Cultural Diversity in the Workplace | Books Review

In today's progressively more globalized world, the term 'variety in the workplace' will pop up all over. The main reason being that modern scientific advances in transportation have shrunk the world to this extent that it is no longer a difficulty to go to any part of the world be it for entertainment, studies and especially work. This newspaper explicitly targets literature that relates to cultural diversity in an organization and its implications on worker performance and the performance of any corporation as a whole. It will also have a look at cultural diversity from either aspect of the mirror, that is, the positive as well as the negative aspects and exactly how to manage this employee base. Please also remember that, while there's been some question on whether contest and culture should be thought as the same thing, this paper regards them as inter-usable in order to avoid distress.

So what exactly is cultural diversity? It's been described as "the structure of work units (work group, firm, occupation, establishment or company) in terms of the social or demographic characteristics that are salient and symbolically meaningful in the connections among group users" (DiTomaso, Post, & Parks-Yancy, 2007). The time has truly gone by when you expect a worker from another cultural record to just "merge" and begin producing results (Amaram, 2007). Organizations have became aware a multi-cultural workforce can prove to be a great asset especially if the business is to be widened to international market segments. So the emphasis has slightly shifted to create strategies to take care of such an worker base as well as how to maintain that program.

In his evaluation of the worthiness of a multi-cultural labor force, (Konrad, 2003) states three reasons why companies are changing their behaviour and strategies regarding recruitment of employees with differing backgrounds. First of all, the best expertise is not always local; you need to look internationally to recruit the best heads available. Secondly, he talks about market show, that is, a culturally diverse workforce can better focus on an increasingly diverse customer foundation, hence increased market show. The insight a local provides into the workings of the local market and also of the mentality of the local consumer is invaluable. Finally, he claims that all culturally different individual brings with him different things to the stand, and when you combine all these different capabilities, it results to make the business more competitive. Within a non-business related debate, (Jayne & Dipboye, 2004) suggest that increasing workforce diversity is the ethically right thing to do and also that it's a better way to handle race and gender issues. This argument may appear insignificant due to the fact the current competitive environment means companies care and attention more about capital than the 'right thing to do'. But (Amaram, 2007) introduces an extremely interesting argument about why corporations are moving to variety programs. Furthermore to moral and social tasks, he says that these programs have become necessary to avoid legal problems particularly scheduled to civil protection under the law regulations. Furthermore he claims that to get competitive advantage organizations have been pressured to bring forward new ways of bring out the best from a diverse workgroup and avoid conflicts.

Even at the Govt. level it's been understood that effectively handling cultural diversity is vital to economic success. One of these is the Australia Govt. policy, where diversity management is governed by circumstances policy namely, "Productive Variety". The aim of this coverage is to use the experiences and skills of individuals raised abroad, therefore gaining invaluable Intel on international marketplaces. (Leveson, Joiner, & Bakalis, 2009)

However what has been reviewed above is based on ideas and rhetoric. Is there any solid proof that cultural diversity leads to a prosperous business? The answer is a big "maybe". Countless research and studies have looked at this problem from various angles, each with their own differing conclusions. After looking at various researches upon this concern Jayne & Dipboye (2004) came up with four conclusions regarding the relationship between cultural variety and organizational performance.

"Increased diversity does not necessarily enhance the talent pool"

"Increased diversity does not necessarily build commitment, improve desire, and reduce discord"

"Increased group-level variety does not always lead to raised group performance".

"Diversity does not automatically improve organizational performance"

A study (Choi & Rainey, 2009) suggests that it all comes down to the sort of diversity i-e race, gender, faith etc. The studies were steady with prior research (Milliken and Martins, 1996; Williams and O'Reilly, 1998) that claim that racial variety is inversely proportional to organizational performance credited to less cohesion within the group and even more conflict. It should be noted however that research was specifically predicated on US federal businesses so it can not be considered to signify the global business environment development or even the nationwide business environment of the US as a whole.

Various other studies about them subject provide some very interesting results. McMahon (2010) in her article surveys the newer studies on diversity. Here I would like to talk about two of these. First, (Richard, 2000) carried out a study on the united states banking industry. He chose 63 banking companies from 3 claims predicated on 3 different factors: California (high racial variety), Kentucky (low racial diversity) and North Carolina (financial riches). The analysis showed that there is no direct romantic relationship between diversity and performance instead it depended more on the businesses' business strategies. When the strategy was more centered on growth there is a positive relation between diversity and performance but the result was contrary when the strategy shifted towards downsizing.

Again, the above mentioned review, even though thought to be valuable information, only included the US banking industry so that it cannot be said to depict the complete picture, (Richard, Murthi, & Ismail, 2007) therefore widened the range to other market sectors and studied the partnership between racial diversity and intermediate as well as permanent organization performance and the role that environmental framework plays in this. The results revealed that at high as well as low levels of racial diversity, there was a curvilinear positive relation between racial diversity and intermediate company performance. The result also showed a positive relationship between racial variety and long-term firm performance. But these results were dependent on the kind of industry and environmental stability, and therefore the U-shaped romance between racial diversity and stable performance would be weaker in unstable environments compared to a stable one.

Till now I have reviewed how ethnic diversity affects businesses and also related the theoretical assumptions to actual studies done upon this very important issue. In the next portion I'll make an effort to review literature that primarily focuses on the best practices for managing diversity.

"Effective management of variety is dependant on acknowledgement of commonalities and knowing of variances" (McMahon, 2010). Handling cultural diversity will involve identifying the guidelines. A best practice is a method, method, process, activity, incentive, or prize that is believed to be more effective at delivering a particular outcome than another technique, method, process, etc. when applied to a particular condition or situation (Wikipedia, 2010). Just what exactly are these best practices that I referred to? Amaram (2007) gives a few ideas about them. He offers particular importance to variety training programs, offering managers variety related goals and ensuring they are fulfilled and finally, offering respect to people of all races, that is, making room for spiritual holidays, diet personal preferences etc. , because sometimes it is the little things that matter the most.

Jayne & Dipboye (2004) suggest "performing an intensive needs examination" so the diversity initiatives are "tailored to the situation". Another recommendation is to build up a strategy keeping in mind the environmental framework of the organization thereby echoing the results of the study carried out by Richard, Murthi and Ismail (2007). Yet another point that they touched in their newspaper was the necessity for inventing something to evaluate the consequences of diversity management strategies developed by organizations so that new and much better strategies can advance by learning the mistakes from previous ones.


The progressively diverse workplace is constantly posing newer problems for an organization. Therefore there is a need for organizations to realize the importance of devising variety management strategies. These strategies require complete planning and looking at all aspects as well as the ensuing implications that will happen from a particular strategy just because a good strategy can do wonders for a business. At the same time these strategies could backfire if there is a lack of planning or research before implementation. After reviewing the above mentioned literature, you can see that ethnic variety is a sophisticated phenomenon. Its role in improving organizational performance depends on various factors, for example, environmentally friendly context, the sort of industry, organizational strategies, etc. Furthermore cultural diversity alone does not ensure immediate, tangible improvements in organizational, group, or individual performance. Nevertheless, attaining a culturally diverse workforce and effectively managing this workforce can produce huge benefits.

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