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Ethic represents the principles by which people distinguish what is morally right.
“Diversity is characteristics of individuals that shape their identities and the experience they have in society” (Certo, 2010, p.117)
Workplace diversity is similarities and differences among employees in terms of age, cultural background, physical abilities and disabilities, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, education personality. It is how people perceive others and how they perceive themselves. Those perceptions affect their interactions. For most of us it is a lifelong process of learning and dealing successfully with diversity.(Diversity in the work place, Oregon.gov)
If supervisors wish to see a high standard of ethical behavior in the workplace they must behave ethically themselves, exhibiting important dimensions of ethical behavior including loyalty, fairness and honesty with contribution to an environment that encourage ethical action.
Code of ethics is and organization’s written statement of its values and rules for ethical behavior is good starting point for supervisor to meet the challenges to ethical behavior.
Ethical standards can be different from country to country and meeting them is very challenging for those who work with people from another countries and more than one culture.
Understanding cultural differences also can help businesspeople interpret behavior so they can arrive at agreements that are acceptable on both sides.
People from different cultures may have different measures of ethical or unethical behavior.
Sometimes the supervisors can promote ethical decisions making by involving others in the process where group members can offer their perspectives on the situation and the underlying values.
Discussing the ethical implications of the decision can help the supervisor see consequences and options that he or she might not have thought of alone.
Being ready to work successfully in a multicultural environment is a goal supervisors can set immediately and work toward in every business encounter.
Progressive leadership of a diverse workforce is to learn, invest, value, experience, commit and change. M.Khalil Zonoozy Diversity and the Dynamics of Pluralism 1993.
Knowledge of different cultures, awareness and acceptance of difference, ethics across cultures are elements of successful leader who actively promote cultural awareness in the workplace by providing training opportunities to staff, maintaining contact with minority organizations in the community and inviting them into workplace, making cultural awareness a frequent topic at staff meetings.
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Diversity is influenced by local and international changes where all these factors combine to raise the level of diversity that supervisors find in work place and increase opportunities to build a strong and flexible team. Supervisors today need new skills to communicate and collaborate effectively with broad range of people.
Creating that change will have profound impact on the beliefs and norms that govern organizational behavior in a firm.
Supervisor has responsibility to help guard against discriminations. First step for any supervisor is to know and acknowledge his or her own prejudices. (Certo, 2010, p.119-121)
Also supervisors must guard against generalizing what they believe or observe about a culture.
To build on the advantages of diversity supervisor’s challenge is to be effective and excellent communicator that bridges cultural differences. Verbal and body language communication in the work place is one area in which supervisors can serve as particularly good role models of managing diversity constructively.
“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.” (Maxwell,1999, p.23).
Diverse organizations will be successful as long as there is a sufficient amount of communication within them. Because people from different cultures perceive messages in different ways, communication is vital to the performance of an organization. Miscommunication within a diverse workplace will lead to a great deal of challenges. Diversity is not only about preventing unfair discrimination and improving equality, but also about valuing differences and inclusion, spanning such areas as ethnicity, age, race, culture, sexual orientation, physical disability, and religious belief.
What are the advantages of the diversity in work place?
Diversity is beneficial to both the members and the organization. Diversity brings substantial benefits such as better decision making and improved problem solving with variety of viewpoints, greater creativity and innovation, which leads to enhanced product development, and more successful marketing to different types of customers. Simply recognizing diversity in a corporation helps link the variety of talents within the organization. The act of recognizing diversity also allows for those employees with these talents to feel needed and have a sense of belonging, which in turn increases their commitment to the company and allows each of them to contribute in a unique way and to perform to their highest ability. (Oregon.gov)
“The supervisor doesn’t need to become an expert in other cultures (that would be an impossible) working with people from another countries. “The most important is to not make assumptions in communicating with others. Thinking before communicating in order to understand the potential reaction to our words and gestures is a god habit to foster”. (Certo, 2010, p.129)
Coming to this country as refugee and being pure example of diversity itself thru my experience it took me long time to overcome all obstacles my way (including learning English, adjusting to new society) to equally be treated in a workplace. In spite my heavy accent I earned respect of my supervisors and coworkers any organization being so respectful, such a motivator to others with a high success drive and bringing my valuable ideas from my experience in my country (Bosnia). My favorite quote was and still is “If I did it you can do it.”
This melting pot is the beauty of the USA that none of other countries in the world have and it is important to appreciate the opportunity to learn directly about other cultures and embrace them in a work place.
Certo, C.(2010). Supervision concepts & skills-building. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Maxwell, C. (1999). The 21 indispensable qualities of a leader. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
State Controller's Division, oregon.gov. (2008). diversity in workplace Portland, OR: Retrieved from http:oregon.gov/DAS/SCD/diversity.shtml
Zonoozy, M. (2006). diversity and the dynamic of pluralism.