Trying to define diversity in your own words can be a challenging task. Many people think that diversity is what makes us different from others. This is true to some extent, but to be more precise it is the mix of all factors which an individual demonstrates in his daily life that makes him/her different from or similar to another group. In simpler words, it is the set of individual differences and similarities that make us different/similar to each other.
There are 4 main layers which shape diversity. At the center of these layers comes Personality. Researchers have chosen personality to be at the core because it is the most stable factor that shapes our identity.
Internal Factors which include age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity, and race, surround the core personality. More often known as primary factors, internal factors cannot be controlled by an individual; they influence attitudes and assumptions towards others which in return influence our behavior.
Surrounding the internal or primary factors is another circle which can be defined as External or Secondary Factors. These factors include religion, parental status, marital status, appearance, income, habits, work experience, and educational background. These factors indicate to individual uniqueness which we can more likely to control or influence.
The final layer of diversity is directly related to the organization and is known as Organizational Dimensions. These include work location, seniority, work content, management status, union affiliation, and functional level. This layer tackles mainly the culture of the work.
All of these layers influence, interact, and shape our behavior towards others, which in return make us unique and different. Thus a diverse world is formed. This is just a brief overview about diversity and the 4 layers that shape it, and our actions that makes us unique or different from others.
What about workplace diversity, and how do organizations view diversity?
As the effect of cultural barriers is decreasing in time, the labor market has become an open world market. The global market has become one small market filled with job seekers from all over the world. Organizations are viewing this diverse workforce as an asset rather than a liability. They started introducing a â€śvaluing diversityâ€ť strategy which emphasizes on understanding, appreciating, and recognizing the differences of humans. It focuses on creating an environment which helps everyone to feel accepted, and valued regardless of race, gender, color, etcâ€¦
Creating a diverse workplace can help organizations in many ways.
- It can lower cost since the organization will eliminate any chance of discrimination lawsuits (wherever such apply).
- Another key advantage to managing workplace diversity is improving recruiting efforts. Since the main objective of human resources is to hire the right person in the right place, organizations with diverse culture have a wider range of candidates to choose from the labor market.
- Diversity can also increase creativity and innovation. Management expert Rosabeth Moss-Kanter conducted a research on heterogeneous teams and their ability to be creative and innovative. She found a direct relationship between diverse teams and innovation.
- Diversity can also lead to a better group problem solving and productivity output. Since heterogeneous workforce owns a wider range of experience and perspectives, they can improve problem solving and productivity issues within organizations.
It is important to note that managing workplace diversity requires extensive training programs in order to reach its desired outcome.
So which type of organization would you like to work in? An organization which values diversity and multicultural variety, or a mono-cultural work environment? Waiting for your fruitful thoughts and ideas in the comments box below