Managing Diversity: The New Multicultural Workforce
Diversity is the recognition and appreciation of multiple backgrounds, cultures and perspectives within an organization. With changing demographics, management is increasingly recognizing the need to select, retain and manage a very diverse workforce. Diversity efforts in the workplace facilitate the exchange of new perspectives, improve problem solving by inviting different ideas, and create a respectful accepting work environment, all of which make good business sense. Roosevelt Thomas defined managing diversity as a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that works for all employees. The key for employers is to make diversity an asset within the organization. (1991)
Multicultural organizations maintain a pluralistic culture promoting mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among diverse people. It reflects the interests and contributions of members of diverse groups in mission, operations and product or service. A multicultural work force is one wherein a company's employees include members of a variety of ethnic, racial, religious, and gender backgrounds. Whereas past eras in American business saw few examples of multiculturalism, most of today's small business owners and corporate executives recognize that attention to the challenges and opportunities associated with the growing trend toward culturally diverse work forces can be a key factor in overall business success. A combination of work force demographic trends and increasing globalization of business has placed the management of cultural differences on the agenda of most corporate leaders. (Page, 2004)
Organizations' work forces will be increasingly heterogeneous on dimensions such as gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality. Potential benefits of this diversity include better decision making, higher creativity and innovation, greater success in marketing to foreign and ethnic minority communities, and a better...