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EPGP-04 (2016-2018) Batch Kochi Campus


















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Executive Summary
Purpose and Scope
Literature review


Data Analysis and Findings

Appendix I
Appendix II


We would like to express our sincere thanks to professor Dr. Deepa Sethi for helping us in
selecting the topic and guiding us towards completion of the project. We express our gratitude to
all staff and management of IIMK Kochi Campus for giving us valuable updates and support,
regarding the project. We would also like to express our gratitude to our friends, family and wellwishers who spend their valuable time, resources for us and stood by our side for successful
completion of the project. We thank god almighty for his grace up on us, without which we
couldnt have done anything at all.

Expanding global economy and increased sourcing of global job candidates by the corporates,
have created diversity in terms of culture, race, religion and gender in the workplace. While
transparent decisions at all functional levels not only reflects corporates mindset in adapting to
these diversities, but also a chance of course correction wherever possible. This survey aims at
reflecting such mindset among the managers and reflects the fact that ideally everyone wants a
fair play and equal opportunity environment for efficient, better, progressive work environment.


To study the dynamics of communication between minority and majority group within an
organization and analyzing the effectiveness of certain communication strategies for maximizing
the productivity and satisfaction of the team. The study also targets the conscious and
unconscious behavior of the majority group that might harm the team and the relationships.
Our means of information was a survey which was circulated among our colleagues who are
entrepreneurs and working in corporates.
The scope of the analysis is restricted to communication barriers between people working in an
organization due to the effect of race/religion/sex.

Human brain has evolved to mentally group things together to help make sense of the world. The
brain categorizes all the information it is bombarded with and tags that information with general
descriptions it can quickly sort information into. Bias occurs when those categories are tagged
with labels like good or bad and are then applied to entire groups. Unconscious bias can also
be caused by conditional learning. While this bias impacts to a greater extent in workplace today,
this needs to addressed for our understanding and course correction. This bias accepts some
people as friends and foes, this would not hold good in a progressive work place.
Communication is a tool to express our thoughts to get the work done. Also it reflects our state
of mind which shows our biasness towards people. This survey deals with the biased
communication and its negative effects on team productivity. This survey also reflects biased
mindset among the managers and reflects the fact that ideally everyone wants a fair play and
equal opportunity environment for an efficient progressive work environment.

Every one of us have bias towards some things. People don't like to talk about their biases. In
fact, the very suggestion that a person has a bias can prompt considerable harrumphing and
assertions of pure impartiality.
We carry biases with us every day, and those can easily manifest themselves in decisions made
at work, decisions that help some and hurt others.
The longtime response to any form of bias gender, racial, sexual orientation has been
diversity training. That training helps, certainly, but it doesn't do much to address what
researchers call the "unconscious biases" that linger in our heads.

As part of our study, our strategy was to collect the information from people working in a
corporate environment on experiences and views of communication bias affecting team
productivity. A set of 12 questions were prepared and circulated among our colleagues and the
data was analyzed.
The methodology of survey questionnaire could be classified into 3 broad categories.
1. Identifying the extent of discrimination existing in workplace environment.
2. The way people respond to a situation when there is a bias against them & analyzing
the reason why people have bias towards people of other race/religion/sex, etc.
3. Finding out techniques that would trigger employee productivity, whether it be
minority/majority group.


A total of 116 people responded to our survey.

77.5% of the respondents were in the age group 20-35, 20% were in the age group 35-50 and
2.5% were in the age group 60 and above. 83% of the respondents were males and rest 17%
females. 95.5% of the respondents were Indians, 4.5% were of foreign origin. The diverse nature
of the respondents helped in identifying the responses to bias with variation in cultures.
67.8% of the respondents were in a manager role with people directly reporting to them. This
helped in identifying the communication strategies deployed by them to their reporting
Based on the data generated from respondents of the survey 26.4% consider themselves to be
minority in the organization they are working (based on race/religion/sex). And among these
minority group 50% of them feel biased from the peers. 50% feel biased in communication with
their bosses.
Based on the above survey results, analysis was done on the extend of discrimination existing in
our work environment based on race/religion/sex. We have come up with the below interesting
Below is a pie chart representation of how a person reacts to a bias in his organization when he is
part of a minority group.

We have observed that the minority 59% will try to behave well and prove those biased wrong
and then the next largest 14% of people prefers to leave the organization if subjected to bias.
This could prove costly to any organization in terms of employee retention. Another 27% try to
confront, ignore or complaint the situation which if not solved might lead to the initial result.
Those who thought they are majority consider first to prove the biased wrong and second to
ignore the person and carry on in the job. This means that those who consider as majority wanted
to stay within the organization despite bias as it felt comfortable for them to ignore. While the
minority secondly opted for leaving the organization before any other option, they considered to
leave than report.
Of the people who are minorities and has experienced work place bias, 67% has felt that the bias
has negatively affected their productivity at workplace. This will in turn reflect on the overall
output of the team.
The negative bias has no effect on the performance at work of 30.4% of the people. This is what
should be the ideal situation. The way productivity react to the bias shows that 66% feels its
reduced. Thus biased behavior can adversely affect the performance of a company.

95% of the respondents feel that to get the maximum productivity from your team and not
necessary to group them by race/religion/sex etc. It can be concluded that a heterogeneous team
would foster more productivity and innovation.
30% of the respondents follow a different communication strategy or are more sensitive with
people of different race/religion/sex etc. even though 95% of the respondents feel it is not
necessary to group people based on their background. This extra care that people take may
sometimes be the reason that minorities feel the communication towards them is biased.
85% respondents feel that they do not want to be part of an organization that has bias towards
minority groups even though the organization is favorable towards them

The organization that would be a better performing would be the one that provides equal
opportunities to all irrespective of race/religion/sex as per 95.5% of the respondents.

For the question asked why do you think people have a bias, those who were majority thought it
was ignorance. But the minority thinks it to impose superiority over them. This kind of
impression difference is present among the employees and the management should take extra
care to identify and clear out the issues for better team productivity.

If certain group stayed in their place, we would have fever problems. Most of the majority
disagreed to this idea, but most of the minority agrees. That's a complete opposite mind set
present with the once working together. This may misinterpret any action happening around the
minority to be something against them and can cause a negative wave within the organization.

The survey on discrimination in workspaces based on race/religion/sex provides consistent and
compelling evidence that the bias to the minority exists in corporate environments.
While 95% of the population wants to work in a company with no discrimination even if that is
in their favor, 55% of the minority group who attended the survey were victims of this bias. This
data forces us to believe that the majority group in an organization never does any conscious
effort to practice any form of cultural discrimination in the workspace. Rather the bias that the
minority groups have experienced could be because of the unconscious behavior of the majority
group due to the difference in their cultural backgrounds.
Hence we conclude that the employees are open for any steps to free their organization from
biases based on race/religion/sex culture. The effort should be there from the management to
identify and help their employees aware of such activities that can contribute towards work place
discrimination. They can also conduct team building activities and an open approach for people
from all community.

Although these studies provide a useful snapshot of the discrimination faced by minorities in
workspace, they have certain limitations. The sample used for the studies were not representative
of a large population. The survey was confined to some particular geographic region, occupation
or population. The survey method chosen may have been more likely to be convenience
sampling rather than random sampling.

Section 1:
1. Age group:
a. 25-30

b. 35-50

c. 50-60

2. Gender:
a. Male

d. 60 above

b. Female

3. Nationality
4. Are there people reporting to you? Yes/No
5. What do you consider yourself to be, within your organization in terms of race/religion/sex?
a. Minority
b. Majority
6. Do you have previous experience working in an organization where you consider yourself to
be a minority? Yes/No

Section 2:
1. Have you felt your peers typecasting you? Yes/No
2. Have you felt your boss/customer taking decisions based on race/religion/sex? Yes/No
3. How do you think you should react to this bias?
a. Behave well with the person and prove him/her wrong
b. Confront the person
c. Ignore the person
d. Complaint to the authorities
e. Leave the organization
4. How will the negative bias affect your performance at work?
a. Reduces productivity
b. No effect
c. Increases productivity
5. Would you be part of an organization that has bias towards others, even though it is favorable
to you? Yes/No


6. Which organization do you think would be a better performing?

a. Providing equal opportunities to all irrespective of religion/caste/sex
b. Provides better opportunities to the majority group
7. Why do you think people have a bias?
a. Past experiences of the person
b. Past experiences in the society

c. To impose his/her superiority

d. Ignorance

8. Have your decisions been influenced by race/religion/sex, rather than knowing the situation
and finding the right choice? Yes/No
9. If certain groups stayed in their place, we would have fewer problems
a. Strongly agree
c. Disagree
b. Agree
d. Strongly disagree
10. Do you follow different communication strategies with different race/religion/sex? Yes/No
11. To get maximum productivity from your team, it is sometimes necessary to group them by
race/religion/sex? Yes/No
12. We would have fewer problems, if we treated people more equally
a. Strongly agree
d. Disagree
b. Agree
e. Strongly disagree
c. Neutral


Section 1

Section 2:



Gender and Racial Bias in Hiring by Shelley J. Correll and Stephen Benard. March 21,
Religion and corporate culture, by Society for human resource management