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September 28, 2012

Race Gender and Ethnicity

The Workplace, where the different activities are done to achieve organizational goals and benefits, is the place where, there are the amalgam of different issues persists and keep arises that are the continuous challenge not only for the entrepreneur but  also for the whole organization.
Racial, ethnic and gender identity play a major role in the events of our times and around the world.  There are many concerns dealing with the impact of race, ethnicity and gender in the workplace.  The average workplaces have changed in many ways due to the policies that support the needs of employees. 
Race is a group of people who are distinguished from other groups by their origin in a particular part of the world (Grieco and Cassidy 2001).  In today’s society, there are different races coming together in workplaces.  An employee working in a multi-cultural organization can be affected not only by the color of their skin, but by how wages are controlled, occupational laws or policies or whether or not the policies intentionally make racial distinctions.  Another form of racism is employment discrimination among groups, such as skills, education and experience.  For example, among groups, the pay of an occupation may reflect the productivity differences among those performing similar tasks with similar efficiency.  Another example of this is that, I work at Stennis Space Center (NASA) for the department of procurement.  I have witnessed some type of discrimination that has gone on, not only in my department, but throughout the organization, which is called the NASA Shared Service Center (NSSC). 
Sometime last year, my department selected a few people to be promoted.  One of the employees was a black woman who had the title of a Procurement Assistant II and was promoted to a Procurement Assistant III.  However, she was advised, if she would have completed her bachelor degree, she would have had the advantage to move up to a Procurement Specialist I, instead of a Procurement III.   Well unfortunately that did not happen.  On the other hand, there was a white male who had the title of a Procurement Assistant III who did not earn his bachelor degree until the following year and he was promoted to a Procurement Specialist I.  My concept of discrimination against a group as a whole must be distinguished from discrimination against particular individuals within a group.  Also, Refusing to hire qualified applicants because they simply belong to the wrong racial or ethnic group is discrimination.
Gender inequality is equal values of men and women (Lauer & Lauer).  As I stated in the previous paragraph, in my department we have titles such as Procurement Assistants I, II, III and Specialist I, II, III.  Of course, assistants do different work for the specialist, but regardless of what position you hold, the males and females share equal amount of work and that doesn’t mean that one is always right or wrong. 
Thesis Statement
In this paper, it will be discussed that does Race, ethnicity, gender identity has influenced the workplace environment or not. If yes, what strategies should be adopt.
Basically, the organizational cultural itself has a multidimensional field that has no single definition because it covers the different areas of organizational behavior, organizational communication, management science  and sociology disciplines etc. However, according to some expert the definition is as follows:
“A set of understandings or meanings shared by a group of people that are largely tacit among members and are clearly relevant and distinctive to the particular group which are also passed on to new members.” (Louis 1980)
“A system of knowledge, of standards for perceiving, believing, evaluating and acting . . . that serve to relate human communities to their environmental settings.”(Allaire and Firsirotu, 1984)
There are lots of issues that are the part and parcel elements of any workplace but the Race, ethnicity, gender identity related issues are those, that are comparatively more sensitive than others because these issues are so sensitive that some time may cause to the severe clashes and casualties, therefore, strict vigilance on that type of critical issues are inevitable to maintain the quiet and calm environment at the work place.
Sometime these issues are state-backed that not only intense the Race, ethnicity, gender identity’s related issues but also may cause to the severe basic human-rights violations etc. such as in the South Africa where Prime Minister John Vorster stated in 1970, during the election campaign that "We are building a nation for whites only. Black people are entitled to political rights but only over their own people—not my people." Furthermore according to the Tim Smith statement “The white South African government was committed to denying blacks their basic rights and the continued presence of American companies supported this system of white rule. Nonwhites in South Africa are right-less persons in the land of their birth. . . . [The black African] has no rights in "white areas." He cannot vote, cannot own land, and may not have his family with him unless he has government permission. . . . The two major black political parties have been banned and hundreds of persons detained for political offenses . . . strikes by Africans are illegal, and meaningful collective bargaining is outlawed. . . . by investing in South Africa, American companies inevitably strengthen the status quo of [this] white supremacy. . . .The leasing of a computer, the establishments of a new plant, the selling of supplies to the military--all have political overtones. . . . And among the country's white community, the overriding goal of politics is maintenance of white control.” (Smith, 1971)
Racial, ethnic and gender identity issues at the work place are the key that set the working environment and define the workplace harmony among the employees. There are lots of issues that further intensify or calm down different types of problems that are pertained to growth opportunities, management policies, procedures, salary and other employees’ benefits etc. When people work together in a organization conflicts among them keep rising by time to time, especially where, the Race, ethnicity, gender diversities are present  because every person has his or her own ideas, thinking, way of perceptions to deal with the issue and to handle the situations. Although, there are lots of other critical issues but managing the human capital and to motivate them to work as a team to accomplish the same goal by doing their assigned responsibilities is not a simple task because managing different human psychologies simultaneously, is itself the science that always needs to modify on the basis of past experience, practices, theories and foremost on the basis of ground realities such as Race, ethnicity, gender identity etc.
The gender and its related issues are another key factor that directly or indirectly impacts the employees’ performance at work place. Some studies have described that, engaging in sex is the key factor of higher levels of stress and depression (Kaiser, 2006) and it is obvious that stress, depression and tension has inverse relationship with the performance and their attitudes. Furthermore, there are number of serious issues that are the outcome of those people who belong to the gay, lesbian, or bisexual (GLB) communities. (Rosario, Schrimshaw, & Hunter, 2004)
United States of America is the society of diverse people, diverse communities that belong to different races and have diversified ethnic backgrounds such as American Indians, Chinese, African Americans, Latinos, European Americans, etc. In that diversified circumstances, to motivate all of them to work as a team to achieve the predefined single goal become the more entangled task for managers to keep satisfying them and to achieve, maintain and promote the win-win situation, that diversity on the other hand is the catalyst of different types of conflicts among the employees. As mentioned above, when people work together in a organization or at same place, the conflicts among them keep rising by time to time, because every person has his or her own ideas, thinking, way of perceptions to deal with the issue and to handle the situations.
Therefore, the diversity in the perspective of Race, ethnicity, gender identity means difference or the verities of ideas, practices and perceptions. It should be kept in mind that diversity doesn’t means division and isolation of different element and entities. Diversification can be seen in any shape and from any angle such as in cultural, lifestyle, goals, values, etc. According to the definition “The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.” (Gladstone, 2010)
Therefore, this diversity is the main ingredient that enriches the society that has different colors and converted it as a unique identity. This diversity is like different colorful flowers and plants that cumulatively add the beauty to a garden. In that connection, if these differences/diversities considered as the opportunities of growth, it will bring the fruitful results. (Familyeducation, 2010)
Following are the pragmatic step by step guidelines to reduce the workplace conflicts among the employees:
            “* Identify the problem. Make sure everyone involved knows exactly what the issue is, and why they are arguing. Talk it out until everyone agrees that there is a problem, and understands what the key issues are.
* Allow every person involved to clarify his or her perspectives and opinions about the problem. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to express an opinion. If necessary, establish a time limit (say, five minutes per person), and make sure each person sticks to the limit while stating his or her case. It is your responsibility to make sure all participants feel safe and supported.
* Identify the ideal end result, from each party’s point of view. It might surprise everyone to discover that their visions are not so far apart after all.
             * Figure out what can realistically be done to achieve each individual’s goals. If action is taken, how will this affect other projects and objectives? Will the end result be worth the time and energy spent? If the attempt fails, what’s the worst that can happen?
 * Find an area of compromise. Is there some part of the issue on which everyone agrees? If not, try to identify long-term goals that mean something to everyone, and start from there.” (Allbusiness, 2010)
A manager should pay the proper attention on the issues that arises by the employees, this activity will act as a peace soother that at least their voice is being heard properly by the management. On the other hand, the management will also be able to do more pragmatic and result oriented decision that will not only reduce the rate of conflicts but also create and promote the win-win situation. It should be bear in mind that a good manager has a ability to listen properly and resolve the issue proactively.
Furthermore, to promote the corporate governance, it is the responsibility of the management to provide the comprehensive information about the codes of conduct, communication, controls, compensation and incentives, censure, culture, personal leadership conduct and convictions. (Urs Mueller, 2009-10)
In that connection, it should be noticed that sometime that diversity related issues may cause to create further ambiguities such as “Consider a paradigmatic case that demonstrates the analytical problems surfacing in the emerging interethnic discrimination cases. A self-identified Afro-Panamanian tutor of Spanish sued his university employer for failure to renew his appointment as an adjunct instructor, claiming a violation of Title VII's prohibition against race and national origin discrimination. The plaintiff alleged that the Latinos who directed the department where he worked discriminated against "Black Hispanics," and that there was a disturbing culture of favoritism in promoting white Cubans, Spaniards, and white Hispanics from South America. The court, not understanding that a color hierarchy informs the ways in which many Latinos experience the racism and national origin bias of other Latinos, dismissed his racial discrimination claim on summary judgment. The national origin claim was also dismissed on summary judgment, because five of the eight adjunct instructors that were reappointed instead of the plaintiff were natives of other South or Central American countries such as Argentina, Peru, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. The surviving discrimination claim that went before the jury, which was based on color, was weakened by the absence of information as to how color bias may be a manifestation of racism in Latino cultures, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. The judge explicitly stated in the opinion that "Diversity in an employer's staff undercuts an inference of discriminatory intent." (Hern├índez, 2010)
Therefore, to achieve the win-win situation equal opportunities must be given to the all employee so that a congenial work environment could be nourished and maintained. Otherwise, the same situation as discussed about the South Africa could be happened as it faced during the 1980s that Countless black people killed and thousands .were jailed without any reason. The number of black people was shot dead. There were highly restricted rules and regulations for Blak people to go and to enter inside the while peoples’ residential areas. The Media was also banned to cover and broadcast any type of related incidents against the black people. at that time Black unemployment reached upto the 35 percent because of the highly dangling political and economic situation of South Africa.
The above mentioned multifaceted discussion unmasked that at the workplace Race, ethnicity, and gender identifications issues are the part and parcel elements but they should be treated not just only seriously but also the as the opportunity to innovate or invent the entire new ideas with the combination of different thoughts and concepts because these differences are like different colorful flowers and plants that cumulatively add the beauty to a garden. In that connection the above mentioned step by step guidelines can provide the guidelines to manage that type of issue and to promote the congenial work environment. Therefore, according to the Thesis Statement Race, ethnicity, gender identities has impacts on the workplace environment as discussed.


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