Research Paper, 12 pages (3000 words)

Good example of research paper on workplace diversity


Diversity involves acknowledging and appreciating differences among people with respect to issues such as tribal affiliation, ethnicity, religion, performance capabilities and public status. The world’s population, now at a staggering seven billion mark continues to rise, and this comes with increasing differences among people. At the workplace, people are different because of various factors such as culture, ethnicity, nationality, political affiliations, skills and talent. Diversity can be drawn from an extensive list of differences and still would not include everything. There are three classes of diversity elements including social diversity, value diversity and informational diversity. Social diversity consistsof issues such as age, ethics, gender, tribes, and race. Value diversity comprises of matters such as psychological differences in areas such as personality and attitude. Informational diversity consists of education level, functional tenure in the organisation.
Economic diversity also exists where people belong to different economic levels; Political diversity comes about in that person have various political affiliations, preferences, and share different political views. Furthermore, in the business arena, increasing globalisation means more free markets and consequently increases in diversity. The full diversity of people in the workplace cannot, therefore, be fully grasped, and this means that individuals cannot be managed in a standard manner. For that reason, people should not be moulded by the organisation’s culture but should rather be handled individually (if possible) to permit exploiting what their diversity offers. This paper tries to scrutinise and analyse the issue of diversity in the workplace, its implications, how it can be used and its effects on the productivity or lack of in the organisation.


The research employed three methods to collect and record the data, and these are used with a survey questionnaire and secondary sources. The study involved survey questionnaires where responders responded to questions about diversity practices and culture. The responses provided first-hand information regarding divergent views on diversity and its application in the organisational setting. Fifty questionnaires were printed each containing fifteen questions. Fourteen questions were of the closed type, and one was of the open-ended type. Secondary sources involved in the research included books, articles, journals and relevant websites. In addition to these, a variety of internet articles was also used for the study.


In the research, diverse literature texts were used although this was not without limitations. Some information had to be drawn out from older texts and as such, their relevance to the modern set up might be subjective. However, for the internet sources, the current research only used the latest materials to gather data and information for analysis.


Diversity is an important component of the workplace and a significant tool of growing the organisation. Drawing from the Bureau of labour statistics in the US survey on June 2012, people of colour comprised 36 percent of the work force. I f you break this down by race and ethnicity, almost sixty-four percent in the labour some are non-Hispanic white, sixteen percent are Hispanic, twelve percent are African American, and five percent are Asian. According to census data projections, the United States will not experience racial or ethnic majority by 2050 (Galer, 2014). According to Williams Institute’s data, gay and transgender workers comprise of approximately 6.28 percent of the entire current workforce (Galer, 2014). People with disabilities also play a critical role in contributing to the economy of the United States economy. However, research studies reveal that the United States is not utilising their talents fully. Approximately, 11 percent of Americans have a disability. Only 21 percent of these individuals are in the labour force (Galer, 2014).
The latest economic statistics indicate that people with disabilities experience higher rates of unemployment than those who are not disabled. Statistics also show that there is a significant lack of diversity in the boardrooms and among business owners. According to Diversity Inc statistics, among the fortune 500 chief executive officers of companies a mere 4.2 percent are a people of colour: 1.8 percent are Asian, 0.8 percent are black, and 1.2 percent are Latinos in the United States (Galer, 2014). However, diversity does not lack as much as the business owners and this has been responsible for the great economic strides made in the economy. Statistics drawn from the Census Bureau show people of colour owning about 22.1 percent of all U.S businesses (Galer, 2014). Furthermore, women own more than a quarter of all enterprises. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce reports that approximately 1.4 million of companies are owned by either gay or transgender individuals (Galer, 2014). It means that gay and transgender people operate close to 5 percent of all enterprises in the United States.


In the previous years, male dominance in the workforce has been on the decrease with more women going to careers that had somehow been dominated by men. More women are pursuing lucrative courses in college. Consequently, market statistics reveals that there has been a significant rise in the number of female doctors, engineers, lawyers, pilots, business entrepreneurs and even going as far as women ruling some countries. Statistics reveals that men’s view of women has tremendously changed with many of them viewing them as competitors in various fields rather than only as mothers, daughters or sisters.


The emergence and spread of democracy has led to a myriad of impacts on workplace dynamics. Democracy has promoted diversity in the workplace. People access large volumes of information thus they are aware of their rights. Consequently, people share different views about who is more suited to fight for them in a representative capacity. In most organisations, employees have different political ideas and eventually political affiliations. It acts as a source of conflict particularly when they are forced to make decisions regarding crucial national issues for example wages and salaries, organisational codes of conduct and petitions.


A better health care system and an increase in the retirement age has seen an increasing proportion of the old age group working hand in hand with young people straight from college. The fact that these two groups of people belong to different age brackets is a significant source of diversity. Young people have different ways of thinking and doing their things. When young people present their ideas, the elderly group might perceive this as rebellion and this might create significant friction in the workplace. Tension and enmity might develop and consequently lower productivity of the organisation (Henderson, 2004).


Globalisation refers to the removal of economic barriers between markets permitting a free flow of products, services, skills and ideas. Therefore, globalisation, therefore, means doing business with a larger number of people from very diverse backgrounds. It also means having a more diverse group of customers and clients who consequently need a different set of goods and services.


Countries in the west (North America and Europe) are experiencing significant strides in the economy. However, they also have low birth rates. Consequently, a small number of energetic young individuals are needed to sustain the vast majority of industries that support these large economies. The solution has been to import immigrants from other countries to work. Most of the immigrants come from poor and developing countries that in contrast have high birth rates and high unemployment rate. Moreover, people migrate from all over to seek higher education to further their goals and ambitions. Also, people travel to other countries to look for better medical care and procedures that cannot be performed in their individual countries. The result is an increase in the diversity in the workplace, schools and hospitals. It can only be through embracing theses diversities that the world can move forward (Hr022, n.d.).


A multi-racial and multi-ethnic society means that people come from diverse cultural backgrounds. In the workplace, this manifests itself in the way people dress, talk, the types of foods they eat, the God they worship and their general opinion on different issues in life. Lack of respect for this diversity is bound to create friction among colleagues at work or even lead to loss of business opportunities.


The results as obtained from the survey questionnaire and the secondary sources showed a positive correlation between work diversity and organisational performance and in extension to the country’s economy.
About seventy percent of the responders report working in a diverse workplace, and they prefer such a place than the alternative.Moreso, the responders admit working in a diverse workplace is beneficial in the long run both to the associates and employers. They gave various benefits that could result from workplace diversity. Most say that diversity helps them understand other people’s culture better and learn from them. They also say that working with a diverse group of individuals has added a lot to their personalities and behaviour. They are better persons than they were previous as a result of the relationships. Other benefits of working in a diverse organisation (according to the responders) have been discussed below. Furthermore; the survey reveals that about fifty percent of the responders work in institutions that have put in place policies to foster diversity in the workplace. Some of these include allocating slots for the indigenous community when hiring new employees, providing opportunities employment positions for the people living with disabilities and ensuring promotions are equally awarded to all the members of the workforce. Of the fifty percent, two-thirds report that their organisations comply with these policies.
On the question of the effect of changing market trends on workplace diversity, the majority of the responders admitted that indeed, there’s marked effect. They attributed these mostly to removal of economic barriers between states and countries. Majority of the responders do not admit ever being mistreated, oppressed or discriminated in the workplace. Some of those who do, report a decrease in such incidences. They attribute this to the mechanisms in place that provide for reporting of such cases.However,a larger number of the responders say there are no procedures or avenues in place for reporting such cases. Sixty-seven percent of the responders say that workplace diversity is an important issue for the management of today. About two-thirds of the responders feel that the organisational processes, activities or facilities meet their equality and diversity needs ‘moderately well’. A half of the responders admit to having specialised personnel or officer in the workplace with the knowledge of and task of enforcing workplace diversity. Most responders also say that diversity in the workplace remains a significant organisational challenge despite the mechanisms available to enforce it.However,they assert that if well enforced, diversity can increase the profits of the organisation massively. The reason they gave for this was that a diverse workplace had the benefit of having different mind-sets and think tanks. Consequently, coming up with ideas for developing a business is easy and solving problems is easy to. From the responses, various adverse impacts were noted that arose from not appreciating diversity in the workplace too. Almost all seemed to agree that diversity is important and critical to the success of their organisation. The responders also suggested ways in which diversity can be increased in the work environment.


First, diversity enhances creativity and innovation. Differences among individuals mean people do not get to think and perform the same in similar tasks. When an organisation creates an environment where people can come together and bring their views and feel respected, competitively, the company does so much better. Multiple voices enhance creativity because different people develop new ideas, new services, and new products. It also encourages out-of-the-box thinking. Workers can sharpen their minds and ways of thinking by comparing and contrasting the variety of ideas at their disposal without fear of reprimand or discrimination.
Diversity promotes peace and stability in the work environment. Individuals who have accepted the diversity of their fellow colleagues at their work place enjoy more peaceful and lasting relationships bordered on respect. Everybody understands that no one is superior to the other no matter the race, tribe, religion or political affiliation. Peace fosters unity and this encourages productivity at the workplace. On a larger scale, international businesses prosper at a greater rate. Goods are manufactured tailored to particular needs of people that are different owing to the vast diversity in the market. People from the minority group feel appreciated and can showcase their talents and abilities more confidently than they would under an oppressive or discriminative system.
Away from business, the respondents admitted that diversity have made them be able to understand more about and appreciate the cultures of their colleagues. This promotes learning and education at work as one might pick up a particular technique of doing something that may end up benefitting the company in the long run. Most responders attribute their good performance with the help of at least one of their colleagues at the workplace.
Diversity is associated with improvement of employee’s satisfaction and engaged employees. Additionally, diverse employees are highly likely to stick around for a very long time. Retention of employs involves saving resources. An organisation that retains employs uses the resources that would be utilized in a new recruitment exercise to develop other areas. When managers are attuned to the diversity in their workforce and encourage other staff to embrace and understand its role, employee engagement and satisfaction increases, consequently, productivity of the organisations rises.
Failing to appreciate diversity was associated with cases of bitter rivalry and unhealthy competition in the workplace. Ideas coming from some members of the workforce that were discriminated against were not taken seriously leading to loss of good business opportunities. In severe cases, some of the company personnel resigned to go seek an environment where their skills were better appreciated. In some instances, it went as far as some members of the workforce suing their employers on the grounds of unfairness, discrimination and oppression at work. Such cases ended up with either of the parties losing massive amounts of money and reputation (Kossel, Label & Brown, n.d).


Workplace diversity has numerous bottom line benefits such as high productivity and employee morale. However, this needs to be approached holistically because retaining employees may be harder than recruiting new staff. It is important for companies operating in less diverse regions to hire employees from different backgrounds. The reason is that minority employees may feel disconnected.
First, the management needs to identify what its needs are. Does the workforce resemble the communities that it operates in? Does it match the population that it wants to serve in? If not, the management needs to consult with local organisations that have community connections. Such organisations include churches, cultural institutions and colleges. These can help the management to connect with the local community and the appropriate workforce it needs.
The management can also foster diversity in the workplace by gaining the people’s trust and commitment. The more committed people are, the more their performance. There are three levels of employee commitment including obligation, belonging and ownership (Forbes, n.d.). Organisations need to create an attitude of ownership among employees by making them understand that whether the business makes profits or losses, it still belongs to them.
The management also needs to create an equal platform in the organisation for all the works when it comes to sensitive issues. Such issues include employment opportunities, rewards (salaries and wages), and promotion opportunities. These should be based strictly on merit and should be fair and transparent as possible. This creates a healthy spirit of competition among workers particularly when they know that they are going to be awarded based strictly on who performs best and not on skin colour, political affiliation or religion.
Another way of increasing diversity in the workplace would be to create slots for the minorities in the society especially the disabled. As mentioned above, a greater number of disabled individuals are left out of employment even though they might be having the same qualifications as those who are not disabled if not higher. Reasonable workplace adjustments should be put in place to enable employees with disabilities to make full use of training and personal development projects (Griswold, 2013).
Management should also try to develop a closer relationship with all members of the workforce. The management should ask for the opinion of their employees and act on them if necessary. It should solicit feedback from anyone without discrimination. It instils a sense of reassurance from all the members of the work team. The management should try to listen to their employees and act promptly on any negative feedback. In the long run, everyone feels appreciated and is motivated to work a great deal more.
Moreover, the management needs to recruit and retain a diversified team of employees with regards to culture and language. It should further recognise value and promote the cultural and linguistic diversity of its workforce. It should provide for holidays at particular times of the year in which certain festivities for different groups in the society are held. For example, companies should grant Christians holidays during Christmas festivities and Muslims during IddUlfitr.


Diversity in the workplace can be a dividing tool and hence a liability or it can be a valuable asset to the organisation. It is imperative that the organisation get each of their employees to give their best at the workplace. The only way that organisations can promote this is to find ways through which every employee is valued based on his merits regardless of his or her differences with others. It takes a lot of initiatives, effort and understanding especially for the management. The management needs to draw its focus away from individual profits and gains of the company and spend more time with their employees. It is important that they understand that unless the employers and employees speak in one language, the progress of the organisation will be stalled forever. Managing diversity is more than promoting equal employment opportunity or affirmative action (Aoun & Gibeily, 2005). Companies should use management tools in a diverse workforce to educate everyone on the importance of understanding, embracing and appreciating the diversity in the workplace.


Aoun, G & Gibeily, T. (2005). “Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace.” Choice Reviews Online 42.11: 42-6585.
Forbes. (n.d.). Inclusion, Global Diversity And. Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce. Retrieved from http://images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Innovation_Through_Diversity.pdf
Galer, S. (2014). SAPVoice: New Study Redefines Workplace Diversity. Forbes. Retrieved 16 November 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2014/01/24/new-study-redefines-workplace-diversity-it-no-longer-means-what-you-think/
Griswold, A. (2013). Why ‘Thought Diversity’ Is The Future Of The Workplace. Business Insider. Retrieved 16 November 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-workplace-diversity-is-here-2013-9
Henderson, G. (2004). Cultural diversity in the workplace: Issues and strategies. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.
Hr022. (n.d.). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools.
Kossek, E., Lobel, S. & Brown, J. (n.d.). Human Resource Strategies to Manage Workforce Diversity. Retrieved from http://ellenkossek.lir.msu.edu/documents/handbook2.pdf

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