Expanding Diversity Consciousness
Diversity can be viewed in many ways and it can be experienced in both outer and inner phenomena. We find that diversity of people is present in our dreams, feelings, states, religions, thoughts, ethnicities, ages, political views, sexual orientations and physical abilities. A life can become more sustainable and richer through these differences. We all know that there is not one kind of vegetable, person or point-of-view. In simple words diversity can be defined as a welcoming attitude and an integration of diverse people and elements. This research paper is based on learning, identifying and evaluating diversity practices in any place. I want to explore how the environment and places help people to create and compare their intended purposes.
Expanding Diversity Consciousness
Every state or a country has some ethnic minorities. These minorities are basically the groups that differ in their language, religion or way of living. Similarly in an organization we find some diverse groups and they have a different way of reacting and working as compared to the other people working under the same roof. This research paper is based on the study of diverse consciousness and how we can expand it while working in any organization. To clarify my actual purpose of writing this research paper, I have selected an ethnic minority group and have considered an organization where diverse groups are working together.
We have to develop our diversity consciousness while working towards the wholeness of life. In this way we can live a sustainable life easily. Diversity consciousness can be explained through various everyday problems such as an individual person, whether a man or woman, can experience troubling feelings. These feelings may depart from the person’s own identity or image. Angry feelings can trouble a peaceful person similarly a weak or needy feelings can disturb a strong person. But the same feelings can make the respective person get connected to others more easily. These disturbing experiences or feelings can be embraced or avoided and later can be integrated in to the personality. They can be welcomed as gifts and often they are the right solutions to the person’s problem.
Collective situations such as communities, organizations or families have evolutionary moments. These can be blocked. This is because every evolution is first perceived as a trouble. Basically the person’s mainstream body is troubled.
Every organization should take pride in being liberal and open-minded. It often happens that any woman that was once criticized in the organization later becomes an inspiration for others. This is because once she denied accepting any forceful charges and left the organization. She was the one who took a step against discrimination that happened with her or with her diverse working group. Later being a former client she returns and gets engaged in the services of the organization. She is now inspired for all the important changes that she brought in the organization.
“From a diversity conscious point-of-view, heterogeneity and variety should be respected as natural and complex circumstances. An integral part of this is the recognition of those influences which specific affiliations and proportions of power have on behavior, attitudes, patterns of interpretation and individual positions” (Winkelmann, Scharathow & Eisele, 2008)
“Different bodies of diversity theory address different linkages among the patterns and with the realized Niche.” (Bestelmeyer, Miller & Wiens, 2007).There are several theories based on diversity. In order to understand diversity as a whole I selected three research papers. One of them focuses on six dimensions of diversity such as gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, race and national origin. “Humans judge each other on surface-level characteristics..Group membership based on these characteristics implies true similarities or differences between people which.creates the formation of in-group and out-group distinctions.these judgments.result in outcomes that may have negative effects for minority or out-group members” (Shore, Chung-Herrera & Dean, 2009).
There are several theories used for the study of ethnicity as variable of interest. Many of these theories originate from micro-theatrical perspective. These theories explain behavior from a perspective within any work group or from an individual. “The most widely used perspective for explaining the negative outcomes of team diversity is social identity theory, it is predictable that people will exhibit a favorable bias toward others who are viewed as members of their in-group, and they will view themselves as being in conflict with out-group members” (Joshi & Jackson, 2007). When surviving in any organization or a workplace, we consider several factors that make us work and move in a better way. “Developing mechanistic, material explanations that do not rely on terms like organization, or on the efficacy of unarticulated external factors, and considering regeneration as an integral component of development and of life cycles” (Sunderland, 2008).
Within the literature on diversity and race, there are some theories that focus on possible positive outcomes or positive predictions of ethnicity diversity. The term “value in diversity” argues that for a team outcome the benefit and value is created by diversity. If there will be an increase in ethnic diversity, the respective work group will definitely experience some possible positive outcomes. These positive outcomes include enhanced ability of problem solving, increased information, constructive debate and conflict, higher quality decisions, increased creativity and an increase in understanding of various cultures.
“If organizations want to achieve diversity in the workplace, they really must commit to a workplace diversity strategy. There are plenty of organizations that understand the business value of implementing diversity-management initiatives and having their workforce represent the society in which they live” (Luber, 2010). Yes, it is absolutely true that various organizations exhibit themselves as being very liberal. They bring employees belonging to diverse cultures under one roof. After the formation of in-groups and out-groups, these organizations fail to maintain the awareness of accepting diversity. It creates difficulties for the employees working in that organization.
To promote a clear idea of expanding diversity consciousness, I have chosen a linguistic minority and that are the “Asians.” I have selected three field sites and I have considered employees working in an educational institute (university), in a multi-national organization and running restaurant business. I will be focusing more on the multinational organization and this I have chosen as the central field site for my research paper study.
In the past few years I have observed gays either being criticized severely or accepted whole-heartedly. Initially I wanted to focus on rights of gays and that how they are treated in any workplace. Whether they work in an organization or they study in a school, somehow they face criticism from the people in their surroundings. Acceptance of gays has become a serious problem especially in schools. “The growing conflicts are centering on three issues: whether classrooms are an appropriate venue to explore issues of homosexuality, whether schools should lend sanction to extracurricular activities in which gay culture is a focus and whether textbooks that acknowledge homosexual relationships are suitable for younger children” (Janofsky, 2005). I could not find much material on this issue therefore I chose a major issue of diversity that happens with the Asians or even with Hispanic families. Before moving further I would like to mention the major countries that are a part of the Asia continent. These include Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan, Georgia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Philippine, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and etc.
Cultural Differences of the Diverse Minority
There are several mentor programs carried out for diverse minorities. As I have selected “Asians” as a diverse group, therefore I would highlight some of their cultural differences. Asia is the biggest continent in the world. It has the richest cultural values as it comprises of 48 countries. Some of the major countries of Asia as written on the previous page have a rich cultural history. From food, dress, religion to the style of business, work and relationships; Asia has numerous values and trends. Therefore Asians, when migrate from their homeland towards the Europe side, face diversity issues especially when it comes to work and making money. They have to blend themselves into a new culture and society. Some of the Western trends are not acceptable by them.
Because of many kinds of cultures that are a part of Asia, clothing becomes an important way of exhibiting that a particular person belongs to which group. More than 1000 languages are spoken in this continent. The Asian cuisine, clothing, habits and family life is entirely different from the ones in West.
Now more particularly I would like to explain the influence of culture in my selected field site and that is working in a multinational organization. A multinational organization brings hundreds of people under one roof; all having diverse culture values. When people belonging to various cultures come under one roof, they exhibit their values in a unique way. Every organization has its own broad outlook that has to be maintained while executing official work. In simple words, culture is what a person thinks about the way of spending his life. The characteristics ways of feeling, behaving and thinking is broadly defined as Culture. These characteristics are shared among identifiable group members. In a multinational organization, the elements of culture are observable and visible such as the religion apparel and the accent. “A third theme in the literature is that diversity has been linked to a variety of outcomes. Most commonly, diversity effects have been examined in relation to equal employment opportunities at the individual level (Cox & Nkomo, 1990).
From my point-of-view a migrant or an immigrant group can do four things. That group can reject its own culture, it can accept the culture of the host and reject its own culture, it can maintain both its own and the host’s culture and last it can reject the host culture and accept its own culture only. A diverse group has to face a constant conflict process when working in any multinational organization. Whether the member of the respective diverse group has the position of a boss or working as an employee under the boss of the host culture; in both cases the diverse group member faces conflicts. “Diversity management practices consist of the set of formalized practices developed and implemented by organizations to manage diversity effectively among all organizational stakeholders” (Konrad & Yang, 2011)
There are several organizations that take the responsibility of blending all the available cultures. They have employees from various backgrounds and to bring them on one level they carry out diversity training. “Many organizations have made diversity training a standard for their supervisors and managers. Each branch offers numerous courses dealing with different issues related to diversity such as sexual harassment, equal opportunity and treatment and managing cultural diversity.” (Moon, 2007)
It is true that no one can be taught diversity issues and blending of diverse cultures in just two or three hours. It is therefore expected that the employees take a step themselves in order to expand the diversity consciousness under the organization. At any professional level it is not acceptable that a diverse group is ignored or hated; the members of the diverse group may not lack in capabilities required to work in a multinational organization, but due to their diverse culture or religion they might be unacceptable. As far as I have researched for this project, I have found that culture differences are broadly acceptable by the youth. The youth is less bothered about the cultural differences, the diverse cultural factors become obvious when a person comes to a professional level. The body language, the way of communication, all exhibit cultural differences. While researching on various multinational organizations and interviewing their employees, I came up with a result that the employees themselves have to understand the diverse cultural differences. Adjustment takes some time but as long as the employees are willing to work together, they can successfully accept each other. Asians have some unique cultural values.
According to the western society Asians lack behind when it comes to communication. This is not the case; Asians and also Hispanic families have deep rooted cultural values and they respect others especially elders when speaking to them. This approach or behavior is less found in the western society or employees.
Interviews of Employees belonging to Three Different Field Sites
As I mentioned before, I selected three field sites and I interviewed three employees, each related to any one of the field sites. The first field site I selected was the restaurant business. Before meeting the person who works in a restaurant, I went through a few articles on the internet and I came across an article that explained how to interview a person belonging to a diverse culture; also if the restaurant owner is willing to hire him for the restaurant business. “The assumption of these theories seems to be that deep-level differences underlie surface-level differences, research has concluded that demographic characteristics do not consistently relate in a meaningful way with knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values (Harrison, Price, & Bell, 1998).
One of the famous restaurants in my town is “Food on your Platter.” It has gained popularity in a very less period of time and I often go there with my family. I interviewed the restaurant’s manager; his name was Simon Miller. He was 32 years old guy with a smiling face all the time. One thing that I liked about him was his welcoming attitude. I asked him a series of questions regarding his age, qualification, family background, cultural values, friends, his hobbies and etc. He and his family migrated from India. They were Christians and belonged to a lower class family. Despite of being Christian he had seen his family following several Hindu traditions since his childhood. He was a vegetarian and he faced a lot of difficulties after he was selected as a waiter at the restaurant. He was very efficient and within six months he became the manager of the there. I asked him about the conflicts and criticism that he faced when he was appointed as a waiter there. Since he was a vegetarian, he had to serve meat and chicken dishes as well. The left over food in the restaurant was served to the waiters so that nothing goes waste. Being an Asian he had always seen his mom and sisters in decent dressing. Here Simon had to see girls in short clothes working with him as waitresses. Also he used to keep a distance while communicating with women and girls working in the restaurant. He could not eat egg, meat or chicken no matter how hungry he was. He faced difficulties being an Asian; the only reason he was made the manager of the restaurant was his honesty and efficiency. In order to blend in the cultural differences, Simon started to make friends. He always behaved friendly with all the waiters working with him. He learned the new cultural values here and soon he was made the manager of the restaurant.
The second person I interviewed was an Asian laborer. He worked at a construction site, where a shopping mall has to be built. His name was Raj Machandera. He had migrated from Sri Lanka. He too faced a lot of diverse culture issues when he got the labor job at the construction site. I met him at a barber shop. He was 28 years old, when he introduced himself to me, I found him as the right person to interview for my project. I did not expect that I will be able to find people from diverse cultures working in my town at different field sites. Before moving further I would like to quote the blending of diversity at work. Diversity terminology can have a direct positive or negative influence on people” (Pati & Bailey, 1995)
He told me that first he was not accepted among the group of laborers since they all were already living in the western society. Only he was the one who was a Sri Lankan and somehow he managed to get a job here. He had a different way of dressing, communicating and working. He felt as if he is an odd one out. He decided to work quietly and used to make required communication only. Slowly his fellow workers started to know him and his personality and then he managed to make a place of his own. He had a different religion and language but he tried to learn their language as quickly as possible. According to Raj, it was his willingness to work with the rest of them. He had to maintain his own culture within himself and had to accept the host culture as well. He further added that he might have not blended his diverse culture factors so quickly if there was another laborer having the same or a different diverse cultural background too.
Last but not the least, the third person I interviewed was an Indian too. His name was Rajesh Chaawla. He worked in a multinational organization (a telecom company). He was working on the post of Vice President of the company. To interview an employee working in a multinational organization and having a diverse cultural background was my main objective. I wanted to know all about him therefore I asked him a series of questions. I was surprised to know the behavior of his fellow employees in the beginning of his career at the respective telecom company. Rajesh Chaawla was now 40 years old and he was an Indian. His family had migrated a long time back but they had followed their own culture and traditions very strictly. Initially he had very difficulty finding jobs. Luckily he got an opportunity to work in this telecom company. He was very happy to be a part of it but soon he started facing conflicts with his co-workers. Difference of language, religion and the overall outlook; he started to feel isolated. He faced several misunderstandings due to difference in the cultural interpretation. Initially his language was a barrier while communicating with them. He was good in writing English and did not have good spoken English. He was ignored and things changed slowly. He started to broaden his recruitment reach and focused on his competencies and skills. In order to avoid bias, he used a formal and consistent application process. He was promoted within six months but he never felt authoritative and discriminated among other employees. He supported the employees working under him on the basis of performance only and did not give advantage to the ones belonging to his culture.
Brief Summary of the Three Interviews
I reviewed the interviews of the three people, who work at different field sites. I concluded that it is the majority that makes the diverse minority feel inferior. Yes, it is true that not all employees are same and some behave in a very friendly way also. I personally believe that being a part of any diverse minority, as I have considered Asians here, one should try to blend in the host culture. If we being an employee are appointed in any multinational firm; it is completely on us that how we prove ourselves. We can deliver a friendly attitude but not ignoring our professional responsibilities. If we are working on a low designation then we can access and communicate with the members belonging to our diverse minority group and can have some recruitment classes. In future if we get an opportunity to work on a senior designation then we should not promote or support our diverse group only. Just like Rajesh (the third person interviewed by me), I would grade everyone on the basis of performance only.
Recommendations for the Employees belonging to a Diverse Minority Group
I would like to recommend all the employees that are working in a multinational firm but unfortunately they are part of a diverse minority group. They should take this factor in a positive way. Being an employee, a person is hired on the basis of qualification and skills. The employee should give his best while surviving in such a huge organization. Instead of fearing from isolation or ignorance; try to learn the culture of the host group (majority group). Try to maintain your own culture as well as their culture. Enhance your skills in order to gain success. Diverse cultures are criticized in workplace but if the employee is willing to make his place, he can be successful.
How Employer Codes of Ethics apply to Diversity Practices in a Multinational Firm
The employer codes of ethics can be easily applied to the diversity practices in any multinational firm or organization. The employer should never compare his religion, race or age with the religion, race or age of the other employees. Every organization has its own culture; ultimately the majority and the minority groups have to become a part of the respective organization culture. The employees should maintain a balance in between their diversity practices and the organization’s culture, without any fear of isolation or ignorance.
Bestelmeyer, B.T., Miller, J.R., & Wiens, J.A. (2007). Applying Species Diversity Theory to Land Management. Ecological Applications, 13, 1750-1761.
Cox, T., & Nkomo, S.M. (1990). Invisible men and women: a status report on race as a variable in organization behavior research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11, 419-431.
Harrison, D.A., Price, K.H., & Bell, M.P. (1998). Beyond relational demography: time and the effects of surface- and deep-level diversity on work group cohesion. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 96-107.
Janofsky, M. (2005). Gay Rights Battlefields Spread to Public Schools. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/09/education/09clash.html?pagewanted=all
Joshi, A., & Jackson, S.E. (2007). Managing Workforce Diversity to Enhance Cooperation in Organizations. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Konrad, A.M., & Yang, Y. (2011). Understanding Diversity Management Practices: Implications of Institutional Theory and Resource-Based Theory. Group & Organization Management, 36, 659-691.
Luber, M. (2010). Workplace Diversity Issues. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://careersoutthere.com/workplace-diversity-an-ongoing-process/.
Pati, G.C., & Bailey, E.K. (1995). Empowering people with disabilities: strategy and human resource issues in implementing the ADA. Organizational Dynamics, 23, 52-69.
Moon, M.M. (2007).”Understanding the Impact of Cultural Diversity on Organizations.” Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/acsc/97-0607c.pdf
Shore, L.M., Chung-Herrera, B.G., & Dean, M.A. (2009). Diversity in Organizations: Where are we now and where are we going? Human Resource Management Review, 19, 117-133.
Sunderland, M.E. (2008). Studying Development: The Value of Diversity, Theory, and the Synthesis. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://embryo.asu.edu/pdf/sunderlanddissertation.pdf.
Winkelmann, A.S., Sharathow, W., & Eisele, E. (2008). Diversity Conscious Perspectives for Theory and Practise in International Youth Work. Retrieved July 24, 2012, from http://www2.transfer-ev.de/uploads/ver_vielfltig_ungen_2_0_english_23_08.pdf.
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