Workplace Diversity

When sociologists look at different aspects of our society they look at it from several different angles and several different perspectives. One such perspective might be the study of the social interactions of the workplace. As our borders continue to grow and business is conducted in a global manner, management practices are forced to change. Business and government agencies are looking at the needs of their employees and the new challenges a diversified staff brings. Ultimately, the agency needs to provide a healthy environment, which will increase profits, reduce turnover and allow the agency to draw the most talented people from the labor pool. But, how does sociology fit into this way of thinking? Three major sociological theories will be used here to examine workplace diversity and whether it is necessary to offer some sort of training. The goal of social interactionism is to communicate with others. According to Erving Goffman, there is an underlying importance in the control of interactionism. One must attempt to control the other’s behavior during the interaction in order to attain the information one is seeking and in order to control the perception of one’s own image. Interactionists want to understand each individual an how the act with in a society. They believe everyone has different values, attitudes, cultures and beliefs. ( textbook) Interactionsim deals with all language including body language and mannerism. When dealing with this in the business world, it becomes necessary to know your audience. For example, in certain parts of the world certain hand gestures and prolonged

While interactionists focus on maintaining the stability and peace in a group. It is this type of thinking that perhaps answers the question posed earlier. Conflict theorists are always challenging the norm.eye contact may be considered rude. On one such occasion in 2006.eruptingmind. Our third theory deals with functionalism. OR killed his supervisor. This training would clear up misconceptions that may be realized through our own ignorance. For example. Interactionists would strongly favor diversity training. The elements of functionalism say that all elements are functionally related and all parts form a whole. This is an example of conflict theory in the workplace. Grant Galleger a postal worker from Baker City. The term “Going Postal” is a slang term derived from several postal workers from 1993 to present who exhibited workplace rage. conflict theory says religion operates to preserve the wealthy and powerful in privileged Interactionsts are striving to maintain a harmonious workplace. calling for change and focusing on social upheaval. but it may have increased awareness for the agency and allowed it to recognize and anticipate possible issues. http://www. Diversity training may not have helped address the postal shootings. should we provide diversity training in . Conflict theory says different groups have differing amounts of material and nonmaterial resources and the more powerful groups use their power to exploit groups. His workplace rage was attributed to racial issues with his supervisor as well as the same supervisor giving him more work even though he had finished his daily duties and was ahead of schedule. conflict theory is just as it sounds.

Managing diversity is a matter of business necessity. The lack of some sort of diversity training can ultimately result in legal actions against the agency. It is not enough to say that a business participates in Affirmative Action. This is where diversity training comes into play. nuances and beliefs need to be examined. and The consequences of not addressing diversity can be seen on many different levels. http://www. they must all show tolerance for their coworkers and supervisors for the greater good. In summary. And finally. This in turn can cause a decrease in productivity and an organization’s inability to attract and retain talent. It focuses on legal necessity and social responsibility. including the costs of time. In fact. People want to live in a harmonious atmosphere free from conflict. (http://ucsfhr. . Ignoring diversity in a company can lead to tension among workers and management. the theory of Functionalism best addresses the question of diversity in the workplace. understood. Clear understanding of cultures. money and efficiency of an agency. Affirmative Action focuses on historical discrimination. They must consent to this type of arrangement. although each sociological theory has it’s own merit.the workplace? According to Functionalism insists that an organism must function in harmony and as one unit rather than separate individual units without conflict in order for the system to survive. every element has a function that contributes positively to the function of the system.ucsf. such as people of color or women.

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