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Diversity is an important element in any organization, as it determines its success in terms of achieving organizational goals. In a global village where companies source their employees from diverse cultures in terms of ethnic and religious backgrounds, diversity is important to consider.
Organizations therefore need to embrace multiculturalism besides instituting measures aimed at integrating employees. This qualifies as one of the challenges facing the contemporary organizational arrangements. Lack of diversity threatens to impede the success of many organizations around the world.
In this paper, a case study of a company in the multicultural region of Brazil is made followed by a deep study in its existing organizational diversity together with the problems facing it. The case study is set on a company in the Manaus Industrial District in Brazil.
It establishes several challenges on the organization, which include power concentration, personalism, formalism, personal loyalty, impunity, conflict avoidance, and flexibility. The challenges are described with the consideration of how they affect organizational diversity in the organization.
The theory of diversity is used in the explanation of the problems facing the organization. Recommendations are made on how to solve the organization’s problems by deploying diverse employees to prevent further recurrence.
The paper therefore researches on the role of diversity in the work place describing a case study on the theory of diversity besides attempting to suggest possible measures to improve performance in the work place.
Description of the Case and the Key Issues
The research focuses on diversity. Discussion follows on its importance as a central element in an organizational setting. From the case, diversity is noteworthy in work places with employees coming from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Embracing multiculturalism in an organization is therefore indispensable. Thus, adjustment of the organizational structures can therefore not be overemphasized with the view of accommodating diverse employees.
In the case study, Bruno et al looked at the share of diversity in Brazilian companies with the goal of measuring the constitutive elements of the organizational culture (Bruno, 2009, p.1).
The study done in the Manus Industrial District in Brazil focused on a single company in the region with the use of Barros and Prates model as the reference (Bruno, 2009, p.1).
From their conclusions, it was clear that the company had significant flexibility and the capacity to adapt to the environmental circumstances regarding employee’s diversity.
The least preponderance was shown in the area of personal loyalty, which meant that the organization’s employees taking part in the survey demonstrated a greater loyalty to the organization as compared to their leaders (Bruno, 2009, p.19).
This qualifies as an advantage since personal relations were inferior to the organizational loyalty thus leading to a greater organizational achievement.
In the company, there was a demonstration of power concentration with the executives imposing their will using their privileges and position in the company (Bruno, 2009, p.9) regardless of their diverse backgrounds. Personalism was also rampant among the many varied executive employees.
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They used this trait often in decision making in the organization’s management (Bruno, 2009, p.9). They also found paternalism to be insignificant in a company with a significant degree of independence in decision-making.
Dialogue between the executives and their subordinates supported their observation of little presence of expectant posture. This was encouraging, and a shift from this traditional problem that has for a long time led to the demise of prominent organizations.
There was later an observation of formalism in the multicultural organization, but the researchers were worried whether the company could deal with it in the future if it crept into the organization.
Impunity did not manifest in the organization. Punishment followed for those who did not follow organizational regulations and guidelines (Bruno, 2009, p.10).
Conflict avoidance in the organization was low meaning that low motivation was absent with the provision of autonomy and independence in the organizational leadership and subordinates (Bruno, 2009, p.10).
The study therefore found some aspects of Brazilian diverse culture being present in the organization’s working environment.
It thus suggested a reduction of the negative effects of diversity in an organization to achieve more internal integration. These findings were used to formulate the existing diversity in the work place with recommendations being made thereof.
From the case study, the theory of work place diversity is prominent especially in a multicultural society like the one studied. Managers from the Manaus Industrial Complex have found ways of harnessing diversity of employees in the region for the benefit of their organization.
Studies like the ones done above have been conducted on the elements of diversity in companies (Bruno, 2009, p.1: Taylor et al., 2006, p.6). Taylor et al conducted a research using ten ethnic minority people of American Association for Marriage and Family (AAMFT).
The main task was to determine the existing intersections of various organizational diversities in the realm of clinical supervision. The results of the study indicate that there exists a need to promote and incorporate organizational diversities in supervisory activities of healthcare organizations.
For most of the studies, a consideration of the adjustment of organizational structures is suggested to facilitate the full integration of multiculturalism to accommodate every culture.
Smireich and Calasin’s literature emphasizes the importance communication strategies in the organization showing how this can be used to set up an organizational diversity (1987, p.254). They claim that most work places continue to lose employees and clients due to the working environment they set up.
There are various types of work place cultures existing in organizations. These determine its market influence along with other factors.
The role of employee motivation cannot be overemphasized. Baugher, Varanelli, and Weisbord (2000, p.395) suggested that changing of communication structures, enhancing employee satisfaction, and improving organizational innovation and creativity among others are crucial in the promotion of organizational performance.
Their study examined the capacity of a larger and diverse work group to constitute smaller workgroup characterized by people of lesser diversity. The main diversity aspects considered in the study were gender diversity, racial, and ancestral.
The authors argued that these varieties are the dominant ones in the literature of workforce diversity. Results indicate that students who group themselves into workgroups mitigate conflicts and communication problems among the work team members.
Bruno (2009) also contributed to the subject of work place diversity upon conducting the role of human communication and practices in diversity training program in organizations.
Various authors have suggested diversity training as a necessary structural change to manage multiculturally diverse workforce (Maguerite et al., 2001, p.450: Braunscheidel, et al., 2010, p.886). These changes are necessary in any work place enjoying the benefits of a multicultural workforce.
Aparna and Hyuntak (2009) reinforce this argument when they claim, “In long-standing diverse teams, team members may attribute conflicts to relational differences, motivation, and willingness to resolve differences through greater communication” (p.610).
The research used data of about 8,757 work teams within the work place setting. Additionally, the study examined “whether contextual factors at multiple levels, including industry, occupation, and team, influenced the performance outcomes of relations-oriented and task-oriented diversity” (Aparna and Hyuntak, 2009, p.599).
The researchers found that their identified contextual factors had a direct impact on the diversity of work teams although they were insignificant. However, when they considered factors such as occupation and moderators of contextual factors at team level, the effects of the contextual factors doubled or even tripled.
The researchers and authors in the reviewed materials claimed that people from diverse backgrounds could work towards achieving their organizational goals and daily duties in the work place by exploiting the aspect of communication aimed at recognizing their differences.
Traditional management strategies aimed at individualism, personalism, and impunity need to be substituted with the modern theories promoting multicultural integration besides promoting communication structures inspired by the concepts of multiculturalism in the work place.
There is a need to deploy crucial supervisory practices that are culturally informed. This is consistent with the requirement for work place settings to adjust their organizational structures in order to integrate multicultural employees.
Training and equipping of culturally sensitive therapists is exceedingly critical for the success of healthcare organizations (Chang, Danica, & Shoffner, 2003, p.132).
From their research, Chang et al discussed the importance of personnel integration of racially inspired identities in clinical supervision when a white supervisor and supervisee of color are involved (2003, p.21). They concluded that cross-racial supervisory competence is vital when developing managerial strategies.
A way of doing this is employing facets of multiculturalism in the work place change re-orientations. Therefore, the management of any work place should deploy multiculturalism as a strategy of an organization in all structures and hierarchies.
Analysis of the Case
As pointed out in the case presentation, the work place needs to pull up its socks in terms diversity. The largest challenge demonstrated is flexibility where the company and its employees have little ability to adapt to circumstances in the diverse environment.
There was also a demonstration of personal loyalty in the work place although this was to a lesser degree. This implies that just a few of the institution’s respondents were more devoted to the manager than to the organization.
Though the number was not large, the organization has to formulate plans to deal with the existing personal loyalty to prevent increase and future episodes.
There is also a demonstration that power concentration in the work places is worrying, as it may create future incidences to undermine trust and relationship between the diverse employees. The work place needs to counter and address this problem with caution to prevent it from increasing.
Formalism is distinctively present in the organization though this is limited. Other problems identified in the organization include impunity, conflict avoidance, and personal loyalty.
These are organizational challenges that need to be addressed to prevent the organization from falling short of its goal. Common interests should be addressed to achieve organizational goals. This is possible with the consideration of the diversity of employees in the organization.
For the promotion of organizational diversity in the company, a series of changes need to be effected to allow the coexistence of the diverse workforce in a bid to achieve organizational goals.
In the problem of power concentration on the executives, the organization needs to distribute organizational power and decision making among the many diverse employees.
There is the need to discourage subordination, executive employee threats to their subordinates, the delivery of crude punishment, and suspicion for the employees. There is also need to promote knowledge and performance in the organization to allow free diverse decisions and interactions.
The organization could curb personalism by discouraging the executive leaders from dealing with their subordinates at an organizational level rather than employing their personalistic characters in their management strategies.
They need to remove the leader figure from the employees’ mentality to eliminate personalism. In dealing with paternalism, the organization needs to stop executive leaders from achieving the traditional acceptance by the employees of the absolute power and hierarchy. This, if utilized, will reduce dependence on the employees.
It will create more freedom for them in the workstation thus improving autonomy. The organization should also focus on reducing expectant posture by implementing dialogue, greater freedom, balance of power, critical awareness, autonomy, and incentives among the diverse employees.
Norms and regulations developed by the work place should be followed. This stands out as a solution to formalism present in the organization. Nepotism, corruption, and favoritism should be avoided at all cost with due investigation and punishment.
The culture of impunity should also be avoided with the organization taking strict measures on those found responsible of exercising it. They should be punished to serve as an example to the rest of the employees besides discouraging a recurrence of the organizational vice in the future.
Personal loyalty, a vice that featured less in the case study, should be avoided by ensuring that the employees put the organization’s needs above those of their leaders.
The culture of clash dodging “could be resisted by the creation of an environment that promotes empowerment, autonomy, and incidence in the leaders” (Chang, Danica, & Shoffner, 2003, p.138). The environment created will be that of motivation to the diverse employees and less of alienation.
With the advent of globalization, the working environment has diversified with the labor force constituting of a variety of people from different cultures and ethnicities. The company should therefore demonstrate flexibility in dealing with its employees by regularly reevaluating their strategies.
The company should create equal and competitive opportunities to the employees to foster integration. This should be fair to everyone. With these recommendations in place, the company is likely to emerge as a market leader and an example for other organizations.
In conclusion, diversity is essential in the performance of an organization or any work place. From the above case study, there are various challenges facing organizations especially those that relate to the organizational diverse culture. With modernization, a new breed of employees from diverse background has emerged.
The harmonization of these backgrounds is critical to maximize organizational objectives. For managers who are keen on attaining the spelt organizational goals, diversity of their employees is pertinent to consider. They can use different measures to achieve the goal as described in the above resolution of problems.
In current institutions and organizations, the role of the organizational diversity in streamlining services cannot be overemphasized. The claim is supported by the series of studies listed above whose focus is the ability of multicultural/diverse cooperation to boost organizational performance.
Aparna, J., & Hyuntak, R. (2009). The Role of Context in Work Team Diversity. Academy Of Management Journal, 52(3), 599-627.
Baugher, D., Varanelli, A., & Weisbord, E. (2000). Gender and Culture Diversity Occurring In Self-formed Work Groups. Journal of Managerial Issues, 12(4), 391-417.
Bruno, L. et al. (2009). Organizational Culture: How to measure it- A Case Study. E-Leader Tallinn, 1(1), 1-22.
Chang, H., Danica, G., & Shoffner, M. (2003). A Developmental Approach for White Supervisors Working with Supervisees of Color. The Clinical Supervisor, 22(2), 121-138.
Maguerite, A. et al. (2001). Communication Theory and Training Approaches for Multiculaturally Diverse Organizations: Have Academics and Practitioners missed the Connection? Public Personnel Management, 30(4), 445- 455.
Smireich, L., & Calas, M. (1987). Organizational culture: A critical assessment, Handbook of organizational communication (pp. 228-263). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Taylor, B. et al. (2006). Integrating Diversity Dimensions in Supervision: perspectives of Ethnic Minority. The Clinical Supervisor, 25(1), 3-21.