Diversity at work
The ageing of the population in developed nations means that, to maintain current economic growth, organisations will need to employ more non-traditional workers than ever before. As a result, the workforce of the future is going to more diverse. From an organisational perspective, the challenge is to create an environment where all workers, regardless of their demographic characteristics, work together effectively to achieve their maximum potential. Given this, the implementation of effective diversity management programmes is an important goal for organisations.
This assignment is intended to increase your understanding of these issues and requires you to develop recommendations for a hypothetical organisation about how they can improve their diversity management. In particular, you are required to analyse this organisation in terms of the diversity management paradigms described in chapter ten of the text. Based on this, you are then required to make your recommendations (more detailed information about the assignment requirements and how to fulfil them is provided below).
Aldway is an Australian company that runs a large chain of over 100 shopping centres. It employs over 150 people in its head office and over 3,000 people nationwide. In a response to the forecast changes in the composition of the labour market, high level management have recognised the need to adapt to a more diverse workforce.
Six years ago, an examination of the company’s employment statistics revealed that women made up around 35 per cent of the company’s workforce. Also, both individuals with disabilities and with an indigenous background were vastly underrepresented in the organisation (compared to their proportions in the population). To address this, management at head office has made explicit policy encouraging managers to be active in hiring a more diverse workforce. This policy set a general goal to increase the numbers of women, indigenous individuals and individuals with a disability within the organisation to be more inline with their proportions in the population. Organisational employees responsible for hiring have been briefed regarding the importance of a diverse workforce and they have received some training from external consultants about effective interview techniques for individuals from non-traditional backgrounds. In addition to training, other measures taken include the placement of job advertisements in locations where they are more likely to be viewed by ‘minority’ individuals. To this point, management has not implemented any additional mechanisms to increase diversity. They decided that, once employed, employees from non-traditional backgrounds should not receive additional training or support because they did not want to ‘single out’ these employees. The rationale for this was to allow them to feel part of the organisation’s culture in the same way other new employees do.
A recent investigation of the company’s employment statistics was conducted to see if the initiatives of management were successful. Data suggested that the organisation had been at least partly successful in its goals. It revealed that women now make up around 45 per cent of the workforce, although this was only true for lower levels and was not true at a management level where women were still underrepresented relative to men. Minorities, such as indigenous people and individuals with disabilities, had a slightly increased presence at lower levels. The small magnitude of these employees increased presence was found to be due to higher staff turnover within these groups. That is, although individuals with a disability and individuals with an indigenous background were being hired more often than in the past, they tended to leave the organisation more quickly than employees from the ‘dominant group’.
Mor Barak, M. E. (2014). Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace, 3rd ed. CA: Sage Publications (chapters 10, 11 & 12).
French, E. (2005). The importance of strategic change in achieving equity in diversity. Strategic Change, 14, 35-44. (Available via CloudDeakin in the assessment module).
Wehman, P. (2003). Workplace inclusion: Persons with disabilities and coworkers working together. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 18, 131-141. (Available via CloudDeakin in the assessment module).
The reading from the text provides the main background for your discussion. The two journal articles have been included to help you come up with recommendations to improve Aldway’s diversity management. Therefore, it is not important that you consider comprehensively all of the content from these articles in your paper. Instead, you should focus only on the main things in each article relevant to this topic. For example, the table listed in the appendix of French (2005) may be useful. In addition, you may want to discuss the findings of French regarding gender-blind versus gender-conscious diversity management policy.
To address the assignment topic effectively, you will need to cover the issues described below. First, you need to analyse the current policy and environment of Aldway. To do this you need to:
– Briefly explain the various rationales for increasing diversity and identify the rationale for workplace diversity that Aldway seems to be emphasising. In doing this you should very briefly note some of the benefits associated with effective diversity management discussed in the assignment reading.
– Briefly describe the two diversity management paradigms described in chapter ten of the text and classify Aldway in terms of these. It is important to note that these categories are not absolute and you may want to argue that Aldway fits generally into one category despite showing some features typical of other categories.
– Identify common barriers to the inclusion of workers from diverse backgrounds and discuss the extent to which Aldway has addressed these barriers. In particular, you may want to note some things that Aldway has done well in addition to identifying areas where Aldway could improve their diversity management (i.e., note and explain the problems Aldway is having regarding diversity). In doing this, you should draw on material in the readings and specifically focus on material discussed in chapter twelve of the text.
Second, on the basis of your analysis, you will then need to provide some recommendations to the organisation about how they can improve their diversity management. In particular, it is important that you:
– Develop an approach to managing diversity within this organisation. This approach should suggest strategies that create a more inclusive environment within the organisation for non-traditional workers. In particular, I want you to focus on issues relevant to gender, disability and indigenous background. Your recommendations should cover different aspects of employees’ experiences within the organisation (e.g., inclusion in formal and informal communication, promotion, orientation, working conditions, etc.).
To summarise the assignment requirements: This task requires you to use various frameworks covered in the readings (e.g., diversity management paradigms, rationales for increasing diversity) to analyse the current state of Aldway’s diversity management. The outcome of this analysis should be an overview of the current practices including limitations. You will then make recommendations, based on the reading materials as appropriate, about how these limitations can be addressed and how diversity management could be improved.
Some general tips for your assignment:
– Always justify your arguments.
– Define key terms.
– You do not need to discuss aspects of the workplace inclusion model beyond level one. That is, your concern in this assignment is to address managing diversity within the organisation. Although there are important aspects additional to this, as described in chapters 13-15, you should not cover this in your assignment.
The assignment is to be written as an essay and therefore, like essays you have written in the past, it will be comprised of an introductory section (a few paragraphs long) that: (i) ‘sets the scene’ (i.e., provides a very brief rationale for your topic – note why diversity management is becoming increasingly important); (ii) defines key terms, and; (iii) most importantly, establishes the aim of your paper. You are not required to provide an abstract for this assignment.
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