Imagine that you are a highly qualified former Hispanic executive who was recently laid off from a fortune 500 hundred company. With in that company you held several key roles in which you were crucial to the success of the organization. In the prior roles you may have never really understood the need or the process of managing diversity. You hold several advanced degrees in key business fields despite all of your experience education and the economy flourishing you can’t seem to find a job comparable to were you were. You happen to buy a copy of the Wall Street Journal and on the front page is the article below:
Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority group, and the youngest, and the most underrepresented in companies’ top management. Since 1990 the Hispanic population has grown from 22. 4 million to nearly 42. 6 million. By 2050 they’ll account for one out of four U. S. citizens. But of the 10,417 board seats in Fortune 1,000 companies, they hold only 191, and occupy just a scant 1. 1% of the executive offices in those companies. Of the top 1,000 corporations, 913 have no Latino officers, and 35 entire industries, like insurance and telecommunications, have no Hispanics at all in executive positions.
Search firms say their databases are rich with Latino talent. LatPro, the largest job board for Hispanics, has a database of 240,000 professionals, with 50,000 candidates seeking entry level management positions — the same $50,000 to $100,000 a year positions companies say they’re having trouble filling with diverse professionals. Says Ernesto Fresquez of Fresquez & Associates, an Oakland staffing firm, “I could fill every professional position in a major corporation, from entry level to CEO, with highly qualified, educated and experienced Hispanic candidates. ” But the demand just hasn’t been there.
One problem, says this article, is that companies may not be aware of these resources; another may be that they’re unwilling to face how far behind they are in Hispanic hiring. (Thomas 2003) Introduction When the society’s functioning of diversity and social responsibility fails, the results are a system of inequality and lacking of social commitment. Diversity concerns are relevant and essential human ideas in which making choices is not always a matter of ethics or black and white. Managing diversity does not always presuppose management’s moral or social conscience as the primary concern.
The following plans would help management and working class alike distinguish which position we must take in regards to managing diversity and social responsibilities. Currently today Corporate America faces a formable obstacle. This challenge will force those in positions of leadership to perform a serious organizational gut check. As the face of the consumer and employee rapidly change the result is an over whelming need for the ability to manage diversity and value differences while maintaining ethical standard.
Performing this gut check will help leadership evaluate their ability to be successful in the near future. Thirty years ago discrimination and was a part of normal business activity. Work place diversity meant hire outside of your family not outside of your race. As a result, the federal government felt impelled to create employment laws. These new laws were implemented to eliminate discrimination and provide the means for advancement. As a consequence of this implementation, these laws have created possible barriers to maximizing the potential of every employee (Chan, 2000).
Within the last 10 years the growth rate of the labor force has slowed, resulting in increased immigration to both the United States and Canada. During the same period, the source of new immigrants has also changed, with the growth in the number of immigrants coming from Asia, Africa, and South America outpacing that of European immigrants. While this trend has provided a greater supply of skills and abilities from different parts of the world and from different segments of the population, it has also increased the need to harmonize the resulting differences within organizations.
Recently, the concept of diversity has completely changed from before. The previous process of handling diversity entailed expecting people to assimilate to the new cultures. They were forced to adapt to fit the mold of company’s dominant culture. The new process treats diversity as an asset. Actually, good diversity management does not require employees to assimilate. It encourages them to develop their strengths and present innovative ideas (“Managing Diversity”, 1999). Managing diversity is not about treating everyone the same.
It is about recognizing and accommodating differences, and making sure that those differences do not create barriers to professional growth or service delivery. Managing diversity is all-inclusive; it includes empowering employees to develop and use their unique skills and talents. What is Managing Diversity? “The art of dealing with people is the foremost secret of successful men. A man’s success in handling people is the very yardstick by which the outcome of his whole life’s work is measured” (Paul C. Packer) Managing diversity is everybody’s business these days in today’s society; ethical awareness is at the highest point in many years.
This awareness enables “workforce diversity management to become one of the pressing issues that managers must address” (“Managing Diversity”, 1999). As companies are becoming more diverse, it is becoming more important for leadership to understand and manage that diversity. The most general definition of managing diversity is the long-term process of extensively analyzing a company’s current culture and changing those parts that limit cultural diversity. Also, it means recruiting new employees for the skills they can bring to the company rather than their cultural homogeneity.
Lastly, it means working with a management team to help them understand that cultural diversity is a business issue and not a personal issue, and their own careers will benefit from enabling their employees to reach their full potential (“Managing Diversity”, 1999). According to Dr. R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr. , author of Beyond Race and Gender (1999), the problem of diversity is not limited to questions of race, gender, ethnicity, disabilities and sexual orientation. Differences that replenish energy and undermine productivity and performance in an organization extend to issues like personality styles.
Managing diversity forces leadership to diversify it workforce leading to better performance overall. With a diverse workforce, there arises a need for new management strategies, which require an organization leaders and managers to know the differences among their employees and to know how to handle situations involving these differences. As Dr. Sondra Thiederman, a leading expert in workplace diversity, stated, ”whether you are a business owner, executive, salesperson or customer- service professional, your success will increasingly depend on your ability to function in a culturally diverse marketplace” Why Manage Diversity?
In life and golf the difficulty is not avoiding the sand pits, but getting out of them once you have gotten in them. (Unknown) Why should companies concern themselves with diversity? Does a company have a social responsibility to the shareholders and the community at large to manage diversity? Many in positions of leadership are being challenged with this same question. The over whelming response seem to be yes. Recently, the concept of diversity has completely changed from before. It is predicted that by the year 2010, women, minorities, and the disabled will dominate the workforce (“Managing Diversity”, 1999).
Organizations that are viewed as biased against these groups will not attract the competent workforce. Today, it is vital that organizations prove its impartiality in order to be successful in a constantly changing business environment. “Nearly three-fourths of job-seekers said work-life balance was at the top of the list of factors that are important to them. Two-thirds say they look to see if a company is making it a point to hire and cultivate diverse employees, and half want to know the company’s ranking on a “Best Places to Work” list.
The study, by The New York Times Job Market, found 67% of the 500 hiring managers saying their companies were actively recruiting diverse candidates. Work-life balance and flexibility were high on their lists too, with 93% saying that was one strategy they were using to recruit diversity. Most said their company’s efforts are directed toward building a culture that is more inclusive of all employees needs, and 93% of hiring managers agreed that a diversity program is the first step toward creating such a culture” (Williams 2003)
The basic premise behind the diversity initiatives underway in many public and private organizations is that when employees feel they are being treated with fairness and dignity, and without discrimination, they will reciprocate in terms of their commitment to organizational goals. The opposite holds true when employees suffer discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Not only can this type of behavior undermine employee performance and productivity, but it can also damage an organization’s image and lead to expensive litigation.
Many mangers are beginning to realize a they have a social responsibility to provide a more diverse workforce, which will increase organizational effectiveness. It will lift morale, bring greater access to new segments of the marketplace, and enhance productivity. In short, they claim, diversity will be good for business. Research stated that the Canadian companies leading the way in the area of diversity management have discovered that by embracing the elements of ethnic and cultural diversity in their workforce they have enhanced their ability to understand and tap new markets, both within Canada and abroad.
Research generated from a variety of fields predicts that important benefits will result from demographic heterogeneity in organizations by increasing the variance in perspectives and approaches to work that members of different identity groups can bring” (e. g. , Thomas and Ely, 1996). There is a compelling generic business case for achieving and managing diversity in the workplace.
Diversity can help organizations: identify and capitalize on opportunities to improve products and services; attract, retain, motivate and utilize human resources effectively; improve the quality of decision-making at all organizational levels; and reap the many benefits from being perceived as a socially conscious and progressive organization. These benefits should be manifested in an improved bottom line and maximization of shareholder value. (Gandz and Ivey, 2000) Achieving diversity does nothing for an organization unless that diversity is managed effectively.