Diversity Diversity Diversity can be defined as a situation that includes representation of multiple and ideally all groups within a prescribed environment, such as a workplace (University of Maryland, 2000). The success of an organization depends on the workforce of the organization. A workforce made up of diverse individuals from different backgrounds can bring the best talent to an organization. There are many types of diversity and demographic characteristics and each one has an impact on individual behavior. Ethnicity, gender, age and personality traits diversity will be discussed along with an examination of the impact each of these have on individual behavior.
Ethnicity can be defined as a quality assigned to a specific group of people historically connected by a common national origin or language. Ethnicity is a word commonly used to describe race. When considering the impact ethnicity has on individual behavior a person has to consider all races. Ethnic groups are the minority in a workforce and the impact these groups have on the workforce is dynamic. Ethnicity plays a role on individual behavior in positive and negative ways. Some individuals from ethnic groups use their ethnicity to their advantage positively.
They bring a unique perspective, culture and thought to the workplace. On the other hand ethnicity can have a negative impact also. There can be those who are ashamed of their culture of ethnicity and try to hide it or downplay it. There are those who use their ethnicity for malicious purposes of getting what they want by claiming discrimination, when it has not occurred.
These people who play the "race card" provide a bad name for those who are truly discriminated against. Gender has an impact on individual behavior in the workforce. In the past men has been the sole source of money in the household. More and more women are entering the workforce and becoming high-ranking individuals in powerful companies. There are still those women who feel they have to work twice as hard as a man to make a difference in the workforce. These women feels as though if a woman does something wrong, everyone talks about it.
If a man does something wrong, they are simply learning by mistakes. Of course there are positive and negative impacts on individual behavior. There are women who are discriminated against and expected to do more than a man to get things accomplished, however there are also women who are accepted for putting family first and completing tasks without criticism. There are some women who use their gender maliciously to get what they want and complain about sexual harassment or gender bias. When thinking of age in the workforce, typically the older you are the more experience and knowledge you have. Older employees are looked to for guidance and leadership.
These older people have the wisdom and experience to take from. Younger employees are a hot commodity these days that bring fresh new ideas to the table and have the time and energy to stay late and put in many hours. Age plays a role in individual behavior due to the dynamics of the new workforce. Many older executives, managers or workers have to compete with well-educated and knowledgeable younger employees who question the status quo.
In this case, age may be used to get what a person wants but typically the most talented person for the job is selected regardless of age, knowledge or experience. Personality traits are the key to a successful business. Most businesses would like a take-charge person who is a born leader. Those types of people are great for supervisor positions, however the rest of the personality types are also needed to make a business work. For instance, a salesperson should have an aggressive personality but should also have a touch of listening skills and be a people person. Personality types have an impact on individual behavior because everyone in the workforce needs to get along.
Some personality types, which are stronger than others, may curb their behavior to accommodate others. Some may act the opposite way of their personality type and try to be something they are not. When thinking of diversity, there are several different groups who bring something to an organization. Every group is different and unique and an organization should always try to find the best possible talent in order to have a dynamic group of employees. Diversity is bringing people with different racial, ethnic, cultural and other backgrounds to a workforce. People with different backgrounds can bring different perspectives to a workforce.
These different perspectives result in new ways of viewing ideas and solving problems. When considered this way, diversity makes good management sense making best use of available resources to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization. References University of Maryland. (2001).
Diversity Database, Moving towards the community. Retrieved February 28, 2005 from University of Maryland Resource at: web of Phoenix. (Ed. ). (2003). Organizational Behavior (University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text).
Wiley, John & Sons, Inc. Retrieved February 19, 2005, from University of Phoenix Resource, MGT 331- Organizational Behavior web.