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http://sgo.sagepub.com/ Managing Workplace Diversity: Issues and Challenges
Harold Andrew Patrick and Vincent Raj Kumar SAGE Open 2012 2: originally published online 25 April 2012 DOI: 10.1177/2158244012444615 The online version of this article can be found at: http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/2/2/2158244012444615

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and the natural environment. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe. gender.sagepub. or other ideologies. discrimination. understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing. but diversity encompasses race. and change. work groups. practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.The current study examines the potential barriers to workplace diversity and suggests strategies to enhance workplace diversity and inclusiveness. Hosur Road. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity. religious beliefs. international relations require us to deal with one another on a 1 2 Christ University. and between diversity and performance both at individual and organizational levels.444615 12444615Patrick and KumarSAGE Open SGOXXX10. stereotype. cultural. Diversity management is a process intended to create and maintain a positive work environment where the similarities and differences of individuals are valued. The literature on diversity management has mostly emphasized on organization culture. ethnicity. Christ University Institute of Management. organizational function. Karnataka 560029. and recognizing our individual differences. inclusiveness Introduction The concept of diversity includes acceptance and respect. institutional environments and organizational contexts to diversity-related pressures. It is based on a survey of 300 IT employees. so that all can reach their potential and maximize their contributions to an organization’s strategic goals and objectives. and culture. These can be along the dimensions of race. better performing employees and potentially better financial performance for an organization. Patrick (2010) found that diversity determines not only the effects of the diversity within an organization but also the level of openness to dissimilarity characteristics among the organization’s members. recognizing that personal. ethnic group. Those perceptions affect their interactions. Diversity in Relation to Culture and Performance As the importance of diversity in the organizational context has increased manifold. Karnataka. human resource management practices. its impact on diversity openness. and more. Keywords diversity management. better satisfied.sagepub. Bangalore. The study concludes that successfully managing diversity can lead to more committed. India Email: haroldpatrick@christuniversity. its effect on diversity openness. Diversity involves not only how people perceive themselves but also how they perceive others. political beliefs. Karnataka. human resource professionals need to deal effectively with issues such as communication. physical abilities. adaptability. workplace diversity. perceived practices and organizational outcomes related to managing employee diversity. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. 2013 . sexual orientation. socioeconomic status. gender. expectations. Despite the technological wonders of today’s communication.com Abstract Diversity management is a process intended to create and maintain a positive work environment where the similarities and differences of individuals are valued. most organizations would like to research on diversity–organizational culture linkage. Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization.in Downloaded from sgo. and building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination. age. cultures. and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others. education. Bangalore. and fostering environment. and incentives. cognitive style. personality. and several other issues. requirements.1177/2158244012444615 http://sgo. India Corresponding Author: Harold Andrew Patrick.1177/21582440 Managing Workplace Diversity:  Issues and Challenges Harold Andrew Patrick1 and Vincent Raj Kumar2 SAGE Open April-June 2012: 1­ –15 © The Author(s) 2012 DOI: 10. background. That sounds simple.com by guest on August 13. For a wide assortment of employees to function effectively as an organization. tenure. age. It means understanding that each individual is unique. Bangalore. India Baldwin Methodist College. positive.

2004). which in turn would induce more Diversity: Affirmative Action and Creativity Empirical research supports the notion that diversity management can have a positive spillover effect in the workplace. the perception of diversity openness decreases. & Moran. 2006). competencies. especially for diverse work groups. 2001). In multidisciplinary teams. however. especially in the IT sector. and customer experiences. Stead. Researchers have suggested that diversity has enhanced performance by broadening the group’s perspectives. 1994). & Homan. For this to be effective. the affirmative action label stigmatized women regardless of job type. One principle focuses on dense Downloaded from sgo. Diversity management ensures that all employees have the opportunity to maximize their potential and enhance their self-development and their contribution to the organization. both principles capture important elements of what it takes for a task group to achieve success in reaching its goals. which enable it to coordinate effectively. expertise levels of performance diversity were most strongly associated with team performance at moderate levels of diversity (Van Der Vegt & Bunderson. Incorporating diverse people and their perspectives has become a major concern for every organization. Managing diversity successfully will help organizations to nurture creativity and innovation and thereby to tap hidden capacity for growth and improved competitiveness. 2011). Organizations that manage diversity are recipients of more commitment. This may require the mental elimination of terms like alien and view the individual as having a background that is different (Moran. Diversity management intends to create and maintain a positive work environment where the similarities and differences of individuals are valued. This suggests that.com by guest on August 13. This has led to an increase in the heterogeneousness among employees and has increased the challenge of organizations to manage diverse employees. Harris. The biggest driver for higher level diversity strategy is the need to tap the creative. SAGE Open patterns of local interaction as the basis for coordination and collective action. faces an uphill battle. global leaders must not only learn the customs. Diversity executives cite the importance of having an open mind because the job requires them to come out of their comfort zone and experience things that they may not be familiar with or drawn to (Rodriguez. it is important that they can reach more extended tenure. one has to overcome language and stereotype barriers. and business protocols of their counterparts from other countries but must also understand the national character. This study has been undertaken to find out the attitudes of employees toward diversity at the workplace. Need and Rationale of the Study Organizations in India are global today.2 person-to-person basis. and that they are allowed a more extended start-up phase than more homogeneous groups (Knippenberg. The creativity of teams that were homogeneous on a series of attitude measures was compared against teams with heterogeneous attitudes. and so on. and mind-sets of the people (Hofstede. 2008). which will ultimately increase employee turnover and reduce individuals’ and organizations’ performance to a great extent. de Dreu. the heterogeneous teams were more creative than the homogeneous ones (Cox & Blake. A team that does not develop the connections among their members. which can make the way work is done more efficient and make products and services better. Simlin (2006) found that as the age increases. Results indicated that as long as the team members had similar ability levels. Research by Gilbert. courtesies. There is a strong empirical confirmation that successful diversity management and a resulting improvement in organizational performance are positively correlated (Ozbilgin and Tatli. To create opportunities for collaboration. Moreover.sagepub. New Perspectives and Strategies in Managing Diversity There are two structural principles that form the foundation for network perspectives. the team fails to generate the learning that can only come from interaction among different individuals (Reagans & Zuckerman. It recognizes that people from different backgrounds can bring fresh ideas and perceptions. and interests in employees. group discussions. there is a consistent finding that differences should be sought in moderation. products. and hence it is important to orient the older employees also about the presence and need of diversity openness in organizations through training. The other principle focuses on the bridges across global divisions as the basis for information transfer and learning. and communicative skills of a variety of employees and to use those skills to improve company policies. and Ivancevich (1999) found that women who were hired in organizations that valued diversity were found to be qualified for the job that they held. so that all can reach their potential and maximize their contributions to an organization’s strategic goals and objectives. Past research work has focused on national culture and its impact on organizational culture. in the oil and gas industry. management philosophies. However. Group members’ ability to elaborate diverse information may also develop over time as members become more familiar with each others’ perspectives and develop transactive memory. However. when such networks remain concentrated among homogeneous sets of individuals. workshops. 1991). This would enable organizations to formulate diversity programs that incorporate the diverseness of each individual. cultural. 2013 . and better satisfied as well as better performing employees. 2005). The repercussions for not managing diversity would lead to lack of skills. Problem solution creativity was judged on originality and practicality.

The questionnaire was sent to the 350 respondents. an unjustified negative attitude toward a person based on his or her membership in a particular group • Ethnocentrism: a tendency to regard one’s own group. particularly gender and age group. a moderately large sample size of 350 was selected.” or “diversity pessimists” based on their positive and/or negative orientation toward terms related to workplace diversity. Convenience sampling technique was adopted to select the sample respondents. and 7 organizational behavior professors. Content validity of the statements was established by thorough review by a panel of 10 HR professionals from IT organizations. comprising a response rate of 88. culture. a set of beliefs about a group that is applied universally to all members of that group • Blaming the victim: making incorrect casual attributions linking aggressions with perceived characteristics of groups • Discrimination: barring an individual from membership in an organization or from a job because of his or her membership of a particular group • Harassment: consciously shunning verbally or physically abusing an individual because of membership in a particular group • Backlash: negative reaction to members of previously underrepresented groups gaining power and influence Section V—Items pertaining to strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity. It is in this context that the present study was conducted to explore the diversity dimension in the Indian context. Downloaded from sgo.57%. 10 responses were eliminated due to excessive missing data. 5 diversity training experts. especially an idea that is wrong. using a ranking scale: • Prejudice: an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling. and 5 = to a very great extent (with Cronbach’s reliability value of . Section II—Information pertaining to employees’ attitude toward workplace diversity.Patrick and Kumar commitment and productivity in their respective roles. especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge. Section III—Items pertaining to strategies for enhancing workplace diversity. The questionnaires were administered to employees with 2 years’ experience in that organization to ensure that they are fairly aware about diversity practices in their organizations. Tools Adopted for the Study A questionnaire was developed by the researchers based on the objectives of the study. or nation as superior to others • Stereotypes: a fixed idea about what a particular type of person is like. respondents were classified as “diversity optimists. 3 = to a moderate extent. The reliability of the scales was tested using Cronbach’s alpha and is reported in description of tools. 2 = to a slight extent. with 1 = not at all. Construct validity was ensured by selecting statements from the works of Al-Lamki (2002) and Johnson (2003).sagepub.com by guest on August 13. and retention • Decreasing employee complaints and litigation Section IV—Items pertaining to barriers for accepting workplace diversity.822): 3 Objectives of the Study • To map the attitudes to workplace diversity in the IT context • To find the most important strategies adopted to enhance workplace diversity • To identify most frequently encountered barriers for accepting workplace diversity • To identify strategies to increase inclusiveness • To find out ways to increase awareness about workplace diversity Sample and Sampling Technique The units selected for the study consisted of employees in IT organizations. 2013 . and respondents with diverse backgrounds were included.” “diversity realists. using a 5-point rating scale. 4 = to a great extent.71%). To achieve some degree of representativeness. of which only 310 questionnaires were returned. The sample was drawn from the top 15 IT companies in India. The questionnaire was divided into six sections: Section I—Information regarding the respondent profile. using a ranking scale: • Improving corporate culture by unleashing creativity and performance • Giving new employees an opportunity to work in an area where they can expect to advance • Improving relationship with clients • Increasing employee morale. Some of the strategies to increase inclusiveness and awareness about workplace diversity in IT organizations have also been identified in the study. productivity. and the final sample size for the study was 300 (an effective response rate of 85. Diversity will increase significantly in the coming years. Furthermore. The study has also identified the most frequently encountered barriers toward accepting workplace diversity. and successful organizations recognize the need for immediate action and are ready and willing to spend resources on managing diversity in the workplace now.

to 30-year age group (65. listening. 4 = to a great extent.3%). and 5 = to a very great extent (with Cronbach’s reliability value of . with 1 = not at all.3%). Individual strategies to increase inclusiveness • By accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity • By adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents. followed by 5 to 10 years of experience (29%). or eye contact c. mannerisms. with more than 4. Differences between groups were analyzed using independent-samples t tests (between genders) and one-way ANOVA (between age groups). organizations need to include diversity as a cultural value in its members. and broadening one’s experience base about diverse people • Communicating effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what one did not understand • Avoiding terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception • Avoiding valuing one’s message based on dress. giving new employees the opportunity to work in areas where they can be expected to advance (3. The majority of the respondents worked in large companies. 82%).4 a. and Downloaded from sgo. and retention (2.7%).3%) and diploma holders (7. The majority of the respondents were male (84%). while on an overseas assignment • By learning other languages • By learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is b. By reducing prejudices and use of stereotypes • Recognizing that diversity exists and learning to value and respect fundamental differences • Admitting to one’s own biases and prejudices and committing to reduce them • Dismissing myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates b. 2 = to a slight extent. 3 = to a moderate extent.861): a. In terms of age group. Organizational strategies to increase inclusiveness • By offering language training to employees • By encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments SAGE Open • By providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment • By training employees to learn about and be sensitive to cross-cultural differences • By examining employee practices to ensure that the organization is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity Techniques of Analysis The data collected from the respondents was analyzed through appropriate statistical techniques. followed by graduates (45.000 employees (63%). which was corroborated with Mann–Whitney U tests (between genders) and Kruskal–Wallis tests (between age groups). In terms of experience. using a 5-point rating scale.3%) and respondents working in Indian companies (3.07). followed by the 21.20). By building relationships with diverse others • Forming positive relationship with diverse others • Seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity • Treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers Section VI—Items pertaining to strategies to increase inclusiveness. the majority of respondents were in the 26. productivity. increasing employee morale.com by guest on August 13.sagepub. accent. Respondent Profile The profile of respondents is presented in Table 1. By minimizing miscommunication with diverse others • Educating oneself about differences by reading. most of the respondents had experience of 2 to 5 years (49%). The rating questions (Sections V and VI) were analyzed using descriptive statistics (Ms and SDs). Major Findings and Discussion Strategies Adopted to Enhance Workplace Diversity Analysis of the strategies to enhance workplace diversity is shown in Table 2. followed by respondents working in Indian MNCs (14. To improve corporate culture. The most prevalent strategies adopted to achieve this objective were by unleashing creativity and performance (2. the nonparametric test appropriate for testing difference in rankings.70%). The majority of the respondents worked in multinational companies (MNCs.12). The ranking questions (Sections III and IV) were analyzed using the Friedman test. 2013 .30%).to 25-year age group (23. Most of the respondents were postgraduate degree holders (47.

20 3.0 4.7 5 Barriers for Accepting Workplace Diversity Analysis of the barriers for accepting workplace diversity is shown in Table 3. admitting to biases and prejudices (3. Among the strategies for minimizing miscommunication with diverse others.30 4.7 19. by learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is (3.07 2.56) was considered the most effective strategy.000 Strategies to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity Analysis of the strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity is shown in Table 5.25).000-2. The least prevalent strategy was that of decreasing employee complaints and litigation.94). and by offering language training to the employees (3. communicating effectively by listening attentively and asking questions was considered the most improving relationships with clients (3.3 3. It was found that the most prevalent barrier was discrimination (2.349 0.Patrick and Kumar Table 1.3 82.01) were less preferred strategies to be adopted in the organization to increase inclusiveness. It was found that there were significant differences in mean rankings of the different barriers to workplace diversity.30). Indicating the Profile of the Respondents Variable Gender   Age     Educational qualifications     Experience       Type of company     Employee strength       Attitude toward diversity   Levels Male Female 21-25 years 26-30 years 31-35 years Diploma Graduate Postgraduate 2 years 2-5 years 5-10 years 10+ years MNC Indian Indian MNC 0-1.0 7.7 49.0 23.0 32. and finally learning other languages (3.com by guest on August 13. followed by prejudice (2.23) was the least preferred strategy.0 16. by encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments (3. stereotypes (4.44). Indicating the Prevalence of Different Strategies Enhancing Workplace Diversity Strategies to enhance workplace diversity Improving corporate culture by unleashing creativity and performance Increasing employee morale.31 398.75).67).000+ Diversity optimists Diversity realists Percentage 84.3 13.0 29.3 47.7 63. It was found that there were significant differences in mean ranking for different strategies enhancing workplace diversity.7 11. followed by recognizing that diversity exists and learning to value and respect fundamental differences (3. Note: Mean rank for Table 2 and 4 and mean for Table 4 and 5. examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity (3.83).000 4. adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents while on an overseas assignment (3. and the least prevalent was backlash (5. Table 2.000 2. Friedman’s test was applied to test for the difference of ranking.26).77) were less prevalent.sagepub. Downloaded from sgo. and harassment (4.79). 2013 . It was found that the most preferred strategies to increase inclusiveness in organizations were by learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is (3. providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment (3. dismissing myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates (3.0 10. Other barriers like blaming the victim (4.3 67. These strategies were preferred more by the respondents. productivity.25). and ethnocentrism (3.06).0 14.23). Friedman’s test was applied to test for the difference of ranking.67). Among the strategies for reducing prejudices and use of stereotypes.000 1.21). and retention New employees are given an opportunity to work in area where they can expect to advance By improving relationship with clients Decreasing employee complaints and litigation Friedman chi-square Asymptotic significance Mean rank 2.83).3 65. Strategies to Increase Inclusiveness Analysis of the strategies to increase inclusiveness is shown in Table 4.12 3.3 45. whereas the other strategies such as accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity (3.000-4. a rather restrictive approach to handling workplace diversity.58).3 11.

effective strategy (4. women were ready to provide transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment (3. accent.to 35-year age group (3. and listening attentively and asking questions about what one did not understand (4.58). feelings. It was found that the most prevalent strategy to increase awareness about workplace diversity was by communicating effectively.58).34).14).51).75 2.09).84). and treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers were less preferred strategies to be adopted to increase awareness about workplace diversity in the organizations. encouraging peers to be open and forming positive relationships with diverse others were also considered to be very good strategies (3.73) whereas men did not prefer it as much as women (2.to 30-year age group (3.98) more compared with men (3.7). and broadening one’s experience base about diverse people (3.83 4. Among the strategies for building relationships with diverse others.79). The perception toward learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment was highest for the 21.21 319.06 4. seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity (3. avoiding to value one’s message based on dress. avoiding terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception (3. It was found that there were significant differences between men and women professionals toward the organizational strategies for increasing inclusiveness.54) more compared with men (3. It was found that there were significant differences between age groups toward the organizational strategies for increasing inclusiveness. mannerisms.70). women were eager to offer language training to their employees (4.51). encouraging peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions. avoiding terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception (3.15).88). or eye contact (3. educating oneself about differences by reading.03) and by the Downloaded from sgo.to 25-year age group (2. The perception toward adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents while on an overseas assignment was highest for the 31. recognizing that diversity exists and learning to value and respect fundamental differences (3. The perception toward accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity was highest for the 21.6 Table 3.49). or eye contact (3. followed by the 26.781 0.to 35-year age group (3. whereas seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity (3. The Mann–Whitney U test corroborated these findings.17) compared with men (3. women preferred to learn other languages (3. and finally by treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers (3.01). women were ready to adapt to customs of the new country and to know the local residents while on an overseas assignment (3.01).19).79).77 5.sagepub.99).07). to learn about and be sensitive to crosscultural differences (4.25). avoiding to value one’s message based on dress.52). followed by working with diverse others to achieve mutual goals (3.23).com by guest on August 13. followed by educating oneself about differences (3. and reactions with oneself (3. and finally women preferred to examine employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity (3.56).99).23) was the least preferred strategy. women preferred to learn about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is (4.23). whereas men were reluctant (3. working with diverse others to achieve mutual goals was considered the most effective strategy (3.to 30-year age group (3.25) compared with men (3. accent. dismissing myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates (3.to 25-year age group (4.to 35-year age group (3. admitting to one’s own biases and prejudices and committing to reduce them (3.36) and the 21. Indicating the Frequently Encountered Barriers Barriers for accepting workplace diversity Discrimination Prejudice Ethnocentrism Blaming the victim Stereotypes Harassment Backlash Friedman chi-square Asymptotic significance Mean rank 2.17).82) and the 26. followed by the 31. women were more keen to get trained.69). 2013 .49).23). mannerisms. listening.000 SAGE Open Differences Across Gender and Their Perception About Strategy to Increase Inclusiveness The analysis of differences between male and female employees’ perceptions of strategies to increase inclusiveness is shown in Tables 6 and 7. followed by the 31.94 3.70).to 25-year age group (3.65) compared with women (3.44 4. Men preferred to accept overseas assignment more whenever given an opportunity (3.83) more compared with men (3. Differences Across Age Groups and Their Perception About Strategy to Increase Inclusiveness The analysis of differences across age groups of strategies to increase inclusiveness is shown in Tables 8 and 9.

23 4. Indicating the Mean and Standard Deviation in Descending Order for Strategies to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity Strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity (a) By reducing prejudices and use of stereotypes:    Admit to one’s own biases and prejudices and commit to reducing them    Recognize that diversity exists and learn to value and respect fundamental differences    Dismiss myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates (b) By minimizing miscommunication with diverse others:    Communicate effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what one did not understand    Educate oneself about differences by reading.022 1.316 26.to 25-year age group (3.057 Table 5. followed by the 26. or eye contact (c) By building relationships with diverse others:   Work with diverse others to achieve mutual goals    Encourage one’s peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions.com by guest on August 13. the perception toward examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity was highest for the 31.7 3.82). mannerisms.51 3. Differences Across Gender and Their Perception Toward Strategies to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity The analysis of differences between male and female employees’ perceptions toward strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity is shown in Tables 10 and 11.83 3.to 30-year age group (3.26 3.083 1.56 3.79 3.79). and broadening one’s experience base about diverse people    Avoid terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception    Avoid valuing one’s message based on dress.15).to 25-year age group (2.sagepub.to 35-year age group (3.97).106 1.066 1.01 3.23 3. while on an overseas assignment By providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment By learning other languages M 3.29) and the 21.21) and the 21.to 30-year age group (3.to 25-year age group (4.23 3. Downloaded from sgo.to 35-year age group (4. feelings.99 3.96).53).505 1.67 3.086 1. followed by 26.31).to 35-year age group (3.121 1.79 3.219 1. The Kruskal–Wallis test corroborated these findings. Indicating the Mean and Standard Deviation in Descending Order for Strategies to Increase Inclusiveness Organizational strategies to increase inclusiveness By learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is By training employees to learn about and be sensitive to cross-cultural differences By encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments By offering language training to employees By accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity By examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity By adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents. The perception toward encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments was highest for the 21. and reactions with oneself    Seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one are communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity   Treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers M 3.175 1.16 7 1. The perception toward offering language training to employees was highest for the 31. Finally.to 30-year age group (2.928 1.01 SD 1.109 1.963 1.94). followed by the 26.203 1.973 0.to 30-year age group (3. followed by 26.to 25-year age group (2. accent.58 3.162 1.92) and the 21.54) and by the 31.25 3. The perception toward providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment was highest for the 31.to 30-year age group (3.109 0. listening.12). 2013 .to 35-year age group (3.49 3.25 3.Patrick and Kumar Table 4.67 3.07 SD 1.028 0.

000** Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank 131.50 152.04 205. while on an overseas assignment By learning other languages By learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is By offering language training to the employees By encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments By providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment By training employees to learn about and be sensitive to cross-cultural difference By examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity a Mann–Whitney test statistic denoted by U.818 2.919 3.00 143.102 2.063 −3.935 −4.540 −2.000**   .25 0.17 0.25 4220.50 141.57 191. Indicating Mann–Whitney U Test for Strategies to Increase Inclusiveness Between Gender Female By accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity By adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents.87 4630.01 level.23 188.024 t cal 2.05 206.02 3658.887 4.sagepub.933 .30 5594.320 5.248 3.65 1.98 0.806 3.503 −0.73 0.65 0.113 3.97 154. Downloaded from sgo.006** .001**   3.83 1. while on an overseas assignment   M   SD  By learning other languages  M   SD   By learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is  M   SD  By offering language training to your employees  M   SD  By encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments  M   SD  By providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment  M   SD  By training employees to learn about and be sensitive to crosscultural difference  M   SD  By examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity  M   SD  *Significant at the .240 Significance . *Significant at the .000** .70 1.734 −2.519 3.00 140.05 level.695 −4.60 4057.002**   .50 .001** .491 3.859 −5.838 4.11 3429.043 3.195 .05 level.851   . SAGE Open Male 3.000** .05 200. **Significant at the .50 142.15 1.461 2.22 4718.004**   Table 7.54 0.88 3373.290 3.23 1.475 −3.58 0.00 145.01 level.50 139.00 144.021*   .20 141.000**   .490 3.004* .026*   .52 180.09 1.042* .131 3.742 Significance .19 1.68 1. **Significant at the .504 4.88 1. Indicating t Test for Strategies to Increase Inclusiveness Between Gender Female By accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity    M   SD By adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents.69 1.911 3.12 5137.200 3.187 5.8 Table 6.000** .000**   .com by guest on August 13.352 4.58 1. 2013 Male U cala z cal −1.616 3.141 3.125 0.29 178.

83) more compared with men (3.97 1.000**   4.53 1.com by guest on August 13.71 1.85).36 1.197 4. communicating effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what one did not understand.81) more compared with men (3.739 3.82 1.362 p value . mannerisms.899 3.109 4.001**   .478   .614 3. Differences Across Age Groups and Their Perception Toward Strategy to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity The analysis of differences across age groups of perceptions toward strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity is shown in Tables 12 and 13.31) more compared with women (2.013 2.84 1. forming positive relationship with diverse others. seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is Downloaded from sgo. or eye contact.286 3.01 level.79 0.29 1. avoiding valuing one’s message based on dress.52 1.182 3. 2013 .147 0.14 .17 1. Indicating ANOVA for Strategies to Increase Inclusiveness Between Age Groups 21-25 years By accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity    M   SD By adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents.469 11.000**   .52). Women recognized that diversity exists and learned to value and respect fundamental differences (3.54 1. finally.73). Significant differences were found across age groups in the perception toward admitting to one’s own biases and prejudices and committing to reduce them. accent.953 2.21 1.032 F cala 14.03 1.210 7.506 .081 3. women avoided valuing one’s message based on dress.826 31-35 years 3.472 3.34 1.045*   .185 3. dismissing myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates.349 3. while on an overseas assignment   M   SD  By learning other languages  M  SD By learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is  M  SD  By offering language training to your employees   M  SD By encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments   M  SD By providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment  M  SD  By training employees to learn about and be sensitive to crosscultural difference  M  SD  By examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity  M  SD  a Fisher’s exact ratio. or eye contact (3.93).064 23.06) more compared with women (3.76 1.11 1. **Significant at the .468 2. 26-30 years 3.82 1.037 3.049 2. men dismissed myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates (3. mannerisms.131 7.24 0.154 3.044 3.236 19. accent.12 1.96 1.31 0.92 1.667 3.05 level.687 3.29) as compared with men (3.30 1.576 3.13). women were more willing to work with diverse others to achieve mutual goals (4. *Significant at the .007 3.795 7.001**  It was found that there were significant differences between men and women professionals toward strategies for increasing awareness about workplace diversity.000**   .251 3.15 0.232 4.Patrick and Kumar 9 Table 8.001**   . men communicated effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what they did not understand (4.sagepub.94 1. The Mann–Whitney U test corroborated these findings.000**   .03 0.648 4.

encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments.92 185.01 level.05 161. and educating employees about differences.63 137. Implications As it was found that majority of the respondents were diversity realists. The results of the most prevalent strategies adopted to enhance workplace diversity reinforce these processes in IT organizations.58 χ2 cal 34.82 108. religion.98 194.270 22.38 155. which can improve employees’ ability to work with diverse others with cultural differences and increase inclusiveness in an organization. training employees to learn about and be sensitive to cross-cultural differences. Downloaded from sgo. 2013 .000** . specific departments.827 1. while on an overseas assignment By learning other languages By learning about cultural difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is By offering language training to the employees By encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments By providing transition counseling to employees and their families both before and after an overseas assignment By training employees to learn about and be sensitive to cross-cultural difference By examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity *Significant at the . and offering language training.783 2.000** . This will increase inclusiveness in an organization.26 137.06 163.000** .34 115.410 .693 35.001** . this would also strengthen employees’ behaviors toward accepting diversity. business start-up teams.40 154.32 31-35 years 169.000** .05 196.10 Table 9.43 123.81 126.sagepub.82 142. and top management. feelings. Indicating Kruskal–Wallis Test for Strategies to Increase Inclusiveness Between Age Groups 21-25 years By accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity By adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents.205 25. national origin.05 level. working with diverse others. Some of the strategies that lead to inclusiveness that can be practiced in organizations are systematic learning about cultural differences and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is.03 160.71 152.40 166. and use that culture to manage various groups of organizational members.000** Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank 196. SAGE Open 26-30 years 131.255 15. that is. employees and applicants for employment should be treated fairly in their employment and advancement.286 . or the organization as a whole. This would eliminate this barrier to a very great extent. organizations can improve employees ability to work with diverse others with cultural differences from their own. project teams. by communicating effectively. The Kruskal– Wallis test corroborated these findings. It would be worthwhile if these strategies were implemented more often in IT organizations to increase workplace diversity. The result would be a more relevant and effective approach to managing workplace diversity. customer service response teams.27 201.55 116.000** . and encouraging one’s peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions.53 146.55 160.79 120. organizations should design and implement customized diversity programs that more precisely target the needs of individual employees. As it was found that discrimination was the most frequently encountered barrier for accepting workplace diversity.73 151. and reaction.760 p value . gender. age. These strategies will increase awareness about workplace diversity. Organizations should design and support organizational culture that maximizes the benefits of diversity. sexual orientation. **Significant at the .655 15. Organizations can minimize miscommunication with diverse others and build relationships with diverse others by implementing the following strategies.502 13.20 153. encouraging peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions. and not based on arbitrary characteristics of color.48 communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity.com by guest on August 13. or physical handicap. By implementing the following strategies. based on their abilities.

**Significant at the .610 0.824 3.70 0.13 1.84 0.134 3.73 0.182 3.01 level. mannerisms.428   .092   .299 2.035 3. and broadening the experience base about diverse people   M   SD  Communicate effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what one did not understand   M   SD  Avoid terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception    M   SD Avoid valuing one’s message based on dress.83 1.100 As significant differences were found among gender for strategies to increase inclusiveness.045*   .73 0.165 4.44 1.704 2.505 3. Women were keen on adapting to customs of the new country and getting to know the local residents.025*   1.05 level.844 3.18 1.006 4. 2013 .73 0.06 1.054 3.098 3.818 3. learning about cultural Downloaded from sgo.04 1. 11 Male t cal Significance 3.69 0.065 3. listening.46 1.631 3.56 1. organizations should implement different strategies for male and female according to their preferences.73 1.905 4.31 1.29 0.21 1.142 3.915 3. learning other languages.115 3.010*   .906 .992 4.233 3.045*   .864 0. Men preferred accepting overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity. and reactions    M   SD Work with diverse others to achieve mutual goals   M   SD  *Significant at the .041*   .035*   .52 0.325 3. accent. Indicating ANOVA for Strategies to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity Between Gender Female Recognize that diversity exists and learn to value and respect fundamental differences    M   SD Admit to one’s own biases and prejudices and committing to reduce them   M   SD Dismiss myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates   M   SD  Educate oneself about differences by reading. or eye contact    M   SD Forming positive relationship with diverse others    M   SD Seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity   M   SD  Treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers    M   SD Encourage one’s peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions.310 5. feelings.85 1.77 1.com by guest on August 13.823 2.sagepub.941   .271 3.000 2.122 3.449 3.93 1.202 0.000**   .468 3.52 1.001 3.516 3.Patrick and Kumar Table 10.029*   .996   .81 1. while on an overseas assignment.

and broadening one’s experience base about diverse people Communicate effectively by listening attentively and ask questions about what one did not understand Avoid terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception Avoid valuing one’s message based on dress. offering language training to your employees.00 4947.28 110.85 173.669 −1.07 153.50 4843.00 5120.019* .671 −3.to 35-year age group preferred dismissing myths about diverse Downloaded from sgo.12 SAGE Open Table 11.76 151. and reactions Work with diverse others to achieve mutual goals a Mann–Whitney test statistic denoted by U. organizations ought to implement different strategies for male and female employees to increase awareness about workplace diversity.52 146.48 146.50 5358.075 . mannerisms.00 4721. providing transition counseling to employees and their families before and after an overseas assignment.82 155.00 5299. mannerisms. As significant differences were found among different age groups for strategies to increase inclusiveness.679 −2.179 −1. accent.744 −2. listening. whereas the age group of 31 to 35 preferred to adapt customs of the new country and got to know the local residents while on an overseas assignment.108 Significance .80 175. *Significant at the .50 z cal −3.094 . Employees of the age group between 26 and 30 years preferred admitting to their own biases and prejudices and committing to reduce them.com by guest on August 13.43 difference and the way business is conducted in the country where the overseas assignment is.88 158. communicating effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what they did not understand.317 −1.59 174. As significant differences were found among different age groups for strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity.50 4890.073 . examining employee practices to ensure that the company is not intentionally or unintentionally discriminating against anyone to his or her religion or ethnicity. Indicating Mann–Whitney U Test for Strategies to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity Between Gender Female Recognize that diversity exists and learn to value and respect fundamental differences Admit to one’s own biases and prejudices and commit to reduce them Dismiss myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates Educate oneself about differences by reading. 2013 .011* . As significant differences were found among gender for strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity.09 157.50 5701.06 145.13 166. organizations ought to implement different strategies according to age groups and preferences to increase awareness about workplace diversity. and were willing to work with diverse others to achieve mutual goals to increase awareness about workplace diversity.72 145. Women preferred to recognize that diversity exists and learn to value and respect fundamental differences.05 level. they preferred to avoid valuing one’s message based on dress.771 −1.50 5688.13 U cala 4037.40 169.99 134.24 147.006** . The age group of 21 to 25 years preferred to accept overseas assignment whenever given an opportunity.50 4142.000** . organizations must implement different strategies according to the preferences of different age groups toward strategies to increase inclusiveness.018* Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank 192.50 5297. and finally implementing different strategies according to gender organization to increase inclusiveness.410 −0.458 −2.000** . Employees of 31.83 122.251 .53 149.041* .514 −0.61 136.01 level. or eye contact Forming positive relationship with diverse others Seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity Treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers Encourage one’s peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions. Men felt that dismissing myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates. **Significant at the .sagepub. feeling. and communicating effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what they did not understand were preferred strategies to increase awareness about workplace diversity.299 −2.91 153.86 143. training employees to learn about and be sensitive to cross-cultural differences. and forming positive relationship with diverse others to increase awareness about workplace diversity.252 . Male 142. accent or eye contact.

694   0.989 .321 4.149   .88 1.268 4.04 1.069 3.sagepub.33 1.00 0.48 1.41 1.84 0.67 0.431 3.000**   .66 1.983 3.76 1.275 19.163 3.27 1.032 2.728 3. accent.728 3. listening.936 3.916 26.680 3.05 0.30 0.163 Downloaded from sgo.com by guest on August 13. 2013 .048*   .377 3.018*   1.18 0.496 10.807 4.307 3.365 4. and broadening one’s experience base about diverse people   M   SD Communicate effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what one did not understand   M   SD Avoid terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception   M   SD Avoid valuing one’s message based on dress.000**   . 13 26-30 years 31–35 years F cala 2.238 3.01 level.107 p value 3. **Significant at the .000 3.38 0.00 0.97 0.906 3.09 0.431 3.049 3.86 1. and reactions   M   SD Work with diverse others to achieve mutual goals   M   SD a Fisher’s exact ratio.82 0.749 3.00 1.33 0.718 .074 . mannerisms.000**   .202 3.960 3.314   1.861 1.613 3.911 3.58 1.506 3.84 1.000**   .31 0.05 level. or eye contact   M   SD Forming positive relationship with diverse others   M   SD Seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity   M   SD Treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers   M   SD Encourage one’s peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions.61 0.658 3.55 1.Patrick and Kumar Table 12.199 3.12 1. feelings.04 1.000**   .251 3.58 1.91 1.54 1. Indicating ANOVA for Strategies to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity Between Age Groups 21-25 years Recognize that diversity exists and learn to value and respect fundamental differences   M   SD Admit to one’s own biases and prejudices and commit to reduce them   M   SD Dismiss myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates   M   SD Educate oneself about differences by reading.087 3.978 2.345   13.292 3.799 3.712 3.83 0.123   .59 1.909 .017 4.182 20.468 3. *Significant at the .737 3.19 0.88 1.

the sample may not be a truly representative sample.523 2.279 7.23 102.862 0.70 132. and reactions Work with diverse others to achieve mutual goals *Significant at the .37 153.48 122.49 196.14 SAGE Open Table 13.000** . Most of the employees are positive that they can cope with diversity (diversity realists). accent. diversity management practices can be compared between industries.425 27.48 117. economic.601 20.48 χ2 cal 4.277 0.07 169.398 0. 2013 . listening.27 173.790 .45 163.64 169.71 157.026* .058 35.86 147.000** . feelings.000** .001** . Indicates Kruskal–Wallis Test for Strategies to Increase Awareness About Workplace Diversity Between Age Groups 21-25 years Recognize that diversity exists and learn to value and respect fundamental differences Admit to one’s own biases and prejudices and committing to reduce them Dismiss myths about diverse others when in a group of friends or associates Educate oneself about differences by reading. The results of the study provide considerable insight on present diversity management practices in the IT industry.sagepub. and broadening one’s experience base about diverse people Communicate effectively by listening attentively and asking questions about what one did not understand Avoid terms that spotlight certain groups and imply the individual is an exception Avoid valuing one’s message based on dress. Downloaded from sgo. mannerisms.42 147.30 132. Although a moderately large sample size was used for the study. or eye contact and encouraging peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions. and cultural environments.472 35. religion-based groups.05 level.47 163.000** .05 112.79 134. the sample was a convenient sample among the top 15 IT organizations in India.54 145.48 151.740 . and their impact on employee productivity and job satisfaction can be studied. There is vast scope for further study of the factors affecting workplace diversity in IT organizations. feelings. **Significant at the . Such organizations have a better understanding of the requirements of the legal.47 170.24 127. and marginalized groups.14 149.96 131.60 148. There is also a vast scope for studies of perceptions of workplace diversity in different ethnic groups.53 others when in a group of friends or associates and seeking feedback from diverse others about how well they are communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity to increase awareness about workplace diversity.25 170. 26-30 years 157. and reactions with them to increase awareness about workplace diversity.131 . and the results of the study cannot be generalized across the entire IT industry. Furthermore. Thus. accent.08 149.124 p value .76 156. adjusted. mannerisms.73 104.89 148. social. and are enthusiastic to work and leverage positive workplace diversity (diversity optimists).940 Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank Mean rank 134.000** .239 49. The major strategies adopted by organizations to increase inclusiveness is Limitations of the Study There are some limitations inherent in the study. such as manufacturing and service industries. or eye contact Forming positive relationship with diverse others Seeking feedback from diverse others about how well one is communicating respect for them and valuing their diversity Treating diverse others as invited guests by showing interest in them rather than treating them as strangers Encourage one’s peers to be open in discussing their personal opinions. Employees between 21 and 25 years of age preferred avoiding valuing one’s message based on dress.24 179.59 31-35 years 144. as well as other industries. while a few of the employees have understood.326 .71 160.01 level. The limitations of the study suggest several prospects for further research. political. Conclusion Organizations with diverse employees are better suited to serve diverse external customers in an increasingly global market.14 148.com by guest on August 13.89 211.305 14.

D.sagepub. 45-56. (2010). London. M.Patrick and Kumar by training employees to be sensitive to cross-cultural differences. Cultures and organisation: Intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival: software of the mind. M.. 51.. Simlin. England: HarperCollins. Discrimination was the most frequently encountered barrier for accepting workplace diversity. Global diversity management: An evidence-based approach. Managing cultural diversity: Implications for organizational competitiveness. (2006). H.org/ stable/25074155 Hofstede. Journal of Business Ethics. He is a research scholar pursuing his Ph. Ozbilgin. Vincent Raj Kumar lecturer in commerce and management. & Zuckerman. (2006). Diversity finds its place.D from the Christ University in the area of diversity management in the workplace. A. Christ College Institute of Management. S. Funding The author(s) received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article. 2013 . Boston. (1991). 5. Harold Andrew Patrick an Industrial Psychologist. C. England: Palgrave. Rodriguez. Dimensions. H. & Ivancevich. Organization Science. Reagans. Networks. (2001). & Tatli.. G. 56-61. 360). (1994). (2008). 12. 1008-1022.. 61-76. Organization culture and its impact on diversity openness in the information technology organizational context. Work group diversity and group performance: An integrative model and research agenda.com by guest on August 13. Associate Professor & Head Organizational Behaviour and Human resources Management. J. S. Academy of Management Journal. W. His research interests lie in understanding human behaviour and its applications at the work place. V. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article. 89. S. R. Knippenberg. & Bunderson. Journal of Applied Psychology. (2005). followed by prejudice and ethnocentrism. and productivity: The social capital of corporate R&D teams. International Journal of Management. A. A.. The study also focuses on barriers encountered by employees for accepting workplace diversity in IT sectors in India. Organization culture and impact of diversity openness in the IT-ITES sector (Unpublished MBA dissertation thesis). Bios Dr. Karnataka. Patrick. S. (2002).. (2004). G. C. B. & Homan. W. J. de Dreu. 502-517. and Coordinator MPhil (Management) program. 532-547. R. & Blake.jstor. Diversity management: A new organizational paradigm. Cox. 67-72. A. D. 1(1). Reaching out: Interpersonal effectiveness and self-actualization (pp. Gilbert. (2003). The study clearly emphasizes that organizations should take measures to manage diversity to harness and leverage the potential of employees for competitive advantage. diversity. 21(1). Downloaded from sgo.. (1999). Retrieved from http://www.. W. K. MA: Allyn & Bacon. A. 15 Johnson. J. Orientation: The essential ingredient in cross-cultural management. 568. T. 19. encouraging employees to accept overseas assignments. London. HR Magazine. 48. J. Learning and performance in multidisciplinary teams: The importance of collective team identification source.. and offering foreign language training. Van Der Vegt. References Al-Lamki. Stead. Academy of Management Executive. M.

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