Diversity in the Workplace

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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.


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. ...
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