Diversity in the workforce can be elaborated as the variations among the staff members of a certain organization. Some of the highly recognized diversifications include age, ethnicity, gender, cultural background, and physical ability. In a rapidly changing economy, the creation of a positive environment of diversity where people appreciate other’s opinions and work unified to achieve the common goals indicates qualities of high leadership (Kamin, Wildermuth & Collins, 2003). Change and stability have been the two simultaneous pressures that have been facing the current organizations in the modern world. Majority of the organization members consider these opposite pressures as difficult to understand. However, organizations are said to thrive and expand in change.
Competition in the various organizations thrives through constant innovation by the managers and the non-managers in the organization. In addition, technology has been incorporated in the organizations to aid in the interaction and processes management within and out of the organization. Moreover, the introduction of technology has led to the emergence of a form of organization called virtual organization (Champoux, 2010, p 5). Over the years, the workforce in America has changed dramatically; this change has been more ethnically and racially based, leading to the human resource management at various organizations to adopt an extensive labor force both internally and externally (Jackson & Mathis, 2008, P 17).
Diverse changes in modern U.S. workforce
According to Champoux (2010), many aspects in terms of functions and forms in an organization are changed by technology. Technology enables interactions over a network; while the virtual organization, which is a group of individuals or organizations that use electronics to oversee and coordinate their activities, have been increasing regularly. The electronic business or commonly known e- commerce is one of the technological diversity of technology that is considered as a pressure source that is continuing (Champoux, 2010, p 5). Moreover, economical shifts and globalization have accelerated due to technology change, with the internet playing the major role in effecting changes in the organization and jobs sector by explosively nurturing the information sector. In other words, technology means “availability at all times” thus incorporating cell phones, personal digits for organizational staff and wireless networks for computers. In addition to this technology, change has increased weekly hours as work can still be undertaken in the home environs. This therefore compels the organizations to incorporate virtual employees who are not working on-site into their system (Jackson & Mathis, 2008, P 17).
In current overall and general labor force of the United States, the ethnic and racial minorities account for the growing population. Immigrants are said to be expanding this margin as the population of the Hispanics leveling or exceeding that of the African Americans. Racial/Ethnic diversity has promoted and enhanced cultural diversity. This is due to the various languages, traditions, religious practices, and beliefs that accompany these diversities. A good example of this kind of diversity is the worldwide events that have enhanced the attention of employers to the Islamic faith thus providing accommodation to the Islamic religious practices that has emerged as a common concern (Jackson & Mathis, 2008, P 17).
According to Kamin, Wildermuth, and Collins, the white workers have dominated the labor force. Future projections have indicated that other groups are coming up in their percentages of the labor force. In the minority groups, the Asian and the Hispanic are said to be the fastest growing group. This can be attributed to high birth rates and immigration. The black labor force follows the two groups (Kamin, Wildermuth & Collins, 2003).
In the current American workforce, more and more women have enrolled as compared to the past few decades. According to Jackson and Mathis, women’s percentage in the U.S. workforce is about 47%. Majority of the women are primary income earners as a result of been widowed, single, divorced, or separated. Tensions have emerged as a result of dual-career couples and the increasing number of working women. In order to retain their employees, the employers have been forced to attend to the work and family concerns of their employees (Jackson & Mathis, 2008, P 18). Approximately 75% of the employed women are in their prime years of child bearing. The percentage of entries of women in the working industries has surpassed that of their male counterparts (Kamin, Wildermuth & Collins, 2003).
An aging workforce is as a result of the continuing aging population of majority of the developed countries. In the next few decades, a good number of the experienced employees in the United States will either retire or work part time. This therefore creates a dilemma to the employers of the proper replacement for the retiring employees. Aging of the workforce and increase in diversity has created tensions and possibilities of individuals filling lawsuits against employers for discriminating (Jackson & Mathis, 2008, P 18, 19). In the past, a higher percentage of employed employees were between the ages of 25 to 54, with the employees over the age of 55 representing the minority. This has since changed as in the current situation the majority of the employed employees’ age ranges from 46 and 64 thus increasing the median age of the labor force (Kamin, Wildermuth & Collins, 2003).
Issues in diverse organization
These outcomes of a behavior have unintentional negative impact on an institution or organization. Introduction of new technology in an organization is an example of dysfunctional consequences. The fast growing competitive market has forced managers to alter their organizational processes and design. The dysfunctional consequence is therefore an equal and opposite response emerging from competitors in order to make the market competitive and complex (Champoux, 2010, p 5).
Organizational Cost Pressures and Restructuring
Among the major challenges or issues facing organizations, and managers in particular, is operating in a cost-less mode. This means that the managers will be constantly looking for ways of reducing costs in all sectors i.e. equipments, financial and labor. Global competitors have pressured many U.S. firms to close facilities, cut labor costs, and use international outsourcing. Growth in information technology has resulted in easy identification of location and specific capabilities of employees (Jackson & Mathis, 2008, P 19)
Law suits and complaint filing
The chances of law suits or complaint filing against the employer are high in a highly diverse organization. According to Jackson and Mathis, the growing diversity is growing more tensions and a high chance of individuals filing employment discrimination complaints against their own employers. These scenarios forces the employers to effortlessly ensure non-discriminatory policies are adhered to. In addition to this training on diversity issues and proper handling of diversity issues in institutions is been given first priority (Jackson & Mathis, 2008, P 19).
Diversity is a process that is embraced by different organizations as a result of the changing modern environment. For instance, change in technology has improved, is improving, and will improve in the future to come. This therefore leaves the organizations without option other than to embrace diversity in addition to learning on the best way to improve their operations.
Among the key factors of organizations retaining their competitiveness, is embracing diversity in their organizational systems. Majority of the successful international companies have trained their workers to work in different environments in the various countries of the world. In doing this the employees get to understand the various cultures of their clients and their backgrounds. In the U.S., the changing technology is there to stay as we live in a digital world. The same applies to the different ethnic groups, the aged people, and the gender. The earlier the organizations embrace the various diversities around them the earlier they will adapt in managing these diversities. The organizations can create a positive environment of diversity by allowing different perspectives to be heard, accept the different cultures and work in a united manner for the betterment of the organization. With different backgrounds, each member in the workforce brings to the table unique characteristics, which may include variance in education, intelligence, values, and above all, experience. The importance of adopting diversity is the sole reason as to why the diversity issue has been addressed in the first place. By valuing these differences, the organizations will have tapped potential strength and therefore improved the productivity of the organization.
Champoux, E. J. (2010). Organizational Behavior: Integrating Individuals, Groups, and Organizations. NY: Routledge.
Kamin, M., Wildermuth, M. S. C. & Collins.R. (2003). Diversity programs that work. NY: American Society for Training and Development.
Mathis, L. R. & Jackson, H. J. (2008). Human Resource Management. OH: Cengage Learning.