Diversity Management Within a Public Organization

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Introduction

Diversity management has been a topic of discussion in the US for years. As Riccucci (2018) states, the issue has a direct connection with the equal employment opportunity problem. Companies have been striving to ensure they provide this opportunity to their employees. This has resulted in many challenges for managers, brought by the inhomogeneous environment (Riccucci, 2018). The process of managing people with different views, beliefs, and backgrounds can be challenging as it can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. However, this does not mean that such environments are ineffective. On the contrary, studies have proved that a diverse background of the workforce is beneficial for public organizations (Ashikali & Groeneveld, 2015a). People, who work in such an environment, are more motivated to work harder and therefore can bring more benefit. With proper managing, the capabilities of the employees can be utilized more effectively in this environment. This paper seeks to explore the relationship between diversity management and increased performance of people in public institutions by leveraging their skills, knowledge, and abilities.

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Background

The topic of the advantages that workforce diversity has for public organizations is interesting as workforce diversity is an inevitable consequence of social development (Block & Noumair, 2017). The issue of equal employment opportunity can be resolved by policies that focus on hiring people with different backgrounds. Additionally, such methods can bring competitive advantage to the companies as these people can offer different views and ideas. As Riccucci (2018) stated, “the way in which government employers embrace this opportunity of diversity will clearly distinguish effective and efficient organizations from those which are unproductive and unable to meet the demands and necessities of the American people in the new century.” (p.10).

Many studies were performed to explore this topic of workforce diversity and its advantages. Most of them are focused on how it influences the productivity of institutions. Others, such as the study by Ashikali and Groeneveld (2015b) is aimed at understanding the impact that the issue has on the majority of the employees. Additionally, it examines whether they feel discouraged by the opportunities, given to the minorities. These studies help understand ways in which diverse environments should be managed. Workforce diversity is a crucial issue that organizational managers are grappling with. Previously, I have not tried to address the issue. However, with a better understanding of it, I would now utilize interviews and surveys for the employees to understand their thoughts on the topic in the given establishment.

Literature Review

The topic of discussion is relevant to contemporary institutions and is worth discussing as it is a way for an organization to impact employee’s skills, knowledge, and abilities through combining different cultural environments, opinions, and experiences. This is due to the fact that diversity can represent not only different cultural backgrounds but also different viewpoints. Trittin and Schoeneborn (2017) stated that the understanding of the term should be enhanced to include a diversity of opinions within an institution. It can be argued that hiring people with different ethnicities is an implication of varying work styles and life experiences. For an organization to fully benefit from the diversity, such a company should hire people who can present different viewpoints. In this way, the skills and knowledge of the employees would be leveraged as they would be challenged by their colleagues’ opposing view on matters.

An important aspect of workforce diversity effectiveness is the model the management used to carry the practice. A study by Ashikali and Groeneveld (2015b) aimed at finding the connection between those factors. It is essential to understand how to manage the diverse environment in a public organization properly. Otherwise, the adverse effect can decrease the overall motivation. As stated by Ashikali and Groeneveld (2015a), “diversity has been found to have both positive and negative work-related or employee outcomes” (p. 6). To avoid the contrary effect, the management should focus on the abilities and skills of workers and hire people that would enhance the productivity of the organization.

How the employees perceive the diversity management in public establishments is contributing to the outcomes of it. Another study by Ashikali and Groeneveld (2015a) focused on how the institution’s environment is perceived by the employees and the impact the factor has on their attitude and behavior. The study found that in cases the employees feel that the company is inclusive, their commitment and organizational citizenship behavior are more effective than in cases where there is no inclusiveness. The study was performed within Dutch public sector organizations. Therefore, for such companies to maximize the effectiveness of their workforce, it is essential for the management to create a diverse environment and manage it properly.

Analysis

The diversity affects public organizations as it determines the environment of the workforce. As stated by Llorens, Klingner, and Nalbandian (2016), diversity is an essential component of a company’s culture. In order for an institution to utilize workforce diversity as motivation for the employees, the human resource practices have to be changed. The aspects of diversity management should be utilized to maximize the motivating and to leverage the skills, knowledge, and abilities of people.

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Studies have found that effective diversity management can positively influence employees’ perception of the organization (Ashikali & Groeneveld, 2015b). Therefore, in such case, the workforce is going to be more motivated. This will result in the better use of skills, knowledge, and abilities. The diversity of opinions brings additional advantage as it challenges the employees and their capabilities (Trittin & Schoeneborn, 2017). This can also be beneficial for an institution as such employees can offer a different viewpoint on issues and new ideas. Utilizing this can bring a competitive advantage for an organization and possible innovations. However, in both cases, it is essential to manage the diversity in a way that will not focus solely on the political and social need for diversity. This is done by hiring employees with the different cultural background but without needed skills or experience. Such a policy can hurt the employee’s motivation to work. People in the establishment should understand that the primary criterion that the hiring process is based on is the advantage they can bring for the company.

Conclusion

Overall, diversity management remains an important topic in managing a public institution. Studies have proven the effectiveness the diverse workforce has on the institution’s productivity. The correct usage of the model can improve employees’ perception of the organization’s environment and be beneficial for the performance. In case the diverse environment is not managed correctly, the opposite effect will be in place. To fully use the employee’s skills and abilities, the management should focus on choosing people with different viewpoints that can challenge others and bring new ideas to the organization. However, it is vital to ensure that serious conflict will not arise from these differences. Hiring policies should be tailored to enhance this environment. To improve the company’s performance, the issue should be examined in depth, and proper policies should be implemented.

References

Ashikali, T. S., & Groeneveld, S. M. (2015a). Diversity management in public organizations and its effect on employees’ affective commitment: The role of transformational leadership and the inclusiveness of the organizational culture. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 35(2), 146-168. Web.

Ashikali, T. S., & Groeneveld, S. M. (2015b). Diversity management for all? An empirical analysis of diversity management outcomes across groups. Personnel Review, 44(5), 757-789. Web.

Block, C. J., & Noumair, D. A. (2017). Understanding diversity dynamics in systems: Social equality as an organization change issue. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 53(2), 150-155. Web.

Llorens J. J., Klingner, D. E., & Nalbandian J. (2016). Public personnel management (7th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Riccucci, N. M. (2018). Managing diversity in public sector workforces: Essentials of public policy and administration series. New York, NY: Routledge.

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Trittin, H., & Schoeneborn, D. (2017). Diversity as polyphony: Reconceptualizing diversity management from a communication-centered perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 144(2), 305–322. Web.

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