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    The Importance of Diversity for an Organization

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    As the demographics of the workforce and an organizations customer base change, (exhibit 1) organizations must be able to harness the creativity of a diverse workforce and use the ideas generated by the individuals within that workforce. For some companies, this is achieved by forming cross-functional teams that rely on talent diversity to solve problems. Each member of the team approaches the problem with viewpoints and perspectives that are unique to them. These viewpoints and perspectives are developed by the experiences of the individual and are shaped by that individuals area of knowledge, social class, nationality, gender or race.

    The value of the cross- functional team in the representation from several areas of the organization. This approach allows the team members to express their ideas and work together to use the ideas to form a viable solution to the organizations problem or to help the organization serve its customers more effectively. An example cited in the Thomas and Ely article expands on the idea of perspectives and ideas gathered from the diverse workforce. The article discusses a law firm that had an all-white legal staff. When the firm diversified and hired a Hispanic attorney, her views and ideas lead to an organization- wide change in the firms consideration of cases to pursue.

    The firms white staff previously ignored cases involving issues relevant to minorities and underprivileged groups. Because the Hispanic attorney was allowed to bring in cases that appealed to her social consciousness, the rest of the firm took notice and re-assessed their beliefs about how they could serve the community. With the addition of more women and minorities to its staff, the firm took on more cases that dealt with social issues involving women and minority groups. Because the law firm embraced the views of the minority employees, it has been successful in meeting the needs of the community and changing the perspective of the majority group.

    The firm is now respected and well known for its diversity efforts and is attracts talented individuals who continue to add to the diversity of the firm. Within the workplace, well-managed diversity programs are credited with improving the morale of an organization. In a study conducted for the Academy of Management Review, Milliken and Martins found that after a diverse group has acclimated to each others differences, that group works as a more cohesive team than do homogenous groups. The members of the diverse group felt more comfortable expressing themselves and often came up with solutions that were more creative than the solutions of homogeneous groups.

    In other situations, a diverse workplace helps minorities feel as if they are part of the organization and not just included to fulfill quotas. Because the minorities feel as if they belong to the organization, they feel better about speaking up and working to effect change within the organization. In an interview with InfoWorld magazine, Joseph Cleveland, president of the Lockheed Martin Enterprise Information Systems group stated that by valuing diversity, his company reaped creative results from diverse groups. Cleveland felt that the type of solutions and suggestions made by the diverse groups was not found in the homogenous groups the company had formed in the past.

    Lockheed Martin feels that by embracing diversity the company is enjoying enhanced creativity, which allows the company to meet its strategic goals. Overall, when a diversity program is managed well and positively viewed by the members of the organization, the benefits of a diverse workplace are many. The positive attitude of the employees flows into other areas of the company leading to creative solutions and increased productivity. If the results of the diversity program are managed well, the organization can turn them into valuable assets. Diversity is also important to organizations because of the social effects of exposing people to different ideas and cultures.

    In some cases, employees are merely tolerant of diversity efforts, but the opportunity exists for diversity programs to really change misconceptions and prejudices. Because diversity is not limited to gender and race, members of an organization can be exposed to the ideas and viewpoints of someone from a different geographic area or someone from a different socio- economic background. The life experiences of an individual make that person different from others and that is where true diversity is found.

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    The Importance of Diversity for an Organization. (2022, Dec 01). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-importance-of-diversity-for-an-organization/

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