1. Put yourself in Elsa’s shoes and explain how you would feel if this was happening to you.
I would feel like I made the worst career choice in my life being employed in that organization. Being of different sex or age shouldn’t be a limiting factor in getting a promotion. However, the organization might lack robust diversity management whereby the top corporate leaders are either men or people of young or old age. One cannot work in the corporate world for too long due to retirement limitations or other desires to pursue other things in their individual life. Hence, the delay in promotions leads to low motivation in the workplace, affecting the overall performance.
2. If you could talk to Elsa about this, what would you say?
A conversation with Elsa will be about her seeking clarification from the management about the promotion. This way, she can see if there is an opportunity to get a promotion, or the management will continue to delay her career advancement. I would advise Elsa to heed the management’s reason for the delay in the promotion. If the reason(s) are ambiguous, Elsa should seek employment in an organization that promotes a diversified workforce. If she has raised her concerns, and nothing has been done, it means the organization doesn’t value her enough to promote her to a well-deserved position. An individual should not compromise a career for an organization, and she should follow her dreams to a place of worth.
3. If you were Elsa’s direct manager, how would you react to her concerns?
As a direct manager, my mandate is to ensure all concerns raised by employees under my supervisory are taken as vital matters. Hence, I would engage my trusted peer on the subject and engage the organization’s top leadership to gain insight into what to do next to ensure that Elsa’s concerns are met. After being advised by the top management on the promotion concerns, I would call Elsa to a personal meeting to discuss the management’s decision.
4. If Elsa’s lack of career advancement is a result of systemic discrimination, what can the banking industry do to affect change?
In most sectors, change is initiated through policy. Organizations in the industry will have to adhere to discrimination policies to avoid any sanctions by regulatory authorities. The policy can give guidelines on the organization’s structuring in terms of personnel (Gilchrist, 2020). For example, the policy can instruct the organization to ensure at least 1/3 of the workforce is reserved for women. The other share of the workforce can be reserved for male corporate personnel and individuals with disabilities to promote optimal diversity. Suppose organizations within the sector find it hard to change the systematic discrimination. In that case, the banking sector’s regulatory authority can now sanction executives of the companies that have discarded the policy to explain. If the regulatory authority committee isn’t satisfied with the company executives’ case, it can impose penalties or fines on the company.
5. Are you interested in increasing your tolerance of diverse others? Why or why not?
Yes, I am interested in increasing my tolerance of diverse others. Diversity is key to every organization. In the light of increased protests to break down systematic racism, employees are demanding more from their corporate leadership for diversity. Big Tech companies in the U.S, such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, are under pressure due to their diversity problems, which they seem not to pay attention to. Apple was under criticism for its all-white top management and board of directors. The same has been observed in Google and Facebook, which has called for industry-wide concerns being raised (Evans, 2020). Most of the organizations in the U.S look at the big companies for inspiration, especially in leadership. If the big corporates initiate change, most companies in the sector will follow suit. In the banking sector, JP Morgan has pledged a $30 billion initiative to eradicate systematic racism in banking and homeownership in the next five years (Myers, 2020). The firm also said it has started pushing a diverse workforce to be aligned with this initiative. The firm has even begun diversity training for all its current and new employees.
6. What strategies could you implement to improve your own or others acceptance of diversity? In your answer, refer to concepts and theories covered in the Managing Diversity Week. (Please include at least 2 theories)
Diversity is readily embraced when employees are ready to initiate the change. However, workplaces have different responses to diversity initiatives. The management needs to take the reaction from its workforce to make decisions in the future concerning diversity. The are various theories that can improve the acceptance of diversity in the workplace. The cognitive diversity hypothesis refers to studying the differences between a team and its characteristics in terms of expertise, experiences, and perspectives (Plummer, 2018). Various research studies show that a diversified workforce is set to perform better than a non-diversified one. This conclusion’s logic is that each member of the diversified team contributes unique cognitive attributes based on past experiences derived from their demographic backgrounds. The bio-demographic characteristics such as sex, race, or age dictate a team’s cognitive influence in the workplace.
In most workplaces, homogenous groups are observed, and their performance is stated to be good. However, as time goes by, a more diversified group will have the advantage of more ideas for decision making. Cultural diversity provides various perspectives on how the workplace is shaped and how members of the organization interact. Homogenous organizations have high efficiency, while heterogeneous organizations have more effectiveness. However, the organization should strike a workplace balance to ensure efficiency and effectiveness are not sacrificed to accommodate the other. Hence, educating the workforce on the need for a diversified workforce by communicating a diversified workforce’s cognitive perspective could help the organization achieve its next milestone.
Acceptance of diversity can be improved through training for diversity. The schema theory suggests that individuals use demographic characteristics to encode information about others. The demographic characteristics include sex, race, and age. Individuals store past experiences and knowledge in the form of patterns and interconnections, which creates schemas. Hence, individuals will categorize other individuals, objects, or events based on past experiences and beliefs presented as schemas (Bauer et al., 2020). For example, if an employee was made to believe that a woman has no place in the workforce as a teenager or a kid, he might never accept a female colleague in his team. Hence, training for diversity helps eradicate the past belief stored in a schema in the brain. The training will show the importance of a woman in the workforce and their roles to help the organization.
Also, suppose an employee believes that a workspace is only retained for older people due to the logic of great expertise due to vast experience. In that case, diversity training can change that perspective. Workplaces are dynamic hence changing. Currently, the average age of an employee in America is 40 years. Therefore, the workplace can accommodate both young and older people within the workforce. Most big technology companies even hire teenagers as interns since they perform better in work activities and schedules. Some of the employees in various organizations believe they can perform effectively while working with colleagues from the same race, which clogs their perspective of a mixed-race workplace. Such employees can be trained to understand the advantage of having a mixed-race workplace to make better decision-making in the organization.
Other organizations are also advocating for cultural training. Cultural training is a program whereby employees are educated in various cultures. For example, if an organization has White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic employees, it can culturally train all these categories of employees on every category’s cultures. The cultural training will help improve cultural appreciation, which could change the perception of each category of race within the organization. The cultural training helps different races appreciate how different races communicate, how different races celebrate various cultural events, and how different cultures work in teams. The development of a better cultural foundation within the organization will eradicate cultural stereotypes, which are the primary basis of discrimination. Many organizations are practicing cultural training, and higher education institutions foster cultural appreciation with the current generations.
Bauer, T., Erdogan, B., & Short, J., 2020. Principles of Management Version 4.0. FlatWorld.
Evans, D., 2020, September 4. Tech companies have made big promises, and small gains, for diversity and inclusion. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/21/apple-google-and-others-are-struggling-with-diversity.html
Gilchrist, K., 2020, October 12. How employee ratings can push companies on diversity and inclusion. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/09/how-employee-ratings-can-push-companies-on-diversity-and-inclusion.html
Myers, K., 2020. JPMorgan pledges $30 billion to boost diversity, Black, Latino home ownership, banking. Yahoo Finance. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jp-morgan-chase-to-spend-30-b-to-address-racial-inequality-040722670.html
Plummer, D., 2018. Handbook of Diversity Management: Inclusive Strategies for Driving Organizational Excellence (2nd ed.). Half Dozen Publications.