Managing diversity

From CEOpedia | Management online

Managing diversity is a subjective phenomenon, created by group members themselves who, on the basis of their different social identities, categorize others as similar (Mazur, B 2010).

Because of the increasing globalization, the company has to take care of team diversity. Globalization requires more interaction among people from different gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, and mental or physical abilities and characteristics. In the opinion of (Loden & Rosener 1991). those are primary dimensions of diversity that create our basic self-image. From their point of view, secondary dimensions are educational background, geographic location, religion, first language, family status, work style, work experience, military experience, organizational role and level, income, and communication style. The secondary dimensions impact our self-esteem and self-definition.

Today's economy is not divided by country or by continent. In today's economy, people are part of a global economy, and competition comes through advanced and connected logistics from all over the world. For this reason, organizations need diversity to be more creative and open to change. Creativity comes from people's differences (Mazur, B. 2010).

The use of diversity and different approaches to work have become an important factors for today's management. Managers must be prepared to teach themselves and others in their organizations to value multicultural cultures and use differences in co-workers and customers as a competitive advantage rather than a barrier (Barak, M. E. M. 2022).

Strategies of managing diversity

Managing diversity prevents discrimination and promotes inclusiveness. But there is no one right strategy for implementing diversity management into a company's work environment. The main reason for this is the different work teams and the different nature of people, for which there is no one right theory that applies in all circumstances.

Organizations seeking to manage diversity must engage in a continuous four-step process, which consists of the following steps (Barak 2022):

  • Invest resources in understanding the climate within the company and among employees. Use this to find out what the views on diversity are, what stereotypes are prevalent in the company and in employee perceptions. Through this, the company can find out how to change the discriminatory mindset of its employees.
  • Create a strategic action plan relevant to the organization's mission and goals.
  • Implement appropriate actions and corrective measures that address conflicts or dilemmas related to diversity among employees.
  • Gather feedback regarding diversity and inclusion at the team and organizational level.

The basic characteristic that a manager needs to manage diversity is to embrace the concept of diversity management as a fundamental factor in the company's success. The management should not only strive to meet legislation or possible quotas, but to really understand the benefits of diversity (Barak, M. E. M. 2022).

Further, the realization that diversity cuts across all aspects of management. It is therefore not just about the selection process, during which people are often unwittingly put in a disadvantaged position simply because of their skin colour, for example, but diversity affects all aspects of management. The management process includes four basic tasks - planning, organising, leading, and controlling (Czuchry, A. J., & Yasin, M. M. 2003). Some managers have a tendency to control some people more than others based solely on their differences (Barak, M. E. M. 2022). For example, women may experience a glass ceiling that does not allow them to grow in their careers from a certain point onwards simply because of their gender (Cotter, D. A., Hermsen, J. M., Ovadia, S., & Vanneman, R. 2001).

It is also necessary for the manager to understand that he himself has ingrained prejudices and stereotypes. There is no need for him to devalue this fact, he can use his own stereotypes to understand discrimination and to evaluate appropriate weapons or training for employees to demolish their prejudices and deep-rooted stereotypes (Barak, M. E. M. 2022).

Conclusion of managing diversity

Although creating a diversity management strategy can be difficult at the outset, entailing changes in the organisation and monetary and time costs, diversity management that is implemented appropriately brings benefits. Employees with diverse backgrounds can look at things in different perspectives, which makes more decisions in decision making and it increase the possibility of pick the best decision in the end. Another advantage is the aforementioned creativity and the associated innovation. New ideas and effective innovation mean increasing the company's profit and improving its position in the market (Smith, D. G., & Schonfeld, N. B. 2000).

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Author: Ivana Miškić