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Companies ought to appreciate and recognize diversity as a strategy to achieve their objectives in the contemporary business environment. Appreciation of diversity in the work place and in the context of organization’s operations reflects company’s flexibility and acceptance of change. Companies that embrace diversity acquire a competitive edge that is necessary for success.
Such companies as IBM and PepsiCo have reaped numerous benefits owing to their ability to make strategies that recognize workforce that is diverse in terms of race, nationality and gender. This paper highlights the positive attributes associated with diversity, which has become the modern key to organizations’ success. Besides, the paper will explore the importance of diversity by making inferences from Agility Corporation.
Positive Attributes of Diversity as a Strategy
Firms do not adopt diversity in order to comply with various policies, laws and regulations alone. On the contrary, diversity has immense positive attributes through which companies stand to increase their revenues. First, companies that appreciate diversity are able to penetrate different global markets and acquire a competitive edge.
It is important to notice that companies are now venturing in new markets both locally and internationally. When companies go global, cultural diversity challenges their operations. To counter the challenges, companies increase their racial, nationality and gender composition of their staff and workforce. Porter (1996) explicates that diversity does not only focus on the workforce but also on the target market.
Diversity in the organization will therefore reflect the diversity of the market. According to Thomas (2004), diversity has become a bridge between an organization and the customers.
In other words, he explains that an organization is likely to attract a diverse set of customers when they increase diversity in the work place (Thomas, 2004). As such, diversity brings about increased number of customers from different backgrounds that translate to increased revenues.
Second, appreciating diversity in the workplace motivates employees, leading to high retention rates as well as improved job commitment (Mintzberg, 1987). In the contemporary world, companies are attempting to minimize costs associated with job training for new employees. Retention therefore has proved to be a strategy through which companies evade these costs.
By appreciating diversity in workplace, a company creates an environment where all members of the workforce across all departments and supply chain are appreciated. This is despite their differences in gender, racial or ethnic affiliations. Companies are now taking into consideration the plight of minorities and marginalized groups and as such, the workplace has diminished various sources of discrimination.
Thomas & Creary (2009) explain that greater diversity within an organization is in itself a motivating factor for initially marginalized groups of employees. Mintzberg (1987) articulates that companies are making strategies that will minimize their overhead expenses. It has become apparent that organizations should outsource in areas where there is efficiency.
This implies that companies will continue operating in diverse environments that will require subsequent adaptation to changes. As such, diversity depicts a company that is responsive to the organizational dynamics. Porter (1996) asserts that the organizations that are positioning themselves effectively are reducing their operational costs both in the short term as well as in the long-term.
The business environment at the global stage dictates that companies will seek to assume a global appeal. Without recognizing diversity as such, a company’s image is not reflective of its diversity and certainly, not positioned to take advantage of global customers. It has become efficient for companies to access high skilled employees that also increase the company’s profit margin in the long term.
Diversity provides corporate organizations with an opportunity to make an analysis of their ability to respond to changes. At the outset, companies have an opportunity where managers can illustrate their leadership abilities. During the process of accepting diversity as a huge step towards achievement of organization’s goals, leaders have the mandate of going beyond the cliché of becoming diverse and get involved in the process.
Thomas (2004) says that executive teams tend to have beliefs that are contrary to their behavior and underestimate the need for a corporation to achieve the diversity strategy. As such, diversity strategy gives an organization a chance to have a structure through which the entire workforce is educated on the important aspects of the same. Besides, it deepens the awareness of diversity by the executive team of organization.
To appreciate diversity as a corporate strategy, companies involve all the key stakeholders and employees as partners in the achievement of strategic goals. This helps to promote the concept of equality and address pertinent diversity issues that may represent significant cultural change.
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For instance, Thomas (2004) points out that IBM engaged all the employees and invited constituents groups in enhancing mutual expectations, trust and influence. The company is therefore able to embrace diversity and resolve numerous outstanding issues that were typical in the workforce. By engaging the work force, the employees are able to underscore the issues of diversity that they feel are critical.
Thomas (2004) also highlights that management of diversity is one of the important aspects used to assess the performance of managers. This positive attribute emphasizes on the ability of managers to harmonize diversity in line with the organization’s goals. Since diversity is a strategy of an organization, it is through achievement of diversity that organization is able to establish the levels to which its goals are achieved.
For instance, strategic managers will adopt various critical approaches to change and the effectiveness will be reflected in the level that the company has achieved diversity (Thomas & Creary, 2009). It is apparent that some unforeseen issues arise and they provide a platform for managers of diversity to exercise their abilities to counter the challenges.
Importance of Diversity in Agility’s Supply Chain
Agility Corporation is a logistics company that has made diversity a major strategy in their global operations. The company has appreciated diversity in its many departments. In particular, the company’s supply chain has been successful and efficient due to appreciation of diversity.
This translates to increased revenues and customer needs positioning that makes the company a leader in its sector. As a strategy, diversity is important for Agility Corporation’s supply chain in various ways.
First, the company has gained a competitive edge for its ability to establish changes that it can sustain. It is important to realize that Agility Corporation has been able to bring increased value to clients at a minimized cost. The company has broken cultural barriers and ventured in new business zones that it could not have operated without the diversity strategy.
Although the company appreciated its superior ability to increase its efficiency and ultimately its operational effectiveness, diversity provides an important strategic positioning. Operation costs limited the company to specific level of efficiency and characterized the supply chain as influenced by the company’s values and beliefs.
However, the strategic positioning through diversity presented the company with limitless opportunities where it can increase the supply chain’s effectiveness without the challenge of culture. The company has now been able to employ myriads of employees from different areas of operations regardless of their race and ethnic background.
Diversity in Agility Corporation is based on its customers’ requirements and accessibility to the company’s products and services (Porter, 1996). Through diversity, the company has been able to address the needs of various customers who belong to different ethnicity, religion and gender (Thomas & Creary, 2009). This has positioned the company in line with the strategic goal of attending to the customer’s needs.
Further, it is important to point out that Agility Corporation has used diversity to deliver its goods and services to their customers. As such, their supply chains have increased the effectiveness of the company partially because the workers assume their roles productively which, leads to the delivery of services and goods to customers in an improved way.
Agility Corporation’s supply chain is a critical component of the company’s productivity. It is therefore imperative for the company to be able to retain many of its employees at different supply phases. Diversity therefore has ensured that the company is able to deliver services to specific customer segments.
The retention of employees strengthens the supply chain owing to competency of the experienced employees who at many instances are able to establish meaningful and long-lasting customer relationships. This is in consideration of the fact that diversity in the workplace reflects the diversity at the market segment.
The company has been able to appraise various aspects of change management to its advantage. Agility Corporation recognized that diversity in the supply chain would affect all departments of the company. To that end, the company has been successful in implementing change by appreciating diversity as an important characteristic of modern day workforce and an organizations’ strategy.
By implementing such a strategy, the leadership skills of the executives improved and consequently, they were able to help other departments to appreciate the process of change (Thomas & Creary, 2009). The entire company now recognizes that the issue of change affects all members of the team and that diversity is everyone’s concern.
Finally, the company has been able to increase its market penetration and enhance improved revenues owing to its strategy of diversity. The strategy differentiated the company from its competitors and helped it to gain a competitive edge that numerous firms aspire.
As such, the company has seen the strategy facilitate its entrance into new markets and acquire superior supply chain that increases the reliability of the company to its customers.
Essentially, diversity is a contemporary business concept that seeks to limit challenges brought about by cultural diversity in the context of an organization. It has various positive attributes. At the outset, diversity propels an organization towards its target market. This is by recognizing that diversity in the workplace reflects the diversity of the customers.
Besides, diversity presents a company with alternative ways through which it can assess performance of managers as well as increase work commitment and motivation of the employees.
Agility Corporation has adopted diversity as a strategy that positions the company to the global market. The strategy has given the company’s supply chain a competitive edge where it is able to outdo many of its competitors in the sector and remain aggressive.
Mintzberg, H. (1987). Crafting Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 87(401), 66-74.
Porter, M. (1996). What is Strategy? Harvard Business Review, 2(45), 61-78.
Thomas, D. & Creary, S. (2009). Meeting the Diversity Challenge at PepsiCo: The Steve Reinemund Era. Harvard Business Review, 410 (24), 1-24.
Thomas, D. (2004). Diversity as Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 2(67), 1-11.