Managing Diverse Teams

 “Research has consistently shown that diverse teams produce better results, provided they are well led. The ability to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations and leverage all they have to offer, therefore, is a must-have for leaders” (Ibarra and Hansen 2011: 71).

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Diversity refers to human qualities that are different from our own, Dimensions of diversity include but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities / qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, parental status, religious beliefs, work experience, and job classification (De Anza 2014). With increasing globalisation, many organisations face tougher competition at the same time they are working in a more complex environment.This leads to diverse teams becoming more common at all levels of the organisation(Financial Times 2014).To make a successful diverse teams, organisations are now required to manage diversity. Diversity management refers to the voluntary organizational actions that are designed to create greater inclusion of employees from various backgrounds into the formal and informal organizational structures through deliberate policies and programs.

Advantages and Challenges of Diverse Teams in Organisations

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Businesses are recognizing the need and importance of investing in diversity and inclusion as part of their overall talent management practices and to continually challenge their organizations to make the connection between those principles and their corporate performance. For instance using Geert Hofstede’s Dimensions of Culture, it explains how countries or people behave or act differently from others. Now having these people in one organisation working together as a team can sometimes be an issues but if managed well it can be an advantage to the organisation.

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  • Advantages

Diverse teams in business potentially result in increased creativity, increased productivity, new attitudes, new language skills, global understanding, new processes, variety of viewpoints and new solutions to difficult problems, (Andrade 2010). For instance Ford Company has been one of the world leaders in workplace diversity and inclusion, which has since remained the key business strategy of the company. Diverse teams are available in every level of the company’s operations, from the boardroom to the design studio, from the plant floors to the engineering centre; their diversity makes them a better and successful company. With this behaviour in their organisation diverse teams and team building has had major advantages to the company.

  •  Challenges

fotolia_9339218_XSAlthough there are so many advantages, there have been a few challenges faced by many organisations when it comes to diverse workplace.communication-barriers Such challenges are; Conflict, Bureaucracy, Unproductive due to dissimilar interests, disunity, forming a structure and guideline for different religious groups, developing solutions and new strategies, it is also a challenge to be fair to all, etc. (Dike 2013).

 

The ability to manage a diverse team is the most important skill 

Black_Ford_Fiesta_X100_-_008Nowadays, with global businesses resulting to diverse work place, there are many talented people working together. Hence it is very essential for any multinational companies to actually manage diverse teams and make it one of their significant skills. A good example is Ford Company, they realised it needed to strategically and effectively manage the diverse workforce to enable its implementation continue to work to the company’s advantage. Ford therefore recognised some measures, which they thought would retain and also attract new diverse workforce and successful diversity implementation and management.  It is the most important skill for Ford to manage diverse teams as they can deliver what our customers want and more over increase their success. The case for diversity is strong for Ford (Ford 2014).

Managers might use the knowledge of diverse teams to produce better results


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Michael Pacanowsky, assistant professor at University of Utah, in 1980 he hypothesised that organisations are very diverse and difficult. To actually understand how a company functions, managers need to observe how the people in the organization act (Duggan 2014). Through observation, managers can exploit the talents of employees and teams to attain strategic objectives more successfully. Managing a diverse work population is a challenge; it is more than simply acknowledging differences in people. With the knowledge of diversity managers now take advantage in recognizing the value of differences, fighting discrimination and encouraging comprehensiveness in which in turn makes employee feel satisfied and belonging in the company and able to work with different teams.

Conclusion

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????A diverse workforce is a reflection of a changing world and marketplace. Diversity management benefits associates by creating a fair and safe environment where everyone has access to opportunities and challenges. Management tools in a diverse workforce should be used to educate everyone about diversity and its issues, including laws and regulations. Most workplaces are made up of diverse cultures, so organizations need to learn how to adapt to be successful.

 

REFERENCES 

Andrade, S. (2010) 6 Advantages Of Workplace Diversity [online] available from <http://saharconsulting.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/6-advantages-of-workplace-diversity/&gt; [27 August 2014]

Brookins, M. (2014) Diversity In The Workplace [online] available from <http://smallbusiness.chron.com/define-diversity-workplace-4926.html&gt; [28 August 2014]

Cipd.co.uk, (2014) Diversity In The Workplace: An Overview – Factsheets – CIPD [online] available from <http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/factsheets/diversity-workplace-overview.aspx&gt; [28 August 2014]

De Anza, F. (2014) Diversity In The Workplace [online] available from <http://hr.fhda.edu/diversity/&gt; [28 August 2014]

Duggan, T. (2014) How Organization Theories Explain The Dynamic Of The Diverse Workplace [online] available from <http://smallbusiness.chron.com/organization-theories-explain-dynamic-diverse-workplace-16662.html&gt; [1 September 2014]

Financial Times, F. (2014) Diverse Teams Definition From Financial Times Lexicon [online] available from <http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=diverse-teams&gt; [28 August 2014]

Kepner, K. and Green, K. (2014) HR022/HR022: Diversity In The Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, And The Required Managerial Tools [online] available from <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hr022&gt; [26 August 2014]

Silverstein, K. (2013) Enron, Ethics And Today’s Corporate Values [online] available from <http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2013/05/14/enron-ethics-and-todays-corporate-values/&gt; [18 August 2014]

 

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8 thoughts on “Managing Diverse Teams

    • Thank you for your comment Veronica, you are Infact very right about the fact that also small organisations should involve diversity. I concerntrated more on multinational companies as they paying more attention and deal a lot with diverse team. Do you think managers in small organisations should also be trained along with the employees about diversity and team building strategies?

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  1. mrishoe, “Do you think managers in small organisations should also be trained along with the employees about diversity and team building strategies?”
    Managers is small organisation should be send for training and exposure along with the employees relating to diversity and team building strategies.
    Exposure to such topic help the individuals in an organisation dealing with internal parties (departmental colleagues) and external parties (authority, client, supplier, etc.) in terms of the various diversity dimension as mentioned in your article.
    For example in Malaysia, we have mixed culture, ethnic, religion and etc. To have more exposure in diversity and understanding/empathy for such will help in communication at work process during business negotiation / coordination / planning. Practicing diversity management in an organization is an advantage to a company

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    • Dear Jazsmin, thank you for your comments and a good example to relate with. I totally agree with your point, definately organisations both small and multinational ought to practice diversity for their own advantage as you mentioned.

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  2. A diverse body of talent with fresh ideas and perspectives is one of the essential ingredients to a company’s long-term success.As you look around your office, is everyone just like you? Probably not. With this pool of different idealogies and cultures and habbits I believe has helped some
    Of the strongest companies to succeed.as a leader diversity is a tool to apply !

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    • Hello Gibbons, Thank you very much for you comments. I do agree with you, diversity has a major role in making the companies stronger than they are. In the end its not about shares and stocks or profit its more about the pool of diverse teams a company has to make it happen.

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  3. Diversity is an important aspect to incorporate in today’s organizations especially in this globalized world where people move to different countries for work. Our societies are not homogeneous anymore.Therefore encouraging heterogeneity of employees in the organization is of great value because it promotes creativity as a result of different culture and values.
    The most important issues to take into consideration in managing diverse group of employees are;
    -What policies and practices should be adopted to make sure there is fair and equitable environment for our diverse workforce?
    -What organizational changes should made to meet the needs of our diverse workforce?
    -And also at the same time maximize their potential?
    -How to motivate them and also how to give negative feedback without destroying their ego? Because all of these factors varies between cultures.
    If we can create a balance between these facts then maximum efficiency will be achieved.
    The challenge with diversity in the organization is on how to communicate and be understood equally among employees.for example “fairness” it is easy for most people to think fair means treating everybody the same but it doesn’t work with diverse workforce.
    So it is crucial to acknowledge the differences and create a framework that will work for your organization and yield best results

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  4. Dear Agness, thank you very much for your comments. As you have mentioned, many companies are actually applying diversity now a days and it has become their root for their success. With the use of policies and practices through diverse team building employees have grown so much from different perspectives and this is giving big advantages to companies that some companies that do not have diverse work groups are infarct looking to hire/recruite diverse employees for change. In the end it can be applied but it is not as easy as it seems, there are so many challenges in between and it all depends on the management skills of the company.

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