Organizations implement various innovative strategies in the bid to attain their goals. Leaders look for innovative ways of ensuring that they attract and retain customers and increase profits through higher sales rate. One of the innovative strategies that successful organizations use is the diversity of thought. Diversity is the best strategy that enables such organizations to devise strategies for attracting new employees who have the capacity to bring innovative ways of doing work, new perspectives, talents and problem-solving skills. A homogeneous workforce faces the challenge of solving emerging challenges in the ever changing marketing variables, and if organizations cannot foster the diversity of thought, they will not be able to compete in the market (Viljoen, 2015). A multicultural group of employees brings not only new perspectives and skills to the organization but also facilitates the attraction of new customers. The diversity of thought enables organizations to have divergent perspectives and unique ideas in the problem-solving process.
Organizations must foster the diversity of thought in their operations as this represents the best strategy for learning the ever-changing market dynamics. One of the examples of organizations that has been underperforming and is even on the brink of closure is the Abercrombie & Fitch. The organization was founded in 1893, gained a significant market share as an excursion goods brand and luxury sporting facilities for teenagers and preteens. However, in the 1990s, it shifted its target market to capture the 18-22-year-olds because the management believed that this market niche could increase its market base. The strategy became a success for the organization as it introduced different brands that gained popularity in the market. Some of these brands include the Abercrombie Kids, Gilly Hicks, and Hollister. Because of the inability of the management to realize the importance of incorporating the diversity of thought in operations, their products have been phased out with time. Producing same products from the 1990s to the present day makes the company look outdated in the competitive market. The company has failed to realize that teens always prefer to be not only descent, bit also unique.
Employees come from different cultural backgrounds and have divergent personalities. Such differences influence the way they think and solve organizational problems. Giving them a chance to exploit their skills can become a strategy for understanding the marketing variables, enabling the organization to become innovative. Some organizations may have productive managers but if they do not foster the diversity of thought, they cannot retain their customers or even gain new ones. Cairns and Preziosi (2014) asserted that the customer service and marketing team comprises of the group of employees who are in close contact with the current and prospective customers. Some employees have analytical thinking skills while others are creative thinkers. As a result, giving all employees a chance to utilize their thoughts in the organization makes it possible for the organization to become profitable, guaranteeing its sustainability. This is one of the strategies that Abercrombie & Fitch could have used to understand the current customer needs and respond to them on time. If the management cannot act in time and understand the importance of incorporating a diversity of thought in its operations, it will not succeed in its operations.
Workers have different perspectives on organizational operations. Such views are influenced by their social backgrounds, individual perception, and workplace variables. Apart from being analytical thinkers, employees can love spontaneity or be meticulous planners. Making wise use of these traits becomes an added advantage for the organization because the management can understand employee and customer expectations and respond to those needs in time, ensuring that the market base is maintained. Fostering the spirit of the diversity of thought in Abercrombie & Fitch could have made the management understand the needs of customers and customize their products to meet the client expectations. Through the implementation of the diversity of thought in the organization, the possibility of spurring insight, increasing efficiency, and stimulating creativity is necessitated (Tansley, 2011). If the organization has all these types of thinkers, the possibility of groupthink will not exist, making it possible for the management to focus on the needs and expectations of clients. Groupthink is one of the dangerous tendencies in organizations that focus of the conformity of groups to the organizational requirements at the expense of making sound decisions that can be used to attract and retain customers.
Abercrombie & Fitch is on the blink of failing because it neglected the idea of the diversity of thought. Driving towards consensus instead of focusing on diversity is a concept that can disrupt the operations of many successful organizations and even lead to their downfall. There is a direct relationship between the diversity of thought, and organizational performance and the management should have plans geared towards encouraging employees to give their views on how and what the organization should do to succeed. Abercrombie & Fitch Company should allocate duties and responsibilities to its workers depending on the ability instead of focusing on gender, color or leadership rank. The diversity of thought in organizations emanates from the employees because of their divergent backgrounds. For instance, growing up in a Euro-American culture might influence the norms and values that are different those of the Latino culture. The company lost its market base because it only focused on group conformity instead of emphasizing the importance of encouraging different ways of thinking. It failed to maximize on innovation that is brought about by creativity, limiting the possibility of benefiting from the diversity of thought.
Organizations such as the Urban Outfitters have ensured that their products meet customer expectations. The strategy has been made possible because of the ability and willingness of the management to encourage diversity of thinking into its operations. Unlike Abercrombie & Fitch, the organization has modernized products customized to fit the current needs of their clients. Additionally, their products are relatively cheaper when comparing their prices with quality standards. Being one of the primary market competitors of Abercrombie & Fitch, Urban Outfitters gets a significant share of its revenue from electronic commerce, and this can be credited to its willingness to incorporate diversity in its operations. Any organization should ensure that its products meet the current needs and expectations of customers, meaning that for Abercrombie & Fitch to have a guaranteed future, it has to change its ways of operations and foster the spirit of the diversity of thought. The diversity of thought is the key element that organizations can use to maximize the potential of employees and foster development. As a result, companies can gain a competitive advantage in the market, increase their sales base and encourage employee development.
Workers interpret and solve organizational problems depending on their levels of skills, experience and culture. Greater diversity in the workplace means that the organization has a potential of solving problems in different ways, necessitating the need for companies that are on the verge of falling such as Abercrombie & Fitch to foster diversity of thought. If this concept is not encouraged, then such organizations may have the risk of resource mismanagement, a weakness that can lead to their eventual closure. According to Hughes (2014), there is a total of three factors that organizations must consider for them to leverage and access the diversity of thought. They include readiness, willingness, and opportunity. Before Abercrombie & Fitch starts to implement the concept of the diversity of thought in its operations, it must recognize that workers first makes a decision on what to do in case there of a problem. After making the decision, they become willing to solve the problem by sharing their personal perspectives on the best course of action that should be taken. Depending on the organizational support, employees can either become willing to offer the necessary assistance or not. This is one of the strategies that Abercrombie & Fitch did not have, leading to a tremendous decrease in its market base. Therefore, to access the diversity of thought, the organizational leaders could have encouraged their employees to participate actively in the process of problem-solving.
Employees who are willing to assist should be ready to listen and learn. They should know the specific behaviors that the organization values and rewards. This means that for the diversity of thought to be encouraged in the workplace, the management should have clear policies on rewards and remuneration for performers. Abercrombie & Fitch must restructure its operations to ensure that the group processes, hierarchy, focus groups and cross-functional teaming have been reduced. It should encourage the generation of ideas, willingness to solve problems, and share information about the success of the company. Additionally, there should be a top-down communication network in the organization to allow the employees to participate, interact, and influence decision-making process in the organization. To this end, it is evident that if Abercrombie & Fitch adopts the principle of divergence of thought, its business operations will be strengthened and have a guaranteed future in the competitive market.
Cairns, T. D., & Preziosi, R. C. (2014). Why HR Leaders Should Encourage Diversity of Thought. Employment Relations Today, 41(2), 1-9.
Hughes, C. (2014). Integrating diversity into organization and career development: A changing perspective. Impact of Diversity on Organization and Career Development, 1.
Tansley, C. (2011). What do we mean by the term talent in talent management?. Industrial and commercial training, 43(5), 266-274
Viljoen, R. (2015). Inclusive Organizational Transformation: An African Perspective on Human Niches and Diversity of Thought. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
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