Implementing cultural diversity in the workplace is important for a multitude of different reasons. The demographics of the American workforce have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. In the 1950s, more than 60% of the American workforce consisted of white males (Victoria, 2017). The American workforce was mainly dominated by white males, but as of today, there is a more cross-cultured mixture of people involved in the workforce. This melting pot in the workplace is important as it provides a diverse mixture of skills, new ideas, and viewpoints to complete tasks, and leads to the long-term success of a business. On the other hand, if an organization continues to do the same thing repeatedly with the same group of individuals, the business will be unable able to grow and expand, which is detrimental. However, increased diversity introduces multiple ways of thinking which enables the company to further develop.
According to Ericksen (2017), Employers have realized that workforce diversity provides both material and intangible benefits. Although these benefits can be viewed as assets as they contribute toward organizational success, they can only be in existence when cultural diversity is implemented, managed, and monitored based on the organizational structure. Material and intangible benefits include a broader range of services and products. This opens the door for a business to become adaptable and operate in a competitive manner. However, this can only be achieved when an organization executes its development and planning in a more effective way. Organizations with cultural diversity implemented in their workforce can capitalize much quicker on market opportunities.
Lastly, there are many positive outcomes of cultural diversity on work group processes. At times, there will be conflicts that arise during working groups, however, there are positives that can result from these conflicts. In a multicultural environment, there are a variety of experiences, work ethics, and expertise in the workplace, which can help with problem-solving skills and leads to high productivity. Working with a diverse group can lead to healthy competition, which helps to push the group to work hard and produce the best results. As mentioned by Cox (1994), the productivity of work-teams can also be improved by maintaining diversity. If employers handle diversity correctly, they will be able to use diversity to drive their performance upwards. If employees feel valued and treated fairly, they will go above and beyond to produce effective work in order to help the company rise. When working in groups, they will focus on each other and collaborate to present a high quality of work.
Mazur (2010), states that Diversity can enhance a group’s ability to gather and process information and therefore it could result in a greater creativity (p. 10). Employees’ level of creativity intensifies when working with people who are different. This is because they tend to come out of their comfort zone and interact with each other while maintaining mutual respect and being open-minded. This produces some level of motivation and discipline within the working environment.
All in all, the demand for cultural diversity is increasing in today’s workplace. There are many advantages and disadvantages of having a culturally diverse working environment. However, the positives far outweigh the negatives, as this phenomenon has proven to be beneficial to both employers and employees. Importantly, incorporating proper training is essential for building and sustaining a culturally diverse workplace. Although there are mixed feelings about a cross-cultural workforce, having an open mind and an understanding of how to implement cultural diversity strategies in a workplace, can increase productivity and open communication between members. This can clearly be seen among a broad range of successful companies throughout the world.
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