With the turn of the 21st century, a dramatic increase is being witnessed in the international flow of labor with repercussion for domestic labor supply and management. The native, racial and emigre mixture of the employees is predominantly important for the workplace. The importance of this domestic cultural multiplicity in the labor force, highlighted by worldwide influences and necessities, has lately encouraged the researchers to focus on the companies' and managers' response to diversity, be it of any form (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
If the workforce of the present times is compared with the one that was found 20 years ago, it will be easy to observe that there are "more white women, people of color, disabled persons, new and recent immigrants, gays and lesbians, and intergenerational mixes (i.e., baby boomers, Generation Xers, and Generation Nexters)" (Riccucci, 2002) today. This situation has given birth to quite a number of challenges for the management at the workplace. The approach with which employers hold this opportunity of diversity is the determining factor that will unmistakably make a distinction between successful and well-organized organizations from those that are uncreative and not capable to meet the requirements and necessities of the people in the 21st century (Riccucci, 2002).
In the present day, municipal and private sector companies are on the edge for creating creative workforces that can actually represent the global population instead of symbolizing the national populace (Riccucci, 2002). This paper discusses the current status of diversity management and equal opportunities and the ways to manage a diverse workforce.
A diverse workforce can be defined as "a workforce made ... distinct by the presence of many religions, cultures or skin colours, both sexes (in non-stereotypical roles), differing sexual orientations, varying styles of behaviour, differing capabilities, and usually, unlike backgrounds" (as qtd. In Ollapally & Bhatnagar, 2009).
Workplaces where there is a lack of management of diversity are ones where the marginal groups experience a disconnection from the social network. "Diversity management" is a wide-ranging filament of organizational supervision literature that was developed in order to facilitate organizations in countering the increasing diversity that was clearly noticeable in modern-day labor markets. Since 1980s, there have been continuous debates regarding diversity management that mainly emphasized on managing heterogeneity in the staff with respect to demands for "affirmative action" and "equal employment opportunities" which were anticipated for increasing the workers from "minority" groups (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
In earlier times, diversity was perceived in terms of features like race, ethnicity, sexual category and orientation, age, and beliefs regarding politics and religion. On the other hand, diversity management was described as deliberate organizational actions designed to form greater addition of employees from a variety of backgrounds into recognized and unofficial organizational structures through premeditated strategies and agendas (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
On the other hand, the swift globalization of labor markets has changed this filament to add in management of diversity issues to a great extent. In simple words, globalization has made it indispensable for the organizations to effectively deal with the workforce diversity across national boundaries. In addition to this, due to the cosmopolitan urban areas and global markets, a greater miscellany of client and customer groups is present. It has therefore become imperative for the businesses to handle such diversities for achieving better profit margins and competitive edge (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
Equal Employment Opportunities
It was during 1960s that laws in USA were introduced that demanded the employers to offer "equal employment opportunities" (EEO) through "affirmative action" (AA) or "positive discrimination" to minority-group-members or formerly underprivileged groups. In order to stay away from legal actions for disobedience of the anti-discrimination laws, almost all the organizations hired managers (who had specialized knowledge of the EEO/AA2) regulations for the creation of compliance programs (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
The United States of America was followed by New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom in passing out the similar laws. The purpose behind these laws was to grant a "level playing field" for everyone in the market, belonging to any group. The EEO/AA model that was devised to make the employment of more members of marginal and deprived groups obligatory, contributed to the employment of a more extensively diverse workforce (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
Nevertheless, EEO/AA laws were attacked and criticized in 1990s for being too authoritarian, dogmatic and rigid. According to many, the governments' withdrawal from supporting the enforcement of EEO/AA measures evolved the concept of diversity management. This concept was, if truth be told, developed from the aspiration of EEO managers who wanted to keep their positions safe and secure (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
To date, a lot of people support EEO measures as necessary for creating employment opportunities for the marginal and deprived groups. However, many intellectuals who encourage diversity management stress on the differences between EEO/AA and diversity management. They claim that EEO/AA serves the purpose of assimilating workers into the staff and expects the members belonging to minority groups to fit in into the existing public and cultural workplace systems effortlessly (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
On the other hand, diversity management is supported by many as it combines a wider range of groups by constructing systems that let their different social and cultural contributions to be appreciated and prized. Moreover, diversity management emphasizes the achievement of regular maintenance of employees from miscellaneous social groups. In contrast, EEO focuses on employee recruitment. The most important difference between the two, however, is that EEO/AA is a legal initiative imposed by the state whereas diversity management is the intended initiative by the business and has no legal binding (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
If truth be told, the global economy in the 21st century requires the EEO/AA measures diversity management concepts to rise up a level to co-opt and deal with the employment of diverse groups in an advantageous manner (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
In the contemporary era, diversity has evolved itself and mirrors not simply a local diverse but also a globally diverse staff, a diverse multicultural client support (national and international) and diverse worldwide business contenders. The systems are swiftly changing and are becoming more innovative and internationalized. This is the reason why it is the high time to employ modern methods of organizing and improving the workforce. It has become all the more significant for businesses to effectively handle and work mutually within the multifaceted nature of present-day diversity for working out complex problems and for creating a competitive edge in the money-spinning global bazaar where diversity itself is a conventional aspect (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
As already mentioned, the recent decades have faced workforce and workplace diversity as being one of the key management challenges. Diversity has grown throughout the labor market in complex ways and requires an even more multifarious inspection of organizational diversity than perceptible variations like ethnicity, sexual category and age among the human resources. It is exceedingly important for businesses to appreciate and act in response to the background, talents, and inspirations of workers at all levels if they want to maximize its potential (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
It is important to understand that diversity can only be successful if it is welcomed and acknowledged at all levels within an organization and not just as a principle imposed by Human Resource Department. If the senior management of an organization wants to acquire the benefits of diversity, it must make sure to make diversity an intensely engrained value in the culture of the workplace for producing the proper standards for positive and prolific behavior by all workers (Watson, Spoonley, & Fitzgerald, 2009).
How to Manage Diversity?
To have a diverse team means that there will be a constant flow of original ideas and innovative approaches. However, as members are different so their communication styles, understandings and expectations will also be different. Therefore, effective management is indispensable in order to make them work effectively together.
Unfortunately, employment discrimination is a common practice throughout the United States of America regardless of the fact that it is illegal. It prowls throughout American schools, governmental organizations and businesses. One can easily identify the unpleasant and offensive conduct such as deliberate prejudice. Nevertheless, prejudice is observable in clever and unspeakably dissimilar types of behavior and attitude. At the same time as blatant bigoted behaviors are excruciating, prejudicial mind-set are also painful and may lead to high workplace turnover and less output (King, 1995).
It is, therefore, highly recommended for the future managers to become more expert in going beyond equality to be familiar with, appreciate, and give importance to diversity. It is also necessary for the training organizations to prepare their human resources for multicultural environments (King, 1995). To understand the discrimination as a problem is just the first step. It is required of the executive developers to "embrace the human power of all diverse groups and attempt to solve the larger problem of how discrimination…