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Diversity in the Workplace - Essay Example

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Diversity in the Workplace

The main personal tools are self-awareness, metacommunication and flexibility. Metacommunication is one of the most valuable skills that a manager can possess is the ability to communicate effectively with others (Sonnenschein 95). Metacommunication reflects and folds back upon itself bringing more information to each conversant. Metacommunication is an active process that is particularly useful in understanding persons who come from different cultural contexts. Among individuals in an increasingly diverse society, there may be more than one understanding, more than one meaning of a single reality. Individuals who come from different cultural paradigms or different hierarchical positions may perceive the same situation differently and draw different meanings from it. The role and importance of metacommunication is to eliminate cultural and language differences.
Self-awareness is another tool which helps managers to deal with diverse employees and lead them. It means: "be aware of those things in your personal background that might help you do or see, or prevent you from doing or seeing thing, important your organization" (Sonnenschein 30). In this case, managers should realize the influence of culture on behavior. Like time or distance, culture is one of those concepts we all know but find difficult to put into words. Self-awareness helps managers to respond effectively to behavior and actions of other employees, understand their motives and desires (Sonnenschein 32).
Flexibility can be seen as a tool which helps leaders to manage diverse workforce and sustain positive organizational culture. 'Flexibility' can be seen as an ability to find the best solution in any situation in spite of personal interests or beliefs. For instance, today men's and women's roles have become more diffuse. The division of labor is less rigid and not necessarily gender-linked. The task of the manager is to perceive these changes and apply them into workforce (Sonnenschein 94-95).
The organizational techniques are conflict management, socialization and training workshops. Conflict management is an effective technique which helps managers to avoid dissatisfaction and misunderstanding between employees. Clearly, if the parties can agree on mutual objectives then the problem is far easier to resolve than if they have conflicting objectless and personal agendas. The tools used to solve the conflict can be communication and listening, respect to position of others and account of cultural differences. These strategies help a manager to separate the people from the problem; focus on interests and not positions; search for solutions which can accommodate both interests; agree objective criteria. Developing a solution is more critical and complex than ever before. Managers should use benefits of conflicts to create positive culture and climate.
Socialization involves understanding of such processes as family influence, personal experience, educational experiences, peer influences, media influences and critical incidents (Sonnenschein 31). For instance, the attributes that once were operative have become less significant in a more democratic and diverse society. Redefining fit no longer means using the broad attributes seeking a deeper sense of knowing and understanding one another. That is, the more we get to know who we all are as ...Show more

Summary

Diversity has become an increasingly important issue to every individual, manager, and organization in America. White males already are a rapidly shrinking percentage of the work force while the numbers of women and minorities are increasing. This demographic shift has generated a dramatic response…
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Diversity in the Workplace essay example
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