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Roadblock to workplace diversity

Ignoring diversity issues costs time, money, and efficiency. Some of the consequences can
include unhealthy tensions; loss of productivity because of increased conflict; lack of ability
to attract and retain talented people of all kinds; complaints and legal actions; and inability
to keep important employees, resulting in lost investments in recruitment and training.
Inclusion can help create high-performing organizations, where all individuals feel engaged
and their contributions toward meeting organizational goals are respected and valued. In
other words inclusion is how diversity can be leveraged.
The diversity roadblocks are the following:
1. Prejudice and Discrimination
2. Stereotyping
3. Differences in Social Identity
4. Power Differentials
5. Poor Structural Integration
6. Communication Problems

Prejudice and Discrimination


Prejudice is the irrational, inflexible opinion based on limited and sufficient
information and unfair negative attitudes individuals hold about other people who
belong to social or cultural groups different from their own.

Discrimination is a behavior that results to unequal treatment of individuals based on


group membership. Treatment may vary because of race, age, gender, social class,
sexual orientation, or any number of other dimensions of diversity.

Stereotyping
Stereotyping is a generalized set of beliefs about the characteristics of a group of
individuals. People who are engaged in stereotyping believe that all or most
members of the group have certain trait characteristics or traits. Stereotypes are
unrealistic, non-factual and most of the times are negative.

It is difficult to stop due to the following reasons:


1. It is not easy to dismiss
2. Stereotypes guide what information people look for, process and remember
3. Stereotypes seem to be an enduring human-quality

Differences in social identity

Social identity is a persons knowledge that he fits into a certain social groups,
where fitting in to those groups has emotional importance. It is so hard to handle
when persons social identity is different from that of the majority because of the
following reasons:
1. A persons social identity becomes noticeable when he is in the minority on a
significant dimension. A woman could be very conscious when in an all-male
work environment that when she is a mixed-gender group.
2. Belonging to a social identity different from the majority makes a person feel
he has to behave in ways that are unnatural for him in certain situations.
Acting out a fake role can lead to stress and dissatisfaction. In all-male work
environment, a woman may try to act like men just to fit in.
3. People in the minority often feel that they might lose their social identities.
Social identity is a source of pride and dignity for people. When always forced
to check on this identity, people could have a sense of loss and discomfort.
4. People tend to check on other based on their social group membership.
People belonging to ones in-group are better than those belonging to the
out-group.

Power differentials

In the organization, power is not always equally distributed among individuals


and groups. Sources of power could be legitimate, coercive, expert, reward,
connection or referent. Without any connection with life work, people can be
awarded or deprived of power. In the society, people can have ascribed
power.
Ascribed power is status and power that is given by cultural norms and based
on group membership.
Power differentials can prevent an organization from developing an inclusive
workplace. The reasons of this prevention are the following:
1. High status people speaks more and use stronger influence tactics than
lower status people.
2. People belonging to groups having different degree of power and level of
status to avoid interaction and may form factions with members of their
own group.
Poor Structural Integration
Poor integration of women and minorities can give several roadblocks to
creating a diverse workplace. The following reasons:
1. Poor integration creates power and status differentials which can then link
to gender or race.
2. Poor integration fosters negative stereotypes.
3. Poor integration when overall makes use of exception rule.
4. Poor integration may bring the feeling of being impossible to rise to the
top for most women and minorities.
Communication Problems
The differences of the appropriate norm may lead to communication problem among
different cultures. Common disagreements among different cultures in the workplace are:
1. Willingness to openly disagree
2. The importance of maintaining dignity
3. The way agreement is defined
4. The amount of time for building a relationships
5. Willingness to speak aggressively
6. Mode of communication whether verbal or written
7. Personal space and non-verbal communication

Effectively creating and managing workplace diversity


What can organizations do to manage diversity more effectively? Here is the list of
suggestions for organizations:

1. Build a culture of respecting diversity- in the most successful companies; diversity


management is not the responsibility of the human resource department.
Starting from the top management and including the lowest levels in the
hierarchy, each person understands the importance of respecting others.
2. Make managers accountable for diversity-people are more likely to pay attention
to respects of performance that are measured. In successful companies, diversity
metrics are carefully tracked.
3. Diversity training programs- many companies provide employees and managers
with training programs relating to diversity.
4. Review recruitment practices-companies may want to increase diversity by
targeting a pool that is more diverse. By building relations with these
occupational groups, organizations may attract a more diverse group of
candidates to choose from.
5. Affirmative action programs- policies designed to recruit, promote, train, and
retain employees belonging to a protected class are referred to as affirmative
action. Informing employees about the specifics of how affirmative action is
being used may be a good way of dealing with the negative attitudes.
In addition to employee reactions to affirmative action, there is some research indicating
that affirmative action programs may lead to stigmatization of the perceived beneficiaries.
a. Simple elimination of discrimination- these programs are the least controversial and
are received favorably by employees.
b. Targeted employees- these affirmative action plans involve ensuring that the
candidate pool is diverse. These programs are also viewed as fair by most employees.
c. Tie-breaker- in these programs, if all other characteristics are equal, the preference
may be given to a minority candidate. In fact, these programs are not widely used
and their use needs to be justified by organizations.
d. Preferential treatment- these programs involve hiring a less qualified minority
candidate. Strong preferential treatment programs are illegal in most cases.

Chapter 3
Personality, Ability, Attitudes and Values
Objectives:
After completing the chapter, the students shall be able to:
Define personality in the workplace.
Describe the Big Five Personality traits and the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator in the
work setting.
Explain other personality traits in the workplace.
Identify types of abilities that are used to categorize performers in the organization.
Discuss attitudes, its formation and how to change it.
Name the two important attitudes in the workplace.
Differentiate terminal from instrumental values.
Identify different values found across culture.

Personality, ability, attitudes and values are important individual characteristics that can
influence work performance. They are also important concept for predicting and changing
behavior in the organizational settings.

Personality at Work
Personality encompasses the relatively stable feeling, thoughts, and behavioral patterns
that have been formed significantly by genetic and environmental factors which give an
individual his identity.
Most aspects of personality formation, development and expression are not completely
understood. Most experts agree that personality is a product of both nature and nurture.

Nature means the genetic or hereditary origins of a person. The genetic makeup has been
inherited from the mother and father of the individual. Genetic factors account for almost
50% of the differences in behavior and 30% in determining temperament. This means the
genetic code does not only determine the persons eye, color, skin tone and physical shape
but also personality.
Nurture consists of the persons socialization, life experiences and other forms of interaction
in the environment. Family relationship which consists of the experiences a person has with
parents, siblings and other family members is a significant force of nurture.
Social class could also shape personality. Social class determines a persons self- perception,
perception of others and perception about work, authority and money. Managers must
understand social class to avoid organizational problems on adjustment, quality of work life
and dissatisfaction.
The impact of culture in an individuals personality happens gradually and at times leaves no
choice but to accept.
The stable functioning of a society demands shared behavior amongst members.