Diversity is a very crucial concept in human resource management today. While much of the existing literary studies have centered on the impact of diversity on profit making organizations, the non-profit sector is also feeling the impact of workforce diversity. One of the key areas where non-profit organizations are benefiting from diversity is on knowledge sharing (Noe, 2013). Non-profit organizations work with different communities empowering them and making positive contributions in life changing situations (Morfaw, 2009). Therefore, the need to have a knowledgeable workforce is very eminent for successful operations.
Workforce diversity brings together individual employees from different backgrounds in terms of their culture, religion, race, age, abilities, and ethnicities (Morfaw, 2009). Therefore, each person in the workforce has their own way of approaching issues and challenges in the organization. The more diverse a workforce is, the more it will benefit the organization in terms of learning opportunities (Kunze, Boehm, and Bruch, 2013). The employees will learn from each other on how to solve problems, make decisions, and interact with different communities. This learning process will help the organization to achieve its set objectives.
Effective diversity management in organizations is very critical in strengthening an organizations competitive advantage. Diversity management helps the organization to address issues of change in management, organizational behavior, and customer relations (Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006). If all these aspects of diversity are addressed, the organization will be better placed to serve its customers, offer high-quality products and services, and face off any emerging or existing competition (Morfaw, 2009).
According to Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph (2006), they stated that organization where diversity in the workforce lacks, there are bound to be tensions among the different cohorts of workers, which may derail the company from functioning properly to achieve its objectives. Part of the reasons why the tensions between the younger and older employees in the company keep growing is social stereotypes .Based on these stereotypes, young people are considered less experienced and less knowledgeable, hence, are unfit to hold powerful positions in the organizations hierarchy. On the other hand, the older employees perceive themselves to be more knowledgeable and more experienced to take up leadership positions in the company. However, such stereotypes are baseless in the modern society where younger people have access to more information via the internet, the chance to advance their education, and various opportunities to learn new leadership skills (Kunze, Boehm, and Bruch, 2013). Therefore, any young employee who shows great potential in leadership must be given an opportunity to put their knowledge and experience into action for the benefit of the organization.
An organization that takes its diversity management seriously will be able to educate its employees on the importance of building strong relations and creating a good environment for every person in the organization (Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006).Diversity in large organizations encourages cross-cultural communication and intercultural interactions. Cross-cultural communication refers to the ability of an organization to successfully create, facilitate, strengthen, and improve the relationships between members of different cultural backgrounds within an organizations environment (Iwata, 2004). Intercultural networking, on the other hand, entails interactions between people from different cultures. Cross-cultural communication is very important for contemporary organizations for various reasons. For instance, it allows an organization to create a favorable corporate culture that can accommodate all employees regardless of their cultural backgrounds. No employee will feel left out because of the conducive environment that allows them to communicate and engage with others from different cultures (Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006). Notably, cross-cultural communication is important for contemporary companies because it boosts the performance and productivity of the workforce, thereby giving the organization a competitive edge over other firms in the industry.
With multicultural teams, it is easier for an organization to solve its challenges based on the multiple solutions that are likely to come from the different cultural backgrounds in the team. Each culture has its own approach for dealing with various issues (Guy, 2009). Therefore, with different options available, an organization can find it easier to make decisions and resolve emerging issues within the market it operates. Intercultural communication is also significant nowadays as most organizations have global operations (Kunze, Boehm, and Bruch, 2013). Organizations employees will have to interact with customers from around the world (Guy, 2009). Proper intercultural communication can help the organization manage its global customers without belittling their culture through offensive products, marketing campaigns, and poor customer service.
Workforce diversity management can be done using various ways. The two main approaches that organizations can use to ensure inclusiveness in employment are the radical approach and the liberal approach (Iwata, 2004). The liberal approach assumes that there is the equal opportunity only when all individuals are able to compete for the rewards freely. According to this approach, employment should only focus on the merit of individuals rather than factors such as gender, age disability or race.
Knowledge can be described as the awareness or the familiarity that one has about someone or something such as facts, skills, descriptions, or information. Knowledge can be acquired through a variety of ways including through education, experience, learning, or discovery. Furthermore, knowledge can be classified as the practical or theoretical understanding of a particular subject matter. It can also be implicit or explicit.
Practical knowledge refers to the practical skills or a hands-on experience that an individual has regarding the application of certain skills or information. On the other hand, theoretical knowledge refers to the ideas and information that one is familiar with, but may not have implemented or applied them in a practical context. Implicit knowledge also refers to ones practical expertise or experience in a particular area. Explicit knowledge, on the other hand, is someones theoretical knowledge, also referred to as tacit knowledge (Collins & Smith, 2006).
The acquisition of knowledge is a complex cognitive process involving reasoning, perception, and communication. Knowledge transfer, on the other hand, refers to the process of passing knowledge from one person to the other through a structured or an unstructured approach. A structured approach is a formal process of transferring knowledge, such as in class from a teacher to the students. Conversely, an unstructured approach in knowledge sharing that occurs in an informal setting such as through day-to-day interactions (Collins & Smith, 2006).
Knowledge sharing, on the other hand, is a process of sharing information, skills, expertise, and experiences among peers. One can learn from the other through their interactions or through the experiences they have together and understanding how one response to different situations. This can influence their own approach to learning and apply different kinds of knowledge they have. This is the basis of knowledge transfer in a workplace environment. Employees can learn from each other through their team work, group work or any interactions that they have together. In a multicultural set-up, knowledge sharing is much easier because the employees will learn from each others cultural background and appreciate how differences in culture affect one understands, or application of the knowledge they have as well as influencing their response to different situations.
c) Public Sector Movement and Non-Profit Organizations
Non-profit organizations thrive on the basis that their employees are capable of delivering their mandate to the communities. In most cases, these employees are mostly volunteers who wish to join in the course by supporting the organization. In an environment where there are many employees and volunteers working in the community, diversity can be used as a strategy for training, educating, and empowering the workers (Kunze, Boehm, and Bruch, 2013). For instance, a more diverse workforce in terms of the age, gender, culture, and abilities can create a favorable environment for the workers to learn from one another through their experiences (Morfaw, 2009). For example, it is much easier for one to learn new languages, get to know other cultures, and improve their communication and leadership skills when in a multicultural environment.
Also, the concept of diversity is important for organizations, more so in the non-profit sector because it not only affects how the employees view themselves, but also how they perceive those around them. As such, it influences how people within an organization relate with each other given the differences that exist among them (Kunze, Boehm, and Bruch, 2013). Therefore, it is very critical that an organization creates appropriate mechanisms for dealing with issues such as communication, change, and adaptability, which ultimately affect relations in a diverse workforce. Eventually, these will form a strong foundation for workers to interact and learn from each other for the benefit of the organization.
Diversity gives an organization an edge in the global environment. For a non-profit organization, a highly diversified workforce can help the organization position itself in the world as its employees will be more knowledgeable about global issues, which they will learn from each other through their interactions as they get to know each others culture (Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006). Therefore, the organizations diversity strategy can also be aligned to its environment. For instance, the organization that operates in a global environment with major offices in each of the continents globally can benefit from the intercultural communications that the employees will acquire through their interactions as they shape their intercultural competencies and skills (Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006). This implies that the company is under pressure to deliver on its commitment to promoting unity in diversity through its products, services, and strategies (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2010). Diversity helps the organization to maintain its global image as one of the most diverse and inclusive organizations in the world.
Diversity creates interesting, and effective working conditions if properly harnessed. People of the same background often have or project the same point of view which is never productive for an organization (Iwata, 2004). An organization with people of diverse background produces innovative and broad ideas since they provide diverse and unique ideas when they brainstorm due to their different environments (Collins & Smith, 2006). This ensures that an organization constantly reinvents itself to cope with the internal and external environment. Furthermore, it is important to note that employees react more positively to moneta...
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