Strategies to Combat Issues Regarding Multicultural Workforce

Topics: Discrimination, Affirmative action, Culture Pages: 9 (3054 words) Published: February 10, 2013
Prof. Prerna Kothari ,Asst. Professor
Prof. Carol Poonekar ,Asst. Professor
DMSR, Tirpude College of Social Work ,Nagpur.
The topic of diversity management has rapidly filtered in to organizations and into school texts over the past few years. The term diversity management refers to efforts by organizations to actively recruit, retain and facilitate working relationships among individual from a variety of backgrounds. Multiculturalism was originally associated with initiatives for race and gender equality in the workplace. Primary dimensions of diversity, however, certainly include race and gender, but also age, ethnicity, physical ability, and increasingly, sexual orientation. Additionally, secondary factors such as education, geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, parental status, religious preference, and work experience also reflect the elements of a diverse or multicultural workforce. Both primary and secondary characteristics significantly affect an individual's interaction in the workplace. All of the diverse characteristics of a multicultural workforce can be used to a strategic advantage by those companies with the creativity to make use of them. This paper is designed to explore how managers can effectively manage diverse workforce populations. Further, it provides a deeper insight into “multiculturism”, discusses the advantages of diverse workforce, the challenges of managing a multicultural workplace, and presents effective strategies for managing diverse workforces. PAPER

The phrase "multicultural workforce" refers to the changing age, sex, ethnicity, physical ability, race, and sexual orientation of employees across all types and places of work . Multicultural workforce as a descriptive term or phrase has, however, largely been supplanted by the term "diversity" in describing the increasing heterogeneity of the workplace through the inclusion of different groups of people. While "multicultural workforce" is still sometimes used in reference to employees of varying social, racial, and ability characteristics, the scope of diversity goes further and includes not only the personal characteristics of an organization's employees but also the way an organization responds to a multicultural or diverse workforce .The challenge posed by diversity, is to accommodate different groups by addressing their lifestyles, values, work style, and family needs without compromising the goals and operations of the organization. Diversity and multiculturalism, however, should not be confused with affirmative action. The most striking difference between the two social schemes is that affirmative action is initiated by government regulation and legislation, whereas diversity is voluntary although various governmental agencies may pressure companies under certain circumstances to diversify their workforce. Affirmative action is also legally driven, quantitative, problem focused, assimilated, and reactive, whereas diversity is productivity driven, qualitative, opportunity focused, integrated, and proactive.

The world's increasing globalization requires more interaction among people from diverse cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds than ever before. People no longer live and work in an insular marketplace; they are now part of a worldwide economy with competition coming from nearly every continent. For this reason, profit and non-profit organizations need diversity to become more creative and open to change. Maximizing and capitalizing on workplace diversity has become an important issue for management today.

Demographic changes (women in the workplace, organizational restructurings, and equal opportunity legislation) will require organizations to review their management practices and develop new and creative approaches to...
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