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The American Airlines (AA) is a plausible case study organization for linking the theory on diversity management and its roles in fostering the performance of an organization with actual reality on the ground. The organization operates an intensive domestic and international air transport networks.
Being in the managerial position, I play critical roles in ensuring that the organization excels in terms of achieving its key objectives, hence its performance, by enhancing cute management of these diversities (Dobbs, 1996, pp. 351-367).
The failure of the organization to campaign for the management of diversity in terms of gender, race, age, community values, sexual affection, income levels, work experience, parental status, religious beliefs, ethnicity, religion, and physical abilities among its key stakeholders-suppliers, employees, and customers-is the central cause of the witnessed problem of workforce diversity. Overall, it translated to poor performance within the organization.
Identity of the problem under study
Organizational diversity here refers to the myriads of differences existing among people working in the AA with regard to the aforementioned parameters like gender, race, amongst others. On the other hand, workforce diversity management refers to “a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that works for all employees” (Kellough, 1990, pp. 557-566).
Workforce diversity is a problem that not only bothers the AA but also the workers themselves. This follows since mishandling of the various diverse affiliations of people impairs their morale.
To the AA, this is an immense disadvantage to its productivity since reduced workforce morale impairs negatively its profitability due to reduced workers’ output. Workforce diversity is a problem here to the extent that its inappropriate management results to low workers’ altitude towards work. Failure to manage organizational workforce diversity in the AA is not a symptom of another more fundamental problem.
The fact that the organization employs these people of valid diversities is the root cause of the problem of managing cutely the diverse workforce in order to enhance the performance of the organization (Kellough, & Elliott, 1992, pp. 1-13). This challenge follows because the organization’s workforce is diverse in terms of the beliefs upheld, which again stems from the cultural differences of the organization’s pool of stakeholders.
An increasing number of scholarly studies from different researchers like Kearney, Gebert and Voelpel (2009) gave support to the claim of the challenge of workforce diversity management. These researchers studied eighty-three different groups from different organizations for their “tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive endeavors” (p. 584).
The three researchers found out that education and age diversity had a direct relationship to the outcomes they anticipated where a team’s quest for recognition was remarkably high. Organizations depend on work teams to realize various solutions that are vital for success of the organizational business. For optimal output, it is essential that these work teams work in harmony. This calls for the teams to uphold common work ethics and norms.
However, this is a challenge upon noting that, in the globalization age, such work team members are diverse with respect to age, skills base, ethnic or race, and nationality amongst other diversity parameters. As the researchers inform, “both the elaboration of task-relevant information and collective team identification mediated a moderating effect of need for cognition on the relationship between both types of diversity and team performance” (Kearney, Gebert, & Voelpel, 2009, pp.581-598).
On the other hand, scholarly work by Eden et al (2011, pp. 1103-1118) supported the analysis of the problem. They integrated psychological and sociological perspectives in their research on the value that ethnic diversity has in an organization within the contexts of community diversities. Therefore, based on the expositions made by these scholarly sources, there is a need to check in depth the problem of workforce diversity management in a bid to tell how any organization, leave alone the AA, can manage it to enhance its productivity.
Analysis of Problem
Incivility is one of the direct causes of the problem. Existing census data and performance indices coupled with patient surveys applicable in 142 hospitals within the United Kingdom places a heavy argument that “ethnic diversity within an organization relates to decreased patients’ civility” (Cornwell & Kellough, 1994, pp. 265-270).
However, according to Eden et al., “the degree to which organizational demography was representative of community demography was positively related to civility experienced by patients and ultimately enhanced organizational performance” (2011, p.1103). Biasness is another direct cause of the problem. The finding by Eden et al. suggests that biasness in intergroup work members manifested in the form of incivility perceptions toward an out-group member acts as an impediment to the performance of an organization.
Discrimination is yet another direct cause of the problem facing the American Airlines. If there is no acceptance of diversity in an association, at times it results to varying intensities and sorts of discrimination. The discrimination that exists includes disability, race, sexuality, sex, religious conviction, financial status, and cultural conditions.
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There are numerous leadership and organizational behavior concepts in the problem of workforce diversity. The first one is presumptions and Stereotypes. If the management team of the AA dispenses individuality to a whole group instead of evaluating every person on his/her own virtues, there will be challenges since conceptions are naturally inaccurate and based on unfair stereotypes. The second is Harassment. Attitudes implying denial can result to harassment to other people who are different from those provoking this conduct.
The third is Exclusion. For diversity plans to flourish, it is significant for the AA to eradicate organizational propensity to reject people for reasons that do not concern the job (Pitts, & Jarry, 2007, pp. 233-254). The fourth is High turnover rate. It is expensive as every time an employee leaves the AA, he/she must spend time and money on employing latent fresh interviews, hires, and consequently, training fresh workforce.
The American Airlines should employ diverse people. Actions against the challenge of diversity management include:
- To structure the myriads of the American airlines stakeholders’ differences into a form that does not serve the purposes of distinguishing the corporate citizenship and diversity. The organization deserves to deploy innovative strategies. This would leverage community involvement, diversity, and corporate citizenship across the entire organization in the endeavor to facilitate the existence of a harmonious work environment thus fostering the performance of the core business of the organization such as procurement, sales, advertising, and marketing (Riccucci, 1997, pp. 35-41).
- Best practices affiliated to management of employees’ diversity as among the core organizational behaviors need facilitation through hiring targets for leadership trainings on diversity and development of resource networks for employees without negating the consideration of diversity issues at the highest ranks of the organization’s management.
- There is a need to resolve the challenge of conflicts of interests among customers, suppliers, and community of the American Airlines that emanate from differences in diversity among these stakeholders. The organization needs to put into place strategies like policies that would enable the organization’s management to understand the community, customers, and suppliers as block (Von Bergen, Barlow, & Theresa, 2002, pp. 239-251). This measure needs to be highly acclaimed at the organization since it can make the organization acquire global competitiveness in terms of service delivery.
Cornwell, C., & Kellough, E. (1994). Women and Minorities in Federal Agencies: Examining New Evidence from Panel Data. Public Administration Review 54(3), 265-270.
Dobbs, M. (1996). Managing Diversity: Lessons from the Private Sector. Public Personnel Management, 25(3), 351-367.
Eden, K. et al. (2011). Why organizations and community diversity matter: Representativeness and the emergence of incivility and organizational performance. Academy of Management Journal, 54(6), 1103-1118.
Kearney, E., Gebert, D., & Voelpel, S. (2009). When and how Diversity Benefits Teams: The importance of team members’ need for cognition. Academy of Management Journal, 52(3), 581-598.
Kellough, E. (1990). Integration in the Public Workplace: Determinants of Female and Minority Representation in Federal Agencies. Public Administration Review, 50(4), 557-566.
Kellough, E., & Elliott, E. (1992). Demographic and Organizational Influences on Racial/Ethnic and Gender Integration in Federal Agencies. Social Science Quarterly, 73(1), 1-13.
Pitts, D., & Jarry, E. (2007). Ethnic Diversity and Organizational Performance: Assessing Diversity Effects at the Managerial and Street Levels. International Public Management Journal, 10(2), 233-254.
Riccucci, N. (1997). Cultural Diversity Programs to Prepare for Work Force 2000: What’s Gone Wrong? Public Personnel Management, 26(1), 35-41.
Von Bergen, W., Barlow. S., & Theresa, F. (2002). Unintended Negative Effects of Diversity Management. Public Personnel Management, 31(2), 239-251.