You are on page 1of 7

What is Affective Events Theory (AET)

The connection between behaviors at work, emotions and attitudes are explained by the affective events theory (AET). Researchers had studied the effects of the major emotions within the workplace surprise, sadness, love, joy, fear, and anger. The theory states that there are specific events within the workplace that causes different types of people to feel a myriad of emotions. Such emotions then can inspire actions which can either benefit or hinder other people within the workplace. An example of the affective events theory (AET), would be if a colleague unexpectedly gives one a fresh bagel and coffee the moment one arrives at work. The result of such a pleasant experience will make the recipient feel surprised, as well as happy. When the giver is a superior a boss then there may also be feelings of pride. Research had found that such positive feelings that result from a work experience similar to the one described will may inspire the person to do something that has not been planned like volunteer to help the giver on some task or project which has not been planned beforehand. The actions are therefore affect-driven behavior.
The affective events theory (AET) reflects the fact that humans are, by nature, emotional. During the course of a workday, a person may experience a number of emotions. For most employees, especially those involved in dealing with customers face-to-face, they try to hide such emotions for as long as they are at work whether they may feel angry, sad, or are fearful, their job forces them to hide what they are really feeling. The result of this is that they act out a professional role which comprises of acting out feelings that they are not truly feeling like maintaining a smile and pleasant disposition as one deals with customers though the person has just been unfairly reprimanded by a boss.

Because of the challenges individuals sometimes have in incorporating diverse perspectives in group settings, managing diversity in the workplace is essential. A team or organizations diversity can include diversity across religion, sex, age, and race, but can also include diversity across work skills or personality types. All of these differences can affect team interactions and performance. Global businesses demand management that can work in a diverse environment. Figure 1 Diversity is beneficial to both the organization and the members of the company or organization. Diversity brings substantial potential benefits, such as better decision making and improved problem solving; greater creativity and innovation, which leads to enhanced product development; and more successful marketing to different types of customers. Diversity provides organizations with the ability to compete in global markets. A manager can help guide these differences to the benefit of innovation and inclusion in the organization. This includes not only hiring practices but also communication and career development practices over the course of an employees career with a firm. Human Resources (HR) is often tasked with managing many aspects of diversity in organizations, including the attraction, selection, training, assessment, and reward of employees, but project managers and other managers with whom employees directly work or to whom they directly report can also

guide inclusion practices. The process of inclusion engages each individual and makes people feeling important to the success of the organization. For example, stereotypes may affect the performance of a team. A person may be misunderstood early in an interaction. Contributions may be limited and specific strengths or talents may be overlooked because they do not seem prominent in the given stereotypical category. On the other hand, poor performance can be overlooked in an individual because they belong to a stereotypically desirable group. Managers can combat this by mixing teams, creating smaller mixed teams for subtasks, monitoring all team members progress, and allowing individuals to volunteer for roles rather than being cast into their default role, as defined by their stereotypical category. Diversity training is another way that managers and other employees can manage diversity in the workplace. Diversity training is training for the purpose of increasing participants' cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills, which is based on the assumption that the training will benefit an organization by protecting against civil rights violations, increasing the inclusion of different identity groups, and promoting better teamwork.

Different is good: how diversity can benefit your organization

Diverse teams bring a wide range of ideas to the table, helping to tackle problems creatively and drive innovation. How can your organization harness the power of diversity? What powers innovation? Many organizations would put it down to smart people or generous R&D budgets, but few consider diversity as having a key role in an organizations or a nations ability to innovate. Scott E. Page, Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science and Economics at the University of Michigan, believes that teams perform best when their members boast diverse identities, vocations and levels of experience. In his books, The difference: how the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies and Diversity and complexity, Page calls for a greater recognition of the role of diversity in problem-solving exercises. When you look at innovation and economic growth, you must focus on diversity as well as ability. Scott E. Page Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science and Economics at the University of Michigan Most people think innovation requires smarter people and better ideas, he says, but when you look at innovation and economic growth, you must focus on diversity as well as ability.

Take forecasting, for example. Having different models for the world is useful in making predictions. If your model is off by 6% and mine is off by 6%, then the average of the two will be more accurate. Teams characterized by diversity possess different ways of seeing problems and will use different routes to arrive at possible solutions. When tackling problems, statisticians will throw lots of heuristics at a problem, he says. Businesses should do that, too. The more complex the decision, the more worthwhile it is to tap into diversity. There are interesting interactions between idiosyncratic people and complex problems, explains Page. Similar people, on the other hand, are less likely to see things that others have not seen before. In practice, however, it can be challenging to harness the power of diversity in teams. According to research by Jeff Polzer, Harvard Business School Professor of Human Resource Management, diversity does not automatically generate positive results in teams. Diversity can be positive or can work against an organization, improving group performance in some cases, but hindering it in others, he says. Performance depends on a range of factors, the most significant being what Polzer calls interpersonal congruence, or the level of awareness that individual members of a group have of the differing approaches and outlooks of the other members. His studies have found that diversity improves creative task performance in groups with high interpersonal congruence, but undermines performance in instances of low interpersonal congruence. For diversity to pay off, it is therefore vital to validate, rather than suppress, the differences between groups or individuals. As Page explains: People need to go into meetings recognizing that there will be cultural differences but expecting to get better results. The lesson is that you cant just toss people together; thats not going to work.

Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions

by Josh Greenberg Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization. That sounds simple, but diversity encompasses race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more. Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others. Those perceptions affect their interactions. For a wide assortment of employees to function effectively as an organization, human resource professionals need to deal effectively with issues such as communication, adaptability and change. Diversity will increase significantly in the coming years. Successful organizations recognize the need for immediate action and are ready and willing to spend resources on managing diversity in the workplace now.

Benefits of Workplace Diversity

An organization's success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as:
Increased adaptability

Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.
Broader service range

A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis.
Variety of viewpoints

A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences. The organization can draw from that pool to meet business strategy needs and the needs of customers more effectively.
More effective execution

Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment.

Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace

Taking full advantage of the benefits of diversity in the workplace is not without its challenges. Some of those challenges are:

Perceptual, cultural and language barriers need to be overcome for diversity programs to succeed. Ineffective communication of key objectives results in confusion, lack of teamwork, and low morale.

Resistance to change

There are always employees who will refuse to accept the fact that the social and cultural makeup of their workplace is changing. The "we've always done it this way" mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress.
Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies

This can be the overriding challenge to all diversity advocates. Armed with the results of employee assessments and research data, they must build and implement a customized strategy to maximize the effects of diversity in the workplace for their particular organization.

Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity training alone is not sufficient for your organization's diversity management plan. A strategy must be created and implemented to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of the organization. Recommended steps that have been proven successful in world-class organizations are:
Assessment of diversity in the workplace

Top companies make assessing and evaluating their diversity process an integral part of their management system. A customizable employee satisfaction survey can accomplish this assessment for your company efficiently and conveniently. It can help your management team determine which challenges and obstacles to diversity are present in your workplace and which policies need to be added or eliminated. Reassessment can then determine the success of you diversity in the workplace plan implementation.
Development of diversity in the workplace plan

Choosing a survey provider that provides comprehensive reporting is a key decision. That report will be the beginning structure of your diversity in the workplace plan. The plan must be comprehensive, attainable and measurable. An organization must decide what changes need to be made and a timeline for that change to be attained.
Implementation of diversity in the workplace plan

The personal commitment of executive and managerial teams is a must. Leaders and managers within organizations must incorporate diversity policies into every aspect of the organization's function and purpose. Attitudes toward diversity originate at the top and filter downward. Management cooperation and participation is required to create a culture conducive to the success of your organization's plan. Recommended diversity in the workplace solutions include:

Ward off change resistance with inclusion

Involve every employee possible in formulating and executing diversity initiatives in your workplace.
Foster an attitude of openness in your organization.

Encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions and attribute a sense of equal value to all.
Promote diversity in leadership positions

This practice provides visibility and realizes the benefits of diversity in the workplace.
Utilize diversity training

Use it as a tool to shape your diversity policy.

Launch a customizable employee satisfaction survey that provides comprehensive reporting

Use the results to build and implement successful diversity in the workplace policies. As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse. Organizational success and competitiveness will depend on the ability to manage diversity in the workplace effectively. Evaluate your organization's diversity policies and plan for the future, starting today. Question: What would you say are the top five or six main issues with regard to diversity in organizations? Answer: 1. A lack of understanding by (usually majority) corporate leadership that perception is different by race, culture, gender, orientation, age, disability and other factors that make us human beings. Ability to manage these differences is the basis of diversity management. 2. Ignorance of The Business Case for Diversity. White people will be the minority in this country by 2050; 75 percent of the world isnt white. The growth market for almost all businesses depends on a company being able to forge relationships with all kinds of people (see point 1 above). 3. Lack of measurement. The work force is a companys best measurement of ability to build equal relationships. If there is bias in the results (less than statistically balanced representation at all levels), then there is bias. Managing bias out of an organization pays dividends in higher quality relationships with customers, investors and suppliers.

4. Lack of leadership commitment. An uninvolved CEO is not doing well by shareholders, employees or customers. Poor diversity management exposes a company to potential liabilities (lawsuits).

5. Lack of bidirectional communications. It is logical that top management is going to be more white than the rest of the organization (there are more white people proportionally than people of color the older a person is in America). Therefore, strong diversity management includes employee-resource groups, diversity councils, surveys, etc. 6. Lack of nurturing. Nurturing is not nannying. It is a process by which a company communicates by word and deed that they will care for their people without bias. This includes, but is not limited to, supplier diversity and work/life programs.