Case Study: Diversity Management at Aldway Essay Example

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Case Study: Diversity Management at Aldway

Introduction

This essay is about diversity management in organisations. Diversity management refers to the strategies and practices that organisations use to make sure that their employees are from different backgrounds (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 210). This means that organisations tend to revise the way they conduct their basic human resource management practices such as recruitment and promotion as a way of ensuring that individuals from diverse backgrounds are represented in the organisations.

The issue of workplace diversity has been growing in importance in the recent past (Oyler & Pryor, 2009, p. 426). Many organisations are increasingly realising the importance of including employees from diverse backgrounds in their teams. There are various reasons why the issue of diversity management within organisations has been growing in importance. For example, many organisations are now realizing that diversity is a reality and that they must embrace it for them to comfortably operate in the current environment (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 222). Also, organisations now realise that they can use diversity to their advantage (Ferreira, Erasmus & Groenewald, 2010, p. 431). In general, companies embrace diversity as a strategy for enhancing the performance of their employees as well as the public image of the company (Rawlins, 2010, p. 153).

This essay applies the issue of diversity management to the case of Aldway, a hypothetical Australian company with slightly more than 3,000 employees. The company has been attempting to include more women and people from special minority groups in its workforce. The essay evaluates the diversity management strategies that the company has been using. Also, the essay presents recommendations on how the company can achieve more diversity than what it currently has, based on the model of diversity that it is currently using.

Diversity Management Categories

Under the multicultural organisation paradigm in diversity management, there are three types of organisations: the monolithic organisation, the plural organisation and the multicultural organisation (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 217). Companies can be classified into any of these three categories based on the composition of their workforce and the approach that the company is taking to have a diverse workforce. In a monolithic organisation, a big percentage of the employees are from one sociocultural background (Hasenfield, 2009, p. 345). Such a company may have few employees who belong to minority groups; however, the minority employees normally hold junior positions within such companies. Therefore, although minority groups may be represented in monolithic organisations, the employees who belong to the minority groups are commonly restricted to inferior positions compared to those who belong to the majority groups. Thus, the policies, strategies and practices of a company that can be categorised as a monolithic organisation favour the interests of the majority employees at the expense of those ones of the minority groups.

The plural organisation has several characteristics that differentiate it from the monolithic organisation. For example, in such a company, employees from minority groups form a relatively larger proportion than it is the case in monolithic organisations (Bozhko, 2014, p. 14). This means that, for example, women and employees from minority sociocultural backgrounds may form a significant proportion of all the employees within the organisation. Also, in a company that can be categorised as a plural organisation, women and other minority groups are relatively represented in all the positions of the company. Thus, a few women and other employees from small groups do hold management positions in companies that fall under this category. Moreover, it is important to note that the relatively high level of representation of women and individuals from minority groups that is witnessed in plural organisations is a result of deliberate steps that such organisations take. In general, all companies that are under this category take specific steps to increase the level of diversity within their workforces in response to existing regulations (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 218). Also, plural organisations take specific steps towards making their workforces fully diverse because they expect to gain from having high levels of diversity within their workforces (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 218).

The most ideal type of organisation regarding diversity is the multicultural organisation. A multicultural organisation is made up of employees who come from diverse backgrounds (Peters, 2010, p. 104). Moreover, employees from any background can and do hold different positions within a multicultural organisation (Peters, 2010, p. 104). Thus, a multicultural organisation will usually have a diverse workforce because of the policies and the culture of the organisation that do not discriminate against people from any social background or based on gender.

Aldway can be categorised as a plural organisation. The company has instituted policies to increase the number of women and individuals who have an Aboriginal or Torres Islands background within its workforce.

Rationale for Increasing Diversity

Companies seek to increase diversity among their employees for various reasons. For example, it is noted that companies are realising that diversity is the new reality and that the companies must adapt to it (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 220). Currently, the workforce pool from which companies get their employees is composed of people from many backgrounds (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 221). The current composition of the workforce pool reflects the demographic changes that are taking place in the world. Currently, the world is becoming more diverse, with people from different social and cultural backgrounds getting increasingly represented in the population of people who are capable of working (Patrick & Kumar, 2012, p. 4). Therefore, organisations must adopt strategies and practices that ensure that people from diverse backgrounds are fully represented in their workforce because that is the only way by which they can conform to the current trends. Thus, adopting workplace diversity strategies by organisations is a way of adapting to the current reality.

Also, companies embrace diversity to gain a competitive advantage. Within the context of businesses, the concept of competitive advantage is defined as the unique ways in which a business can perform better than its peers because of the way it leverages its internal capabilities to take advantage of opportunities in the external environment (Bedi, Iakara & Gupta, 2014, p. 8). Thus, competitive advantage can be derived from multiple sources, some of them being the talent of the employees of a company, the way the company optimises its internal processes to minimise operational costs, and how the organisation is perceived by its stakeholders. An organisation can therefore resort to adopting employee diversity policies and practices to gain a competitive advantage because of the vast talent of employees that the organisation will manage to include in its workforce as well as the positive image that it will enjoy.

Additionally, organisations feel that it is their social duty to include individuals from diverse backgrounds in their workforce. Moreover, companies may consider the need to adopt workforce diversity policies as a form of corporate social responsibility (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 220). In doing so, companies seek to address social issues that are prevalent in their external environments as a well as meet the needs of their various stakeholders.

The motivation for Aldway to have a diverse workforce arises from two main factors: the realisation that diversity in human capital is the new reality and the need to address social issues in the society. In other words, the company seeks a diverse workforce because its management has realised that the population of Australia is now highly diverse and that the company cannot escape from the reality. Secondly, the company seeks to promote the rights of women and people from minority ethnic groups in the country by giving them preference during the hiring process and exposing them to opportunities for promotion once they are part of the organisation.

Barriers to Diversity

There are three common barriers to workplace diversity: discrimination, prejudice and perception of threat to job security (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 246). Discrimination, within this context, refers to the negative feelings that managers and other employees within an organisation may have towards individuals who come from minority groups. Discrimination may be evident in the policies and practices that are in place within an organisation. Normally, the management plays a leading role in developing policies and strategies in companies. The policies and strategies are translated into actions and attitudes that the employees carry out and hold respectively, within the company. In the context of Aldway, the management of the company has realised the importance of having a workforce that is representative of the entire population of the country. The management of the company is dealing with the barrier of prejudice by encouraging its human resource department to directly hire employees from minority groups.

Another important barrier to developing a diverse workforce that companies face relates to prejudice. Prejudice occurs when employees and managers are openly biased against minority groups (Rangarajan, 207, p. 254). Bias against minority groups may be exhibited in the way an organisation hires its employees or provides opportunities for employee advancement. In organisations in which managers and other employees are prejudiced against minority groups, individuals from minority groups such as women, peoples from specific backgrounds or even the elderly, find it difficult to get employment in such organisations. Moreover, in such organisations, people from minority groups do not access opportunities for advancement (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 248).

The top management of Aldway has taken several steps to address this barrier to having a diverse workforce. The management of the company has trained and instructed those who are responsible for hiring employees to give special opportunities for women and people with an Aboriginal or Torres Straight Island background. Moreover, the managers of the company have been tested on the specific methods and processes that they can use during the recruitment process to avail opportunities for minority groups.

Perception of threat to job security is another important barrier to having a diverse workforce. Some employees may feel that when individuals from minority groups are hired, the individuals may pose a threat their jobs (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 249). Moreover, when companies adopt policies and practices that encourage the promotion of women and individuals from other minority groups, the companies run the risk of facing opposition from employees who do not belong to the minority groups and who hold those positions. Thus, for a company to benefit from having a diverse workforce, it must adequately deal with the feeling that employees from minority groups may have undue advantage over the rest. Aldway addressed this issue by not providing special training opportunities for employees from minority groups. The management of Aldway decided to do this to avoid creating an impression among the other employees of the company that the individuals from minority groups could replace them.

Recommendations for Managing Diversity

The following recommendations collectively form the strategy that Aldway should use to successfully manage diversity. The recommendations are based on the principles of the level 1 model of diversity management. Level 1 of diversity management within organisations is anchored on the need for organisations to achieve diversity by focusing on aligning their internal relations with employees to the need to create a highly inclusive environment (Mor Barak, 2017, p. 244). Therefore, for Aldway to achieve this status and reach the third level of the multicultural organisation:

  1. The company should further implement its hiring and recruitment policies to favour women. Currently, the company has only managed to increase the percentage of female employees from 35% to 45%. There is still room for increasing the percentage of women employees in the company because the rate at which women are leaving the company is relatively higher than that for men.

  2. Aldway needs to streamline its work-life balance and career development and planning practices to help its women employees move up the career ladder. This is necessary because the company has not addressed the issue that female employees are concentrated at the lower levels of the company.

  3. The firm should further use hiring and recruitment policies that offer opportunities to individuals who have Aboriginal or Torres Straits Islands background. Although Aldway made deliberate efforts at increasing the percentage of its employees from these minority groups, there is still an opportunity for the company to increase the percentage of employees from this background.

  4. The organisation should review its internal training and development policies to provide opportunities for career advancement for individuals from these minority groups. In general, although Aldway has managed to hire an increased number of people from minority groups, the company ends up losing these new employees. Moreover, the employees from these minority groups do not rise to positions of management within the company. Therefore, it is important for the company to institute measures to help address the specific reasons that make employees from minority groups have high turnover rates. Moreover, the company should change its policy of not providing training programmes for its employees from minority groups.

  5. Lastly, the management of the company should create a corporate culture that identifies and embraces diversity and inclusion. This may be seen in the way formal and informal communication takes place within the company.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Aldway is an example of a plural organisation. The company has been implementing various strategies to have a diverse workforce because it realised that the current population is increasingly diverse in terms of the age, gender and sociocultural backgrounds of people. Moreover, the company has been implementing various measures related to diversity as a way of meeting the needs of the society. It has been recommended that for the company to move to a fully multicultural organisation, it should implement various recommendations. The recommendations are based on addressing the needs of women, elderly employees and individuals from minority groups. Moreover, the recommendations cover the following practices and aspects of the organisation: recruitment, training, career development, communication and culture.

References

Bedi, P., Iakara, P., & Gupta, E. (2014). Workforce diversity management: Biggest challenge or opportunity for 21st century organisations? IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 16(4), 102-107. Retrieved fromhttp://iosrjournals.org/iosr-jbm/papers/Vol16-issue4/Version-3/P01643102107.pdf

Bozhko, O. (2014). Managing diversity at the organisational level (Master’s thesis, Luiss Guido Carli University, Roma). Retrieved from http://tesi.eprints.luiss.it/13130/1/bozhko-oksana-tesi-2014.pdf

Ferreira, E. J., Erasmus, A. W., & Groenewald, D. (2010). Administrative management. Cape Town: Juta and Company.

Hasenfield, Y. (2009). Human services as complex organisations. London: SAGE.

Mor Barak, M. E. (2017). Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Oyler, J. D., & Pryor, M. G. (2009). Workplace diversity in the United States: The perspective of Peter Drucker. Journal of Management History, 15(4), 420-451. Retrieved fromhttp://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/drucker/pdf/workplace_diversity.pdf

Patrick, H. A., & Kumar, V. R. (2012). Managing workplace diversity: Issues and challenges. Sage Open, 1-15. Retrieved fromhttp://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2158244012444615

Peters, B. (2010). Managing diversity in intergovernmental organisations. Heidelberg: Springer.

Rangarajan, N. (2007). Exploring organisational barriers to diversity: A case study of the New York state education department. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 27(3), 249-263. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.953.9500&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Rawlins, R. A. (2010). Total quality management (TQM). Central Milton Keynes: AuthorHouse.