Accommodating cultural diversity

The world's increasing globalization requires more interaction among people from diverse backgrounds.

People no longer live and work in an insular environment; they are now part of a worldwide economy competing within a global framework.

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Supervisors and managers need to recognize the ways in which the workplace is changing and evolving.

Managing diversity is a significant organizational challenge, so managerial skills must adapt to accommodate a multicultural work environment.

This document is designed to help managers effectively manage diverse workforces.

It provides a general definition for workplace diversity, discusses the benefits and challenges of managing diverse workplaces, and presents effective strategies for managing diverse workforces. Companies need to embrace diversity and look for ways to become inclusive organizations because diversity has the potential to yield greater work productivity and competitive advantages (SHRM 1995).

Diversity can be defined as acknowledging, understanding, accepting, and valuing differences among people with respect to age, class, race, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, etc. Stephen Butler, co-chair of the Business-Higher Education Forum, believes diversity is an invaluable competitive asset (Robinson 2002).

Managing diversity is a key component of effective people management in the workplace (Black Enterprise 2001).Demographic changes (women in the workplace, organizational restructuring, and equal opportunity legislation) will require organizations to review their management practices and develop new and creative approaches to managing people.Positive changes will increase work performance and customer service.The number of dual-income families and single working mothers has changed the dynamics of the workplace.Changes in the family structure means that there are fewer traditional family roles (Zweigenhaft and Domhoff 1998).Significant changes in the workplace have occurred due to downsizing and outsourcing, which has greatly affected human resource management.

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