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Managing Diversity: Bridge to Corporate Performance

  

 

                                                       Managing Diversity: Bridge to Corporate Performance

 

                                                                                    Dr.Umut KÖKSAL

                                                                                      

 

In this article, I will try to give a brief explanation on the subject of diversity management and corporate performance relationship.

There are many competencies that help defining corporate performance dynamics. These are behaviors that directly or indirectly affect the components of achieving sustainable corporate performance. And in my opinion, managing diversity is a crucial competency of business leaders for maintaining team performance.

As a definition, diversity management can be defined as the process of obtaining/acquiring  the necessary knowledge and dynamic skills to manage such difference appropriately and effectively. It is also about developing a creative mind-set to see things from different angles without rigid pre-judgment(1).

Managing diversity is one of the pieces of the puzzle that should be completed for company effectiveness and efficiency. Without diversity management, fostering in-house programmes like team management, team leadership does not contribute to benefit.

It is a construction. The basis of diversity management is a skeleton, a skeleton of the company itself. It is about: Constructing sameness and difference and understanding the workings of interculturality and power(2).

When leadership training or management training is under radar, it is also something about diversity management. Having employees with different backgrounds, different work attitudes, dealing with generations at work…..These all discussions have someting to do with managing diversity.

While diversity at workplace both has positive and negative aspects, in this article, I will concentrate on the positive side of the medallion.

First,it can be argued that diversity may help to increase organizational effectiveness and efficiency as heterogenious workforce is better on listing ideas and working in teams, which allows them to reach useful decisions. As a result, success and profitability of the company is eventually achieved(2).

 When subject is managing diversity, it is also something about the caliber of the business leader. How he or she perceives this diversity and how he or she react to this diversity.

Besides having other managerial competencies, a business leader should have the core/understanding of dealing with diverse employees.Otherwise, we can not talk about a term like ‘'being a team''. Today's business life lies on  flexibility and creativity. These two components are the key factors for coping with competitiveness.  Sustaining diversity and managing the teams like an orchestra make an organization competitive organization.

These programmes are built out of the often small, everyday actions taken by people at all levels of an organization. But as it has been argued(3) ‘'in the end it is not habits of compliance we seek to change, it is habits of the heart''.

 Managing diversity is not only about equal employment opportunity and  affirmative action. İt is much more than this. It is a spirit, it is a philosophy of an organization and of the course the business leaders.

It is about fostering open communication, it is about fostering change and it is about constructing the infrastructure of an effective workplace.

Result-oriented diversity management programme is about unleashing the rich and diverse potential of company's workforce.

Strategic-thinking and human-centred policies are crucial components while adapting diversity management programmes.

Moreover, in order to build a business atmosphere and workplace that finds it's roots in diversity, an organization needs to (4): Establish business case, build a team of champions and reinforce employee competencies-learning and development, re-design workplace, form buddy system and employee networks-awards and recognition,manage grieveances,  communicate effectively and at last evaluate effectiveness and ROI of all those attempts.

According to one study, leadership competencies will change as the competitive environment changes. In this study, it has been predicted that in the future, leadership will be shaped within five critical factors. These are, global competition, IT, rapid and flexible organizations, teams and differing employee needs(5).

In order to achieve this, a type of leader who has awareness in perceiving different employee needs, attitutes and of course habits will be a must for successful organizations.

The key components of an effective diversity management programme are; defining what ‘'diversity'' means for your organization in terms of your corporate culture and values, have awareness in the concept of managing diversity, put SMART KPI's in terms of your performance management system, analyze and project your resources, design your talent management system and demonstrate CEO, top management support.

By this, an organizational synergy is achieved when the organizational differences are managed in an effective way(6).

At last, organizational synergy is the main door for corporate goals and strategy success. By opening the door of ‘'organizational synergy'', the company executives may find their hint for sustainable corporate performance, which can also be called as ‘'HPO-High Performance Organizations'' Synergy is the door and diversity is the bridge…

 

References

http://www.ces.uc.pt/icopromo/documents/05%20%20Centro%20de%20Estudos%20Socias ,Coimbra%20-%20Diversity%20Management%20Workshop.pdf

Wilson, E.M., and Iles P.A. 1999. Managing diversity – an employment and service delivery challenge. The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 12, 1, 27- 49.

Makower, J. (1995). Managing diversity in the workplace. Business and Society Review, 92, 48-54

http://www.mom.gov.sg/~/media/mom/documents/employmentpractices/wdm/workplace%20diversity%20management%20tookit%20and%20managers%20guide.pdf

Barrett, A., and J. Beeson. 2002. Develop Leaders for 2010. New York: The Conference Board of Canada

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ987852.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

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