Delusion of Diversity in Workplaces– Good, Bad, Necessity: More Diversity of Thought is Needed on the Subject of Diversity…

Diversity is often referred to as the key to innovation in business and crucial for companies that want to attract and retain top talent. But is it always the answer? Research has shown diversity alone is harmful for some individuals and organizations. It has been linked to lower revenue, slower decision-making, increased conflict, absenteeism, missed opportunities… Diversity is a technique and not an end in itself; it needs to be balanced against other considerations, e.g.; some business skills are concentrated in– certain locations, certain groups of people, certain cultures…

Narrowness can be a source of strength and cohesion and not a sign of weakness… According to Jonathan Levy; diversity comes in many different shapes and sizes, and differences can include visible and non-visible factors. Whether that’s background, culture, personality, work-style, size, accent, or language. Or personal characteristics like age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation… With so many differences, how do you manage diversity?

According to Evan Apfelbaum; companies promote diversity in the workplace as moral imperative with ‘bottom line benefits’… But research on its value is mixed: Some studies have found diverse teams– meaning work groups composed of workers from different– backgrounds, races, genders…  promote creativity, nurture critical thinking… and tend to make better and more thoughtful decisions, because they consider a wider range of perspectives…

Other studies indicate diverse teams fuel interpersonal conflicts, reduce cohesion, and slow the pace of learning… The trouble with past research is it assumes only diverse settings are capable of changing how people behave, form impressions, make decisions… According to Dr. Thomas Sowell; nothing so epitomizes the politically correct gullibility as the magic word ‘diversity’, and it’s essentially a fancy buzzword for ‘group quotas’, which is a subjective criteria used to measure hiring practices within many organizations…

In the article Business Case Against Diversity by Tina Vasquez writes: The business case for diversity has become a popularly held belief and the reasoning behind it is very simple: When a corporation’s management and workers are too much alike, they think too much alike and in turn, look at both problems and solutions the same way… By contrast, having a more diverse group in these positions leads to more diversity of solutions, innovations, better governance, and the type of outside-of-the-box thinking so desperately needed in the corporate world… Unfortunately, there is a growing body of evidence that seems to suggest diversity does not deliver as promised… Many companies have reported little to no change in their performance.

Even more unsettling is the idea that making efforts to diversity the workplace is actually creating conflict and toxic work environment. According to Dr. John-Francoise Manzoni, Dr. Paul Strebel, Sandoz, Dr. Jean-Louis Barsoux; diversity may be prize in theory, but the truth is that workers often feel baffled, threatened, or even annoyed by other workers with views and backgrounds very different from their own… According to Professor Katherine Phillips; when organizations bring in people with different cultural, gender, ethnic backgrounds, contrasting experiences; its hoped that they offer different perspectives and opinions about any given issue, e.g.; it’s assume that a black manager and a white manager working together on an issue will come up with divergent ways to solve the problem…

But such assumptions have implications that we tend not to think deeply about, e.g.; First, when individuals work together in a group, any unexpected perspectives will come from workers who are different– the black person in a group of whites, or the marketing person in a group of engineers… will bring forward a different point of view that the group can benefit from… Second, even more important, is that workers who appear to be similar to each other, such as; two middle-aged white men, will share same views… And is it realistic to assume that all superficially alike people think alike?

In the article Workplace Diversity by William Powell writes: We have been saturated with the idea of diversity in organizations… We have heard about the benefits and how organizations are less productive when they have less diversity. Lack of diversity is equated with racism, bigotry, discrimination, host of other negative connotations… Diversity has devolved into a metric that organizations use to show they are ‘progressive‘…

It has become a part of marketing and recruiting campaigns and its diminished the original need for diversity into nothing more than a metric that’s supposed to make organizations feel warm, gooey and accepting as if they have reached a state of enlightenment… What good is it if the diverse nature of workers have no voice or outlet for expression in an organization? What good is diversity if it’s in direct opposition to what is actually needed in an organization…

In the article Diversity Is Bad for Business by Jack Manhire writes: The fact is that in a global marketplace diversity alone is often bad for business. Yes, the range of economic and demographic trends demands greater diversity in organizations but diversity by itself typically ends up being a quota system… or according to Laura Liswood; it’s Noah’s Ark approach by selecting– two of these, two of those, two of the others…

All too often, those hired to fill the quotas soon learn that they are not hired for their unique skills and they are not included in the ‘inner circle’ of the organization… This leads to a feeling of exclusion with the only hope for getting into the ‘inner circle’ being to assimilate and leave one’s true self at the door, and to act more like everyone else. Then guess what happens when workers feel excluded or forced to assimilate? They leave the organization! Hence, diversity often leads to more turnover and drives down an organization’s  performance… It’s for these reasons that both; diversity and inclusion are necessary for a high performing organization…

Studies show that diverse organizations with low inclusive culture have lower profitability, higher attrition rates, less employee discretionary effort, and less likely to capture new markets… On the flip side, diverse organizations with high inclusive culture have greater market share, higher discretionary effort, higher intentions for management and workers to stay with the organization, and enjoy an operating profit that is almost three times higher than non-inclusive organizations… Hence diversity alone is bad for business, but inclusion and a sense of belonging are the keys that unlocks the rich performance benefits of a diverse workforce…

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