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Future Trends in Change Management: Impact of Diversity Essay

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Updated: Jan 13th, 2022

Defining diversity is as diverse as the concept itself, making its interpretation very judgmental. However, simply, it may refer to the act of valuing people as individuals, customers, employees or clients, without consideration of other factors such as colour, marital status, sexual orientation, marital or family status, disability, political opinions and nationality. Diversity also embraces other relevant qualities such as educational qualifications, individual skills, work experience and language. In a group, individuals usually vary in different ways and dimensions. Diversity refers to how these individuals vary (Norton & Fox, 1997). Most employees resist change due to feelings of pessimism or hopelessness about future professionalism in the organization. Whenever employees feel like their future in the organization is threatened as a result of an impending change process, they are more likely to resist change as compared to when the organization assures them of security. Amongst factors that influence or counterchange resistance includes the provision of adequate information regarding the intended change, inclusion and free communication between employees and organizational heads. Diversity may positively or negatively impact the change process, depending on its type. While others reveal negative influences on change, others have a positive impact and others indicate no relationship between change and diversity.

Research indicates that people are more likely to be ethnocentric in groups than as individuals. Therefore, intergroup relationships involve categorization based on certain attributes. These categorizations impact organizational changes in several ways, depending on the type of diversity. Studies on the effects of diversity consider the impact of various types of outcomes of diversity, including disability; gender; education and race. Scholars concede that diversity has both negative and positive effects on organizational operations, especially on organizational change. Whereas some studies reveal a positive correlation between racial diversity and performance, other diversity types elicit very strong relationships (Jackson, 1992). Age diversity may lead to low levels of social interaction, high turnover and bad communication. Lack of interaction affects change in that the rate of learning becomes slow because people are resistant to share knowledge or seek knowledge from others. This also happens when there is bad communication as a result of age diversity. The older employees may feel threatened by the younger employees. This may cause the older employees to resist change. In a case where age diversity influences employee turnover, the organization may find it costly to train new employees on the various changes that are implemented once the old employees leave the organization.

Conversely, gender and education diversity elicits positive performance. In a group containing people of different genders, there are higher chances of accepting change as compared to a monogamous group with a single-gender. This is because it is easier for people of different genders to accept opinions from the opposite gender as they elicit different approaches to reasoning and perceiving concepts. Positive interaction is also higher in gender diversity, which influences the probability of accepting change. Education diversity also minimizes competition, which eliminates threats associated with organizational change. This facilitates the change process as employees will be able to work well in groups, enjoy teamwork and have positive attitudes towards learning or disseminating knowledge.

Other types of diversity such as functional background are divided between negative and positive outcomes. Ethnic diversity influences understanding and cohesion at the workplace, as well as equal treatment. This will eventually have a positive impact on change because employees are assured of equal treatment, and can perceive change as a positive concept on the organization.

Managing resistance to change requires the organization to ensure that employee relationship remains positive. Negative consequences of diversity on change promote the slow implementation of change or lead to resistance while positive impacts promote acceptance to change.

References

  1. Jackson, S. E. (1992). Diversity in the workplace: human resources initiatives. New York: Guilford Press.
  2. Norton, J. R., & Fox, R. E. (1997). The change equation: capitalizing on diversity for effective organizational change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
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IvyPanda. 2022. "Future Trends in Change Management: Impact of Diversity." January 13, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/future-trends-in-change-management-impact-of-diversity/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Future Trends in Change Management: Impact of Diversity'. 13 January.

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