ORGANIZATIONAL DIVERSITY AND NETWORKS 6
Diversity and Networks in an Organization
The modern business environment has become more competitive.Organizations need to build networks with other support businessesand potential clientele. The age when businesses used to operate inisolation is long gone. Businesses can build networks throughpublicity, participating in social events, joining business groupswith similar interests and individual networks of senior employees.Diversity creates a more tolerant environment within the business.Besides, diversity brings in individuals from various backgrounds,hence widening the pool of talent from which the organization canchoose from. The discussion on organizational diversity andorganizational networks will explore their relationship with a viewof illustrating their impact on an organization.
According to Gulati (2007), organizational networks involve a groupof legally existing companies or subsidiary businesses that usesophisticated methods of enhancing coordination. The businessesbenefit from this association in the form of information, sharingresources, pooling resources and collective bargaining power. Justlike in any association, organizational networks have a leader.According to Hellriegel and Slocum (2011), theleader is usually a firm that has a larger market share, hence theleadership status. The leader sets the market price and the othersfollow. Gulati (2007) argues that such a firm is more centrality andstrategically positioned to access information, resources and controlthe learning process. In such a case, the other organizations canonly gain by being in association with the leader. They can learnfrom the leader and share some resources that could have otherwisebeen inaccessible were it not for the network.
As Peretz et al (2015) writes, organizational diversity is thevariety of differences between people in the workplace in anorganization. The differences emanate from gender, religion, sexualorientation, race, education, and ethnic groups (Hellriegel& Slocum, 2011). Other differences that bring aboutdiversity include cognitive style, tenure, organizational functionand work experience. The most important thing in any diverseenvironment is how people perceive themselves and those close tothem.
The manner in which the management treats people from differentbackgrounds is also important in a diverse organization. Numerousbenefits accrue to organizations that embrace diversity. They includefactors such as varying viewpoints, increased adaptability, effectiveexecution of tasks, and a broader range of services (Hellriegel& Slocum, 2011). However, anything good has its challengestoo, and diversity is not an exception. The major hurdle in embracingdiversity lies in the fact that our society is filled with numerousstereotypes. People tend to judge others in a group rather than as anindividual. Other challenges include communication, resistance tochange and implementation.
Relation and Influence in an Organization
Organizational Diversity involves embracing people from a differentbackground the same way organizational networking requires differentfirms to work together (Stazayk, et al. 2012). Employees who work ina diverse organization develop the attitude of tolerance. They learnto accept others with their differences and flaws. The same conceptapplies in organizational networks. According to (Gulati (2007),companies have their weaknesses and strengths and at the same time, adifference in their operating procedures. Employees who haveinternalized the concept of seeing past small differences will beready to share resources with other companies that have differentoperating procedures (Hellriegel & Slocum,2011). However, employees from a non- diverse workplace willnot deal effectively with other companies in the network because theydo not have the experience.
For organizational networks to work effectively there is a need forhigh levels of coordination and innovative minds (Howell, 2005). Suchqualities are only available in diverse workplaces. Diversityencourages innovation because it embraces different ideas fromdifferent viewpoints. On the other hand, a non- diverse workplacewill not experience much innovation because employees are conditionedto do things in a similar way and any new ideas are frowned upon.Such an intolerable environment will dissuade employees fromexercising their power of imagination and consequently, innovation.
Organizational networks and organizational diversity are influentialin the organization in a number of ways. First on the list is theeffect of good leadership on the organization (Kanter, 2003). Adiverse work environment will create tolerable employees to take upleadership positions. Organizational networks will pull resourcestogether to ensure that the organization fully benefits from theassociation. However, organizational diversity and organizationalnetworks can negatively influence the smooth flow of businessoperations. When the differences are excessive in any setting,difficulties in coordination are bound to arise. Communicationbecomes ineffective and loses its clarity (Gulati, 2007). Thesefactors also influence the decision making process. In a network, onefirm will have to seek the audience of the other if it intends tomake a decision that will affect the network. In a workplace that isdiverse, the process of making decisions always takes into accountthe varied viewpoints of different participants.
In conclusion, organizational diversity and organizational networkscan be influential to the success of the business. The two ideologiesare related in the sense that they involve embracing people withdifferent ideologies and ideas. Firms that form a network gain interms of resources, learning and information. A firm that embracesdiversity is likely to enjoy innovation, a variety of viewpoints anda tolerable work environment.
Gulati J., (2007). Organizational networks. New York, OxfordUniversity press.
Hellriegel, D., & Slocum, J. (2011).Principles of OrganizationalBehavior.Nashville, Tennessee: South-Western Publishing
Howell, J.M., (2005). The right stuff: Identifying and developingeffective champions of innovation. The Academy of ManagementExecutive, 19 (2), 108-119
Kanter, M.S., (2003). Leadership and Psychology turnarounds.Harvard Business Review.
Peretz, H., Levi, A., Fried, Y., (2015). Organizational diversityprograms across cultures: effects on absenteeism, turnover,performance and innovation. The International Journal ofHumanResource Management: 26 (6), 875-903.
Stazyk, E.C., Davis R.N., Liang, J., (2012). Examining the linkbetween Workforce diversity, organizational goal clarity and jobsatisfaction. New Orleans: Harvard University