The Impact Of Diversity Characteristics On Individual Behavior

1759 words - 7 pages

As organizations face innumerable challenges in order to remain competitive in the marketplace, recognition is given to the company's most valuable assets - its employees. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to maintain an employee-friendly work environment that is mutually respectful of each others' values, customs, and beliefs. As a result, organizations have implemented various cultural diverse education programs that positively reinforce individual awareness about diversity issues, reduce biases and stereotypes, and change behaviors for the better.Each employee is different. In the everyday stress of the work environment, the smallest issues can escalate and soon employees are fighting over the techniques of fighting instead of dealing with the real issues. People do not respond to intentions or words but rather to behavior. Diversity issues that are associated with gender, age, socioeconomic status differences and religion can make an impact to the way an individual behaves. Preconceptions and stereotypes function as negative lenses through which people perceive others who look, think, or behave differently" (Hogan-Garcia, 2003, p. 52)GenderGender involves those social, cultural, and psychological aspects linked to males and females in particular social contexts. It is a social construct in that it refers to a socially learned behavior and expectations that distinguish between masculinity and femininity. Gender defines the norms and expectations about appropriate male and female behavior and the interaction between the sexes.Of 500 women surveyed, 66% report that stereotypes and preconceptions of women's roles and abilities are a major leading barrier to advancement. (Catalyst, 2002) Men face the lack of equality when they aren't given the same opportunity as women to take family leave.Regardless of which gender a person is, everyone is affected by gender issues. As with any stereotype, gender stereotypes can limit a person's scope of communication, expression of emotions, and freedom of movement. Gender roles can confer privilege, status and power. They can stifle creativeness and make the end product average.AgeCompanies are becoming increasingly dependent on the quality, skill and work ethic of older workers and the vitality and creativeness of younger ones. But concern can plague aging and inexperienced workers as buyouts, mergers and economic downturns lead to cutbacks and layoffs as pervasive age-based stereotypes and perceptions may still play a significant role in limiting employment of older and young adults.Observation has found that managers who operate on the basis of stereotypes bring out the worst in "twenty-something" and older adults. Recent graduates and those with little to no experience feel some of the same vulnerability as their older counterparts in the workplace. Members of both groups suffer when corporate culture undervalues them as people, devalues their work and provides no recognition."Do we really want...

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