Why Diversity Brings (Good) Outcomes to an Organization

Artigo de Josiane Thaise Mohler,  IMBA Student – Payap University (jtmohler@gmail.com) que simpaticamente me enviou o artigo por e-mail para publicação.

 

Is diversity good? Accordingly to several scholars, yes it is, and the reasons for it can go far beyond your imagination. When talking about organizational workforce and diversity, several researchers agree upon the fact that diversity can bring positive outcomes to the overall organizational performance. When everyone thinks alike, assumes alike, have similar values and assumptions, there is little “outside-the-box” thinking. That applies to R&D, problem solving, and even acquiring access to new market segments.

It all seems great: you choose to work with an organization that values cultural diversity and enforces it, because you feel you can add value to the company. Or perhaps you set up a company, develop, and start thinking about hiring employees whom will bring up heterogeneous experiences to your business. Customer satisfaction will increase because now your employee will be able to communicate with your client in a more effective way, without so many language, expectations, and values differing from his own. You will, in the same way, be able to have access to the best resources since now you have a workforce that relates to your supplier, in any cultural way imaginable. Problem solving will be conducted in a much more effective means since there are employees coming from different backgrounds which will bring up singular plans and suggestions, and the equal process will happen with innovation. Studies have shown that corporations with heterogeneous workforces have created many more innovative products and services than those companies with homogeneous workgroups.

Such (heterogeneous) labor force characteristic comes from human resources practices in terms of hiring and retention which enforces diversity as a means of guaranteed prosperity. Why retention? Because it is easy to recruit someone that doesn’t belong to the same “bag of oranges” but it is harder to keep that employee especially if they don’t feel confident enough they can handle the pressure of being the dissimilar one. After all, probabilities are that conflicts between such different employees will arise, and therefore they can’t be afraid of divergences (constructive ones, of course).

As I mentioned before, it all seems great. But diversity comes with its cost. Synergy won’t be achieved unless all level management embraces the cause and treats equally everyone, respecting their uniqueness. EEO should not just be a written value of the company for social causes. Enforcement is necessary. The more synergy a group has, the least the group will have misinterpretations and unproductive conflicts. Stereotype is another major issue faced by corporations that decided to go heterogeneously. Sometimes we have labeled an individual as being something just because he or she comes from a certain country, dresses a certain way, or behaves differently from us. There is no competitive advantage for a company that has diverse workforces and at the same time these workforces have major stereotypes within the workgroup. Why am I saying that? Well, even if my passion for such subject keeps increasing as time goes by, and even if my hopes and beliefs are that cultural diversity does bring positive impacts to organizations, I need to look at the other side of the coin and realize that not everything that shines is gold, if you know what I mean!


Licenciado e Mestre em Gestão de Empresas. Presidente da Gesbanha, S.A., especialista em capital de risco e empreendedorismo, investidor particular ("business angels") e Presidente da FNABA (Federação Nacional de Associações de Business Angels). Director da EBAN e da WBAA

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