Cultural Diversity in the Workplace  Research Paper

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To resolve this conflict in the situation where demographic and experiential differences are found qualitative researchers, such as those studying different cultures, might employ guides, interpreters and/or other "native" individuals to introduce and help them assimilate into the culture, in order to observe it or in some cases they use time as their tool, immersing for longer periods of time with limited or no interruption to eliminate any bias that might occur in research results because of his or her presence. Even among researchers this is not seen as a perfect set up but it can help resolve some of the intrusion challenges associated with diversity.

One of the major problems, as qualitative researchers see it in historical research is the fact that the researcher has often been seen and thought of as holding a position of authority over the subjects being studied. This idea of "social capital" is pervasive, though individual researchers would like to see it disappear, as much as possible, one of the ways in which they do this is through the use of reflexivity and reflexive analysis, such as is described in the following quote by a field qualitative researcher working with a culturally different subject group.

Because research has been a historical act of domination against Black people, I aim, through my research, to be reflexive, vulnerable, and dialogic. I aim to respect and incorporate the ideas and thoughts of participants in the methodology; I aim to be accessible in all stages of the research process. For example, although I indeed develop a design and methodology, I confer with participants regarding concerns, observations, findings, and pressing concerns from their points-of-view. Their input shapes the boundaries and the design. Sometimes being accessible and vulnerable involves engaging in difficult conversations about what is happening in the teaching/learning process. (Merchant & Willis, 2001, p. 66)

The emphasis then becomes not the overall social position of the researcher but his or her willingness to be open to reflexive interpretation, rather than strict sets of standards seen in quantitative research and in historical observation research. Though quantitative research can be associated with undue influence the qualitative collection process is far more likely to elicit this type of challenge to researchers, which in part supports the foundation of a collaboration of both qualitative and quantitative data collection with regard to an issue such as diversity in the workplace.

The ethics of qualitative research are greatly influenced by the epistemology and ontological assumptions of researchers. Many qualitative researchers are specifically aware of the ethic of researching bodies of people and/or phenomena that have been unduly discriminated against in a historical research application, therefore the ethics of qualitative research often surround such assumptions and historical truths and how to avoid repeating these errors of our history.

"The best one can do is to consider the ethical and political issues in asking a particular research question, determine the areas of concern prior to the research, take into account professional standards that have been established and then consider the ethics of the entire research process as an individual case with its own social and political ramifications" (Minichiello et al., 1990, pp. 245-6).It may seem strange to combine ethics and organisational issues, yet in qualitative research in the human services, perhaps more than in any other area of research, doing the right thing by research participants coexists with the pragmatic process of 'getting in, getting on and getting out' of the research setting. (Darlington & Scott, 2002, p. 21)

The ethical dilemmas surrounding diversity and/or undue influence weigh heavily as does the desire of researchers to build a holistic body of information without being extremely interpretive and human centered rather than institutionally dictated.


In conclusion there is a great deal about qualitative and quantitative collective research that lends itself well to studying issues such as workplace diversity. The main objective of qualitative research and the case study methodology is demonstrative of the kind of research intended to respond to questions and terminology that can lend itself to the subjective, while demographic and data driven questionnaires and quantitative methodologies are also necessary for a full breadth of view for the whole of the given situation of diversity and its both positive and negative social implications.


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