Diversity and Demographics - What is it?

Essay by smirnoffA+, June 2006

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Diversity and Demographic Characteristics

The management of diversity can be considered a response to the need to recognize, respect, and capitalize on the different backgrounds in our society in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender. Different cultural groups have different values, styles, and personalities, each of which may have a significant effect on the way they perform. The following will discuss how ethnicity, gender, age, and religion impact individual behavior in the working environment.

Understanding the complexity of ethnicity and race is certainly an important factor for leaders and employees to effectively recognize and deal with appropriately. Further reading and study in psychology can help managers recognize the influence of ethnic identity, by understanding of some easily confused terms such as racism, prejudice, race and ethnicity. Ethnicity is defined as the sense of being different than other groups because of cultural tradition, ancestry, national origin, history, or religion. Ethnicity also relates to a common culture and shared meaning.

It includes feelings, thoughts, perceptions, expectations and actions of a group resulting from shared experiences.

Americans tend to see each other in terms of age, economic class, religion, gender, ethnicity, and race. Commonly recognized American ethnic groups include: American Indians, Latinos, Chinese, African Americans, and European Americans. In some cases, ethnicity involves merely a group identity with little or no cultural traditions in common, for example the Irish and German Americans (www.cenus.gov). It is important not to confuse the term minority with ethnic group. Ethnic groups may be either a minority or a majority in a population. Whether a group is a minority or a majority also is not an absolute fact but depends on the perspective.

Upon investigation, between 1990 and 2000, nearly 33 million people were added to our national population. This was the largest 10-year increase in U.S.