Unit 1: Business Culture and Responsibilities
Learning Outcome: 02
Task 2.1 Explain what is meant by ‘diversity in the business context
Diversity is to do with having people from different backgrounds – you want a diverse workforce. So in a business context, it means that you want employees (and possibly customers) with a wide range of personal attributes. There are nine protected characteristics, and a business cannot be seen to discriminate against any of these (Marry, 2015).
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual (Cuny,2016).
Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences. It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice, and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic.
“Diversity” means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating differences. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:
- Understanding and appreciating the interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
- Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
- Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing;
- Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others;
- Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.
Diversity includes, therefore, knowing how to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups. These include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, educational background, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, and work experiences.
Finally, we acknowledge that categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid, we respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another (Cuny,2016).
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Task 2.2 Recognise the benefits of having a diverse workforce
A diverse workforce has the potential to not only benefit you and your staff but your customers too! An inclusive team can harness new ideas and strengthen networks and communities (Dept, HR 2007).
To be profitable in a diverse, globalized marketplace, savvy companies are making efforts to look more like the community around them. I employ only those who identify with a small portion of the market, just don’t have access to the insights, experiences, and worldviews of the full marketplace.
When planning to expand staff, make an effort to recruit a diverse set of employees to help the company.
Here are some key benefits of diversity in today’s workplaces:
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Melinda Marshall, and Laura Sherbin identified and highlighted companies with what they called “two-dimensional diversity.” The leaders of these businesses had at least three inherent diversity traits and three acquired ones (culled from experience).
“Working in another country can help appreciate cultural differences, for example, while selling to female consumers can give gender smarts,” the authors wrote.
Using new research, Hewlett and her co-authors found that these firms performed better in business, explaining, “By correlating diversity in leadership with market outcomes as reported by respondents, we learned that companies with 2-D diversity out-innovate and out-perform others.”……………..