (Public Service & Merit Protection 2001).
Consequently, the company or the organization should gauge the suitability of the employees on the basis of quality and level of experience other than the use of age and other parameters as the basis of hiring. Indeed, the hiring of the diverse and qualified taskforce is indicatively the path to success of an organization. In fact, the latter helps in the effective management of diversity within the respective organization. Additionally, the formulation of strategic implementation teams should encourage diversity as the main criteria, upon which the team is grounded. The teams should be made in a way that the most skilled personnel is placed in such a position that they can assist fellow colleague through the implementation of the various tasks with which the group is entrusted (Debrah & Smith 2001).
In order to scare away any forms of favoritism and discriminative behaviors, the two should be treated equally and necessary measures should be taken in order to curb the recurrence of the same. The preventive measures further help boost diversity in the absence of biases. To enhance acuity on the fairness aspect, the organizational employees should be encouraged to be alert and report on any suggestive or actual incidence regarding the aspects of prejudice and preferential treatment (Loden 1995).
Finally, on the approaches on diversity, the management should make creating of a program that entails holding of quarterly training projections for the whole group of employees focusing on the importance of diversity both on an individual basis and as an organizational tool for output of the business, particularly at the workplace. Moreover, free debate by all stakeholders on the viable ways of handling diversity within the organization should be incorporated into these meetings.
Introduction of Training Programs
Training programs are essentials for integration and cohesion. The individual differences are exposed amidst all accruing factors that appertain to the social well-being of the organization. In this regard, the employees are made to understand and accept the differences between their co-workers through frequent involvement in training and education organized by the management of the company. Organization’s policies are internal dispensation with regard to the code of business conduct. However, at a particular point, such policies are formulated with a view to streamlining the behaviors of the employees in relation to one another. Consequently, experts argue that the fateful development of such policies may dictate the success or the failure of any business entity. Actually, the success of any organization is a function of the output by individual employees. Thus, the employees are the main players towards the success of an organization through the central role that they play in the production line (eds Chemers, Oskamp & Costanzo 1995).
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Directing and Guiding over the Programs Entrusted with Minor Employees
According to the experts from the human resource’s point of view, the management should make a discretely directed step towards inculcating the best of practice through a guided approach towards the projects that are singularly dominated by the minor team. Despite the enhancement of diversity, it is natural to have working teams within an organization with varying abilities. Consequently, it is the noble duty of the management and the human resource department of any organization, in particular, to coerce the available resources and supplement the efforts of the minor teams in order to boost their vigor and capacity-build them into fortified teams with incredible outputs in the long-run. The strategy increases the vigor of the team and enables the unveiling of extra skills that may remain subtle due to the lack of courage to contribute. As a result, the management applies the concept of equality in balancing between the appreciation of experts based output of a team of employees and the adjacent output of a minor team (Paludi 2012).
Endorsement of Systematic Career Guidance and Planning Projections
In order to boost the performance of the organization and to reap the maximum out of the provisions of diversity, the company should develop a system of guidance on the prospective careers that the staffs are willing and ready to take over their lifetime. Indeed, such provisions should be made frequently as an initiative to sensitize the employees on the various career avenues that they can venture into in pursuit of their life dreams and for the benefit of the organization in general. Such sensitization processes enable the employees to venture into a varied dimension of career prospects and appreciate the suitability of colleagues in one area and not the other. The process, therefore, creates a sense of self-acceptance and the embracement of diversity not only by the management but also by individual co-workers (Albrecht 2000).
Non-Discriminative Performance-Based Treatments
The good and outstanding performance of the company is a common feature in various organizations. The results are based on the outstanding performance of particular employees amidst a pool of workers. Consequently, the management of many organizations has identified this fact as a pivotal basis of increased output and therefore, sought to reward such performances. Therefore, the code has been adopted as a strategic tool for the management for improving the performance of the entity. However, it has also been found that various management personnel has been exploiting this strategy for selfish gain through the erotic identification of outstanding employees. As a result, acknowledgment of some employees has been crippled towards fulfilling its main objective of increasing output and reducing the marginal cost at the same time. Furthermore, the erotic identification of the regarded personnel for treatment has not only short-lived the main plan, but also increased the negative implication of diversity (Bond 2007).
Last but not least, the aspects of diversification can further be integrated through effective outsourcing. To undertake an effective outsourcing program, the companies and firms accept extensive outreach programs that focus attention on a diverse pool of personnel. In order to achieve the objective, companies provide offers in terms of scholarships and internships, which are all aimed at recruiting new prospective workers from various backgrounds. Outsourcing is also done through conducting lectures within the school premises and beyond. In the long-run, such activities result in the generation of a new-fangled pool of workers who inject into the organization a variety of skills and expertise (Greer & Plunkett 2000).
Diversity Management at Han’s Corporation
An example of a company that has been on the success edge as a result of effective management of diversity is Han’s F & B limited of Singapore. Indeed, the company engages in the production of baker products and runs a series of bakeries across the range of its market scope. Besides the baking segment, the company also operates a chain of full-time service restaurants and tea points. In the course of its operation, Han’s once experienced a shortage of taskforce owing to the rising demands for the labor force. To mitigate the effect of the problem, the company sought to diversify its employees as a means of enhancing the supply of labor as well as countering the effects of the capsizing pool of labor force in the year 2006 (Thomas 2003).
In order to implement this strategic move, the company set for a series of initiatives: complete redesigning of tasks within the enterprise meant for the adult staff. The objective was achieved in a variety of ways. For instance, the company set to tap technological input in the substitution of the physical or manual inputs. Moreover, the company further set to recruit a huge pool of employees from over ten countries around the global precinct. International hiring was a resolution towards making the companies’ performance and particularly the output of the employees to roll back to normal and what was perhaps sustaining (Jackson 1992).
Additionally, the company sought to recruit a number of employees with disabilities via the means of job attachment as well as ex-offenders through a procedure fashioned Yellow Ribbon Project. Indeed, in order to inculcate the theme of positive diversity, Han undertakes the exclusive extension of building an all-inclusive culture. Moreover, the company made intentional moves to ensure that functional teams within it are well diversified. The process was further enhanced by its previous move to recruit staff from many countries, thus ensuring that each team comprised of members from not only different generation but also different countries of origin (Brislin 2008).
According to the managing director of the company, employees sharing diverse profiles are often characterized by varied strengths and attributes. Indeed, the resultant diverse teams enabled the team members to learn from one another, thus improving the output per capita. In addition, the company emphasizes on its culture and work philosophy that partakes in the orientation profile regarding new entrants as employees. Furthermore, the company uses an open-door policy, in which the employees can freely air their grievances concerning freedom of work and expression within the job environment. The move encourages transparency and makes the employees feel united for the common goal of the company (Brislin 2008).
The benefit of the Han’s Strong Diversification Management Strategy
The diversification strategy of Han has been an influential tool in the management of the company. In particular, the diversification has resulted in the success of business operations. Indeed, the productivity of Han’s staff has been recorded at a 40% rise within a duration of three years. In addition to increased productivity, the company’s net income for every wage dollar has also increased by more than 200%. The Deputy General Manager of the firm claimed that an inclusive workplace revamps the employees’ engagement. Some of the main resultant features and the subsequent contributor to increased performance are minimal employees’ absenteeism and diminishing workers turnover. In particular, the latter has been reportedly dropped by 500% between the period of 2006 and 2009. In this regard, workplace diversity may, therefore, produce sound benefits if tapped positively in the organizational development of human resources.
Section 3: Research Methodology
In this research, there are basically two approaches that have been adopted namely: qualitative and quantitative researches. In the qualitative approach, the paper seeks to create an in-depth understanding of the contemporary issue of diversity in business by investigating the ‘whom’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ diversity acts as a major business management concern. Besides, the research also strives to provide detailed responses to the effects of diversity using descriptive answers as well as sentences. In this regard, the focus taken in the qualitative approach does not emphasize the overall approach but rather provides an in-depth understanding of diversity in the context of workplace environments (Welman, Kruger & Mitchell 2005).
On the other hand, this research will also employ a quantitative research approach to unveil essential information about diversity. Indeed, the quantitative approach seeks to evaluate as well as interrogate the extent of the impact of diversity in the workplace. In regard to evaluation, it is critically important in the quantitative approach to measure the answers using suitable statistical methods (Kumar 2005). As a result, the quantitative approach will focus on both numbers and figures other than mere words. Therefore, a qualitative approach will employ high structuring, dignity as well as significant control. In the contrasting form, quantitative research enables a broad-based argument on diversity and its organizational effect. In this regard, quantitative research has been factored in providing an evidence-based argument of the effects of workplace diversity on organizational performance. However, a qualitative approach has been widely used in this research as the research questions thereon could not be effectively measured using empirical forms.
Data Collection Methods
This research will seek to tap three major sources of data; documentation, interviews, and surveys. In particular, interviews will be pivotal in collecting important qualitative data about organizational diverse employees’ layout besides investigating the employees’ perception of diversity in the workplace. Consequently, the interview method will enable the researcher to gather primary information on the effects and the extent of diversity within different organizations. Furthermore, interviews will also enable the research to gather requisite but undocumented views regarding diversity and its effect on the working prospects of an organization (Panneerselvam 2004). The research strategy will further foster the recommendation in the development of a proactive improvement plan across the human resource management of various organizations. Indeed, the research will adopt two forms of interviews namely: personal interviews and questionnaires.
Using the personal interview will enable the generation of fast first-hand responses besides creating room for further inquiry. On the other hand, the questionnaire will promote the extent, to which the interview will be conducted through the use of online generated questionnaires. Similarly, this study will also use telephone interviews sparingly since some of the respondents are geographically spread across a vast variety of locations. Furthermore, this study will allow a relatively long duration of the interview. However, it will conduct both group and individual respondent interviews with a view to increasing its prospect to interrogate a wide range of employees especially in the personal interview (Welman, Kruger & Mitchell 2005).
Besides, this study will also manipulate secondary data. The main source of secondary data will involve the observation of companies’ websites, while visits to nearby company premises will provide essential documentaries, which will provide sound information about the employees’ diverse perceptions and ideas. Additionally, this study will also supplement secondary data with information from books and other business reports in the public domain. However, due to time constraints, the research will sub-divide the diversity into some specific units of analysis such as levels of organization management, where diversity could spur negative impacts more reactively than others which can be gathered independently on different studies segments to supplement the mainstream study.
Section 4: Data analysis
In the process of analyzing the data, this research will aim at providing an extensive discussion based on the collected evidence using fairness with a view to establishing a solid conclusion. Besides, the project aims at enabling alternative interpretations regarding the impacts of employees’ diversity and the major elements that can be incorporated to promote organizational development using the diverse employees’ outlay. In particular, the research will provide a descriptive approach to the observations made in the data collection process. However, prior to analyzing the data, this research also selected an approach based on intertwined strategies namely: case descriptions and the theoretical assumptions (Welman, Kruger & Mitchell 2005). Consequently, this study will use a theoretical approach as well as supplementary case analysis in analyzing the gathered data from various organizations. As a result, the theoretical approach to analysis will enable the research to compress available data into a common representation. Content analysis will also provide a platform for developing references based on other essential sources used in information gathering level of study; thus, enhancing both qualitative and quantitative operations. In addition, this study will employ Sphinx Lexica software in assigning data for analysis purposes.
Section 5: Ethics, Validity, and Reliability
The reliability of this study will be highly denoted without a due show of errors, thus providing acute consistency with expected credibility and other measures. High reliability provides an affirmation that despite time and conditions prevalent as an inhibition to the research process, the regarded intended results were obtained. In this regard, the study will adopt well-calculated research questions, which will act as a guide to the research thus creating concrete relief for the research. Besides, reliability of the study will also be improved through the careful orientation of the respondent to the study interview processes through a focus on the well-informed employees, particularly chairs of a departmental task force of organizations (Kumar 2005).
Similarly, each respondent will be allowed to provide personal opinions towards the issues of diversity besides giving recommendations towards enhancing positive diversity, which will be sampled at the end of the research in order to come up with comprehensive recommendations on improving workplace diversity. Besides, personal and telephone interviews will be conducted in the English language. However, a switch to the native language will be adopted in order to overcome any incidence of a language barrier that would revoke the prospect of information gathering, while at the same time eliminating any leeway of misunderstanding. Consequently, the aforementioned measures will enhance the prospects of measuring the expected variables.