Challenges in managing diverse teams

Blog 2: The Challenge of Managing Diverse Team

 

Statement

The management of diversified teams can be challenging as the level of cultural sensitivity and communication plays a significant role for the group to succeed. Thus, it is important for the leader to communicate the purpose very clearly to the team. It is also a challenge to the leader’s competence to solve the conflicts in the group (Kreitz, 2007).

Elements of Diversity

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The Three primary parts of diversity are; Internal aspects, External aspects and lastly Organizational aspects.  The internal aspect of diversity consists of elements such asexual orientation, age, ethnicity and race. The external aspect of diversity consists of elements such as social norms, values, religion, skin color and geographic location. The organizational aspect of diversity includes elements such as work content, work location and union affiliation (Rice, 2010).

Encouraging Diversity in Organization

Developing diversity in an organization, in the current era, plays a vital role in a company’s success because a diverse workforce brings a combination of different learnt skills and values that are beneficial for the organization (Porter, 2008). Porter mentioned following programs that can be conducted by the companies to foster and ensure diversity in an organization:

  • Diversity audit should be conducted and employees should be asked questions about how they feel about working with individuals belonging to diverse groups.
  • Social programs should be created for employees. These programs can include taking employees out for movie and dinners together so that better relationships and strong bonds can be created
  • Diversity training programs should be conducted that create value for employees. These training programs may backfire if not implemented accurately.

Challenges in Managing a Diverse Workforce

 

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As a famous quote from (Spiderman) states, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Likewise, with advantages of being a leader to diver team, comes great challenges too. As per Joan (2001), there are three main challenges that a leader faces when managing a diverse team in an organization.

  • Change in Power Dynamics: The first challenge faced by the leader is power change that an employee experiences after joining a new organization as now the power is not with the same person than before. The employee may feel uncomfortable and uneasy in the new place that will also affect employee’s performance.
  • Diversity in Opinions: Diverse groups include people with different values and mind sets and thus misconceptions and misunderstandings are almost inescapable that lead to conflicts between the team members. Sometimes, both team members can have the same idea but still conflict may arise due to language barriers. The ability of the managers to deal with such conflicts help in resolving such issues.
  • Inertia: The employee’s may get in the state of inertia when they communicate ineffectively with one another. It is manager’s job to position mission and vision of the company clearly too all the employees. Leaders, in this case, will have dedicate themselves passionately to the vision and commit fanatically to full fill them.

Tuckman and Jensen(1977)

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Bruce Tuckman introduced this model first in year 1965. It is referred to as one of the top theories used to manage and develop diverse teams. Applying this model help the managers see how team building is relevant and learn about associated challenges with team building in their organization. Implementation of this model on real life team building is the most useful aspect for the manager as it clearly describes the phases of the model and highlights feelings, behaviors, and the challenges that are associated with each phase (Mendenhall, 1996).

Example: Diversity at FedEx

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Black Enterprise, once again, included FedEx in the list of “Forty Most Diverse Companies of the Word”. The company considers diversity, extremely important and Frederick explains that, diversity, is the most essential part of the company’s DNA and that the company takes ensures diversity taking every possible measure (Taylor Cox, 2011). Employees belonging to different countries and cultures not only bring variety Ideas and mind sets, but also help each other in learning different cultures and values. This helps the company in understanding its customer better. Considering, that FedEx is spread all over the world, the company intentionally forms teams that include people with diverse backgrounds and thus bringing diversity in talent (Tribune, 2012).

 Diverse Workforce Advantages

The benefits of a diversified workforce are mentioned below

  • Diversified Experience

Employees coming from different cultures bring unique ideas, perceptions, judgments and thoughts to the table and this will improve company’s efficiency and effectiveness (Turban, 2000).

 

  • Learning and Growth

Diverse workforce plays a vital role in personal growth of an employee, as exposing people to new cultures help them in learning new faces of life looking at them from a different viewpoint (Turban, 2000).

 

  • Increase in Productivity

Adding an entirely new dimension to the organization, a culturally diverse workforce increases productivity introducing different analytical skills and bring new ideas (Turban, 2000).

 

  • Effective Communication

Diversity in workforce strengthens the bond between the customer and the company creating a strong relationship. Employees with shared culture and common belief with the customers can deal with them more effectively (Turban, 2000).

 

Word Count: 850

 

References

Joan, H., 2001. Challenges of working in a multicultural environment. Journal of Library Administration, Volume 33, pp. 105-123.

Kreitz, P. A., 2007. Best Practices for Managing Organizational Diversity. Information Sciences.

Mendenhall, S. B. a. M., 1996. Cross-Cultural Training Effectiveness: A Review and a Theoretical Framework for Future Research. The Academy of Management Review, 15(1), pp. 113-136.

Porter, J. C., 2008. Facilitating Cultural Diversity. Journal of Management in Engineering, 11(6), pp. 39-43.

Rice, M. F., 2010. Review of Diversity and Public Administration: Theory, Issues, and Perspectives. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 16(4), pp. 659-664.

Taylor Cox, S. B., 2011. Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness. The Executive, 5(3), pp. 45-56.

Tribune, B., 2012. The Business Tribune. [Online].

Turban, D. G. a. D., 2000. Corporate Social Performance as a Competitive Advantage in Attracting a Quality Workforce. Business Society, 39(3), pp. 254-280.

10 thoughts on “Challenges in managing diverse teams

  1. culcivanhkc says:

    Great explanations on the definition of diversity and also on the three main challenges faced by leaders when managing a diversified team. Well written with clear examples such as diversification at FedEx with added advantages for my understanding. Thank you.

    Like

    1. culcadiljavaid says:

      There is no such thing as best approach i believe, because every organisation is has different organisational culture and approach to deal with their employees. However, identifying the root cause of the resistance and then dealing with it can help the organisations in this case.

      Like

  2. cuintinick says:

    You have touch on the elements contributing to diversity. I have read blogs from other classmates and some of the models they have incorporated into their blog maybe helpful to gain greater depths in understanding diversity. Nonetheless, good discussion especially on the advantages of a diverse team.

    Like

  3. Farhan Tariq says:

    An outstanding work done especially the improvisation to make-things more interesting, “with great power comes great responsibility”.
    .
    A fabulous job and keep it up!

    Like

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