The increase in globalization has resulted in greater levels of interaction of individuals from diverse cultures and beliefs than ever before in the history of the world. As noted in the work of Green, Lopez, Wysocki and Kepner (2002) "People no longer live and work in an insular marketplace; they are now part of a worldwide economy with competition coming from nearly every continent." (p.1) Diversity is defined as "The variety of experiences and perspective which arise from differences in race, culture, religion, mental or physical abilities, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics." (University of California, San Francisco, 2012, p.1)
Challenges, Barriers, and Benefits to Workplace Diversity
The Multicultural Advantage website reports that there are specific barriers and challenges to workplace diversity and that these are inclusive of: (1) communication; (2) resistance to change; (3) Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies; (4) and (5) Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace. (2012, p.1) In regards to communication it is stated that there are "perceptual, cultural and language barriers" that must be overcome for success of diversity programs. It is reported that communication of an ineffective nature in the area of relating key objectives of the organization "results in confusion, lack of teamwork and low morale." (Multicultural Advantage, 2012, p.1) In regards to resistance to change it is reported that there are "…always employees who will refuse to accept the fact that the social and cultural makeup of their workplace is changing. The 'we've always done it this way' mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress." (Multicultural Advantage, 2012, p.1) Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies meets with challenges and is noted as the "overriding challenge to all diversity advocates. Armed with the results of employee assessments and research data, they must build and implement a customized strategy to maximize the effects of diversity in the workplace for their particular organization." (Multicultural Advantage, 2012, p.1) The United States Department of Commerce in alliance with other organizations sponsored a benchmarking study on workplace diversity. The study identified critical success factors to evaluate best practices, which included those of leadership and management commitment, employee involvement, strategic planning, sustained investment, diversity indicators, accountability, measurement and evaluation and linkage to organizational goals and objectives. (U.S. Department of Commerce, nd) The study reported involved the team reviewing a broad range of literature on diversity and identification of more than 600 organizations that are widely recognized for their achievements in the area of workforce diversity. Leadership plays a key role in diversity in the organization and it is reported in the study that for one of the partners 'Ten Core Commitments" "represent the values and define the spirit of the organization -- diversity is one of these core commitments." (U.S. Department of Commerce, nd) One partner is reported to build the organization's diversity strategic plan upon the core values of: (1) respect for the individual's dignity; (2) integrity; (3) trust; (4) credibility; (5) continuous improvement; and (6) personal renewal. (U.S. Department of Commerce, nd) The work of Kerby and Burns (2012) report ten economic benefits of workplace diversity including those stated s follows:
(1) A diverse workforce drives economic growth.
(2) A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market
(3) Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce.
(4) A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs.
(5) Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce.
(6) Businesses need to adapt to our changing nation to be competitive in the economic market.
(7) Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism.
(8) Diversity in business ownership, particularly among women of color, is key to moving our economy forward.
(9) Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world.
(10) Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company's full potential. (Kerby and Burns, 2012, p.1)
The role of workplace leaders is evolving in the face of diversity as noted in the work of Visagie and Linde. The work of Visagie and Linde (nd) report that managerial models that are known to have "evolved during the 20th century" can be divided into two groups: (1) The classic theories before 1938; and (2) the contemporary theories after 1938. During the first 25 years of the century Fayol and Taylor's industrial revolution management model held that the role of mangers was that of "planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and control." (Visagie and Linde, nd) The next 25 years witnessed the development of Mayo and Roethlinger's human relation model, which was inclusive of "human relations in the managerial role." (Visagie and Linde, nd ) The 25 years that followed after the second World War witnessed the approach of Parsons stated to have conducted evaluation of "organizational dynamics, inclusive of contingency theory in studying managerial behavior." (Visagie and Linde, nd) The final 25 years of the century witnessed the introduction of the global management model noting a shift from "traits and personal characteristics to leadership styles and behavior." (Visagie and Linde, nd) The work of Neault and Mondair reports that employment counselors, traditionally providing assistance to unemployed individuals are now working with others including underemployed and those who are not happily employed and those who are "disengaged, underutilized, or at high risk of leaving their organizations." (Neault and Mondair, 2010) The economy has presented many opportunities for employment counselors in the assumption of responsibilities that are new to the field as well as expansion of their roles. Reported to be included in these new roles is the provision of support to employers in the creation of workplaces where diverse workers are "welcomed, appreciated and encouraged to contribute." (Neault and Mondair, 2010)
II. Personality, Cultural and Age Factors Relating to Diversity
In regards to successful management of diversity in the workplace it is reported that diversity training "…alone is not sufficient for your organization's diversity management plan. A strategy must be created and implemented to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of the organization" (Multicultural Advantage, 2012, p.1) Reported as steps that are recommended and that have been successful in world-class organizations are the following stated recommendations:
(1) Conduct assessment of diversity in the workplace:
(2) Development of diversity in the workplace plan
(3) Implementation of diversity in the workplace plan. (Multicultural Advantage, 2012, p.1)
DuPont (1999) writes that there are four steps to dealing with diversity in the workplace including understanding and respecting the differences of individuals and this is reported to require keeping an open mind when others are different and remembering that there are more than one way to view things. Secondly, DuPont states that it is important to be assertive and to let others know how one desires to be treated. Stated third by DuPont is the need to learn how others desire to be treated and fourth is to act as a force for change. (1999, paraphrased) Processing style is also noted by DuPont (1999) to be a factor in diversity. Processing style is reported to be the "way people listen, receive, think about, and accept information. It is subconscious and automatic…" (p.9) For example, DuPont states that 'Seers' are individuals who prefer to receive information in a visual manner and are those who prefer to read and want information in the form of writing. On the other hand, DuPont reports that 'hearers' are individuals who prefer to receive information in an auditory manner while 'feelers' "want to meet about the matter, they like to see your face, be able to feel your presence…" (1999, p.9) Noted by DuPont as factors that influence diversity are such as assertiveness and personality type. DuPont notes that there are two types of personalities in the workplace and terms these as the 'bulldog' type and the 'retriever' type. The following list shows the various personality specifics of these two personality types as stated by DuPont (1999).
Figure 1 -- Personality Types in the Workplace
Source: DuPont (1999)
Two other personality types noted in the work of DuPont (1999) are the Spaniel and Collie personality types characterized by the factors shown in the following list.
Figure 2 -- Personality Types (Spaniel and Collie)
Stated as key to getting along with the bulldog personality type are the following recommendations: (1) be straightforward; (2) clear objectives to gain motivation; (3) provide options and give them the choice; (4) make sure they know that they are not wasting their time; (5) provide more than is expected; (6) don't require recognition; (7) respect authority; (8) always be on time; and (9) give more than 100%. (DuPont, 1999, p.11) Recommendations for dealing with the retriever personality type includes: (1) organize the facts and back them up with statistics; (2) acknowledge their efficiency; (3) use systematic communication; (4) logical motivation; (5) be patient during their decision-making process; (6) avoid use of emotion; (7) be aware of timing; (8) don't take their attitude as a personal offense; (9) avoid…