In past times many businesses thought it to be beneficial to the company to have a homogenous workforce, as everyone thinks, responds and acts the same, however, in modern times title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for organizations to engage in employment practices that discriminate against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin ( Herring, 2009 ), also new evidence has suggested that a homogenous workforce may actually be somewhat counterproductive as opposed to having a more diverse workforceCambridge dictionary (2019) defines diversity as “the fact of many different types of things or people being included in something” simply put when something is diverse it means that a group of people or things consists of a wide range of different factors that makes us all unique such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age. Diversity is often paired with Inclusion; this being the acceptance and recognition of the aforementioned factors, in the hope of promoting a sense of belonging; by not only acknowledging those differences but by actually valuing and respecting them. The recent cultural shift towards being more globally inclusive has raised the issue of whether or not organisations should pursue diversity despite all the challenges it may bring. The purpose of this paper is to analyze in-depth whether or not organisations should pursue diversity within their workforce despite the potential issues that may arise from it. Whilst focusing specifically on how the factors of diversity directly affect said organisation.
It is clear that businesses must see the opportunity that diversity brings with it, such as different perspectives, increased innovation, and an increase in company profits.
Without question, the greatest benefit of diversity within a company is the new perspectives that are bought to the organization. There is no denying that being faced with unfamiliar perspectives can be somewhat challenging, that is why after all most of us are so keen on partaking in Affinity bias, but as Doctor Edward Hubbard ( 2004 ) stated ” We need a variety of perspectives to add value to the workplace”, by having a workforce with a multitude of different perspectives it essentially enlarges the ‘pool of ideas’ within an organisation as well increasing the pool of skills, opinions and recourses available to the organisation. When a workforce is diverse each individual member brings with them a new perspective which has been shaped by their own individual experiences, for example, we can assume that a person that grew up in the ghetto’s of Detroit views the world differently to someone that grew up in the leafy suburbs of Connecticut, the reason being that the day to day life for each of them was probably very different from the others, the result of this means that these two people may look at the exact same thing but see two completely different things. A difference in perspectives can create some level of conflict within an organisation as people may fail to see ‘eye to eye’ but if This kind of difference in perspectives is channeled productively it can be vital to an organisation as it allows for individuals to try to approach a problem in their own unique way first, thereby increasing the company’s ability to solve potential problems it faces or may face in the future. Clearly having diverse perspectives within an organisation is nothing short of an asset due to the wide array of benefits it brings.
Meanwhile It can also be observed that diversity within an organisation acts as a catalyst for innovation. As seen in a survey conducted by Harvard business review (2013 ) which found that companies with diverse boards “are 45% likelier to report that their firm’s market share grew over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.” ( Hewlett et al.,2013 ) this is because in diverse workforces each individual member brings with them their own individual talents , experiences and perspectives, thus resulting in a workforce that is able to ‘think outside the box’, thereby allowing the company to not only grow in its existing markets but to expand into new markets, as their diverse workforce better allows them to understand, market to and grown within new markets that may seem too ‘foreign’ to homogenous organisations. As seen in a survey conducted by professor Richard Warr ( 2018) in which 3,000 of the largest publicly traded U.S companies where survey in the hope of finding a correlation between diversity and innovation, the results of the survey found that a if a “company checks all of the diversity boxes would see about two new additional product announcements over 10 years,” ( Warr, 2018) theses findings are extremely significant considering that a single product announcement for large global companies such as apple inc. can translate into billions of dollars worth of revenue as “New product announcements are greeted by investors with a positive stock price reaction” (Srinivasan et al., 2009), clearly highlighting a starting link between an increase of diversity and thereby innovation.
Admittedly many of the most successful organisations consisted of a homogenous workforce, especially at managerial levels , this is because it is much easier to communicate with a person that is accustom to the same cultural and social norms as you, thereby generally making it easier to successfully conduct business deals, as everyone is ‘on the same level’.
However since a recent study by McKinsey & Co ( 2018 ) found that of the one thousand companies that they survey, the least diverse companies are on average 29 per cent more likely to underperform in terms of profitability when compared to more diverse companies. The reason being due to the fact that the less diverse a company is the less they are able to appease a multitude of stakeholders. Similarly in a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group ( 2018 ) it was concluded that “Companies that have more diverse management teams have a 19% higher revenue.” This is due to the “diversity of minds, ideas, and approaches “ ( power.A, 2018) , that being that diverse companies see higher profits then their homogenous competitors, because they have a workforce with, is able to produce stronger, well-rounded solutions, due to their larger pool of ideas and problem solving techniques.
The analysis of the Importance of diversity within an organisation has revealed that whilst it may introduce some level of conflict, it is ultimately beneficial to the organization.
It has been seen that despite the challenges it may bring with it businesses should still pursue diversity within the workplace in order to yield the benefits associated with diverse workforces, such as new perspectives, increased innovation and increased profits.
Obviously, it will be advantageous for all businesses to actively pursue diversity, instead on continuing on with the tradition of companies having a homogeneous workforce.
Looking forward future generations must ensure that they pursue diversity, as when they do only then may they perform at truly optimal levels.