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Sociological View On Workplace Diversity Training

Updated on February 7, 2013

Workplace diversity is now a common place word with more of it being seen as a positive thing. If a company does not have enough of it, they can be sued for discrimination. However some companies strive for this can totally debunk the whole reasoning behind it. It should not be proper for a candidate to be hired just because they fill a quota in workplace diversity, but this seems to happen all the time. So if a company hires a lesser candidate because they are diverse, this is in fact not helpful to the company or the profits, by creating feelings of entitlement or envy from others. Nothing is worse than an employee who knows he was hired because of his skin color, or an employee who knows that he was passed up for a job by a less competent employee for the sake of diversity.

So in my opinion workplace diversity should not be taught, it should be shown. It seems quite hypocritical to tell someone how to act, if the person telling you does not do it as well. To me it would seem more effective to promote workplace diversity with your own actions. Every company starts out small, so promote and project your feelings by your actions. “You set the tone and the agenda that guides your entire organization just by setting an example” (Self-Awareness, 2012).

From a sociological perspective of symbolic interactionism, teaching workplace diversity would be waste of time. From youth, children are taught what to feel about diverse groups, racism is not born it is taught. If say a person is predisposed to negative thoughts about those that are different, there is very little chance that a few hours in a class will change their thinking.

In the perspective of functionalism, workplace diversity should be taught. A perspective that embraces society as a whole would probably promote teaching the theory. Teaching the employees to respect and understand that differences are needed to come up with different ideas and see problems from different points of views. To think of a company as a society, with each part of diversity a part of the greater whole.

From conflict theory, one would conclude the workplace diversity will only promote smaller groups to have more to compete over. Resources would translate to jobs and having more small groups to fight, which would in turn create more competing. The act of teaching workplace diversity would do very little to change the conflict for jobs, or the feelings of each group towards each other.

So to me, it would not be plausible to expect real change from some training course. However, if I had to choose steps to take to promote workplace diversity, it would as I said, start with the owners/operators. By personal example, the company would grow with the principles already intact. Another step that could be taken would be in company policies. If it was made clear by no tolerance, thus instant firing, for acts that went against the principles of workplace diversity, new hirers would have no doubt what was expected of them. An open door policy about working with others, as well as problems that arise, may leave employees happier and less apprehensive about working with those that are different. Another way to combat issues with work place diversity, the hiring process should be more stringent. Background checks into how the employee acted at the last places they worked and if issues arose from diversity in the workplace. Although it may not be foolproof, however in the end, letting those that you are about to hire and are already in your employment that your company protects workplace diversity, this should go a long way to hire and retain the right people.

In the end, companies should hire those that are competent and can do their jobs. Admiration and respect will come with competency and a job well done. Respect cannot be learned, but if all people are supposed to be there, no matter their race, creed or other differences, there should not be a problem. So by promoting positive values, hiring positive people and upper management following these guidelines would be a better inclination of less problems arising later.


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