Diversity is the things about people that make them different, not just culturally but human differences. Having a multitude of differences in the workforce gives an organization the ability to utilize many ideas to reach one common goal. One could say that a diverse group of people together in one room can accomplish greater achievements than a room filled with the same types of individuals. In the workforce diversity can be gender differences, age, education levels, and marital status. Diversity in the workplace can also create diversity in the other areas of life. When companies value diversity it gives the organization the ability to utilize the opinions and viewpoints of all it employees to create a better working environment as well as allowing the employees to know that the company they represent cares about its workers. Manager's understand this concept of diversity and how important diversity is to the success of a companies ability to implement programs that continues to develop a harmonious and diverse workplace.
According to Daft (2003) such programs that "builds a corporate culture that values diversity; changing structures, policies, and systems to support diversity, and providing diversity awareness training" (p.450).
Cultural change starts with the CEO's, the presidents, as well as top managers. They are the leaders of organizations. Managers should first educate themselves of different cultures and the behaviors of people, how they interact with one another. Managers can utilize this information to understand the behaviors of their employees. They can also get to know different cultures so that there are no bias opinions about a particular group of people. Employees want to know that the organization they are with will be concerned with their personal needs as well as continuing to provide a comfortable work environment no matter what their cultural background is.
Centuries ago, working outside of the home had always been a concept that men took pride in. they were considered the bread winners of the family and over time adapted a resentment towards women who interested in working outside of the home. Men felt that the workforce was no place for women, that they were not as smart as men or as strong. Many jobs in earlier times were fitted for men; however, times have a change and companies have adapted the fact that women have entered the workforce and that they are just as capable if not more capable than men to handle any type of work. With this in mind many men in companies still frown on women and their accomplishments in the workforce and have tried to set barriers to prevent women from advancing at the same rate as men. This type of stereotyping and unfairness is also known as the "Glass Ceiling". According to Daft (2003) an "invisible barrier that separates women and minorities form top management positions" (448). As preposterous as this may sound it exist. But companies have implementing many programs that have change the structure, and polices of how they support and promote women and minorities in the workplace. Training and education has been Washington University's main focus along with encouraging it's employees about diversity and multiculturalism by implementing different programs as a part of there initial training process.
Diversity awareness helps people become aware of their own cultural bias. It also allows people to admit what they think and feel about certain people. It educates them of that cultural group so that they can learn the truth about that person instead of what they've perceived in the past to be true about that group. This teaching gets individuals to eventually work will with people form different cultural backgrounds. Diversity awareness training according to Daft (2003) "helps people learn how to handle conflict in a constructive manner" (p.434). People are more understanding to others when they are
aware that everyone has difference.
With companies concentrating on bettering the relationships of its employees by diversity awareness, workers gain a sense of belonging and worth at the workplace. This training also allows people to better understand varies ways of communicating effectively and dealing with people from different ethnic groups.
Educating and understanding diversity in the workplace can have positive as well as negative results, not everyone in an organization will be willing to change their bias behaviors and attitudes; moreover, others will embrace it as a new learning experience. Acceptance of the differences that people have is the concept of cultural diversity. Companies need diversity to keep ideas fresh and new. Companies also need diversity to educate them of the continuous changes globally as well as in the working world of today's society. Knowing how individuals live and behave helps many companies with new products and setting goals to provide community services for its surrounding neighborhoods.
Daft. R., (2003). Personality traits. Management 6th ed.
Washington University employee handbook, Mission statement, pg. 8., www.wustl.edu, retrieved June 30, 2006