Diversity is a barrier to effective teamwork
Teams are developed to ease the work pressure on the group members and achieve a target within the expected timeframe. Especially, in teams, the individuals share responsibilities among themselves, help each other to achieve with each other as well as be a little more flexible. However, diversity sometimes remains as a significant barrier to bring individuals together. An organizational workplace or a team in agency, consist of individuals from different cultural background. In addition, these individuals could be different on the basis of gender, sexuality, race, color and other attributes. People could enjoy the social interaction of team; thereby, they seek to be flexible to work in a team, whereas others might want to be individuals contributors. If the team members do not realize the team’s goals, they might not stretch together to accomplish the teamwork. The major purpose of the essay is to evaluate diversity as a barrier to effective teamwork. The essay provides an argumentative analysis on the fact that diversity is barrier to team development.
According to Ilmakunnas and Ilmakunnas (2011), the increasing state of globalization of the world is in the need of more interaction among the people from different cultural background. The individual no longer prefer to or work in a constrained workplace and instead they prefer to become a significant part of world’s economy. They prefer to contribute to global economic development. Considering this particular reason, both profit and non-profit organizations have become or they are seeking to become more diversified to deal with the growing competition in the industries. . According to Angeline (2011), the managers of the organizations should develop the workplace in a way that they further find the opportunity to enhance or evolve. In this context, Klarsfeld et al. (2014), also commented that diversity management could be a significant challenge; thus, the managerial skills should adapt to an environment that consists of multiple cultures. According to Amaram (2011), while managing diversity, the organization or the managers need to focus on certain practices such as accepting, valuing and understanding the differences among the individuals with respect to age, race and ethnicity, gender and physical disabilities. It is necessary for the organizations to embrace diversity and look for alternatives to become inclusive because the diversity carries the potential to acquire work productivity as well as competitive advantage. Hence, Okoro and Washington (2012) also commented that as managing diversity is an invaluable competitive aspect, it can be treated as the potential aspect of managing people in the workplace.
Due to some particular differences such as age, gender, race, ethnicity and gender disabilities, the individuals tend to create distance among them, which also create a communication gap among the individuals. Thereby, when a team has a lack of communication, the overall team performance could be affected. The usual activities in a team such as knowledge sharing, assistance and plans will not be easy to carry out. The employees might not be aware of the organizational goals or the managers might not be able to convey the relevant messages. In addition, there are some significant challenges that managers face to a diverse work population. As put forward by Patrick and Kumar (2012), diversity management is often considered as more than a practice of accepting the differences among the individuals. It could involve the identification of value, combat of discrimination and promotion of inclusiveness. Similarly, the supervisors need to deal with the challenges of losing the talented workforce and work productivity due to the prejudice and discrimination.
As put forward by Kelli et al. (2012) negative attitude and behavior often remain as the barrier to organizational diversity as they affect the working relationship, moral and work productivity. Thus, this negative attitude might include discrimination, stereotyping but these attribute should be avoided at the time of recruitment, retention and termination practices. In addition, as the significant role, the managers need to realize discrimination and extent it could carry. Moreover, supervisors or the managers should recognize their own culture base as well as prejudice. It has also been studied in the previous studies that diversity not only revolves around the differences among the groups; instead, it revolves around the differences among the individuals. Each individual on the basis of their of their characteristics might be unique and they might not represent or speak for a particular group. Eventually, the managers need to be intended to change the firm if it is required.
The consequence of diversity management strategies indicate that organizations as whole should be aware of managing diversity in the workplace to remain competitive and successful. Hence, Kapoor and Solomon (2011) argued that the organizations cannot rely on one single recipe for acquiring success, as it largely depends on the ability and capability of manager to realize what is effective for the company based on the teamwork and different dynamics of the environment. In order to oppose this statement, Groves and Feyerherm (2011) commented that diversity is a comprehensive technique for developing a work environment that involves the individuals. Thereby, while developing a diverse work environment, the supervisors must focus on the individual awareness. Likewise, associates should have to be aware of their personal biases. In addition, the companies also need to implement and enhance the ongoing training because a single day of training might not change the behavior of the individuals. Furthermore, the managers should also understand the fact that fairness in the workplace is not necessarily an equality, the some rules are exceptional and changeable. The companies also need to develop a safe workplace for the works to communicate when they have to deal with the diversity.
As put forward by Vaara et al. (2012), the managers should execute policies such as monitoring programs to provide access to information as well as opportunities. In addition, the associates should never be denied essentially. Nonetheless, these theoretical concepts are quite difficult to implement in an organization. Many organizations prefer to create and maintain a diverse workplace; so that the employees could work on same goals and objectives. However, cultural as well as language barriers prevent the team or the individuals to implement such initiatives. Furthermore, ineffective communication often creates the confusion, lack of teamwork and productivity. Ilmakunnas et el. (2011) opined that in managing diversity, most of the managers fail to or they find it difficult to manage people who share different norms, values and other basic assumption in life. As put forward by Okoro and Washington (2012), people’s behavior is an expression of its values and expression; thereby, the managers from a different cultural background need to adapt to their norms and values to identify and understand their behavior. Thus, the development of that understanding is the most challenging task for a manager in culturally diverse team. The managers also face the difficulties in reaching a desired level of efficiency in their multicultural team, as a lot of time is spent on sorting out the misunderstanding, setting expectation and make other individuals purse the same goals.
Many organizations provide diversity training but diversity training alone is not sufficient for company’s diversity management programs. Vaara et al. (2012) mentioned that there should be a proper strategy for organization’s diversity, which permeates every department and other functions of the organizations. It is also observed that integration across multi-cultural teams can be difficult in the face of prejudice and negative cultural stereotypes. The personal commitment of executive and the managerial teams should be there in the organization. The leaders and supervisors in the organizations should incorporate diversity policies into each aspect of company’s purpose and functions. Additionally, when it comes to diversity, the previous studies have largely emphasized on communication. The communication within teams and work groups could be a sustainable barrier when there is a high variance in employee background such as differing culture could often lead to the different form of expression. In this context, Amaram (2011) commented that when an organizational workforce is not diverse, the difficult challenge, the managers face the poor communication. If a good communication could foster teamwork, poor communication remains as the barrier to develop a productive work environment. The individuals who will not communicate could create the breakdown, which inhibits team development.
A diverse workplace is a reflection of a dynamic world as well as marketplace. A team with increasing diversity could bring large value to the organization. It can also be mentioned that respecting individuals differences could benefit the workplace by developing a competitive edge and improving work productivity. The previous studies also indicate that diversity management benefit associates by forming a fair and safe environment where each individual has access to challenges and opportunities. Thus, as the remedy, different management tools in a diverse team need to be used to make individuals aware or educate themselves about the importance of diversity. Most workplaces should be built up of diverse culture. Thus, the organizations as a whole should know how to adapt to be successful.
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