Despite the vast peer-reviewed literature, findings, and theoretical discussion on managing diversity in organizations the topic remains a virtual desert in some ways. One reason why may be an over-saturation of information on addressing the effects of diversity on organizational performance is too broad and exposes too generally a plethora of viewpoints and theories to digest easily. The current literature may present overall perspectives that include characterizations of keys to growth, financial benefits, statistical data, management's desire to control, and on and on it goes. The research topic herein examines why the topic is important. Diversity management occurs in Public or Federal agencies and private industry. The peer-reviewed article, “Managing Diversity in U.S. Federal Agencies: Effects of Diversity and Diversity Management on Employee Perceptions of Organizational Performance” is a study based on real-life data.
The peer-reviewed article chosen, “Managing Diversity in U.S. Federal Agencies: Effects of Diversity and Diversity Management on Employee Perceptions of Organizational Performance,” is actually a study. The main reason why this particular article serves well regarding the topic of managing diversity is because governmental organizations document a lot of their functions, so when they apply a study to the situation, whatever is learned can greatly benefit an understanding of management of diversity within any climate be it federal, private, or even non-profit institutions.
One theory mentioned in the article strikes the attentive reader. According to Choi and Rainey (2010) “One perspective,” gleaned from Williams and O'Reilly in 1998, “based on information and decision-making theories, argues that diversity can benefit organizations by providing a broad range of ideas, skills, and insights that can improve organizational capabilities” in solving problems and creation of a smoother workplace (p. 110). Other research the article cites shows just the opposite, that there is a negative impact upon working teams when diverse groups are integrated into a situation.
The reason why we care so much about the topic is that the world now has a global economy, and almost every business or organization must consider how to manage some level of diversity in the company, while creating a positive company morale. Although the bottom line is the effectiveness and helping management develop the how-to of dealing with diverse opinions in the workforce, it seems to be a problem to adopt a single theory. The best place to start probably is where the study in Choi and Rainey's article focused upon.
To begin their analysis which as aforementioned, comes in the form of a study Choi and Rainey extracted information from governmental files of the Central Personnel Data File and 2004 Federal Human Capital Survey. Although they claimed to consider gender and age diversity they primarily looked at racial diversity and think that this kind of diversity works very well for improved function in the workplace. There is one impressive aspect of the study which easily stands out in your mind. It is that the study derives from real-life instead of an over-abundance of theory. Choi and Rainey (2010) express that “The study also draws on a very large sample of actual federal employees,” which results in the show “that the management of diversity significantly moderates diversity's impacts on important outcomes at individual and organizational levels” (p. 110). In other words, managing diversity really can and does help to keep an organization running and operating on an even keel.
Other factors Choi and Rainey examine are team process effects, the effect on organizational culture, and measures of data and demographic variables. Despite what may sound like mumbo-jumbo the real consideration is how the organization's culture is performing. Another overall value point is realizing how much influence a corporate leader can have on the company. Attitudes may be contagious.
When you think of diversity mostly two things come to mind. Gender and sex are one aspect, while racial or cultural diversity based upon ethnic differences in the second. For example, there may be certain professions or industries that almost naturally tend to represent a work primarily with men in the majority. The aerospace industry or oil-rigging profession may reflect cultural climates with a majority of engineers being men. The peer-reviewed article referenced herein more easily fits the category of diversity in terms of a difference in ethnic cultures being represented in an organization. As the global backyard seems to shrink a little bit more every day, it has become commonplace to work with people from countries you may have never traveled to.
This peer-reviewed article saw results that rated racial diversity in the organization as positively correlating to the performance of the institution. It is interesting and valuable that the study focused upon Federal agencies for two reasons. First, although public governmental agencies are larger and more complex than the private industry they are administrated by people who provide services to other people. This human element provides a good basis for feedback from federal employees who deal with a wide diversity of people both in the workplace and in the realm of those they serve. The second reason why this study was valuable is that Federal agencies have a lot of resources to conduct a strategic or in-depth analysis of any situation with accuracy. In the write-up study Choi and Rainey did, although the focus was upon racial ethnicity as the diverse element they admitted that gender and age diversity issues reflected more complex relationships.
All in all, managing diversity takes a pro-active focus and sensitivity. When any methodology or peer-reviewed article is being studied it is important to keep in mind the relevancy of the study, especially if real-life components were used instead of just theory. It is also vital to remember if the focus is narrowly focused upon the private sector, or has taken into account a study such as this from data gathered from Federal agencies. Managing diversity is here to stay. Everyone should have input.
Choi, S., & Rainey, H. G. (2010). Managing diversity in U.S. Federal Agencies: Effects of diversity and diversity management on employee perceptions of organizational performance. Public Administration Review, 70(1), 109-121. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2009.02115.x
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