Diversity plays a major role in contemporary organization as it pertains to people with different age, backgrounds, education and sex all working in the same organization and accepting various opinions from them. Traditional organizations usually follow an organizational structure in a business that is hierarchical, meaning employees are departmentalized with different level of authority. Contemporary organizations are less strict and eliminate the chain of command between the higher status employees’ and the lower status employees’. Diversity is beneficial to contemporary role as it introduces various point of view from different people as well as increasing the comfortability between the members as they are accepted into the group without any judgement.
Today’s fast paced society has changed how organizations today operate differently from the past. Wrench (2005) draws attention to diversity management which supports affirmative action approaches, anti- discrimination and equal opportunity because of its importance on business benefits, organizational efficiency and market performance. People are encouraged to a more culturally diverse workplace where all differences are listened and valued. To some, Prasad (1997) states that diversity may involve overcoming cultural prejudice and teaching new values in the organization. The commitment of executive and managerial teams is essential. Leaders and managers within organizations must integrate diversity policies into every aspect of the organization’s function and purpose. By promoting diversity in leadership positions as this could make individuals realize the benefits of diversity in workplace and encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions more. Management cooperation and participation is required to create a culture conducive to the success of an organization’s plan. This enable people to work to their full potential in a more healthy and productive work environment. Hence, organizations with a diverse mixture of experiences and skills allow an organization to provide services to customers on a global standard where customers feel more comfortable.
The favorable side of being a diverse staff in an organization likely to be hi-tech, contain higher levels of creativity and flexibility in production as well as services where interacting face to face with clients is important. Most organizations usually engage with technology to secure potential future business growth in the rapidly
changing competitive environment. This is to exceed customers’ expectations. Cox and Blake (1991) holds the view that the marketing departments are becoming increasely diverse as a workforce. Selling goods and services is facilitated by a representational workforce in several ways.
Firstly, well-known companies have correspondingly favorable public relations. This may be essential due to some people such as women and ethnic minorities, might prefer to work at an organization who values diversity. In addition, they may also prefer to purchase goods and services from such organizations. This would create a good reputation for the organization due to the increase of loyal customer due to diversity in a contemporary organization.
Secondly, culture has a significant effect on consumer behavior. In an example, Asian culture, values and teenagers’ admiration to their parent’s wants have been identified as affecting consumer behavior. In addition, in culture, younger people always treat the elders with respect. Hence, when an Asian consumer is treated with upmost respect from a younger Asian member of the organization, there is already a cultural bonding and relationship between the two that would gain loyalty from the consumer. There are other sectors where diversity in the workforce are not necessary and irrelevant, such as areas of work characterized by the same routine activity and uniformity in the production of goods. For instance, the mining field usually only needs safety training such as first aid awareness.
The population of Finland may be a good case scenario of diversity. As argued by Louvrier (2013), the population of Finland is becoming increasingly multicultural due to the increased immigration on a variety of immigration grounds. Family related reasons had been one of the primary motives for immigration, however, job-related immigration exceeded the family-related immigration and is anticipated to rise again. Furthermore, the number of international students studying in Finland has rose, which has also been a governmental objective as well. Finnish work life has in consequence become more heterogeneous in terms of nationalities and cultures, and from this, the diversity of the workforce is expected to further increase in the future. This might be a positive trend by most employers, challenges will also come along the way.
For instance, the labor market has become more differentiated along identity lines, and work life inequality has amplified. Foreigners already in the country face challenges in pursuing their careers and advancing in the Finnish society, despite the official plans to promote employment of foreigners and business organizations’ positive approach to diversity. Some individuals may find it problematic to fit in especially those from the rural area. As they did not receive much education. Ineffective communication may result in confusion, low morale and lack of teamwork. As well as, some employees might be resistance to change because their mindset is already used to the “we have always done it this way” mentality.
In this context, diversity management as an organizational initiative addressing questions of difference and inclusion has arisen as a crucial issue. Louvrier (2013) believes that the literature on diversity and its management in the Finnish labour market, however, is contradictory in the evaluation of current diversity interest. Practitioner-aimed literature promotes diversity management, presents projects, best practices and rationales for organisations to invest in diversity management.
In addition, Wrench (2005) states that no research could prove diversity has any clear positive or negative effects on individual, group or outcomes of an organization. However, racism is indeed argued to be unacceptable in this time of era, but only when the outcome is leading to inefficiency in the utilization of human resource. If there was a change in market conditions which neither racism and discrimination is causing inefficiency, then there will no longer be crucial to combat them.
Though, blatant discrimination is not accepted and less frequently encountered in society, discrimination is still far from disappearing, and is being replaced by less overt forms such as subtle discrimination. For instance, compliments are a new form of how subtle discrimination being involved. This sort of discrimination is usually an unintentional act but still gives the same effects of regular discrimination. Van Laer and Janssens, (2011) mention one of the interviewees felt the compliments they received are based on traditional stereotypes. This kind of unintentional act is based on assumed deficit language fluency. (Wu 2003) admits receiving compliments of his English being well spoken and encountering people introducing themselves by speaking Chinese just because he is someone who happens to be an Asian. Some individuals may feel offended. Again, it is obvious that foreign descent is not granted the same status and continue being marginalized and rejected. Employees working in a contemporary organisation may still encounter this sort of experience.
Other than that, being diverse in an organization could let the business making the right decision as Benschop (2011) expresses that diversity management does not only focus on the individual but can be characterized as a multi-actor analysis. This analysis takes interest in the more complex levels of analysis such as groups and the effects of diversity on group cohesion and productivity of groups. Each idea will be carefully analyzed and considered before making a choose. This leads to a group to have higher creativity and innovative capacity as it does not focus only on one view point. Thus, the contributions in workgroups and the whole organization would add up to an increased in efficiency. Cox and Blake (1991) did suggest collection of information about diversity related-issues is one of the crucial components. Many forms of data such as traditional equal-opportunity profile data, analysis of attitudes and perceptions of employees, and data which highlights the career experiences of different cultural groups (e.g., are mentors equally accessible to all members) are needed.
As research has several important uses. First, it is often helpful for identifying issues to be addressed in the education process. For example, data indicating differences of opinion about the value in diversity based on culture group can be used as a launching point for mixed-culture discussion groups in training sessions. Second, research helps identify areas where changes are needed and provides clues about how to make them. Third, research is necessary to evaluate the change effort. Baseline data on key indicators of the valuing diversity environment needs to be gathered and periodically updated to assess progress.
According to Christian et al (2006), “a principal aim of diversity management research has been to increase our understanding of the effects that workgroup diversity has on cohesion and performance”. This statement highlights the effect of workgroup diversity. These effects often shift back and forth between a positive or a negative aspect. The positive aspect to this is that diversity introduces many different prospective as well as a broader skills base. The negative aspect is the background bias stemming from social categorization can reduce performance. For instance, subtle discrimination is still going on and is hard to prove. Subtle discrimination can range from unconsciously excluding the person out of group discussion to confrontation with the person.
Furthermore, these negative outcomes prove to hinder the group progress. Altercations is a prime example of a negative outcome due to diversity. These altercations can be directed at one person or a group of people. This in turn leads to a halt in progress to where the solution is time consuming. Diversity in a work group can vary between a progressive thing or a time-consuming thing.
At the same time, Devine et al. (2007) mention that the hospitality industry has long relied on a culturally diverse workforce. The hospitality industry of Northern Ireland is one of the example. Although Northern Ireland is encountering a slow recovery from the troubled past, the hospitality and tourism industry have experienced significant growth and Northern Ireland is emerging as an international tourist destination. Northern Ireland’s capital city – Belfast – is fast becoming a city destination. In 2003, 1.95 million visitors came to Belfast, the highest on record and an increase of 12 per cent on the year. The tourism and hospitality industry consists of a mixture of heterogeneous businesses, with most tourism revenue going to small, owner-managed enterprises. Sze et al. (2012) describes how cities with the highest growth in diversity also experience growth in earning for the native-born. From this, not only diversity benefits the organization, it somehow contributes to the gross domestic product of the economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the indicators used to gauge the condition of the country’s economy.
In addition, Cox and Blake (1991) describes how managing and valuing diversity training is the most prevalent starting point for managing diversity. Two types of training are popular: awareness training and skill-building training. Awareness training focuses on creating an understanding of the need for, and meaning of managing and valuing diversity. It is also meant to increase participants’ self awareness on diversity related issues such as stereotyping and cross-cultural insensitivity. Skill-building training educates employees on specific cultural differences and how to respond to differences in the workplace. Often the two types are combined. Training is a crucial first step. However, diversity training alone is not sufficient for the organization’s diversity management plan. Diversity awareness should frequently be as part of the development programs in hospitality courses. This helps the organization to attract an even wider range of qualified employees as it shows every individual can fit in at the firm. To be more operative, a strategy must be made and applied to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of the organization.
Wrench (2005) expresses how diversity management policies may cause some distress such as concentrating on intercultural awareness training, while dodging the important elements. For example, the introduction of affirmative action targets to create a workforce that reflects the ethnic makeup of the locality; anti-discrimination training to modify the behavior of white managers and employees; or strong internal anti-harassment initiatives. Moreover, contemporary organisations should consider making assessment of their diversity process an integral part of their management system. A customizable employee satisfaction survey can accomplish this assessment for the company efficiently and conveniently. It can guide the management team determine which policies need to be added or eliminated. Reassessment can then determine the success of diversity in the workplace plan implementation. This can also weed out any problem in the future regarding diversity in a contemporary organization. This is beneficial in creating a positive and work efficient environment.
However, Prasad (1997) expresses that the cultural nature of the diversity movement also cause few difficulties from evaluating organizational attempts to manage diversity. Managing diversity could not be connected to the various employment laws that regulate different forms of discrimination such as subtle discrimination at the workplace. The economic value of diversity also comes through in discussions of enhanced organizational performance. Culturally diverse groups are likely to outperform more homogeneous ones because they bring diverse approaches to everyday organizational problem solving. However, the hidden lie being diversity, there are still gender conflicts, race tensions and cultural frictions. Experiences of marginalization for generations, with strong and negative social meanings attached to perceived group traits, condescension, contempt, exclusion, etc., continues to surface in personal accounts of women, African American and Asian organizational participants. Another area of concern is that diversity management dilutes policies against racism and ethnic discrimination by mixing them with policies relating to other groups. Individuals that support diversity management, they can see this as a benefit in terms of it broadens the appeal of equal opportunities by moving it away from policies for racial and ethnic minorities to the inclusion of other groups. Though, critics say this does not allow for the fact that some groups have suffered historically from much greater prejudice and exclusion than others.