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A Case Study of Diversity in Organizations.







43.1 Why is managing diversity such an important issue for today’s business organizations?

43.2 What are the consequences for business organizations of not managing diversity issues in their organizations?

53.3 Do you think that the cost of planning and implementing an organizational diversity program is justified given the benefits of its outcomes? Give reasons for your answer

53.4 How cana cultural awareness training program beuseful to managers in charge of multicultural teams?

63.5 How can a cultural awareness training program be useful to employees in an organization with a multicultural workforce?

63.6 What are the problems that are likely to occur in an organization having a diverse workforce (in terms of age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.) but lacking in an effective diversity.

63.7 What are the characteristics of an effective diversity program?




Undeniably, organizational culture plays a rather interesting role in the progress of organizations. Managing diversity requires that organizations keep in mind the various necessary policies that are accommodative of different types of people, ranging from the differently abled to those with different sexual orientation. This report takes an in-depth look at the role that diversity management plays in the overall success of an organization. Particularly, the report analyses diversity, with the IBM Corporation in mind, and looks at the scope of managing diversity, as a means, of improving performance in organizations.



Essentially, diversity refers to the variation in the basic traits that define and set apart individuals in any social level of interaction. On the other hand, culture refers to the characteristics of a particular group on the basis of social habits, religion and also language (Marjorie, 2014). Maintaining a consistently positive corporate culture requires that organizations strike the delicate balance that defines the individual’s intellectual honesty, personal integrity, desire to succeed, and the standards that define the expectations of the organization (Alessandra & Silvia, 2012). Having a well-defined corporate culture ensures that employees are able to work so as to attain a shared goal. Moreover, this enhances a greater sense of shared values and vision while at the same time giving the employees a sense of commitment and loyalty in the business.


For there to be sustainable development in any organization, it is critical for employers to instill the value of change management within organizations. The eminent threat that comes with change is a hurdle that organizations face at all levels. Therefore, it is vital for prudent leaders to prepare employees for any anticipated changes in the organization beforehand in order to enhance a smooth transition when effecting major and minor change alike (Seyed, 2004).


3.1 Why is managing diversity such an important issue for today’s business organizations?

There are fundamental concepts that define the beliefs, values, and the manner in which organizations conduct their business. According to Linda, the success of diversity management of an organization is determined by the manner in which they conduct their day to day business and this interaction spreads across the border to the customer-client relationship as well as the internal business environment (Linda, 2008). At IBM, the role diversity has played in the development of the organization has been quite significant. Judging from the humble beginnings that the company had in the early twentieth century to the huge company it has become amid the highly multicultural background in the United States, it can be confidently stated that the company has been a huge success. Workplace diversity is, therefore, a key contributor to the effectiveness and creativity of organizations in the problem solving stage (Seyed, 2004). Moreover, employee inclusion, reward, and engagement in the day to day running of the business is an effective mechanism that earns the company competitive advantage while also leveraging the company by shielding it from the uncertainties such a high employee turnover.

3.2 What are the consequences for business organizations of not managing diversity issues in their organizations?

There are numerous consequences that do occur, as a result, of an organization failing to manage diversity issues from within. First, there is usually the risk of a low engagement between employees and the employers. Ultimately, this leads to a high employee turnover. When an organization fails to recognize the crucial role that including all employees in major decisions making processes, there is always a general feeling in the organization that the management is excluding a select category (Chris et al., 2008). Consequently, some employees may leave the organization. Secondly, as in the case of IBM, there is recognition of the fact that the customers are very keen on the way companies manage employees. In this regard, poorly managing diversity in the workplace has the detrimental effect of the organization losing some loyal customers who may feel they are not included in the organization’s business environment. In the same light, there is a consequence of low morale in the employees. For instance, the expansion of the IBM Corporation into the many branches throughout the world initially left many of the employees who worked at the company feeling detached within the job place. In turn, the company had to come up with means of addressing the issues that were facing the organization in a bid to create a more employee inclusive business environment.

3.3 Do you think that the cost of planning and implementing an organizational diversity program is justified given the benefits of its outcomes? Give reasons for your answer

In initiating any program in an organization, it is of essence to do a cost benefits analysis. Essentially, this analysis helps determine the suitability of a program to the business. Initiating an efficient diversity program impacts positively on the profitability of the organization and also acts as a booster to the morale of the employees (Charlotte et al., 2002). This is a great benefit to the company. However, the objective of this question is to assess if this benefits are worth the cost. IBM initiated a diversity program and through the diversity council, the organization was able to make major strides in areas such as integration of those with disability, creating cultural acceptance, and advancement of women among others. The cost of these achievements has first and foremost been the constant push for change with both the organization policies and the organization structure. For companies such as IBM with large workforce, it is a daunting task to implement these changes without considerable resistance. Moreover, there is the financial cost of implementing training and workshops for the employees. Although this cost is anticipated, it is usually quite a big considerations for organizations before they engage in diversity programs (Alessandra & Silvia, 2012). All in all, in the long term, the benefits accrued in investing in a diversity program for outweigh these costs of planning and implementing an organizational diversity program.

3.4 How can cultural awareness training program be useful to managers in charge of multicultural teams?

It is paramount for managers of multicultural teams to engage in cultural awareness training. This training helps managers to get a better understanding of knowledge regarding diverse cultures in organizations (Charlotte et al., 2002). Similarly, engaging managers in diversity training equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge required to handle conflicts related and arising from differences in the cultural backgrounds of employees. Cultural awareness training is also a great avenue for managers to enhance their leadership skills with regards to improving teamwork, improving efficiency and innovation (Oscar, 2010). These training programs also provide platforms for managers to share experiences from their different organizations and also contribute on creative ways of combating cultural bias amongst the employees.

3.5 How can a cultural awareness training program be useful to employees in an organization with a multicultural workforce?

Cultural awareness training program is equally beneficial to managers and employees. For the employees, the training offers a platform for them to learn essential team work skills that ultimately boost their performance in the work place (Marjorie, 2014). Moreover, enlightening employees regarding the Racial Discrimination and Anti-Discrimination Act has served as a major contributor towards instilling values of the requirements in a multicultural work environment of IBM Australia. Similarly, the cultural awareness training program is an opportunity for employees to learn to appreciate and listen, act, and respond objectively to the points of view of other people within the organization.

3.6 What are the problems that are likely to occur in an organization having a diverse workforce (in terms of age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc.) but lacking in an effective diversity.

Naturally, there are bound to be problems when working in a multicultural and diverse workforce. For instance, it is highly possible for employees from different cultural backgrounds to differ on the best approach to deal with an issue as a result of the different cultural beliefs. While this is common, there are other more critical issues that may arise such as the issue of promotions on the basis of gender or ethnicity. Ultimately, barrier in communication in the form of language barrier or misunderstanding may be a challenge in such organizations (Teresa & Brian, 2002). Moreover, it is likely that some organizations will not accept to hire an individual simply because that individual is of a different sexual orientation. Finally, there is always the greatest challenge that involves decoding information. In a multicultural setting, it is common that each employee, due to age or cultural background, may derive diverse meanings to a message conveyed from the management

3.7 What are the characteristics of an effective diversity program?

A diversity program should produce results. An effective diversity program delivers these results through working under the stipulated timelines to achieve very objective goals (Alessandra & Silvia, 2012). Over the years, IBM Australia has enjoyed considerable success in setting up an effective diversity program. Under the General Staff Awareness and Individual Professional Development approaches, IBM Australia was able to come up with a program that allows both employees and employers to get the necessary training materials on topics of culture, business, and management. An effective diversity program should have in place proper conflict resolution strategies that should cater for unforeseen challenges that arise in the workplace, as a result, of cultural diversity (Oscar, 2010). In a similar manner, an effective diversity program should incorporate the key role played by creativity in developing an all-inclusive organization culture that caters for employees from multicultural backgrounds


It is beyond doubt that managing a workforce in a multicultural background is an uphill task. It is also clear that even with these challenges, it is still possible for managers as well as employees to learn to work harmoniously and maintain a high level of professionalism and team work even amid diversity in an organization. It is, therefore, the primary responsibility of every stakeholder within the organization to facilitate and exercise tolerance in dealing with others. Moreover, cultural awareness plays an instrumental role in creating cohesion within the work environment.


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