Some years ago, people only used diversity for non white male. Nowadays, diversity has a wider meaning. It includes many aspects of society like race, gender, age, sexual preference, life style, etc. This meaning is important to understand because Australia has a diverse demographic composition.
This condition can be seen in the Australian work force as well. In the national working environment we can find diversity of gender (women), age and ethnic (De Cieri et al. 2008). Diversity is considerable important because it can affect productivity and profit. In some cases could be a problem but in others diversity can improve teamwork, decision making process and creativity (Bach 2005) throughout efficient human resource policies. In other words, diversity can improve efficiency to bring competitive advantages in order to penetrate global markets and to increase profit (De Cieri et al. 008). In order to take advantage of those attributes of diversity, organizations need to manage it. The way to manage that is applying Human Resource Management (HRM). It provides polices and systems to influence workers’ behaviour. As a consequence, HRM influences the performance of the company (De Cieri et al. 2008). An optimal diversity management policies and tools can bring the best of diversity. Once it is done, diversity becomes a competitive advantage (Henderson 1994). Diversity*, *women and *oth*er cases This essay is going to treat diversity focused on the women case.
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In order to do that, first the concept of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is presented. In this stage we are going to see many aspects of diversity (the gender is one of them). Second, a case study about women is explained and analysed. Finally, we are going to analyse the relationship between HRM, diversity and the study case presented in this essay. In any working environment, if the company applies EEO regime, the best person for the vacant position must be chosen no matter the group she or he belongs to. Those groups can mean gender, race, colour, age, religion, etc.
In other words, what really matters is his or her intrinsic merit instead of external or irrelevant features for the working environment. This EEO concept is important because it can make the organization able to set the conditions for a productive working environment (De Cieri et al. 2008). As we have seen, EEO has many components or aspects that company has to manage in order to get the best from diversity. This part can be analysed throughout legal cases. The first case is about age. The case was EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States) v. Family Dollar Operations Inc.
In this case, the Regional Vice President of the store ordered to fire a 61 years old employee. When the Vice President defended himself, he argued that he was instructed by his superior to harass him (the 61 years old employee) into resigning. This was the concrete action but the reason of that was that “he was just too old” (Bell 2007). In that situation, we can appreciate an action of discrimination and intolerance. If this company had applied an EEO frame included in a HRM system, the results would have been different. The second case is about race and sex discrimination. The name of the case is EEOC v.
Carl Budding & Co. In that opportunity, a company that processes meat and deli products in South Holland (Chicago) denied jobs to African Americans just because of their race. Also, this company segregated female employees into lower paying jobs. In this case the company applied anti EEO policies. One of those policies was its “hiring policy” that was based on referrals of its white workforce (it was the major component of it) that came from Eastern Europe. Also, women segregation was based on a physical basis. The company considered that women were just for the packing line.
The problem was that in that type of job periodic raises were lower than in similar positions (unskilled jobs) (Bell 2007). Like the precedent case, here we can appreciate a lack of HRM and the application of an EEO regime. In this case, the company is the one that allocates the workforce as it wants without evaluating the applicants’ skills and without applying EEO policies. This is for the women case. In the case of African Americans the condition is even worse because they are not allowed to work because of their race. Those cases are just a sample of discrimination activities in the labour market.
The problem is that, most of the times; companies do not realize the attributes they lose when they do not add value to diversity. Companies forget diversity can bring to them competitive advantages in order to be more productive and profitable. Throughout diversity a company can penetrates new global markets because its workforce would be more representative or similar to the customers that can be found in the real current market (Bach 2005). Some advantages we can find inside a diverse organization are a variety of language skills, international networks, cultural knowledge, etc. This condition is called “Productive Diversity”.
According to this concept, companies that apply diversity like a productive factor have a good business sense (this should be a key element in the company strategy). That means that they know that a new environment needs diversity like a productive factor (Cope et al. 1997). In the midterm those decisions will be reflected in a better profitability. As we said previously, this essay is going to analyse a specific case about women and diversity. The essay has just brought a small case about gender discrimination but it was not enough for the level of analysis required for this assignment.
The name of that case is “Briarwood Industries” and is summarised and explained in the following paragraphs. This case is about the story of Diane Williamson. She started working in Briarwood in 1989 as a sales rep. In that year, the company was already one of the biggest producers of upholstered living room furniture in the United States. During those years, the furniture industry in that country was showing a decrement in the sales trend. Nevertheless, Diane was assigned to the west coast and in that region she became an excellent sales rep, one of the best in the whole country.
Because of that performance, she was promoted to sales manager of the Seattle office in 1992. Three years later she was promoted to manager of new product and market development at corporate headquarters. She also made the company moved to international markets like Canada and Europe (Harvey et al. 2005). Furthermore, the quality of her career in the company, she was not able to get the vice presidency of marketing. Instead of that, she wrote her letter of resignation. The reason of that was because the position was given to Larry Jaccobi. He has been working for the company for 12 years.
He had the reputation of being efficient but not creative. We have to remember that a necessary skill for marketing is creativity. The best job of Larry was to upgrade the inventory and sales process in order to get a just in time system. This system was supposed to produce million of dollar savings during the next five years. But, according to Diane, he lacked broad experience and leadership (Harvey et al. 2005). When that situation took place, Diane started writing her resignation letter. But, while she was writing the letter, her best friend in the company visited her and then they chatted for a while.
In that conversation Diane stated that she was the one for the position because she, and not Larry, cares about the future of the company. In other words, she thought she made more sacrifices than Larry (Harvey et al. 2005). Some hours later, she went to Gary Logan’s office. He was the present Vice President of Marketing. He was really surprised. He did not know about Diane’s intention. Nevertheless, he told her that she was not even in the last three applicants for the job. He also told her why she was not the right person for the job. The reason was that she did not have corporate level material.
According to him, she lacked of competitiveness, independence and self confidence, and he said that she never was interested in his position. Obviously, she could not believe what her boss was saying. To defence herself she replied telling him that she suggested that she was interested in that position in her last review. Also, she told him that she never complained about her salary, even though she said that she earned US $ 8,000 to US $ 10,000 less than other male managers with her level of experience. After saying that, she left his office (Harvey et al. 2005).
At this point, we are going to analyse the case identifying direct and related problems about diversity and HRM policies that can cause problems in productivity levels inside the company. For this study case we will have to suppose that the main reason for the denial was gender discrimination. Obviously could be just “bad luck” or a diverse cause, but that condition would not be useful for the case analysis. The first problem that can arise from the case is the job gender discrimination in promotions. This happened when the job position was given to Larry instead of Diane.
This fact took place even she had the necessary skills for the position. Even the case was located in the United States; almost the same situation could be seen here in Australia. According to the statistic information about the labour Australian market, women represent approximately 25 per cent of the managerial and administrative workforce (De Cieri et al. 2008). But the problem seems to be even worse: the higher we climb in the administrative or managerial hierarchy, the fewer women can be found. According to statistical data, women reach a 35 per cent in the lowest level of hierarchy.
In the middle management they represent 24 percent. Then, if we analyse senior management we can find 15 per cent. Finally, women just represent 8 per cent of the workforce in the executive management level. This trend is the same even in industries ruled by women like education where just 17 per cent are executive managers when they represent 65 per cent of the total workforce of that industry (De Cieri et al. 2008). The second problem is about the salary. The main character of the case, Diane, said that she earns from US $ 8,000 to US $10,000 less than other male managers with similar experience and qualifications.
Once more, this statement can be supported by statistical information. Recent studies in the United Kingdom say that full time women employees just earn 82p per each ? earned by men. Also, women working part time just earn 60 per cent per hour than men in full time jobs (Bach 2005). As we mentioned previously, problems with diversity or lack of EEO policies can bring deficiencies in productivity or profit. Like in the main case, because the company did not apply a promotion policy with an EEO perspective, it let go an excellent employee.
As we have discussed previously, diversity can bring many advantages to the organization. In the case a company wants to penetrate new markets or to get a bigger share of the global market, it can use a diverse work force in order to match a more representative customer base. But, the way to achieve that concept, the company first has to realize that disadvantaged groups can be the source of an under used labour supply (in the case, that key element would be Diane). In other words, companies should not waste important resources because they think that just white men have the required talents to make the company success.
So, to obtain an equal opportunity environment is important to apply an efficient and effective recruitment and retention policies (Bach 2005). In order to explain this statement better we can use a related example to the main case: Procter & Gamble showed some interest in applying career breaks and more flexible jobs as a solution to keep good workers. Specifically speaking, Procter & Gamble applied those tools in order to fix the disproportionate loss of women form the management career. This was happening even though the company was recruiting the same number of women and men.
The main benefit produced by the renewed policy was a better work life balance, which brought savings on recruitment, lower absenteeism and resignation (Bach 2005). This condition allows an increment in productivity and profitability (how to help with career development and promotion are going to be analysed later). The problem of losing talents is considerable important because if the company loses that potential efficient people, in the midterm that condition could affect its productivity.
Furthermore, the problems we have found in the Diane’s case and the effect that those problems can produce over productivity, there is an ethical consideration as well. Successful companies have to identify four ethical principles. The first one is the mutual benefit between employees, clients and customers. The second one is the responsibility assumed by employees from actions taken by the company. Third, the company has a sense of purpose that employees value and use it in their everyday jobs. The last one and the most important for this topic is the organizational “justice” (De Cieri et al. 2008).
This ethic concept of justice or fairness is considerable important. This importance has the following explanation: the society and the working environment are ruled by laws. These laws are based on principles like equality, non-discrimination and fairness. So, this concept of justice (ethic component) creates the duty to treat everyone fairly without any discrimination (De Cieri et al. 2008). This is important because if ethics elements (justice or fairness) are considered when the laws, rules and policies are created, it will improve the working environment from a productive perspective (previously we have seen the advantages of diversity).
Everyone is going to deserve the right job he or she deserves according to his or her attributes that match with the positions available if we are talking about recruitment and promotion processes. Like in the case, Diane felt that the fair decision would have been her election as a Vice President of Marketing instead of Larry. Until this point, we have selected and treated some cases about diversity (the main one was about gender discrimination). Also, we have analysed and indentified the main problems of a case study about gender discrimination in the working environment.
Then, we have mentioned the advantages of diversity from a productive point of view and ethics issues about diversity. Now, it is time to relate Human Resourse Management and diversity. A main concept about Human Resourse Management is that organizations should use, for their own benefit, ad hoc human resource policies in order to increase commitment and satisfaction of the workers in the company. This satisfaction would be positive related to competitive advantage (the bigger the satisfaction, the more the conditions to generate competitive advantages there can be).
One of the attributes inside a company that can bring competitive advantage and satisfaction is respect and consideration of diversity. So, diversity and HRM should be related. The relationships we can found are the as follows: the human resource policies have to be integrated within the general business strategy and to “equality and justice” (ethical element). The second one is about the support the company has to give to diverse stakeholders with diverse interests and backgrounds. The last one is about HRM and the focus on individual differences (Greene 2005).
Obviously, HRM and diversity are not the only concepts that have to be related. An additional concept that has to be related with those two previous concepts is strategy. We have seen that human resource polices have to be integrated with strategy. Strategy should be integrated within the HRM model. According to HRM, equality is a main strategic factor. This is considerable important for the company development and potential advantages provided by diversity (the different advantages were discussed previously in this essay) in the workplace.
In many cases, those advantages (more efficient and effective market penetration for example) are a positive justification for equality policies (Greene 2005). Nevertheless, we do not have to relay just on the concept. Unfortunately, statistic information shows us that the capacity to integrate HRM policies with strategy has failed many times (included the one about equality policy). Those equality policies are usually fake ones: just the 50 per cent of them have back-up support policies, while 16 per cent do not have any.
This condition is important for an effective equality outcome. One example of that can be found within a hiring policy. Many people use to think that a way to increase workforce diversity with a diversity hiring policy could bring positive outcomes, but it can bring the opposite result as well. One of those results is a negative consequence for group cohesion that could affect negatively minorities like women, disable workers, etc. So, In order to fix that problem additional human resource policies have to be applied.
One of those could be a policy about recruitment. This policy should ensure that a sufficient number of individuals (individuals that belong to one of those minorities) were hired to avoid isolation. Also, those minorities have to have access to resources to allow them to enter inside work groups with equal opportunities. Those resources could be training and information (Greene 2005). Specifically speaking about recruitment (aspect of human resource management), companies could apply something called diversity oriented recruiting.
Some efforts can include using women and other minority members in recruitment interviews, recruiting trips to schools and colleges and in employment advertisement (Cascio 2003). Nevertheless, those are not the only solutions to get a diverse work force. A recent study in the United States done by WetFeet. com showed that 44 per cent of African American candidates decided to not apply to a company because of a number of reasons: lack of ethnic and gender diversity, good conditions of training and career development options, and if there is or not a diverse executive management (Cascio 2003).
That shows that to create a non discrimination environment policies have to be active instead of passive. Any company that recruits employees has to build credibility inside the target groups. In other words, a company has to be aware that to have a diverse workforce throughout an efficient and effective recruitment, it has to create a credible diversity oriented recruitment program during a period of time and there are no results form a passive non discrimination recruitment policy (Cascio 2003). Obviously, there are organizations that are increasing their diversity in the work force throughout concrete actions.
Those companies are Kraft Foods, Philip Morris and Dun & Bradstreet. They are renewing their recruitment system in order to obtain a coordinate recruitment job. What they use to do is to get data about whom, where the recruitment is done and how they proceed with diverse groups. The final result is to get a consistent corporate image that can support recruiting efforts (Cascio 2003). This element of how to apply recruitment in any company should be done with women as well. Also, we have to remember that recruitment is just an element of human resource management.
There are many additional things that can be done in order to improve the quality of a diverse work force. Specifically speaking about women, there are some additional actions that can be taken. First, the company has to be sure that it is promoting equal opportunities for men and women (this fact was present in the main case). Second, the organization can upgrade leave policies to include men as well. Third, managers must respect both genders and they have to ensure that everybody is going to do the same.
Fourth, the company should be flexible with benefits necessities. Finally, companies should create more job options like part time, work at home, casual and shared jobs (Chang 1996). Also, there are other actions that can be taken in order to break gender (barriers this is the main aspect of this essay) in order to increase productivity. The first one is “do career planning”. That means that companies have to support women and men with their career plans equally and considering both as valued people. The second one is called “end pay inequity”.
That means that compensation packages have to be analysed in order to eliminate inequities (it was a situation presented in the main case). The third one is about training. Women must have the same training opportunities as men in order to have access to better job positions or promotions. The last one is “end gender stereotypes”. Women and men should drop the classic or traditional roles both have. Those actions can shape or change the corporate culture. Doing that, companies can increase tolerance levels inside them (Carr-Ruffino 1999).
Up to this point of the essay, we have seen how to improve diversity throughout human resource management. The topic of HRM treated the most was recruitment (it is related to the EEOC v. Carl Budding & Co case as well). This element is important because it can assure an optimal and efficient diverse work environment since the beginning. Also, in the mid and long term diversity can bring competitive advantages as we mentioned previously. But also, it is important to remember the main case once more. The reason of that is that there is another important related element of HRM.
That element is promotion. It was clearly presented in Diane’s case that she had problems in order to get a promotion in the company. In that case Diane’s boss told her that she did not fulfil the requirements for that position. This situation could be mitigated throughout mentoring. Mentoring is the process in which a “teacher” (the mentor) cultivates self trust, task couching, sponsorship and emotional encouragement to the protege in order to be prepared to take top level decisions (Karsten 2006). A mentor is like a teacher. This person has to be an advisor, confidant and sponsor.
Also, he or she must know well enough the dynamics of power and politics inside the organization. But, the most important attribute of this person is that she or he has to be willing to share this knowledge with potential leaders. Nevertheless, sometimes women cannot have the same opportunities as men to be part of a mentoring program. Some companies apply some policies in order to increase the amount of equal opportunities. There is a case about the Bank of America. In this institution is the company that assigns three potential young executives to a mentor for a year at a time.
This group of three people has to be formed by a male, a female and other member from a protected group (Cascio 2003). This is an efficient and effective way to assure, somehow, a promotion opportunity to women inside companies. This would have been an effective way to prevent the situation showed in the main case. The key for that result is that mentoring creates a link between present and future leaders. Unfortunately, according to many studies, women leaders have had less support with their careers if we compare the same with men’s situation.
In other words, in many companies women have less access to mentoring than men with the same qualifications and experience. Statistical information shows that in 2005 just a few women are CEOs in the fortune 1000 organizations (Karsten 2006). This result shows that there is something wrong with career development or could be a sign of discrimination or lack of EEO. So, as we have mentioned previously, the advantages provided by diversity can be achieved throughout an efficient and effective recruitment, salary and career development diversity oriented strategic policies (elements of HRM).
Those ones have to assure an EEO environment at any level inside the organization, even the strategic one. If any company accomplishes to apply that, it will be able to obtain the benefits from diversity. Conclusion Throughout the essay, we have appreciated that there is a relationship between diversity, HRM, strategy and organizational goals (the most important are usually optimal levels of productivity and profit). We have seen that HRM with a diversity oriented strategy can get the best from diverse human groups, because it allows that the person ad hoc gets the job (EEO).
This essay mentioned some tools of HRM that can be applied to increase diversity inside the companies. Those tools were recruitment and promotion. The last one could be improved throughout a mentoring diversity oriented program. This could have been applied in Diane’s case (the main case of this essay) in order to improve promotions without discrimination. Obviously, those HRM factors were analysed in this essay because the main case and the small ones treated in this assignment were mainly about promotion.
Recruitment was treated as well in the essay because it is the first step in any career development. Recruitment can assure from ground zero a diverse environment and culture that brings to the company competitive advantages for new diverse global markets. According to the ideas exposed in this essay, I think diversity could provide to the company good opportunities to increase the value for stakeholders and society, because diversity can bring advantages in order to be more effective and productive (diversity oriented HRM policies provide the best people from any human group).
Like in the main case: if the company had known that, it would not have let Diane leave Briarwood Industries, because that organization had known about the potential skills its minority groups have. With those skills brought throughout diversity human resource policies companies can get the best of diversity. In other words, diversity is a competitive advantage. Finally, diversity oriented strategies inside the company can shape the people’s culture, creating a better and positive environment where people can be more productive. This condition can modify the society’s culture, making it more tolerant in the long term.
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