Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace is a vital element for effective, transformational leaders. The article, “A Scientific Look at Diversity” shares insight into why and how diversity is broader than the traditional definition. It can be elemental in encouraging a positive workforce. The author also discusses barriers to workplace diversity. Diversity is an area in which many fail to acknowledge for fear of repercussion. Leaders that are able to successfully integrate diversity into the workplace benefit in many ways. One such benefit is the avoidance of groupthink. Businesses can step out of the box and encourage associates to think outside of the box without concern. Creativity and respect for other’s creativity is a platform for success. Suity reports that, “diversity can enhance creativity and team performance” (Suity, 2014). Diversity allows one to be creative and approach a project with an unbiased eye. It can also serve to connect businesses with a diverse customer population. In conclusion, diversity and the recognition of diversity can foster a successful workforce. An effective, transformational leader will recognize this and encourage a diverse presence in the workforce.

Reference

Suity, L. (2014).A Scientific Look at Diversity, With Business Results Retrieved from: http://talentmgt.com/articles/6675-a-scientific-look-at-diversity-with-business-results

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  1. Will Wolfram says:

    Diversity is extremely important in today’s society. Indeed, diversity has a substantial impact on organizational performance and creativity (Suity, 2014). Diversity, however, does not exist in a vacuum, but can be seen in tandem with various concurrent organization and societal changes. Indeed, different conglomerations of work groups serve to change knowledge management within organizations (Aldridge, 2004). The change-agent for these phenomena is a concept known as socio-technical systems.

    On the surface, socio-technical systems appear to be a complicated mesh of social environs dictating how people and technology interact. In contrast, however, Aldridge provides a deeper analysis pointing to the people as the primary change agent. Trist asserts there are three different levels where people, technology, and processes interact and exert a certain degree of influence. These levels include primary work systems, organizational level systems, and macro-organizational systems (Trist, 1981). Trist’s levels reflect the stage on which people and groups are changing knowledge management and knowledge sharing.

    Researchers Beyerlein, McGee, Klein, Nemiro, & Broedling claim the new direction of knowledge sharing, and knowledge management, are due to the concept known as teaming (2003). Teaming is increasing in prevalence due to extraneous factors such as diversity in the workplace, changing gender roles, and changes to the socio-technical role (Northouse, 2013). The workplace continues to become more diverse, women are taking leadership positions in conjunction with men, and organizations are beginning to utilizing technology in order to decentralize leadership in support of group leadership and stronger organizational performance (Northouse, 2013). Despite the remarkably favorable trends, however, one must consider the true foundation of the socio-technical transformation, as well as the implications for organizations.

    Increased transfer of information between workgroups and individual workers has resulted in implicit knowledge being turned into explicit knowledge (Little, 2005). Information and knowledge that was once proprietary is now mutually accessible. This transformation is due to the changing organizational structure, as well as social interactions. Previously, leadership structures were specified as “top down” and management dictated (Beyerlein et al., 2003). Currently, however, organizations are trending towards group-oriented leadership and input sharing between various workgroups at all levels (Aldridge, 2004). This transfer of authority and leadership has resulted in improved performance within and outside of the organization. In addition, it serves to enhance the relation between the leader and follower (Northouse, 2013). The implications of this transition include increased scrutiny of information as well as security limitations on information systems and technology (Beyerlein et al., 2003). Scrutiny and limitations are needed based on the abundance of information available, and the ease of access by which users can manipulate the information being shared.

    While practical limitations are necessary, however, the overall transition and concept of socio-technical systems is positive. The premise is the relation between the user and technology. The outcome is enhanced organizational performance based on knowledge sharing, knowledge management, and changing work environs/groups. Leadership with respect to work groups and organizations is changing due to factors such as increased diversity and changing gender roles. Now more than ever, people are using social environs and media to increase understanding, knowledge sharing, and organizational performance.

    Aldridge, J.W. (2004). Encyclopedia of distributed learning. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

    Beyerlein, M., McGee, C., Klein, G., Nemiro, J., & Broedling, L. (2003). The collaborative work systems fieldbook: strategies, tools, and techniques. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Little, S. (2005). Managing knowledge: An essential reader. (2nd ed.). London: SAGE in association with The Open University.

    Northouse, P. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

    Suity, L. (2014). A Scientific Look at Diversity, With Business Results Retrieved from: http://talentmgt.com/articles/6675-a-scientific-look-at-diversity-with-business-results

    Trist, E. L. (1981). The evolution of socio-technical systems: A conceptual framework and an action research program. Ontario Quality of Working Life Center, Occasional Paper no. 2.

  2. frostyh20 says:

    Diversity in the workplace is one of the key ingredients to business success in this day and age. Almost overnight the HR field began to view the recruitment, selection, and management of the emerging diverse work force as a key issue in long-term survival (Carrell, Elbert, Hatfield 1995). Businesses these days are spread all across the world encompassing various cultures, races, sex, and ages. I agree that transformational leaders are key elements for companies to be prosperous in the workplace. Transformational leadership is concerned with improving the performance of followers and developing followers to their fullest potential (Avolio, 1999, Bass & Avolio, 1990a). Understanding diversity has its own dynamics will assist leaders help motivate their followers to act in the greater good rather than their own self-interests (Kuhnert 1994). Diversity will help foster new ideas because of the differences in individuals and their own personal experiences. It is a key component in the business because businesses are world-wide servicing not just one region but many. Diversity in the workforce is a great asset for how leaders can become better leaders and how companies can grow from it.

    Avolio, B. J. (1999). Full leadership development: Building the vital forces in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage.

    Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1990a). The implications of transactional and transformational leadership for individual, team, and organizational development. Research in Organizational Change and Development. 4, 231-272

    Carrell, M. R., Elbert, N.F., Hatfield, R. D. (1995) Human Resource Management: Global Strategies For Managing A Diverse Workforce. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice Hall

    Kuhnert, K. W. (1994). Transforming leadership: Developing people through delegation. In B.M. Bass & B. J. Avolio (Eds.), Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership (pp. 10-25). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

  3. azillza13 says:

    Thank you for posting about this comment. It is a very important topic to me. I
    In order to understand more I will tell you a little bit about myself. I am an artist first and foremost. Because of this I believe in expressing one’s self through clothes, hair, piercings, and other body art. I currently have one tattoo on my wrist and 8 piercings in my ears, 2 in my nose, 1 on my philtrum, and dimple piercings. This brings me to a total of 13 piercings. I do find myself beautiful, in saying this I like the additions of embellishments.

    Too most especially in the corporate workspace I am seen as a “bad” prospect employee. I am smart, creative, a hard worker, and most of all dedicated and loyal. Although, these may be true, most companies do not wish to hire me because I refuse to change my appearance.

    On this note, people often ask me “why don’t you just take them out for a job.” My simple answer is, “this is who I see myself as. If a company cannot accept this about me and accept me the way I am, then it was not meant to be.” The simple answer obviously does not cut it. I typically don’t go with the simple answer.

    Instead I ask people what is diversity? What makes it so useful? Typically people tell me some generic answers or they see where I am going and try and argue it before I get there. Either way I let them speak their piece then I explain. To me there are many, many types of diversity one list that I agree with, talks about the 25 different types we can come across in the workplace.

    The list is as follows: “Age, Gender, Race and ethnicity, Education, Physical appearance, Physical ability, Culture, Problem-solving ability, Critical thinking ability, Team building ability, Communication ability, Income, Music enjoyed, Type of books read, TV shows enjoyed, Experiences when being raised, Language, Capability for empathy, Ability to be kind, Ability to motivate people, Ability to work with others, Job description, Listening ability, Conflict resolution ability, and finally Level of self-awareness.”

    The list above is definitely diverse. The interesting thing to think about is one can be diverse in more than one way. Yes, my appearance makes me diverse, I can also see at least 5 other things that also add to my diversity. Regardless of my appearance I am a kind and easy going person. I love to interact with people. When I can get people to realize that I am a human too behind what they see as “ugly.” Something amazing happens. Something clicks for them. I can’t tell you what it is because I still can’t always convince corporate to change their policies. Yet, by challenging HR, Managers, or other I can tell you that they do often agree with me to a point. I can respect this and only hope that I can open other people’s eyes. In the long run this is how I express myself. This is what I see as beautiful, interesting, or fun. I feel like I am in control of my own happiness when I own the inside and out regardless of others think is normal or beautiful.

    This is my life. No one else’s. I chose not to spend it denying the things I want to do all the time. This is one luxury I feel I have. One thing that I have made mine. I want to protect it, while hopefully helping take peoples guards down and getting them to think in a different way.

    Farmer, G. (2011, August 25). 25 Examples of Diversity in the Workplace. Retrieved February 25, 2015, from http://www.selfawarenessworkshops.com/2453/25-examples-of-diversity-in-the-workplace

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