Articles Review: Diversity in Organizations

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Diversity not only affects culture but also imposes changes on business processes of any organization. To gain effective diverse working environments, a review of five articles was carried out to gain insight into various recommendations. These articles showed diversity can increase an organization’s social commitment, increase market. In order to manage diverse workforce, organizations are recommended to use diversity sensitive leadership skills, train and educate employees for both multinationals and small scale businesses, make use of team building exercises to make the workforce culturally sensitive. Moreover, organizations are recommended to standardize business process, use simple goals and strategies that will provide harmony in a diverse setting.

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Dreachslin, J.L. (2007). The Role of Leadership in Creating a Diversity-Sensitive Organization. Journal of Healthcare Management, 52(3), 151-155.

The author discusses how leaders in organizations can increase diversity in their businesses. The author has noted that leadership in a diverse workplace gives a unique challenge for executives. To face demands of managing a diverse organization, executives must go beyond increasing the representation of minorities. Senior managers must commit to retention, recruitment, development and support of employees under-represented. Leaders must also develop leadership skills above convectional leadership style to leader diverse workforce, since convectional approaches fail in identifying the dynamics of diversity. For there to be effective diversity, leaders must be committed to diversity change plans and get personally involved. Diversity initiatives must be aligned with learning perspectives of leaders in order for the changes to be concrete. This research was based on seasoned executives from the healthcare sector, who are able to lead diverse workforces, through increased opportunities of renewal.

Conklin, W.A. (2005). An Inside Look at Two Diversity Intranet Sites: IBM and Merck. The Diversity Factor, Elsie Y. Cross and Associates, 13(3), 11-15.

Conklin discusses diversity in the workplace with an example of IBM and Merck. This The article identifies organizations that are dedicated to diversity, as those that find ways to communicate, integrate and educate their teams of employees by also tapping into the telecommunication world. IBM uses websites to create diverse community where, diversity events are posted, diversity recruitment and hiring activities, provide diversity materials that managers can utilize, offers diversity training and provide connection to IBM. Merck on the other hand, offers a holistic online working environment, where employees receive information on the company’s program, initiatives and policies. The website offers training and education employees on positive practices of a working environment. Their site offers resources like cross cultural communication, objectives of the company, diversity events, development of employee talents and skills, increase of work life balance, and activities to accommodate disability. The article finds that organizations that can make use of diversity sites, within the human resources department of the organization’s intranet, expose their employees to various organizational tools and resources.

Usry, M.L. and White, M. (2002). Learning from the Big Boys: Multicultural Awareness in Small Businesses. Business Forum, EBSCO publishing, 25(1,2), 10-13.

The article looks at the need for multicultural sensitivity in American organizations from the increase of ethnic minorities and women employees. For diversity to be effective the successful integration of these members of society must include training and orientation exercises for both big and small businesses. The article narrows down its focus on training and development programs that can be used to the needs of small businesses in order for their workforce to be more culturally sensitive. Cultural diversity can be achieved through; removal of discrimination and prejudice, increasing employees’ identification, reduced intergroup conflict, integration of information networks, full structural integration of minority groups and resolving of cultural differences. Diversity on cultural training should consider the use of; documentaries which expose employees to other cultures, culture assimilator, language training, field experience and sensitivity training. Small businesses can also make use of the experiences of big corporations like Merck, Fiat and Sony. Cultural training can also be provided by external training and education institutions like Anderson Worldwide which provide team building activities.

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Fleck, D.L. (2011). Why We Should Dare To Manage Growth Responsibly. Management Decision Journal, Emeraldinsight, 48(10), 1529-1538.

The author gave suggestions on how management can achieve growth of organizations through responsible management to gain longevity. One of the growth strategies the article proposed was the use of diversity in organizations. The article revealed hat organizations increasingly face diversity challenges as they grow and expand even without any diversity strategy. This is because growth provides different resources like geography, people, competition, strategies and inter-organizational relations which present structural, business and workforce diversity. These diversity elements provide rivalry and threaten the unity of organization. To manage these diversity aspects, the article proposes two methods. First, organizations must stimulate coordinated autonomy and avoids inter-unit exchange, following the example of Westinghouse. Diversity challenge can also be handled through the turning of an organization into a simple or uncomplicated entity. Simplicity is achieved through well defined single goal, strategy and departments. This implies that organizations must standardize their procedures and routines to create harmony in all branches, departments and sectors. Standardization encourages an organizational culture and structure that concentrates on important skills which homogenize resources.

Cummings, J.N. (2004). Work Groups, Structural Diversity, and Knowledge Sharing in a Global Organization. Management Science, JSTOR, 50(3), 352-364.

This article deals with effective working groups with external knowledge that provides know-how, information and feedback from experts, customers and others not members of the group. The author proposes that the sharing of external knowledge increases when teams are structurally diverse. For organizations to achieve structural diversity in teams, they must consider different affiliations, positions and roles in the organization. Team members from such groups increase performance from actively engaging in knowledge exchange from external sources. To support this theory, the article made a survey of 182 working groups from a fortune 500 firm. This firm showed that working groups spread over great geographical distance, with various managers, carrying out diverse assignments under various business units can achieve harmony through knowledge exchange. The research proved that the exchange of external knowledge was directly correlated with the performance of working teams that were structurally diverse. Therefore, the author recommends that organizations that want to gain higher working group performance structurally diversify their teams through the integration of teams with social networks.

References

Conklin, W.A. (2005). An Inside Look at Two Diversity Intranet Sites: IBM and Merck. The Diversity Factor, Elsie Y. Cross and Associates, 13(3), 11-15.

Cummings, J.N. (2004). Work Groups, Structural Diversity, and Knowledge Sharing in a Global Organization. Management Science, JSTOR, 50(3), 352-364.

Dreachslin, J.L. (2007). The Role of Leadership in Creating a Diversity-Sensitive Organization. Journal of Healthcare Management, 52(3), 151-155.

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Fleck, D.L. (2011). Why We Should Dare To Manage Growth Responsibly. Management Decision Journal, Emeraldinsight, 48(10), 1529-1538.

Usry, M.L. and White, M. (2002). Learning from the Big Boys: Multicultural Awareness in Small Businesses. Business Forum, EBSCO publishing, 25(1,2), 10-13.

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