Diversity is a barrier to efficient teamwork and it is aptly said. The organisations, the multinational organisations hire people from diverse cultural, religious or any other type of backgrounds. The people from different culture have different level of understanding and perceptions. This diversity often creates barriers to communication which in turn hinders teamwork. This gap in communication often prevents decoding of messages in appropriate ways which affects executions of plans. Thus diversity of human resources hinders teamwork and successful executions of strategies in several ways.
The first argument for the motion that diversity hampers teamwork is that it hinders motivation. Today all the organisations come under the effect of external market conditions like political, economic and legal. The organisations have to frame strategies to adapt to the macroeconomic conditions and thrive in the market. This requires the management to set targets which have to be achieved within specific time periods. The target set by the management is then segregated between the departments. The managers then need to allocate the target among their teams. Teamwork demands the managers to communicate the targets with their teams and chalk out plans to achieve them. This requires involvement of the team members in the formation and execution of plans. Often, the targets are quite high and their achievement requires communication and cooperation of all the members. The managers motivate the team members in order to lead them towards obtaining the goal. Communication is the soul of management, leadership and motivation. Diversity in backgrounds among the team members creates hindrance in communication and motivation because different people have different perceptions. They perceive different things in different ways and act according to them. Thus, diversity makes it difficult for managers to motivate their teams towards achieving the goals (Qian 2013).
The next argument for the support the motion is that diversity hinders goal achievement. Leaders need to motivate their teams to achieve their goals which requires smooth flow of communication between the leaders their team. Relationship with managers and the co-workers motivate the employees and are considered the hygiene factors (Band et al. 2016). Now, the different cultures in the world view same things from different angles. For example, if a team member of British makes direct eye contact with his manager, it may have different interpretations. If the manager belongs to the Eastern countries, he may view the eye contact as a sign of disrespect. If the manager hails from a western country, he will regard it as token of sincerity and appreciate it. Thus, in the first case, diversity is liable to create conflict instead of enforcing motivation proving that diversity hampers team spirits. In fact, this difference in cultures prevents certain members and leaders from facilitating motivation. Diversity, far from motivation creates conflict among which disrupts execution of plans (Akechi et al. 2017).
Diversity hinders communication and creates ego, thus hinders effective teamwork. The complicated tasks and operations today often require staffs from different locations to team up. This apparently enriches the knowledge capital of a team and helps in more efficient execution of projects. This in the other way instead of enforcing team spirit can trigger ego. For example, if a team contains people from several educational backgrounds like technology, marketing and administration. They may instead of cooperating with each other create impediments to insert their importance on each other. Thus, instead of creating a rich body of talent, diversity creates ego and hampers teamwork. It often interdepartmental conflict due to egoistic managers and experts not ready to arrive at a common decision (Dzidowski 2014).
Diversity in product line is considered as strength when it comes to product strategy and weakness when it comes to marketing team formation. Marketing is an area which creates demand for the products and services of companies in the market. It leads to sales and generates revenue. Thus marketing is of great strategic importance to organisations and proper execution of marketing plan requires active participation of all the team members. Marketing techniques have gone under great evolution to cater to the market demands and organisational strategies. It is area which sees a lot of innovation to adapt to the market conditions. The modern team leaders today encourage participative leadership and encourage participation of all the members. Difference in views among the members often jeopardises the decision making and gives way to adoption of inappropriate plans. The problem can be explained by taking matter from the perception about colours among different cultures. For example, if an Indian employee proposes to use to red colour to promote a product, a member from South Africa may object to it.
Red in Indian culture means excitement and while in the western cultures expresses excitement and energy. South African view red as a sign of mourning and may find in offensive (Cheruvelil et al. 2014). Thus, in this case diversity hinders taking decisions regarding the colour of the packaging. If the manager decides to go by the red colour following the Indian and the American members, the South African member may view this as partiality (Alok, Raveendran and Shaheen 2014). This may lead to conflict and paralyse team management. These situations can only be handled by intervention of the higher officers. Thus, diversity can lead to conflict situations in marketing teams which often attracts senior level intervention (Elliot 2015).
Diversity is not restricted to cultural backgrounds and can also refer to difference in operations of the companies. Promotion and intense market competition often require companies to enter into joint ventures and act as teams. The diversity in the business goals, missions, organisational cultures and other attributes of the participating companies often creates rift in the ventures and leads them to their failure. Microsoft acquired the mobile business of Nokia along with many employees. The diversity of plans and strategies between the two companies led to the failure of the venture. Microsoft fired over one thousand three hundred and fifty employees, most of who were formerly with Nokia. This showed that the diversity of business strategies between Nokia and Microsoft led to the failure of the business venture and caused loss worth billions of dollars. The failure led to Microsoft and Nokia losing their market positions to companies like Samsung. It caused the employees of Nokia lose their jobs. Thus, diversity in organisational culture and strategies often lead to failure of ventures, render the employees involved in the venture jobless and so on. Thus, diversity more than infusing talent and innovation into the ventures, creates rift and business losses (The Verge 2017).
Today diversity exists in all spheres of the corporate world including the apex management and the workers. Most of the companies in order to gain high market position opt for total quality management as their modus operandi. This requires the companies to bring about total innovation and up gradation in all the areas like production, resource allocation, human resource management and so on. This requires the employees and the managements to act as teams to achieve total quality management. The managements irrespective of the type of the organisations aim to earn higher profits while the workers want to get recognition, better salaries, more paid leaves and so on. The diversity of the objectives often prevents the managements and the employees to synthesise into the corporate fabric. This prevents adoption of total quality management and gives way to conflicts and halt of production. The employees in order to get better pay and other facilities join labour unions. The managements often get into conflict with the unions when they do not pay heed to the requirements of the employees (Smith 2016). For example, Qantas Airline of Australia entered into conflict with three labour unions which cost the company a lot. It also stopped service provisions and which made Fair Work Australia direct the company to end the conflict. Thus, diversity instead of weaving management and employees into one fabric, creates serious problems which may even attract government intervention (ABC News 2017). It can again be brought to notice that the conflict between Qantas led to suspension of service to the passengers. This sudden suspension of services actually questioned the commitment of Qantas towards customers’ safety and satisfaction (Koutsombogera et al. 2015). This conflict also caused a huge financial loss to the company and its market position suffered as well (Davis and Franks 2014). Thus diversity in motives can actually result in financial losses, production loss and loss of competitive advantage.
Diversity is a part of the corporate sectors which encompasses both individual departments and entire organisations. It causes communication gap and hampers leadership. It creates ego, feeling of disparity, injustices and hampers team activities. The problem can erode the very organisational culture within organisations which can even attract management intervention. The diversity in business objectives can cause ventures worth billions of dollar to crash without producing any positive outcome. The diversity between the management and the employment demands can grow serious to the extent of requiring government verdict. Thus, disparity causes gap in between teams which can lead to dire consequences as pointed out in the examples.
ABC News. 2017. What is the Qantas dispute all about?. [online] Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-29/qantas-factbox/3608330 [Accessed 5 May 2017].
Akechi, H., Senju, A., Uibo, H., Kikuchi, Y., Hasegawa, T. and Hietanen, J. (2017). Attention to Eye Contact in the West and East: Autonomic Responses and Evaluative Ratings.
Alok, S., Raveendran, J. and Shaheen, M., 2014. Conflict Management Strategies Used by Indian Software Companies: A Summative Content Analysis. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 8(4), p.47.
Band, G., Shah, N.V., Sriram, R. and Appliances, E., 2016. Herzberg Two Factor Theory among the Management Faculty in Nagpur City. In International Conference on Management and Information Systems September (Vol. 23, p. 24).
Cheruvelil, K.S., Soranno, P.A., Weathers, K.C., Hanson, P.C., Goring, S.J., Filstrup, C.T. and Read, E.K., 2014. Creating and maintaining high?performing collaborative research teams: the importance of diversity and interpersonal skills. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12(1), pp.31-38.
Davis, R. and Franks, D.M., 2014. Costs of company-community conflict in the extractive sector. Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Report, 66, pp.1-56.
Dzidowski, A., 2014. The map and the territory. Sensemaking and sensebreaking through the organisational architecture. Problemy Zarz?dzania, 49(4), pp.29-44.
Elliot, A.J., 2015. Color and psychological functioning: a review of theoretical and empirical work. Frontiers in psychology, 6, p.368.
Koutsombogera, M., Galanis, D., Riviello, M.T., Tseres, N., Karabetsos, S., Esposito, A. and Papageorgiou, H., 2015. Conflict cues in call center interactions. In Conflict and Multimodal Communication (pp. 431-447). Springer International Publishing.
Qian, H., 2013. Diversity versus tolerance: The social drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship in US cities. Urban Studies, 50(13), pp.2718-2735.
Smith, D., 2016. Conflict and Compromise: Class Formation in English Society 1830-1914. Routledge.
The Verge. 2017. Microsoft lays off hundreds as it guts its phone business. [online] Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2016/5/25/11766344/microsoft-nokia-impairment-layoffs-may-2016 [Accessed 5 May 2017].
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