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Racial Discrimination in the Work Place Essay Sample

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Racial Discrimination in the Work Place Essay Sample

Introduction

            The expansion of multi- national as well as the locally based companies led the way to skills and labor utilization of people coming from different spheres of the world. Small and huge companies are now into hiring professionals or workers with different cultural background, thus, the work force today is a mixture of people equipped with people of differences and armed with varying culture.  Cultural diversity, therefore exist and it is an inevitable concern of the management and is vital to address because ignoring it will peril the organization’s processes.

            Management of cross cultural diversity has been found to be vital and crucial to one’s company because it will reflect to the various aspects of the organization.  Whether the company or organization is locally based or an international company or a multinational company organizing is necessary.  Collaborative work is required in lieu of performing better business operations.  This is also necessary to facilitate the company’s technology which brings the company to the next level of communication and to a better position in the globalization arena.  In this kind of work place composition, once in a while, one is anticipated to participate in collaborative work- employees will be grouped together for coordination with geographically spread units and for a better job output.  We may wish to recall that in previous years, transnational transactions became prevalent until the present time due to the expansion of the information system community.

            The emerging cross- cultural diversity should be on the priority list of the company because it has a promising direction, though it may also accompany problem if not properly addressed.  Every company’s ultimate goal is the efficiency and effectiveness in everything that they perform.  This will only be attainable if each member of a group cooperate and collaborate with each other.  The secret to success is the harmonious relationship within the group.  This could also depict he general performance of the group.

It is of the companies’ concern to focus on the emerging cross- cultural diversity problems caused by the changes in company employment policies.  It has a promising direction, though, conflict may likely to arise due to many reasons which include the cultural diversification.  The company’s ultimate goal- to be efficient and effective in everything that they do would be attainable if and only if every member in a group cooperate and collaborate with each other.  A harmonious relationship within a group is the secret to success.  It could depict the general performance of the group.

Organizational culture is very important to be effective in organization management.  In the emerging diversification in management today, organization members have his very own culture which he brought as he became one of the members.  Maintaining a concise organizational culture is very crucial for the company’s direction.

To start with, it is important to identify the topic of interests that concern the employees as well as the management about cultural diversity.  Some issues that I had identified which I think very timely and relevant are unfair work assignment given to Asian American, African and Hispanic (Latino), low compensation also associated with the mentioned races and. Inability to exhaust their true work potential.  If you happened to be Hispanic (Latino), Asian American, and African, you will go through difficulty if you wish to advance your career.

 Meanwhile, another problem faced by cultural diversity is the poor performance in terms of decision making as compared to a homogenous group.  But research shows that diversity can also enhance the performance of a group if the group is integrated (Maznevski 1994).  Another link to cultural diversity is the communication problems, relationship conflict and low level of association with other members of the group.  Within the organization, low to high level of heterogeneity could exhibit negative outcomes for the whole organization. 

Many believe that if only cultural diversity could be well managed, it will bring the organization to competitive advantages.  According to the international business literature, global diversification is positively related (Gomez-Mejia and Palich 1997).  Companies around the world are truly disturbed about the implications that cross-cultural diversity might lead if not properly addressed.  They were truly concern of the future and direction of their company, they thought of ways on how to resolve the issues and problems that arise.  One method of which is conducting training for old and new employees regarding cross-cultural diversity.  The role of this training is to raise one’s cultural awareness to improve communication across cultures.  This is a closed collaboration between the members and the organization rather the employees and he management.  This aims to develop cultural awareness and to help both parties to work effectively with that of counterparts with different culture.

            Different behaviors and attitude are more likely to be conditioned by culture, the values, perceptions, and assumptions that are imbibed early in life that exhibits the way one act and interact with others.  Instinctively, we behave according to theses cultural influences.   These cultural influences are so intuitive and deep.  Sometimes, it leads to miscommunication and substantial misunderstanding.  This is more detrimental in an international workplace set-up.  Often than not, there will be misunderstandings because of differing culture that can direct worthwhile business transactions, international expansion and the kind of cross-cultural working.

In the today modern workplace, managing cross-cultural diversity has two focuses.  First is considering the preference of customers and second is the better output produced by workforce with mixed identities.  In the first focus, it is assumed that in international companies with branches across countries, it is assumed that locally, the customers prefer workforce and company to whom which they are familiar with.   In the second focus, as mentioned earlier, heterogeneous groups which is comprised of individual with different identities such as race, age, ethnicity, geographical location, position and the like are more likely to produce better output because of varying skills.

The paper aims to explore the cultural composition of groups in an organization and to learn the issues faced by cross-cultural diversity.  This is an effort to evaluate possible solutions or pre-emptive measures to address the problem faced by companies with members that are culturally diversified.

Background

            This paper specifically focused on racial discrimination as one issue that arises because of cultural diversification in the work place.  In the title VII of the Civil Rights Acts in 1964, it was sated that no individuals should be discriminated for the reason of color, race, sex and religion.  Employer will be prohibiting the law if he or she will disregard applicant on the basis of national origin.  In terms of employment opportunity, the law ordered that nobody can be denied on the basis of ancestry, birthplace, culture, or language or dialect common to a specific ethnic minority. Precisely, from the Civil Rights Act, hiring, job training, compensation, promotion and termination of employee because of his race or color is definitely unlawful.  This act also includes law regarding harassment.  Harassment may be in the form of racial jokes, derogatory comments and physical and verbal conducts.

The Case

In addition from being the first Black to hold an executive position in the Springfield branch office, Freida was also the first woman to have that position.  Although Freida performed her functions well, she felt somehow uneasy with the position.  Her boss in the Springfield is Stan Luboda, a man on his fifty and a native New Englander.  She felt that that he treated her different form his treatment to the other trainees.  She was anxious on how he deals things with her, likewise, he always tries to help her in anything possible and he was too cautious on her, especially on the way of explaining things.  He took time explaining things to her.  She felt that she was been treated like a child by his boss and not like an intelligent and able professional as she is supposed to be.  As for projects assignment and customer contracts, she has been always been behind the scene specifically on operations assignment.  This has become noticeable to her as her co-employee Koehn was always given this task.  She complained it to her boss but her boss dismissed the idea.  Mr. Luboda argues that what he is doing is necessary to adapt with the market situation and to the wise utilization of business resources.

Point of View 

            Efficient and motivated employees greatly help in increasing a company’s profitability measure and in securing a healthy working atmosphere in the work place.  Of course, the manager or the boss is the sole responsible for creating and maintaining good relationship with his or her staff, thus the point of view of the manager of the Springfield branch office- Mr. Stan Luboda will be assumed.  But because the case is employee sensitive, we may also wish to include the point of view of an employee since, the issues and the matters that the company should address evolve around her.

Analysis of the Case Situation

  1. Macro- environment analysis

It is mentioned above that the expansion of multi-national companies and the locally based companies made its way through skills and labor utilization of people coming from different spheres of the world.  The macro environment today is a mixture of individuals with varying race ethnicity and cultural background.  Springfield branch office is one of the companies that is affected by cultural diversification of the work place.  In fact in their branch wherein the majority of the employees were White, there were six other blacks.

  1. Industry Environment Analysis

Less had been mentioned about the industry and competition.  The case mainly dwells on the internal problems that are experienced within the organization.

  1. Company Analysis

It is a huge bank with several branch offices.  Springfield is one of them.  Its employee composition is predominantly White and is mixed with few Black.  The manager is a native Englander.  The bank is currently on its competitive stage wherein good skills of communication are employed in order to encourage depositors, creditors and other clients to rely on the services of the bank.

  1. Discussion of Case Issue

Since child, Freida Mae Jones knew the feeling of being discriminated, thus, in the like cases Freida is very sensitive.  She definitely know when, where and how a Black like her is being ignored or left out of priorities.  Originally, Freida is in line with teaching but unfortunate circumstances led her to take MBA.  Before becoming an assistant manager to Springfield branch, she started in an entry level position and has been rotated to different branch offices.  From these years, she had learned all the facets of bank operations including loan orientation, loan training and operations management.  The tasks assigned on her were easy.

She find it manageable except for the uneasy feeling that she is experiencing in the work place specifically towards the other employees of the company (to the White). Another thing which she find problematic is the treatment of her boss on her.  She thinks that he treated her like a child and not like an adult professional that she ought to be.  In terms of explaining things to her, he did it longer and more elaborate than the usual or as compare to how he explains things to others.  One more thing that she had noticed is the inequality of assigned tasks which pertain particularly with the assignments given to Paul Koehn as compare to the tasks given on her.   Another proof of her complaint is that she that Koehn already started to handle accounts of his own but she was not yet given the same responsibility.   To sum up, Freida claimed that her boss Mr. Luboda is interfering with her progress.  She felt like her boss’s treatment and assignments given to her is somewhat interfering her personal growth and development in the company.

III. Statement of the Problem

            What action must be done by the Springfield manager in order to address the racial discrimination issue complained by Freida?

  1. SWOT Analysis

            Strengths

  • Recognized in the business sector
  • Established banking business
  • Has many branches
  • Presently at its competitive edge
  • Has employees with good communication skills
  • Has bright employees

Weaknesses

  • Unharmonious work place relationship
  • Conflict between the employees
  • Misunderstanding between the manager and the assistant manager
  • Issue of discrimination

Opportunities

  • Recognized in the banking business
  • Company’s openness into hiring of different race
  • Manager’s openness into addressing such concern

Threats

  • Inharmonious relationship in the work place condition that may affect the bank’s overall functions
  • racial discrimination that may result to resignation of Freida, thus, loosing an asset to the company
  • overall internal conflict that may affect the company’s image to the clients

SWOT Matrix

External Environment Analysis

 

 

 

 

Internal

Environment Analysis

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Recognized in the banking business
  • Company’s openness into hiring of different race

 

  • Manager’s openness into addressing such concern
THREATS

 

 

 

 

·         Inharmonious relationship in the work place condition that may affect the bank’s overall functions

  • racial discrimination that may result to resignation of Freida, thus, loosing an asset to the company

 

STRENGTHS

  • Recognized in the business sector
  • Established banking business
  • Has many branches
  • Presently at its competitive edge
  • Has employees with good communication skills
  • Has bright employees

 

SO STRATEGIES

  • Conduct a training that will enlightened the  both the employees and the manger regarding cultural diversity
ST STRATEGIES

  • Reinforce the working condition by conducting group activities that will enable each participants to know and understand each other like an open forum

 

WEAKNESSNESS

  • Inharmonious work place relationship
  • Conflict between the employees
  • Misunderstanding between the manager and the assistant manager
  • Issue of discrimination

 

WO STATEGIES

  • Improve the relationship of the employees by conducting bonding activities.

 

WT STRATEGIES

Strict adherence with the in the Title 7 of the Civil Rights Acts so that discrimination may be abolished  


  1. Formulation and evaluation of Alternative Solution to the Problem

A.

            Conduct a training seminar or workshop that will mitigate the disparity between employees, the assistant manager and the manager.  This will be called cross-cultural management- a training that will be conducted for the benefit of both employees and the management.     Many believe that if only cultural diversity could be well managed, it will bring the organization to competitive advantages.  According to the international business literature, global diversification is positively related (Gomez-Mejia and Palich 1997).  Companies around the world are truly disturbed about the implications that cross-cultural diversity might lead if not properly addressed.  They were truly concern of the future and direction of their company, they thought of ways on how to resolve the issues and problems that arise.  One method of which is conducting training for old and new employees regarding cross-cultural diversity.  The role of this training is to raise one’s cultural awareness to improve communication across cultures.  This is a closed collaboration between the members and the organization rather the employees and he management.  This aims to develop cultural awareness and to help both parties to work effectively with that of counterparts with different culture.

            Different behaviors and attitude are more likely to be conditioned by culture, the values, perceptions, and assumptions that are imbibed early in life that exhibits the way one act and interact with others.  Instinctively, we behave according to theses cultural influences.   These cultural influences are so intuitive and deep.  Sometimes, it leads to miscommunication and substantial misunderstanding.  This is more detrimental in an international workplace set-up.  Often than not, there will be misunderstandings because of differing culture that can direct worthwhile business transactions, international expansion and the kind of cross-cultural working.

In the today modern workplace, managing cross-cultural diversity has two focuses.  First is considering the preference of customers and second is the better output produced by workforce with mixed identities.   In the second focus, as mentioned earlier, heterogeneous groups which is comprised of individual with different identities such as race, age, ethnicity, geographical location, position and the like are more likely to produce better output because of varying skills.

            A training to be conducted every Friday of the week for a span of two months, which will start after working hour and will last for an hour in a seminar area will be very beneficial for old and new employees as well as for the management and company per se.   The benefits offered by this training which is entitled “Harnessing the Workplace: Focused in Cross-cultural Diversity” includes: profound cultural awareness and understanding of cultural differences, better appreciation of cultural challenges in a multiple culture in a working area, a tool for developing cultural competency, privilege to enhance cultural competence and sensitivity, practical tools in encouraging positive relationships that will reduced biased and unfair judgment on others and tools use for minimizing cross-cultural misunderstandings.  This training is designed to cope up with the particular need of an organization, hence, a complete listing is required before getting started.

            In the cultural awareness, cultural attitudes and values will be discussed.  It will be more effective if every culture of members will be elaborated likewise, The White Culture and the American culture will be tackled to provide a better understanding that is beneficial for every one of them.  As for resolving the communication problem, a good speech communication instructor should be hired.  It is of his tasks to inform the trainees with different communication styles employed in a work place.  The lesson will include the aspects of  non-verbal and communication components such as language, signs, symbols, body language, time, space, tasks, authority and relationships aspect in an organization.  Cross-cultural management skills will be also included in the training.  There will be also group-dynamics which will disseminate individual with different cultures in dissimilar groups.  This will help them became at ease with one another and to develop good relationship with everybody.  Working together in a group encourages team building, coordination, integration and unity.  This will further resolve misunderstandings with one another because of the opportunity to know and explain the misconceptions.  Lastly, by the end of their training, all of the people who will attend the training are expected to be equipped with strategies and tips that they will apply for a certain country.

            The materials that will be use to materialize this training must be tailored suitably for cultural awareness.  These will be in the form of well-researched module which contains relevant things about cultural awareness.  Before totally proceeding with the training, it will be very beneficial if a short survey will be conducted to gauge their cross-cultural diversity awareness and in the last training session it will be better if the short survey will be conducted again.  This would measure whether they learn or not.

            As for the trainer for cross-cultural diversity awareness, it is important to be critical and wise in choosing the trainer.  Of course, he or she should have at least a bachelor degree- a human resource person will do, a psychologist, sociologist, a management graduate and the like.   It will be much better if he or she had managerial and work experience.  Furthermore, he or she should be particular about the company’s procedure, its history, goal, and mission and vision so that he or she can relate to their experiences.

Advantages

  1. This activity will create a harmonious working atmosphere in the work place.
  2. This activity will clear the misunderstandings between employee to employee and employees to management.
  3. This will widen the knowledge of every participant about the diversity of culture.
  4. This will encourage a higher degree of sensitivity towards other.

Disadvantages

  1. This activity will generate a number of funds since it will be done for several weeks, there were be materials to be prepared and use and there resource person or training personnel will be hired.
  2. It will be time consuming.
  1. Set another dialogue with the boss- Mr. Luboda

            The first conversation regarding the “alleged” racial discrimination did not turn out well.  It seems that the general manager is closed with the idea.  He had dismissed the complaints of Freida and argued that all of the decisions he had made are strictly for the company’s benefit.  Maybe another conversation or a dialogue rather with adequate time will solve this emerging problem in the work place.  It can be set up on an agreed date and place wherein the two will talk about all the aspects of the banking business, the processes that it went through to examine whether there is areal discrimination that is happening in the company.  How it is manifested and why unconsciously the manger keeps on doing it.  It may be in the form of an open forum between them- to state and admit their mistakes and faults and the things that they promise that they will do in their company.  This conversation between them will somehow bridge their gap.  This will also lead to a harmonious relationship in the work place because being an assistant manager and manager, they are the one is followed by their employees and they were the first to be the role model of their organization’s culture which is subscribed by their employees.

Advantages

  1. It will create a good relationship between Freida and the general manager.
  2. It will make them aware of what one is going through.
  3. This can give an adequate time for them to explain thoroughly each sides.

Disadvantages

  1. The other employees who were experiencing the same problem will not be recognized, since it is a dialogue that is just between them.
  2. If her boss, or manager stick to his decision that there is no such thing as discrimination in their workplace, her career will not progress anymore due to the suppression of growth and potentials that she is experiencing.

Table 1. Evaluation Table

Alternative CRITERIA Total
  Ease of Implementation

(30%)

Cost of Implementation

(30%)

Impact on Human Resource

(40%)

 

 

A 28 25 35 88%
B 30 30 15 75%


VII. Decision/Recommendation

            The decision is to choose the first alternative which is to conduct a training fro the cross-cultural diversity awareness that will benefit both parties- the management and the employees.  This is to promote a harmonious relationship in the work place and to instill an in depth level of understanding toward cultural differences and dissimilarities in all aspects of life.  Though this will take time, patience is an important virtue to develop because the result will be very beneficial not only for the employees but for the company as a whole.  As mentioned earlier, this will be done every Friday after office hours that will be run for a month or two in order to facilitate all the employees, staff and bank officials that will be required to attend.  Regular attendance is deemed very important for the success of this project.

VIII. Implementation

            A discussion about the training will be done including the bank manager, the assistant manger and the rest of the bureaucracy to contemplate on the training procedures and schedule and the trainers to be hired.  First, there will be an open forum to hear the grievances of the employees and their opinion regarding the racial discrimination issue in their company.  The concern people will be given priority to have the floor and they will be given ample time to talk about what their feeling and about their current situation.  Other who also wants to talk will be listened and after has done their part, the manager will have the floor to explain their present situation.

  1. Contingency Plan

            In case the proposed solution fails, the manager- Mr. Luboda may opt to implement the first alternative which is to have a thorough discussion with Freida about her complains.  It is a fact that both have a prejudgment and they both attached a stereotype to each other but to honestly open each other’s feelings and grievances to each other in a conversation or dialogue may help bridge the gap between them.  Not only for Freida, she will serve as representative of other Black employees of their company and for sure their concerns will be address as well.  It is believed that if manage well, cross-cultural diversity will be very helpful and will promote productivity to the company.

References

Biology Online Website (2006). Cultural Diversity. Retrieved on February 4, 2008 from

http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Cultural_diversity

Ethnic Majority (2004). Corporate Culture and Diversity. Retrieved on February 4, 2008 from

http://www.ethnicmajority.com/corporate_diversity.htm

Gomez-Mejia, Luis R. and L E. Palich (1997). Cultural Diversity and the Performance of

Multinational Forms. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 28, 1997. Retrieved

on February 4, 2008 from http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=HGmPGFcGKy3Pvnh7nfpJrynKXh33yQvxHgQSbffyy7fzGGPzSl2d!-497872031?docId=5000499199

Maznevski, Martha L. (1994). Understanding Our Differences: Performance in Decision-Making

Groups with Diverse Members. Sage Journal Online Website. Retrieved on February 4, 2008

from http://hum.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/47/5/531

McNamara, Carter (2007). Organizational Culture. Free Management Library Website.

Retrieved on February 4, 2008 from

http://www.managementhelp.org/org_thry/culture/culture.htm

National Defense University Website (2008). Organizational Culture Website. Retrieved on

February 4, 2008 from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ndu/strat-ldr-dm/pt4ch16.html

Richard, Orlando C. (2004). Cultural Diversity in Management, Firm Performance, and the

Moderating Role of Entrepreneurial Orientations Dimensions. Academy of Management

Journal 2004, Vol. 47, No. 2, 255–266.  Retrieved on February 4, 2008 from http://misweb.cbi.msstate.edu/~COBI/faculty/users/tbarnett/AMJ2004.pdf

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