An organization is a system where people are involved in cooperative action, trying to reach a goal. The employees are the core of the organization, as their talent, skill, effort, and behavior define whether the organization is effective or not. Organizational theory and organizational behavior are the disciplines of the social and behavioral sciences specializing in studying organizations. The organizational theory aims to understand the nature of organizations and focuses on their structure and design. It strives to find ways to improve the existing design of an organization and alternate forms of organizational design. As behavior takes place within a specific organizational design, it is necessary to understand the perspectives of organizational theory. In the same way, people design organizations and are introduced to a behavioral system that affects their own behavior (Champoux, 2016).
Organizational behavior, by definition, is “the study of human behavior and the organization, of the interface between human behavior and the organization, and the organization itself” (Griffin, Phillips, & Gully, 2016, p. 4). Therefore, it is important that managers understand how the behaviors of employees influence the effectiveness of an organization. In order to make an organization effective, managers should work on enhancing performance, commitment, and engagement while minimizing dysfunctional behaviors (Griffin et al., 2016). Multiple factors and characteristics should be considered by managers to understand organizational behavior and improve it for the sake of the organization.
The examples of such characteristics are the concepts of diversity and inclusion in contemporary workplaces. The term diversity became popular in the 1980s, referring to changes in characteristics of the labor force, such as race, ethnicity, and gender. The so-called representational diversity reflected the tendency of hiring people who were different from the current employees in some ways. However, it became evident that hiring people from underrepresented groups was not enough, as they seldom progressed in the organization. Later on, managers and diversity scholars began considering the term inclusion to focus on how the employee feels about the workplace and its climate. Shore defines inclusion as “the degree to which an employee perceives that he or she is an esteemed member of the work group through experiencing treatment that satisfies his or her needs for belongness and uniqueness” (Shore, 2011, as cited in Hays, 2016, p.17). The value of organizational behavior is that it offers specific perspectives on the human side of management, viewing people as organizations, as resources, and as people. Whereas organizational theory helps develop an ideal design for an organization that supports diversity and inclusion. This paper seeks to explore the relationship between proper motivation through diversity and inclusion and performance or an increase in productivity in organizations.
I believe that the issue of workplace diversity and organizational behavior proves to be of particular interest because in the 21st century, organizations are becoming more heterogeneous with regard to race, gender, and sexual orientation. Moreover, the topic is essential for everyone who works or will work for an organization regardless of their gender and personal background. Such circumstances require the development and implementation of new and more advanced organizational designs and policies that would improve the position of underrepresented groups and have a positive effect on performance and productivity.
For an extended period of time, the topic of workforce diversity and its effects on performance has been an issue of organizational managers worldwide. There have been multiple attempts of organizations to address the need for diversity and inclusion of people representing different race, gender, and sexual orientation. For instance, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked on the problem of employee motivation from the early days of the company, trying to maximize employee trust and loyalty and make everyone feel like an important part of the team. In 2014, Google began publishing its annual diversity employment numbers and working on their increase (McGirt, 2017). According to the interviews with Google employees, the process is slow, but it is working. While this action alone did not dramatically increase the number of minorities hired, it had a significant impact on other technological companies, such as Apple, Yahoo, and Salesforce, who started their own diversity commitments.
While I have not personally encountered the problem with diversity and inclusion, I am aware of the fact that many organizational managers and companies are currently working on this issue. Diverse workgroups are especially relevant and important in the 21st-century workplace, as we can see from the example mentioned above. As I did not have a chance to use techniques such as interviews or surveys to address the given issue, it might be useful to review some of them briefly.
Survey feedback is the earliest and most popular technique that provides feedback to organizational management while keeping the confidentiality of respondents. It is a powerful data-based method, suggesting necessary changes and defining priorities of the organization. Process consultation is another procedure that focuses on a group or team, usually during meetings, where a consultant observes interpersonal and group interaction, then asks questions to provide diagnosis and suggestions for improvement. This method is especially helpful in diverse environments as it may assess the degree of inclusion within the group. One more technique is team building that evaluates how the team functions in response to a specific task. It helps set goals, define roles and responsibilities for a given task, analyze interpersonal relationships within the work group. It is also worth mentioning organizational mirroring where one group shares its thoughts about the other groups, while the second group listens. The roles are then switched, and the same topics are discussed with the second group. The method is used in case of strained relations between the units of an organization, helping understand the reasons for conflicts, discuss them with a consultant, and eventually improve (Hays-Thomas, 2017). Overall, organizational techniques are crucial steps towards the proper organizational design and a favorable working environment as the implication of them might significantly enhance the productivity of organization and its employees.
R.W. Griffin et al. in the book Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations explains the basics of organizational behavior and how it affects the productivity of organizations. The issue of diversity and inclusion and its role in organizational performance is covered in great detail. The main advantage of this book is that each theoretical concept is followed by a series of questions or situations that a future or a practicing organizational manager should be able to respond to. Each chapter of the book is illustrated by the real-life cases of the existing contemporary organizations, such as Apple or Ford, which helps the reader analyze the problems with solutions, and also apply the knowledge to the challenges he or she faces or might face on the job of organizational manager.
Another book worth mentioning is Contemporary management by G.R. Jones and J.M. George. The book provides the reader with the most current and up-to-date account of what is happening in the world of organizational management today. The authors examine how organizational managers are looking for ways to increase organizational performance in the changing world. The book observes management practices of multiple existing organizations in a competitive and dynamic global environment, and also how regulations and ethical norms apply to diverse organizations.
The final book to review in the paper is Managing workplace diversity and inclusion by R. Hays-Thomas, which focuses solely on the issue of diversity and inclusion in the organization. The purpose of the book is to bring together science and practice to provide the reader with ideas and tools to effectively deal with the challenges that gender, race, and sexual orientation pose to the organizational management. The authors use real-world applications to demonstrate the importance of diversity and inclusion for the increase in organizational performance in the 21st century. The books reviewed above provide the reader with the important theoretical framework as well as practical knowledge that helps increase the effectiveness of an organization through proper treatment of diverse employees.
Diversity has been a critical issue for organizational managers nowadays. The global world makes it necessary for the organization to consider and respect race, gender, sexual orientation, and any other characteristic that makes a person different. Diverse people require equal opportunities, while unfair treatment of employees is illegal in many countries. In the US, for example, the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act were adopted in the 1960s to stop discrimination based on gender, race, and national origin.
Organizational effectiveness might improve if diversity is managed fairly and justly, as it can help an organization stand out among competitors. The efforts of the organizations to improve diversity are evaluated by several business magazines making the lists of the most diverse companies. It attracts the attention of potential customers who appreciate the ethical management of the company. It is also vital to manage diversity effectively as it makes good business sense. Diverse employees provide a variety of ideas and points of view that help the organization offer better goods and services to customers who are diverse as well. Ineffective management of diversity might be costly, too, as Employment Management Association claims that it costs more than $10,000 to hire a new employee, while some other estimates are even higher (Jones, et al., 2016, p.137). Equal treatment of diverse members and their inclusion greatly increase motivation and, therefore, retention of valued employees, decreasing the cost of hiring replacements for unsatisfied employees seeking opportunities elsewhere.
Effective management of diverse organizations means learning to acknowledge and respond to the needs, attitudes, beliefs, and values of the diverse work group members. It is also necessary to correct misconceptions about how various kinds of employees are different from one another and to find the most efficient application of talents and skills of diverse workers.
As we can see from the works analyzed above and the situations examined, it is critical for an organizational manager to take steps to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Organizational theory and organizational behavior should be considered because they provide the theoretical framework and practical guidance vital for effective performance of an organization. Proper treatment of diverse employees, in its turn, increases the productivity of an organization through the efficient management of their skills and improved motivation.
Champoux, J.E. (2016). Organizational behavior: Integrating individuals, groups and organizations. London, UK: Routledge.
Griffin, R.W., Phillips J.M., and Gully S.M. (2016). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Hays-Thomas, R. (2017). Managing workplace diversity and inclusion. New York, NY: Routledge.
Jones, G.R., and George J.M. (2016). Contemporary management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
McGirt, E. (2017). Google searches its soul. Fortune. Web.