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Diversity: Culture and Diverse Workplace

Sarah 07-08-2011 Cultural Diversity Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences of people in the work environment. It is very important to understand cultural, ethnic, and gender differences by managers and Professionals in a business setting these days. All businesses can benefit from a diverse body of talent bringing fresh ideas, perspectives, and views to the workplace. In today’s increasingly global workplace environment, the ability to effectively communicate with people of different cultures and backgrounds is an essential skill. Devoe, 1999) In a diverse workplace, people learn these skills naturally as a result of normal day- to -day interaction and corporate teamwork. It is imperative that we all, especially managers, understand cultural, ethnic, and gender differences to have a successful business due to the fact that Diversity will probably be even more important in the future due to the increasing differences in our population. There are many benefits to having a diverse workplace. Creativity increases when people with different ways of solving difficult problems work together towards a common solution.

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Other cultures and genders can offer insightful alternatives that one might not have considered. Language skills are obviously a huge plus and are needed in today’s global economy–and diverse workers often have this proficiency. Studies have also shown that interaction with diverse groups of people helps to reduce workplace discrimination. Sharing of ideas, cultural traditions, and alternate ways of solving problems all help employees to become more tolerant of one another and abandon their pre-conceived notions and stereotypes. Roosevelt, 2001) While performing the ball and sock experiment, I was put outside of my comfort zone and was forced to see what it was like in someone else’s shoes. I used my left hand to perform daily tasks such as brushing my teeth, combing my hair, and eating. It was not an easy task a first, but using my non-dominant hand did become a bit easier throughout the course of the day. This experiment can be applied to real life situations as well.

It is kind of metaphorical for opening your eyes and actually putting yourself in someone from another cultures shoes and having an open mind to understand their ways and how they are different from yours. I believe it would teach us appreciation not only for our own ways but for others as well. It was not so long ago that many people felt automatically excluded from certain professions every day places based on their age, race, gender, sexual preference, and other factors unrelated to professional qualifications and experience.

Today’s workplace may be a more welcoming and accepting place due to laws and more open minded individuals, but many companies, workers, and people all together still struggle with issues of diversity and tolerance when it comes to hiring, promotion, and day-to-day interaction with others. Cultural, ethnic, and gender diversities bring differences that we must understand and embrace for the benefit of them to be realized. Bell, 2006) A diverse workforce is a reflection of a changing world and marketplace and is hopefully something that continues to grow and get better. References: Bell, Myrtle. (2006). Diversity in organizations. Thomas/South-Western Devoe, Deborah. (1999). Managing a diverse workforce. San Mateo, CA: InfoWorld Media Group Rooselvet Thomas, R. Jr. (2001). Elements of a successful “diversity” process. The American Institute for Managing Diversity. Available on the World Wide Web at http://www. aimd. org/articles/elements. html.

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