Discuss about the case study Workplace Diversity for A social-Ecological Framework.
Workplace diversity defines the differences among employees, which encompasses gender, culture, age, ethics and race (Mahadevan, 2015). Diversity not only embraces how employees perceive about themselves, but also includes their perception about others. Australia is a multicultural country having diverse set of people. Therefore, the organizations in Australia are full of diverse set of employees having different culture, language and ethics. While diversity is not managed properly, it can have huge negative effect on the employees. Diversity management is all about recognizing and valuing individual differences among the employees. The study will discuss some issues faced by employers in managing diversity. This study will also highlight the roles of leaders in managing diversity. Apart from that, some of the impacts of effective diversity management will also be analyzed in this study.
Diversity in organizational behavior refers to the differences among the employees working in the same environment. Differences and similarities among the employees are occurred in terms of cultural background, religion, age, sex and physical abilities. Australia is one of the most popular countries having diverse culture among the people. Therefore, employees in Australian organizations are to face workplace diversity as a part of their daily life. According to Davis et al., (2016), among Australian employees, 28% of employees are born oversees and another 20% employees have parent born oversees. On the other hand, O’Mara, (2014) opined that in case of language it can be found that 20% of employees speak other language in their home rather than English. Employees from different foreign countries also come to Australian organization, which make workforce diversity. Diversity council of Australia has identified a high level of discrimination among Asian-Australian employees (Davis et al., 2016). Therefore, workplace diversity is in every aspect of Australian organizational behavior. Diversity may have negative impact on organizational behavior, when it is not managed properly. This negative affect can be reflected as increased communication barriers, cultural resistance and employee discrimination.
According to Olsen and Martins, (2012), building diverse workforce in organization with employees from different countries and culture increases number of communication filters. Language barriers have a huge impact on internal and external organizational communication. On the other hand, Kaiser et al., (2013) opined that Australian employees are more inclined to be resistant in adopting culture different from them. It can create employee confliction as well. According to Munyeka, (2014), it can often be found that Australian employers are inclined towards discriminating employees based on some particular background. Therefore, it creates discrimination in the workplace. On the other hand, Islam, (2014) argued that discrimination is the workplace comes from unfair treatment of some employees because of their distinguishing traits. All these negative effects create the necessity to manage diversity properly.
Diversity management is the practice of supporting and addressing different lifestyle and personal characteristics with a defined group of employees. The activities of diversity management include providing support and education to the group of employees within an organization. The intension of this support is to manage employees in accepting and respecting different cultural, societal and religious background. It can be found that most of the employees are resistant to accept diversity even if it is brought in most optimistic environment.
While managing workplace diversity, the managers of Australian organizations has to face several challenges. According to Sheehan and Anderson, (2015), diversity can damage the morale of this kind of people and damage their productivity. On the other hand, Greeff, (2015) pointed out that lack of respect towards other’s perception, prejudice and racism of employees creeps into a conflicting working environment in the organization. Another issue that has been brought into notice during diversity management is declining team spirit. According to Islam, (2014), lack of mutual respect and team spirit can be found in teamwork having diverse set of employees.
Leaders should take initiative approach for managing diversity properly. According to Davis et al., (2016), leaders should always show high level of sensitivity to the ever-evolving and diverse workforce. They must demonstrate appreciation towards the diversity of workforce. Fostering supportive environment allows the leaders to consider various religious events, personal significance and family emergency. On the other hand, Elias and Paradies, (2016) opined that leaders can also promote diversity through offering benefits corresponding to the needs of diverse workforce. The urge of getting benefit led them to accept diversity in the workplace.
According to Bond and Haynes, (2014), leaders should also communicate the actual purpose of diversity to their employers. By knowing the direction of organization, employees would be interested to accept the changes. On the other hand, Mamman et al., (2012) suggested top down support is highly recommended for managing diversity in Australian organizations. When employees will believe that their superiors are value the diversity, they will definitely try to understand the value of it. In has been found that, the leaders of Myer Retail Store in Australia maintain transparent relationship with their employees (Chrobot-Mason & Aramovich, 2013). Therefore, their employees are more flexible in accepting the increasing workforce diversity. On the other hand, the leaders of Wesfarmers have a ready focus group formed with diverse employees in dealing with different types of employees (Hsiao et al., 2015). It creates a high sense of value within the diverse work group. The employees are no longer resistant in accepting diversity.
According to Bond and Haynes, (2014), most effective way of managing work force diversity is to implement proper policy and practice. These policies should ensure that employers do not discriminate against or in favor of any particular set of employees. For instance, employees should be given flexibility to choose their preferred holidays depending on their religious preferences. Initiating a workplace, which is flexible enough to accommodate for a disable employees can also be an effective way of diversity management. On the other hand, O’Mara, (2014) opined that diversity training is also an efficient way of diversity management. While employees will be given training about diverse culture, religion and thinking style, they will be better able to adjust will those differences. Apart from that, instead of celebrating diversity in workplace, the management of Australian organizations should give their employees scope to demonstrate their individualities.
According to Kaiser et al., (2013), the employers should also encourage interaction among the diversified employees. It would foster a positive environment in the workplace and led the employees to mix up with others having different culture. It can be found that Franklins Supermarket in Australia has fostered an attitude of openness, which allows their employees to give their own opinion in organizational success. Thus, the value of diversified employees is identified and respected.
The success and failure of workforce diversity largely depend on its ability to handle workforce diversity. If diversity can be handled in an effective way, it can have great impact on Australian organizations. Davis et al., (2016) pointed out that diverse workforce can contribute variety of solution to the complex problems. On the other hand, Greeff, (2015) pointed out that diverse set of knowledge and skills allow Australian organizations to provide excellent service to global customers. This is because diverse workforce is aware of different language and cultural understanding. Most of the organizations in Australia are now trying to expand in international market. It needs wide range of ideas and experience. According to Hsiao et al., (2015), diverse workforces, which are interested to share varying point of views, create larger pool of experience and ideas. Organizations can draw effective ideas from the pool of those ideas and crate effective strategy to meet customized demand of customers. It can be found that the leaders of IGA supermarket in Australia are quite capable of managing employees from different cultural backgrounds. Thus, they are effectively expanding in international market through understanding global taste. On the other hand, Guillaume et al., (2015) pointed out that effective diversity management can foster creativity within organization. Ideas that are more diverse can be drawn from diversified employees. Therefore, there is huge chance of getting creativity ideas to serve different customers and make them happy.
While concluding the study, it can be said that workforce diversity comes from the differences among the employees in terms of age, gender, race, culture, ethnicity and religion. Australian Organizations are full of diversified employees coming from different countries. The prime diversity in Australian organization can be found among Asian-Australian Employees. Diversity in workplace, without a proper strategy can create a negative impact on the employees. It can cause communication barriers, cultural resistance and employee discrimination. Therefore, managing workforce diversity is extremely important for Australian organizations. Leaders should enthusiastically take initiatives in managing workforce diversity. They should properly communicate the purpose of workplace diversity with their employees. Employees are to be given training in understanding diverse culture and respect those. In order to promote diversity, employers should offer benefit in accordance with defined set of employees. Proper diversity management can increase the productivity level of Australian organization. In can also bring creativity, as diverse set of ideas can be collected from the employees.
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