Diversity and Inclusion at the Workplace

Introduction

Diversity is perceived differently by various businesses. For instance, while some businesses consider diversity as an opportunity to hire employees from diverse cultures, others see it as a way of creating a sense of belonging within the organization. Diversity can be traced back to the days of Franklin Roosevelt. Diversity came into the limelight during calls for affirmative action. It can be noted that the definition of diversity has changed over time due to changes in technology, global and business trends, among others. Consequently, challenges of diversity and inclusion have also transformed with new technologies and business dynamics. This paper will explore the challenges of diversity and inclusion (Allen, 1995).

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity model utilized originally was based on affirmative action. This model drew strength from the need to create and uphold equal opportunity employment. Additionally, the model drew strength from state laws. From this model, the tokenism model was developed. Tokenism involved the employment of individuals who differed from the dominant employee group within the organization. This was aimed at creating diversity within the organization. In particular, the metrics considered in employees were gender, race, and ethnicity. This was also aimed at reducing segregation or imbalance in workplaces. This was followed by the social justice model, which emphasized the need to employ individuals outside the dominant group in any given workplace. The social justice model brought about the need to include diverse ethnicities in workplaces. The social justice model added the notion of a good fit to tokenism (Esty, 2007). This brought about the development and acceptance of diversity and representation. The latter notion led to the expansion of metrics of diversity to include disability, age, and orientation.

Lately, diversity has included the model of inclusion. Inclusion emphasizes the need for a multicultural workforce and a globalized economy. Inclusion has brought about the need for organizations to capitalize on perspectives from an individual’s point of view. Moreover, diversity has brought the understanding that businesses that employ people from diverse cultures are better placed to understand market dynamics than those that do not employ a diverse workforce. Moreover, the theory puts it that culturally diverse workforces have a better understanding of market demographics. In essence, it gives the notion that organizations with a diverse workforce have better chances of thriving in a given market place than organizations without a diverse workforce. Employee demographics are, therefore, very essential in business management. On the other hand, Inclusion emphasizes the need to value each employee as well as his/her contribution to the organization. Once an organization has employed people from diverse cultures, the company needs to create a sense of belonging to make its workers feel valued. Therefore, diversity and inclusion create more challenges to leadership and management of organizations (Mitchell & Creary, 2010).

Challenges of Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion face renewed challenges because of the dynamics of workplaces. In this regard, businesses experience new challenges to foster togetherness and to maintain a working spirit in teams within organizations. Additionally, businesses have a task of creating a working organizational culture, which promotes diversity and inclusion. One challenge that transpires is the need to keep workers from diverse cultures united. Additionally, it becomes difficult to develop team spirit in workers with different motivational roots. In essence, creating a team, which draws its motivation from a central point, is impossible without a working organizational culture. Organizations face numerous challenges in dealing with diversity and inclusion. Some of the challenges include the assimilation of new employees from minority groups as well as the task of managing a workforce from diverse cultures. Additionally, organizations face difficulties in buying into ideas from employees.

One of the major tasks that face organizations in effective inclusion is about the assimilation of members who fall within the minority group. In every organization, there exists interplay of power, discursive steps as well as the interplay of ideology. In most cases, the dominant group reserves power and ideology. This makes individuals from minority groups to be forced into the majority’s ideology. In case individuals from minority groups are given a management position, tensions may develop in an organization. These tensions may be aimed at undermining the authority of management from a less dominant group. This is dangerous for the productivity of an organization. Secondly, managing a diverse population usually gives organizations problems. Managing a diverse population goes beyond recognition of their differences. Moreover, it requires everyone o accept one another’s differences. This is usually difficult to achieve. Moreover, this also affects competencies as well as communication. Thirdly, globalized organizations acquire people from different parts of the world. These people have different ideologies, which they expect to be listened to by the organization. Therefore, organizations face difficulties in recognizing all the ideas from their staff (Harvey, 2012).

Conclusion

Diversity and inclusion have transformed with changes in technology and globalization. The move from diversity to inclusion happened because of the need to sustain the globalized economy. Diversity and inclusion have brought about new challenges to business management. Some of the challenges encountered with diversity and inclusion include assimilation of members from minority groups. Moreover, organizations face the challenges to create a more diverse workforce as well as manage them effectively. Additionally, creating an organizational culture, which supports the ideas of employees, is also a big challenge to organizations.

References

Allen, J. (1995). Diversity and Organizational Communication. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 23 (1), 143–55.

Esty, K. (2007). NEHRA: From Diversity to Inclusion. Web.

Harvey, P. (2012). Understanding and Managing Diversity. New Jersey, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Mitchell, C. & Creary, S. (2010). Diversity and Inclusion: Global Challenges and Opportunities. Web.