Paper on the Impact of Workplace Diversity in Team Dynamics Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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Category: Diversity

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Every individual who is in the job force or in a school environment faces the inevitable fact that at some point they may have to work in a group or team composed of individuals that they may not like. This paper will try to shed some light on the subtle differences between a workgroup and a team and how it relates the team dynamics in the workplace.

According to The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology (2000), A group is a social system involving regular interaction among members and a common group identity (para. , this means that a group is composed of individuals who would maintain a constant communication with each other to create and share a common identity. The existence of the group identity is mostly only recognized by the group members of the particular group and not by the outsiders. The togetherness or the cohesion of the group tends to vary from one group to the next because it is not always clear if a group has enough communication or interaction to qualify as a group.

To explain this further, The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology (2000) explains that groups should not be seen a one distinct category, but instead a group should be perceived as a social system that has varying interactions that could range form the intense involvement and intense identity mostly associated in social structures like families and close friends. On the other hand, people who ride and see each other on a daily while riding a bus could not be considered as a group because there is no sense of involvement among the individuals.

In addition, The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology (2000) also states the groups tends to vary on the amount of interactions that the individuals have among the group, the longevity or life span of the group, and the reasons of the individuals in joining or participating in the group. According to Bales (1950), a group is a very important sociological concept because it has a complex and very important part in the development of an individuals social life.

Bales (1950), mentions that a group is a key agent of social control over individuals, for it is the group that social pressures toward conformity can be most directly applies, especially when those who deviate risk their membership as a result. A group can be perceived as a controlling agent in the way individual conform to society and how he or she reacts to certain stimuli because if he or she deviates form the groups norms, he of she risks losing their membership with that particular group. Furthermore, according to Bales (1950), groups are important because of the impact of the social consequences the individuals learn in a group.

Many individuals learn the benefits and consequences of their actions and decisions that they make in life in a group and that most of the social activities that an individual may take occurs within the membership in a group. Other the other hand, the definition of a team is somewhat different from the definitions given to a group. According the Weiss (1998), a team would consist of a few individuals who possess complimentary skills and are equally commits to a common goal, a purpose, and share a common working method in which they hold themselves mutually accountable for their actions.

Sears (1998), states that teams must have a set of necessary elements to be defined as such. The elements to be considered as a team includes: there should be no more that 20 individuals in a team; individuals must possess adequate levels of complementary skills; individuals must possess a common team purpose; possess specific goal or goals; and possess a clear approach in the team working progress. Sears (1998) goes on to mention that teams tend to be risky, disruptive, and elusive.

Sears (1998) states that even though after the members are chosen and the schedules and duties are set, very little constructive work comes out of it and eventually nothing is accomplished and work progress fails to emerge. Sears (1998) mentions that teams are disruptive because most organizations prefer individual accountability over team accountability especially in regard to performance and the reward structures of the organization.

Sears (1998), states that most of the components needed to accomplish a task is mostly performed by an individual and that very little teamwork is needed to accomplish most of the work. Sears (1998) also identifies teams as elusive because teams are spontaneous. Sears (1998), states the teams do not just immediately become a team just because it is called a team, it needs so much work, nurturing, and team building exercises and sometimes that does not even work to make the members of the teamwork cohesively.

On the other hand, Weiss (1998) gives insight into why teams are relatively popular. First, projects that are assigned to teams are more likely to be accomplished than those assigned to a specific individual. Second, teams make practical and reasonable decisions as long as the team is given specific and measurable goals to measure the team performance, and the teams are given meaningful and timely feedback.

Third, the rewards and punishment are more effective in swaying ndividual performance when it is given by a workgroup rather by a single supervisor or manager. Fourth, working in a team is preferred by many individual employees, especially by those who hate being bossed around. Fifth, teams can effectively handle inventory, scheduling, quality assurance and other duties that are typically reserved for members of the upper management. Last, teams often lower the cost of management because of the lower ratio of supervisors to employees which is 1 to 50 employees.

According to Cornell University (2010), Workplace diversity is a people issue, focused on the differences and similarities that people bring to an organization. It is usually defined broadly to include dimensions beyond those specified legally in equal opportunity and affirmative action non-discrimination statutes. Diversity is often interpreted to include dimensions which influence the identities and perspectives that people bring, such as profession, education, parental status and geographic location (Workplace Diversity, para).

Workplace diversity could bring many benefits to an organization when it is nurtured and given the time to be understood. The organizations competitiveness and ultimate success relies on its ability to realize the multitude of benefits that workplace diversity brings. According to Greenberg (2005), when organization actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as increased adaptability (Diversity in the Workplace, para).

Greenberg (2005) continues to state that organizations that employ a very diverse workforce will be able to provide different solutions to problems that arise in service, in sourcing, and allocation of the resources faced by the company. This states that in employing individuals from different backgrounds, an organization could utilize the different talents, abilities, and experiences that these individuals may have to come up with a possible solution to a problem.

Furthermore, Greenberg (2005) also states that if an organization that acquires a workplace that has collection of a very diverse skills and experiences (such a different languages, national and cultural customs), an organization could potentially provide a better service to customers in a global scale. It could also provide better communication in relaying varying viewpoints and ideas to meet the organizations business strategy and more importantly, the needs of the customers. Workplace diversity also provides benefits to team dynamics.

The Ehow. om (1999-2010) websites states workplace diversity brings vibrancy to the workplace that increases the camaraderie and the humanitarian spirit in each employee. In addition, according to Ehow. com (1999-2010), teams working on complex and expansive projects can draw on the varied experiences of fellow workers from diverse backgrounds, learn new languages, understand new markets and execute tasks efficiently (para). Last, the Ehow. com (1999-2010) website also mentions that in achieving increased diversity comes an equal increase in perspective.

Many individuals in an organization comes from different cultural groups, practice different religions, have different racial and national backgrounds that may give an insight into how to solve a particular problem that could potentially attract potential customers with that same background. Many advantages, disadvantages, and differences between a group and a team exist. One might think that the words group and team could be used in exchange for the other, but they cannot because of the words ultimate definition.

The word group is defined by scholars as a social group that involves a regular interaction between its members who has a common group identity. On the other hand, the word team is defined as a group of people who possesses complimentary skills committed to a single purpose and a common goal. This paper also introduced the benefits that could be achieved by an organization that promotes workplace diversity. These benefits include the increases adaptability, wider range of service, and variety of viewpoints, better execution, higher production, and better return on investment.

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