What is the importance of understanding cultural, ethnic, and gender differences by managers and professionals in a business setting? Are we spending too much time, effort, and money training managers and professionals about such concepts and ideas? The importance of learning about cultural, ethnic, and gender differences is significant and crucial to the existence of any business or profession. It is important for us as human beings to acknowledge and accept people for who they are. We need to understand and be sensitive to the cultural needs and practices of others, and welcome those that are different as important members of our society. This should be everyone’s goal in the professional and business world. Employers and managers should be onboard with this concept. The culture needs to change. All of us need to live and work in a society that is accepting and tolerant of others regardless of who they are or where they come from. According to Cox & Blake (1991), Organizations have not been as successful in managing women and minorities as white males. The results clearly indicate that callouts and turnovers are higher among minorities and women than for white males.
This is related to the frustration over career growth and conflict with the dominant white male culture (p.46). This is an obvious example of the business community failing to realize that drastic change of cultural thinking is needed to successfully manage an effective and productive workforce. It is costly to an organization to hire and train employees. Your goal should be to retain your employees and have them work in a positive and productive environment. Opportunities for advancement should be for everyone and not limited to white or male employees. With regards to promotional opportunities for females where access to senior positions is more restricted, women are less supportive of other women. Men often fail to recognize the extent to which work environments are inhospitable to the advancement of women to high level positions. Because men do not share the same gender identities as women, there is less reason to expect supportive behaviors, such as nomination of women to higher positions in the company (Virick & Greer, 2012, pg. 580).
Many large corporations are addressing these issues of gender and racial discrimination with much success. According to Cox & Blake (1991), Even though accurate dollar cost savings figures from managing diversity initiatives of specific companies are rarely published, a major pharmaceutical company has saved money mainly by lowering turnover among women and ethnic minorities. Other companies have been aggressively using favorable publicity to recruit women and minorities and these recognitions have been successful. We can see the results of the positive changes major corporations are undertaking. Workforce diversity has the potential to improve service delivery and performance by way of understanding the values of and norms of populations the organization serves, particularly for public employees in service delivery organizations.
Recognizing the importance of diversity, many organizations have developed policies and professional development issues to attract, retain, and develop employees, as well as facilitate communication and understanding amongst them (Nichol & Anti-Boasiako, 2012). This makes sense to me. It is important for workers to be able to communicate effectively with the community it serves. Only a diverse workforce can accomplish this goal especially when you need to communicate to others that cannot understand or speak the English language. At my hospital we have been fortunate enough to employee a diverse population of staff capable of speaking multiple languages. This is vital especially when dealing with situations that require emergency or lifesaving interventions. In conclusion, I would stress the importance of cultural diversity and the need to understand cultural, ethic, and gender differences for businesses and professional organizations to be successful, especially in a workforce which is represented by over 50% females and minorities (Cole & Salimath, 2012).
I am right handed and realized how awkward it was to accomplish simple tasks. I held a rubber ball in my right hand covered it with a sock. I did this for approximately one hour. I could not write with my left hand. I did attempt to open a wine bottle with a corkscrew and was unsuccessful. Even though I could manage certain tasks I was somewhat frustrated. I could not imagine having to perform activities of daily living with my “weak’ hand. I was somewhat at an advantage since I have been trained to use my weak hand as a law enforcement officer if my dominant hand was injured. It was still extremely difficult to complete many tasks. This exercise was valuable to me. It provided insight as to how difficult it must be to live life with a disability or to be different from others.
I cannot imagine the struggle of those that are different because of race, creed, color, gender, religion, or political beliefs. It shed light on how challenging it must for those that cannot speak or understand the English language. Management of large corporations and institutions must increase awareness of cultural diversity and sensitivity in their organizations. The only way this will be accomplished is by implementing educational programs to address these issues. This will allow institutions to change the culture of their organizations and their employees. The goal is to be accepting of people regardless of who they are or where they are from. We still have much work to do before we can say “mission accomplished”.
Cole, B. M., & Salimath, M. S. (2012, August 29). Diversity Identity Management: An Organizational Perspective, 151-161. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1466-4 Cox, T. H., & Blake, S. (1991). Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness. Academy of Management Executive, 5, 45-56. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4165021 Virick, M., & Greer, C. R. (2012). Gender Diversity In Leadership Succession: Preparing For The Future. Human Resource Management, 51, 575-600. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hrm.21487 Wyatt-Nichol, H., & Antwi-Boasiako, K. B. (2012). Diversity Management: Development, Practices, and Perceptions among State and Local Government Agencies. Public Personnel Management, 41, 749-772. Retrieved from ISSN: 0091-0260