Managing workplace diversity - Essay Example

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This paper is a critical examination of managing diversity and conflicts in workplaces. When organisations comprise of highly diversified workforce, reconciling the inherent differences between them becomes an important priority in order to minimise conflicts and promote cohesion and teamwork. …
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Download file to see previous pages It is evident from the study that for the last decades, the term diversity has been used to mean the “demographic constitution of a particular group or team”. In experimental studies, the diversity of a team is normally determined using compositional technique, which focuses on how demographic characteristics such as ethnicity, gender, age among others are distributed within the team. Assessment of diversity in workplace entails determination of the extent in which members are similar or dissimilar to one another. According to Caleb, diversity represents the numerous individual disparities existing among people in particular organization. In studies of diversity in workplaces, various attributes of employees have been proved to be of critical importance in the current management practices. They include gender, ethnicity, length of service in the particular organization, areas of specialisation and skills, level of education, cultural values in addition to personality of the individual. The content of diversity in workplaces has been a subject of many research studies. Aparna and Susan classified the content of diversity into two categories, namely task and relations oriented. Relations oriented diversity involves the availability of traits or attributes that are influential in determining interpersonal associations. In normal circumstances, relations oriented diversity does not have direct noticeable effects on the performance of tasks (Aparna and Susan, 2000: 60). Mike (2004: 157) consider relations oriented diversity as the social -category diversity. Task oriented diversity is the distribution of the performance-relevant attributes. Examples of attributes that are more likely to be relationship-oriented diversity include age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, political association, sexual orientation and nationality. These attributes are readily indentified or recognised in a particular context (Caleb, 2006). Other relationship oriented attributes are not readily detected in workplace setting. They include gender, attitudes, values, personality, racial and ethnic identity, sexual and class identity among other social identities. Task oriented diversity attributes in the work place include readily identified qualities such as education level, membership to an organisation or department, association with professional bodies, formal credentials and titles in addition to organisation tenure. However, some task oriented diversity attributes are not obvious, or easily detected. They include knowledge and expertise, cognitive skills and abilities, in addition to physical skills and capacities (Aparna and Susan 2000: 201). Research on performance of employees in a multicultural background indicates that diverse teams perform differently from homogenous groups (Kreitner and Kinicki 1995:72) Although the exact mechanisms that cause the disparity in performance remain speculative, various existing theories provide feasible explanation to the difference. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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