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Workplace Diversity: Values and Challenges Term Paper

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Updated: Jul 14th, 2020


The majority of the multicultural companies are embracing cultural diversity as a resourceful strategy to support new and unique ideas. Their aim is to promote higher levels of competency within the workforce. Embracing diversity such as cultural differences also comes with some negative effects such as misunderstandings. Diversity in companies includes differences of social backgrounds, religious beliefs, region, races, languages, cultural practices, ethnic practices, personalities and gender among others. Work-based tension occurs regardless of whether one leads a group that has similar traits or differences. The leader must, therefore, utilize the tension created by the differences or similarities in a positive and creative manner.

Values of Diversity

Certain corporations such as Wal-Mart have continuously expanded to various countries, as evident from their recent decision to purchase South Africa’s Massmart at $4.6 billion (Southern Times, 2011). They involve personnel from different cultural backgrounds depending on their ventures or locations. Knowing the advantages of culture is very important for business prosperity, for instance, Italians are more passionate and vocal compared to Japanese, who are subtle and quiet, choosing the latter group for public engagements is thus not a good choice.

The differences occur due to different cultural orientations and not personalities. A good manager ought to be in a position of understanding differences without basing them on personalities or capabilities. This assists them to appreciate the unique and cultural differences, thus utilize parities or distinctions for better economic growth. In line with Pride et al (2009), people have different leadership, operational and motivational procedures. The values of performance assist leaders in decision-making, since an informal style of operation, maybe better than formal depending on a given situation or time.

Importance of Diversity

The ability to appreciate diversity requires a great understanding of differences. A good business practice may work well in one region but fail in another due to cross-cultural differences. A person from America or Europe may fail to deliver better results in the United Arab Emirates since the Arab countries have strong religious practices that guide their actions such as rules that guide acceptance of gifts or respect for anticipated appropriateness. One aspect may become embarrassing when applied in a different setting, where one thought it would be successful due to prior successes. People have different ways of appreciating things, and therefore their responses depend on cultural policies.

Appreciating diversity in firms is an ongoing process that requires upgrading that thrives businesses to greater heights. Different laws are often set to protect various human rights particularly those that require sensitization. Diverse practices within a business thus assist in the development of various operations according to multi-generational differences such as ideologies or laws that govern various countries. Respecting the differences also requires that leaders understand the political, social, historical and economic distinctions.

Diverse cultural orientation and training make managers, as well as employees, engage in different settings to understand their backgrounds. They also have a change of opinions and differences in business aspects. The SBC Corporation established a human resources department made of a diverse workforce to cater to various differences as a measure of avoiding discriminatory acts. The company is currently ranked among the top on catering for minorities (Miller, 2008).

Challenges of Diversity

Appreciating diversification in the business setting comes with a wide range of requirements. One is the need to understand people’s diversified views over services and goods. This requires formal training and informal interaction to gain experiences and tangible skills. One also needs to learn the emotional literacy that involves identifying, understanding and appreciating emotions, especially when working with people with different points of view.

A good example is the use of English. Most countries use English as their second language and therefore interpretation of words may differ. For instance, a person from Japan considers the term “Yes” to mean Ï Understand “and not “the native English meaning of “I agree”. According to Booyens (2008), prosperity in current global markets requires a clear understanding of different cultural structures to leverage unique talents and perspectives that meet global demands. The competitive age of companies today also depends on executives’ ability to manage a diverse group.

Reasons for Embracing Diversity

Technological advancement causes cross-cultural interactions and global leaders to realize that such inter-cultural involvements help in discovering economic and social diversification, thus the potential of enriching the human lifestyle. Diversity also presents leaders with the opportunity to know and appreciate the differences between collaboration and cooperation.

Young people in a firm think differently because of their technological involvement, they have three-dimensional views of solutions, while the older counterparts act hierarchically or logically. Young people are also eager and prepared to work in a global setting due to the internet form of interaction. They are naturally diverse, have an ordinary form of English skills and are internationally smart. Collaboration encourages differences of opinions as long as the arguments will harness diversity. On the other hand, cooperation is assisting people to get along with a system. Collaboration promotes creativity since differences are utilized for positive outcomes.


In implementing the value of diversity within organizations, leaders must respect local policies and practices presented by individuals. This calls for the ability to appreciate different thoughts, culturally different ideas and performance styles by being open-minded. They must also trap different perspectives that diversity presents since success emerges from teamwork participation or contribution such as skills or opinions. Acknowledging, collaborating and leveraging the positive aspects caused by diversity leads to better performance due to employees’ motivation ‘to understand their differences.


Booyens, S.W. (2008). Introduction to Health Service Management. Pretoria, SA: Juta and Company Ltd.

Miller, C. (2008). Cultural Diversity is an Opportunity. Web.

Pride, W. M., Hughes, J. M., & Kappor, J. R. (2009). Business. New York, NY: Cengage Learning Publishers.

Southern Times. (2011), Wal-Mart Purchase of South African Massmart. Web.

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