Sunday, 17 November 2013

THE CONTRIBUTION OF DIVERSITY TO ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE



Integrating diversity and organizational change efforts can enhance the success of most types of organizational change. All major organizational change involves a cultural change, and a diversity effort is cultural change at its core. It requires an organization to search its collective soul and focus on essential aspects of its culture: seminal values; organizational demands for conformity in thought, interpersonal style, and action; power structure and power dynamics; employee participation; and inclusion/exclusion issues, to name a few.
·         Cultural Differences
In addition, most organizational changes involve diversity components. An organizational redesign, for example, may combine functions that have previously been separate, such as marketing and manufacturing. Certainly, marketing and manufacturing have two distinct "cultures" and a successful redesign needs to pay attention to those cultural issues involved. Diversity offers both the perspective and the technology to deal with these intercultural issues, whether they are triggered by redesigns, mergers, or global expansions.
When an organization is redesigned, some of its subsystems discover they have to transact a new form of "business" with new, unfamiliar "partners." Naturally, they assume that their established styles of doing business, their traditional practices, priorities, values, and methods, will be perfectly acceptable, perfectly functional. Thus, marketing is surprised when this assumption turns out to be invalid for manufacturing. Marketing assumes that its new partner, manufacturing, simply has not appreciated the benefits of changing and adapting to marketing's traditional way of doing business.
·         Team Effectiveness
Team effectiveness has even clearer diversity connections. For a team to develop and be effective, its members must find productive ways to both elicit and manage individual and subgroup differences. In any group development model, there
is always some version of a "storming" stage fairly early in a group's development. The group must navigate this trouble some phase successfully to evolve toward more productive phases of development. Successful navigation cannot occur if differences are submerged or conformity is forced upon diverse members.
·         Organizational Cultural Shift
In the case of a complex organization change (for example, going from a production-driven to a marketing-driven focus or moving toward Total Quality), a fundamental shift in organizational culture must occur. A cultural change of this magnitude and complexity poses a major challenge for most organizations because of the ambiguity          involved and the enormity of the task. An understanding of diversity enables organizations to find ways not to insist on conformity in a major change process, but to encourage employees to contribute, to take a fresh look, and to continuously evolve.

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