Many organizations are realizing that a work force that is diverse is their greatest potential strength especially when it is managed properly. One of the reasons for this is globalization that has brought about a diverse market place that also needs to be served by a diverse work force (Lopez, 2009). This increase in diversity in different organization has greatly contributed to the increased success and innovation among major companies and organizations that have embraced these new changes. This has also brought about a competitive edge in the world of business with each organization striving to stay a step ahead of the others. A good example is California's Silicon Valley whose engineers come from different academic disciplines and from different countries make the company to be more innovative than others which have the same brain power but lack diversity (DeVeale and Manea, 2007).
1. Purpose of study
With rapid globalization, diversity in the work place is also increasing. The work force of any organization or company are the most vital assets as they carry the bulk of the work in terms in terms of service delivery and productivity. By analyzing the impact of diversity in the work place, this research will be able to come up with insightful information on why some companies are more successful than others.
2. Main objective
To analyze the impact of diversity in the work place.
- To assess the extent of diversity in the productivity and success of a company or organization.
- To analyze the benefits of diversity in the work place.
- To evaluate why companies and organizations embrace diversity in the workplace.
- Analyze how organizations and companies can take advantage of workplace diversity.
3. Research Questions
- What is diversity and workplace diversity?
- How does diversity impact productivity in the work place?
- What are some of the benefits of diversity in the work place?
- What challenges are encountered when implementing diversity in the work place?
- How can these challenges be overcome?
- Why do companies and/or organizations embrace workplace diversity?
4. Scope of study
The research will capture two organizations or companies which are accessible. One of the companies has embraced workforce diversity while the other is still resistant to the new concept. Although the two companies may not sufficiently represent the whole population on the impact of diversity in the work place, the researcher will maximize on the available sample so that the research proposal is adequately researched.
5. Literature review
5.1 Definition of Diversity and workplace Diversity
Oliver in his 2005 article attributes technology and globalization of markets into liberal trading regimes as the main catalyst to the changes that have seen businesses being conducted today. The concept of diversity is considered to be inclusive of everyone. That is, it focuses on a broader set of qualities other than race and gender. Diversity is interpreted to include other dimensions which influence the perspectives and identities that people bring which include parental status, religion, education background, sexual orientation, geographical location, work experience and style and profession. Diversity looks at more than just the perception of people towards themselves but also how they too perceive others and these perceptions affect work place interactions (Greenberg, 2009). Diversity is about learning from others who are not the same, about respect and dignity for all and also about environments in the work place and practices that encourage learning from others and capture the advantage of diverse perspectives.
Work place diversity is an issue that deals with people while paying particular focus on the differences and similarities that people bring to the work place.
Bowes 2007 believes it is all about embracing, inclusion and reaping the benefits of and influencing cultural and interpersonal differences for the exclusive benefit of the organization. In the work place, it means creating a workplace environment that respects and incorporates individual differences while recognizing the distinctive contributions that these individuals with various differences can make and creating a work place environment that capitalizes on the potential of the entire workforce (Kenyon, 2005).
5.2 Impact of Diversity in the Work Place
Due to increased globalization, it is expected that diversity will also increase. For organization to be successful, they must recognize the need for immediate action and be ready and willing to spend resources in the management of diversity in the work place. Embracing this new concept has had various impacts on companies and organizations.
Benefits of Diversity
Work diversity is beneficial to both the employees and employers. Although the employees are interdependent in the work place, according respect for individual differences greatly increases productivity. There are various benefits that accrue when organizations recognize the need for action and are prepared and also willing to spend their resources on the execution of diversity in the work place. According to Greenberg, 2009 and Lockwood, 2005 these benefits include:
Increased adaptability - when organizations employ a work force that is diverse, it is in a better position to supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in sourcing, solutions and services. Employees who come from diverse backgrounds bring individual experience, skills and talents hence suggest ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and demands from customers. Impact
Broader range of service - an organization with a diverse collection of work force with different experiences and skills i.e. cultural understanding, language, education) allows the organization to provide its customers with services that are on a global basis.
Execution that is effective - companies and organizations that encourage work place diversity inspire and aspire that all their employees will work and perform to their highest ability. As such, company-wide strategies can be executed which results in increased productivity, return on investment and profit.
Variety of View points - Communication is vital to any organization. A diverse workforce that feels confident and comfortable when communicating their varying views provides the organization with a larger pool of ideas and experiences. Therefore, the organization is able to draw from these ideas to meet the strategic needs of the business. Essentially the organization is able to respond to an increasingly diverse world of customers, improve relations within the vicinity, be able to cope better with change and ultimately expand the creativity and innovation of the organization.
Decision making process - the process of decision making is greatly enriched by a culturally diverse team. This is because they provide a wide range of perspectives and also generate different alternatives to a problem.
Diversity training- helps to reduce and prevent cases of discrimination and hence promote exclusiveness. Managing a workforce that is diverse has the advantage of increasing staff retention and productivity.
Attracting of Employee talent - a workforce that is diverse enables companies to attract individuals who are talented. Additionally, people who are creative and smart aspire to work in places that provide them with the opportunities to advance in terms of skills and education. As such they are attracted in organizations that are diverse and also inclusive.
The primary objective of this research is to collect relevant data which will provide adequate and credible information on the impact of diversity in the work place. The research therefore will employ the use of one major method, that is, the library of MUN to conduct the literature search. This method was selected because it there is extensive literature written on the impact of workplace diversity with detailed In addition to this, the researcher will also prepare and post an open-ended online questionnaire on the web site of the chosen companies and organizations which will assist in verifying and augmenting the information obtained from the library of MUN. The sample survey group will include all the staff members in the selected companies from top level management team to other employees in different departments.
The researcher is aware of a number of limitations that may be encountered in the course of the research. The first one is the access of respondents who are credible enough to give information that is accurate. One major drawback of the questionnaire is that the researcher has no control over the people who respond to the posted questionnaires. The other limitation is time limitation as most of the respondents might not have enough time to spare to fill in the questionnaire. To overcome these limitations the researcher has communicated in advance with the respondents requesting them to determine the most appropriate day and time when they can fill in the questionnaire.
8. Statement of ethical issues
The research may be faced with such ethical issues as lack of privacy and/or confidentiality, deception, financial risk in terms of the time factor on the company, risk that is associated with negative feedback from the employees and even emotional risks as a result of the nature of the questions. As such several measures will be put in place to counteract these ethical issues. The researcher will make certain; that consent to carry out the research is obtained which will fully describe the purpose of the research, that the nature of the questions does not have any emotional and/or financial risk or room for negative feedback from employees and will also not mention the name of the company or the respondents' names.