Businesses’ Obligations With Respect to Diversity

Introduction

In the business world today, it is impossible to avoid diversity in organizations hence managers need to develop strategies of promoting diversity within the business environment. With the introduction of globalization and the need to become competitive in different markets by organizations, the need for embracing diversity has become important (Sandel, p. 37). Though there are legislations that have been enacted in different countries such as affirmative action against discrimination, companies should not embrace diversity as a way of meeting the regulations. However, the management should view diversity as an opportunity, particularly because with a workforce that has diverse people a company will be perfectly armed to adapt to emerging changes in the market. In addition, such a company will be able to serve all consumer markets no matter their background and also secure the loyalty of both consumers and the workforce (Richardson, p. 17).

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Statement of the view

It is my strong conviction that managers working in multicultural environments must integrate cultural diversity in the management of all activities. Additionally, the marketing strategies adopted by organizations should incorporate the cultural differences in the global markets.

Justification of the argument

Diversity in businesses has been caused by changes in demographic structures in the world, massive movement of people, and changes in cultural systems among other factors. Ignoring diversity is a great threat to businesses and there is a need for managers to accept diversity as part of business processes. To improve the competitiveness of companies in modern businesses, it has become essential to embrace diversity in production, marketing, and management systems. It is important to note that diversity has been realized among the employees, customers, supplying agents, and the communities that surround businesses. There are therefore different groups that a company has a responsibility towards and are also affected by diversity (Sandel, p. 182).

A company is responsible to its employees whereby companies have a responsibility to ensure that their employees are satisfied for them to provide services effectively and be able to meet the organization’s objectives. On the other hand, to be able to effectively serve the diverse markets, companies will have to recruit locals of particular countries since this introduces the aspect of diversity in the workforce. As a result, such organizations must create strategies that ensure there is no discrimination, hostility and employees do not face harassment based on their nationality, race, or even gender just to mention but a few. For the diversity strategies to be effective they should not only focus on minority groups and dissimilarities that are visible but they should also include the whole package of characteristics and traits that an employee is coming with into the company (Richardson, p. 22)

For a company to be able to address diversity effectively in satisfying its employees, the management needs to first understand the various attributes that are linked to their motivation factors. These include values, beliefs, and aspirations which if carefully examined the management can identify differences and similarities in motivation factors that lead to satisfaction. As a result, strategies that cut across the board can be developed such as reward schemes, management appraisal systems, and communication strategies. This will help in integrating diversity in all departments and especially marketing, research, and product development, and human resource. Therefore the organization will be able to satisfy its diverse workforce and as a result be competitive in all markets (Richardson, p. 154).

Every company that wants to survive and succeed in the 21st century must meet its obligation to customers by identifying and meeting their specific needs. However, with a diverse and multicultural market, more challenges are added to that responsibility, particularly because in a market with diverse backgrounds and so their needs are so varied as the groups are. In a global market there can be different age groups such as children, the youth, young adults, and the elderly; different educational backgrounds such as graduates or basic-school dropouts which affects their literacy levels and lastly different genders and the roles they play in those societies. The role of women in organizations for instance has intensified especially with the increase in awareness about equality and equal opportunities in world business today (Sandel, p. 102).

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There can be various factors that determine the needs that any given society gives priority to. First, there is a political and economic condition whereby societies whose members are experiencing economic hardship or political instability will value security needs more than those who feel secure politically and economically. National culture can also be a determinant of the needs of society, for instance, there are those that value families and hence will put family needs ahead while some belief in individuality hence their demands will mostly focus on personal needs. Religion also plays a major role in society’s needs more so in societies where religion has a lot of influence. As such societies, products to consumers should be developed in line with the religious doctrines. For instance, one cannot manufacture trousers in strict Muslim countries (Ven and Vries, p. 1-2)

Organizations in such diverse environments need to be perceptive to differences in cultures which in turn define the market needs. This will enable them to decipher the tastes and preferences of the various consumers. Marketing departments need to therefore come up with appropriate tools that will enable them to develop effective promotional campaigns to specific target markets. This entails choosing appropriate media for communication that are uphold the beliefs and norms of that society. As such, communication will be effective and as a result, demand can be created and met (Ven & Vries, p. 3)

When it comes to a diverse market, then the challenges of corporate social responsibility are more, particularly because in such a market the definition and expectations of the society on social responsibility are largely varied. Therefore managers need to be sensitive to the differences that exist within a given society such as religion race, physical ability, and social class among others (Demuijnck, p. 86).

Companies are expected to provide benefits that are not only beneficial to the community but are acceptable as well. This is because one of the aims of corporate social activities is to appeal to the various groups that exist in a given market, and therefore if in providing social services to the communities the company violates the norms of that society, then its products will not be accepted. For instance, if a company gets into a market that is divided by social classes and builds a school to be shared by pupils across the board, then it might receive a rejection from the upper class for lowering their dignity by associating them with the lower social class levels (Richardson, p. 26).

Personal Experience

In my career journey, I have experienced several issues relating to diversity at workplaces and other organizations. A case in point is when I was volunteering in a certain non-governmental organization in Africa that dealt with family planning. One day we were sent to a certain community to create awareness on the importance of family planning. Our first audience was the community elders who gladly welcomed us, however when the director (a lady) was addressing them, they suddenly stood up and left the meeting and we were ordered out of the area. At that point, I thought the community was primitive as they could not embrace beneficial ideologies that could help their people. However, after this class, I now can identify some key things that concern their norms and values that we did not address while visiting that community. The community does not allow women to address or even attend their elder’s meetings hence we violated their norms concerning the role of women.

Conclusion

It is evident from the above discussion that though diversity brings a lot of challenges to the market it is an important aspect in modern businesses and organizations should establish strategies to embrace it. These strategies should be entrenched in a company’s production, marketing, and management systems to improve its competitiveness in the current market. In addition, when addressing diversity, the focus should not only be on the minorities but also capture all the differences that face the market.

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References

Demuijnck, G. “Non-Discrimination in Human Resources Management as a Moral Obligation.” Journal of Business Ethics, 88 (2009): 83-101.

Richardson, John E. Annual Editions: Business Ethics 10/11. New York: Mc Graw Hill, 2010.

Sandel, M.J. Justice: What’s The Right Thing to Do? New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.

Tan, Joo-Seng. Trends in organizational change. n.d. Web.

Ven, Cristel van de and Vries, Sjiera de. Getting on with diversity: ten tips. n.d. Web.

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