“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things” – Mother Teresa
What is Diversity? If this question were thrown open to thousands of people, there would be thousands of different answers. In my own opinion, diversity is the differences found in people, it could be defined by age, gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, skills, culture, e.t.c. Nowadays, countries continually tend to become more diverse, a typical example is the United Kingdom, where even the cities like London, are diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, race and even religion. It has been predicted that by 2051, ethnic minority communities will represent an estimated 20%-30% of the population of England and Wales (Chapman 2014)
In these days of globalisation it might be said that diversity has been extended to organisations and workplaces in business due to the diverse groups of people found in different countries of the world. This is necessary for interaction with clients from all over the globe to achieve a high level of productivity, global understanding, improvement on language skills, creativity, innovation and problem solving (WISELI 2010). From this, it might be assumed that any company without diversity will below on the ranks of competition, therefore organisations are adviced to take advantage of diversity because culture and social attitudes have an impact on organisations. (Mullins 2010)
One thing is having a diverse team in an organisation and another issue is managing it, as there could also be conflict of ideas that could lead to disaster for the organisation if not properly managed.
From the video it is understandable to say that to successfully manage diversity at a workplace, the various units in an organisation should be treated as a team working together and treated equally, as “it necessitates a work environment that respects individual differences and treats all member of staff with dignity and mutual respect” (Mullins 2013)
However, according to the Chartered Management Institute, diversity is not about diminishing quality, eliminating prejudices, politically correct appearances, filling a quota or a distraction from the teams purposes. (Chartered management institute 2007).
Accenture is a typical example of company practicing good management of diversity and uses it to its advantage and as a business strategy.
A real life example of diversity is one I experienced at Coventry University London Campus as an MBA postgraduate student, where we were given an interesting task to complete as a team, for a module titled, Leading in a changing world. We were given a 100cm ruler, a tiny wooden box, four long strings of rope and two bottles of the same size filled with water. It was expected that the ruler is placed steady on the top of the tiny wooden box, which was all placed on the table and the two bottles of water placed on each end of the ruler. The challenge was to pull the two bottles to the centre of the ruler without touching them with our hands and ensuring that both ends of the ruler touching the table.
My group was a diverse team of three Nigerians, one Ghanaian, one Indian and one Chinese. Due to diversity and different ways of thinking there were series of ideas that emerged, but I as the leader had to manage the ideas to avoid conflict. I ensured everyone’s idea were put to test and sequentially too. All ideas led to the successful completion of the task, we figured it out. It was a wonderful experience to watch people of different diversities work together. If I had not managed the team properly there would have been arguments, because some members’ ideas sounded unreasonable to other members of the team and vice-versa.
DiversityInc is an organisation that has appraised a variety of firms with respect to their diversity, giving them ranks in the process based on other criteria (diversityinc.com 2014):
- Presence and actions of a global diversity council
- Proper use of diverse staff resource group for recruitment and talent development
- Establishing Global policies to avoid discrimination and harassment
- Global initiative to employ and promote staff with disabilities
- Global initiatives to employ and promote LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) staff
- Multi-cultural mentoring initiative
- Specific talent and leadership development initiative for women
- Global supplier diversity initative
With all criteria considered, there was a ranking made of the top 10 firms for global diversity, all successful and top players in the world of business.
6. Procter & Gamble
7. Merck & Co.
9. Johnson & Johnson
10. Wyndham Worldwide
With the introduction of Globalisation in business, Organisations in pursuit of success and competitive advantage should employ diverse staff willing to work with others as a team towards achieving the organisations goals.
Chapman, J. (2014) Ethnic minorities ‘will make up one third of the population by 2050′ as Britain’s melting pot continues to grow [online] available from <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2620957/Ethnic-minorities-make-one-population-2050-Britains-melting-pot-continues-grow.html>> [1 August 2014]
Chartered Management Institute (2007) Embracing Diversity: Guidance for Managers [online] available from <http://www.managers.org.uk/sites/default/files/u23/Info_for_Employers_Embracing_Diveristy.pdf> [1 August 2014]
Desi, R. (2010) Leadership and…Strengthening a Diverse Team [online] available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv08ObnMOzI> [1 August 2014]
Diversityinc.com (2014) The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Global Diversity[online] available from < http://www.diversityinc.com/top-10-companies-global-diversity/>> [1 August 2014]
Mullins, L. and Christy, G. (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour, pp. 157-161. 10th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.