Custom «Achieving Equality in the Workplace» Essay Paper Sample

Achieving Equality in the Workplace

In the recent times, competition between firms operating in the same field has drastically surged. This can be attributed to the technological advancement, reduced barriers of entry, increased knowhow among the customers as well as raised the level of investment in the area of research and development. As a result of this, firms have been forced to adopt modern forms of carrying out business, or else will have reduced profitability levels (Ashtiany 2003, p. 43). To avoid this, the firms have highly invested in human capital, which is considered the most crucial part of the businesses. However, this cannot be achieved if firms do not embrace diversity among the employees, in order to bring out the capability of every employee. Consequently, positive working relationship is established, hence a higher productivity, which in most cases translates to increased profitability for the business.

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Seashore (2008, p. 109) argues that positive co-worker relationship and respect for personal dignity are the main ingredient in developing positive work place environments. Many organizations, especially the multinational companies, such as Coca-Cola Company, Apple Inc., Toyota Company among others, are extremely proud in displaying their espoused values in work places. Some of these espoused values include teamwork, respect and individual dignity throughout the work place environments. It is important to note that, even in these organizations, an employee finds himself or herself faced with certain challenges, most of which are associated with invisible or visible group membership they often represents (Marcus 2002, p. 12). This paper will critically evaluate the ‘business case’ for diversity in terms of its capacity to achieve equality in the workplace.

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Background on Business Case for Diversity

Business case for diversity, which was established in the 1960s, stem from progression model of diversity within various workplaces (Noon 2007, p. 45). It is notable that, the initial model for diversities was based on affirmative actions, which drew their strength from the law as well as the enormous need of complying with the EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) objectives. The compliance based model resulted to ideas that tokenism was the sole reason individuals were hired into an organization when they disagreed with the dominant groups, which included aspects like ethnicity, race, gender, religion among others. There after, there was the development of social justice model, which extended the ideas that people who were outside the dominant groups ought to be awarded equal opportunities in the workplaces, not only due to the fact that it was a law set in most countries, but also it was the prudent thing to do(Taylor 2010, p. 58).

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Though the social model still rotated around the ideologies of tokenism, it brought in the mentality of hiring basing on “good fit” (Kirton and Greene 2010, p. 33). From the social justice model, there was the establishment of diversity and representation acceptance, where scopes of diversities went enlarged beyond ethnicity, gender, and race ad included physical ability, sexual orientation and age. Currently, the diversity model involves inclusion, thus reflecting globalized economy and the mutual workforce. This way, these firms are positioned in a better place to compete with other firms, which have a limited choice of employee demographics (Seashore 2008, p. 109). Generally,  the aspect of diversity deals with recognizing, valuing and respecting differences that are  based on color, ethnicity, race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, disability among others (Marcus 2002, p. 10). Diversity also entails infinite range of personal experiences and unique characteristics like career path, communication path, geographical location, income levels and other variables, which influences individual perspectives.

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Business Case for Diversity in Relation to Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity

Although the term affirmative action and equal opportunity have different meanings from that of business case for diversity,  all of them generally refers to the need of embracing a  cohesive workforce for maximum productivity (Taylor 2010, p. 50). In developed countries, such as the U.S. and U.K., EEO prohibits employers from basing their employment decisions on individuals color, religion, race, or the nation of origin. It also demands that offering of benefits of any given federal financial aids program cannot be based on the above factors. On the other hand, affirmative action, which is mostly initiated by the respective government, aims at redressing the pat discriminations practices in the working places. Further, it seeks to handle the issue of underrepresentation of people with disabilities, minorities and women in the work places (Seashore 2008, p. 109). The chart below summarizes some notable differences that exist between diversity and affirmative action/EEO Affirmative action/EEO    

Affirmative action/EEO


Government initiated


Legal driven

Product driven









Work Place Diversity

The opportunities for all employees, in order to attain maximum potentials at their work places, has universally been recognized as one of the fundamental human rights. In the recent past, it has become evident that organizations, whether big or small, must pursue diversity at the work place as a competitive necessity. Ashtiany (2003, p. 42) found out that pursuit of diversity in work places has become a strategic organizational response to the issue of globalization, increasing multiculturalism of workforces as well as market places. The concept of diversity declines the concepts of mandated goals, quotas or most of regulatory or legislative frameworks, which accompanies EEO legislations and affirmative actions. Morrison (1996, p. 34) argues that, in the next decade, diversity will be driven by key factors like demographic, competiveness, globalization among other factors that supersede  legal interventions and social activism. It is important to note that, there are various aspects, which determines the levels of awareness of diversity in work places as indicated by the graph below.

For instance, large companies that are regulated by the federal governments tends to have a well-developed level of awareness on the need of embracing diversity in work places (Morrison 1996, p. 36)

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Achieving Equality in the Workplace

As indicated above, the need to attain equality in the work places cannot be over empathized, for instance, during the global financial melt down that took place in 2008, most of the firms, which failed to survive the crises were those whose policies that had earlier neglected the issue of equality in workplaces (Taylor 2010, p. 58). For those organizations, which had set policies aimed at attaining equality in the work places, they were able to maintain cohesive workforce and encouraged innovation and innovations. This way the employees  were able to  come up with ways of cutting on their operational costs, hence raised profitability levels. Some of these firms include Exxon Chemicals, Reebok, Toronto Hotels among others (Barmes 2003, p. 20). There are some notable methods in which diversity has resulted to equality in different workplaces.

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Corporate Culture

To achieve equality in work places, it is important for the management to develop corporate cultures, which respects the aspect of diversity. This is where each employee feels accepted, treated fairly and respected. The main goal of every organization should be creating a working environment, which is inclusive to all the employees, irrespective of their race, color, family status, sexual orientation, religion and age (Kirton and Greene 2010, p. 32)..

To attain this, there are six vital leverage areas that ac be utilized by firms.

 • making diversity as a strategic business priority

• development of accountability frameworks around diversity (Kirton and Greene 2010, p. 32).

• raising networking or mentoring programs

•re-shaping and educating norms around the work or life balance issues; and

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•strengthening as well as expanding career management processes and systems (Marcus 2002, p. 12).

Linking diversity to businesses goals

To achieve equality in the work places, businesses ought to link businesses goals  to those of diversity. Holvino & Kamp (2009, p. 47) argues that aligning diversity process of organizations to the goals of the businesses is one of the most fulfilling exercises. Most employers’ factors in the impacts of diversity on the firms’ goals from the front line to boardroom employees. Various processes are involved in this process. Some of them include outlining the indentified goals in businesses plans, conducting an empirical investigation, planning mandatory meetings with the managers aimed at updating them on the need of aligning diversity to the businesses goals among others.

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 For instance in 2004, the Chief Executive Officer of IBM, one of multinational companies in the consumer electronic goods came up with a task force aimed at understanding and uncovering the differences as well as various ways of appealing to a broader set of customers and employees.  Since then, the firm has witnessed the number of the female executives rise by at least 370%. Further, executives  from  ethnic minority have jumped by 230% and the figure lesbians, self-identified gays and the transgender executives increased by a whooping 733% (Crosby & Sinchareon 2006, p. 70).

Recruitment of the new employees

It is important for every firm, to realize that diverse work force offers a competitive advantage to these firms. The competition for qualified human skills requires all firms to adopt some measures all aimed at attracting and retaining the qualified skills. Barmes (2003, p. 20) indicates that, in the U.S., there are various aspects in which the area of diversity is crucial when recruiting new employees. This is because, when an employer looks at the issue of race, gender and ethnicity only, other crucial factors are left out. Crosby & Sinchareon (2006, p. 78)attribute this to  changing  American demographics in the last half century and it will continue to do so in the near future 











Flexible working and organization

In these changing business environments successful firms in both the private and public sector ought to be flexible. The equality programs allow new methods of working, thus delivering direct benefits of higher productivity from the employees.  In the developed countries like Canada, the U.S. among others, 25% of the employees currently work part time and over 20% of those working on a full time basis have numerous types of flexible working arrangements. Firms, which embrace these methods  of working can fully benefit from individual desires, thus offering a competitive edge (Tomlinson, & Schwabenland 2010, p. 18). As technologies enables individuals as well as organizations over where and places to do their work, it this has been a vital tool in attaining equality in work places. Generally, the flexible working hours help individuals to maximize their loyalty to the firm they are working for. This is because they are carrying out their duties  the time they wish to do so, hence raising  equality levels in the work places (Holvino & Kamp 2009, p. 54).

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By embracing diversity in work places, businesses are able to nurture leaders who respect diversity, which is a key factor in promoting equality. For instance, Apple Inc., the global leader in consumer electronics, employs leaders who respects and uphold the element of diversity. This is a business culture that was set by Steve Jobs, the firms co-founder. Consequently, equality in the work place has been maintained, thus allowing all employees to contribute equally to the firm’s growth.  By 2010, Apple Inc. had a brand value of approximately $ 156 billion, the highest in the world (Tomlinson, & Schwabenland 2010, p. 19). Generally, diversity facilitates communication between the leaders and employees in the organization, thus rapid growth.

The Challenges Facing Business Case for Diversity

One of the main challenges faced by firms striving to foster workforces that are more diverse is management of the diverse population. Taylor (2010, p. 55) argues that managing diversity entails more than acknowledging the differences, which exists in among various people. It is notable that work teams that are erroneously diverse is often hard to manage and  motivate, due to various reasons. Some of then includes miscommunication within a given organization, determining levels of competencies among other factors. The other challenge of creating a more inclusive working environment is assimilation of the members who are outside the dominant groups. It is indictable that things like organizational symbols, stories, rituals all serves to maintain positions of power that is held by the dominant groups.

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As businesses finds themselves competing within the challenging global economic markets, businesses case for diversity and equality has become an integral part of all their activities. A stable working force is a catalyst of growth of prosperity and in any given firm, hence should be embraced. Despite the numerous problems faced by implementation of diversity in an organization, strategic planning methods aimed at enhancing diversity should be adopted, in order to effectively align business goals with the diversity goals, thus higher profitability in both the short and long run (Taylor 2010, p. 58).

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