SOME OB THEORIES RELEVANT TO RESEARCHING THE IMPACTS OF A DIVERSE WORKFORCE • Jacqueline Smith-Mason • Robbie Mitchell Jr. • Blue Wooldridge
MEETING THE CHALLENGE: THEORIES THAT WILL ASSIST IN ACHIEVING HIGH PERFORMANCE ORGANIZATIONS WITH A DIVERSE WORKFORCE By Blue Wooldridgebwooldri@vcu.edu Fellow, National Academy of Public Administrationand Professor The L. Douglas WilderSchool of Government and Public AffairsVIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITYRichmond, VA 23284-2028
We see diversity in its broadest meaning, as this century’s greatest challenge to organizational live worldwide (Griggs & Louw, 1995, p. vi)
FIVE CHALLENGES THAT REQUIRE NEW APPROACHES TO MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES: • MANAGING STRATEGICALLY • MANAGING GLOBALIZATION • MANAGING TEAMS • MANAGING CHANGE • MANAGING DIVERSITY (Jackson & Schuler, 2000, p. xx)
DIVERSITY “A mix of people in one social system who have distinctly different, socially relevant group affiliations” Cox and Beale (1997, p. 1).
Managing diversity: “creating a climate in which the potential advantages of diversity for organizational or group performance are maximized while potential disadvantages are minimized.” (Cox and Beale, p. 2). • Valuing diversity: “a philosophy about how diversity affects organizational outcomes that holds that the presence of diversity represents a distinct organizational resources that, properly leveraged, can bring a competitive advantage against organizations that either are culturally homogeneous or fail to successfully utilize their diversity.” (Cox and Beale, p. 13)
IDENTITY GROUPS Life attitudes are not randomly distributed through the population. Members of the same `identity groups', say the same age, gender, race and such, have had overlapping life experiences which may, in turn, predispose them toward more or less favorable attitudes about particular company practices and cultures" (Mirvis and Kanter1991, p. ).
EXAMPLES OF IMPORTANT IDENTITYGROUPS • WHITE MALES • PEOPLE OF COLOR • WOMEN • GAYS, LESBIANS, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER • COGNITIVE STYLES • WORKFORCE ILLITERACY • WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES
IDENTITY GROUPS (CON’T) • DIFFERENT WORK-RELATED VALUES • WORKER STATUS • THE “KNOWLEDGE” WORKER • HIV INFECTED WORKERS • INTERNATIONAL WORKERS • OLDER WORKER • GENERATION X WORKERS • GENERATION Y WORKER
While White males comprised 51% of the workforce as recently as 1980, they are projected to make up only 44% of the workforce in the year 2005 (Galen, 1994) and 43.5 % in 2014 (Toossi, 2004). In fact, when you subtract the Hispanic population, the percentage of the workforce that is white, non-Hispanic males is projected to be only 34.9% in 2014, down from 43.7% in 1988, and 39.8% in 1998 (Toossi, 2005).
The percentages of the people of color in the workforce in 2000 and as projected for the year 2014 (Toossi, 2004) are: 2000 2014 • African American, non-Hispanic11.5% 12.0% • Hispanic 10.9% 15.9% • Asian and other non-Hispanic 4.5% 7.8%
It is estimated that women will make up 46.8% of the workforce in 2014, as compared with 45.2% in 1990 and 46.6% in 2000 (Toossi, 2005). This is in sharp contrast to 1940 when only 28% of women were in the labor force (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1998).
Research shows that more than three out of four married employees have spouses or partners who are also employed which is an increase from 66 to 78 percent over the past twenty years (Families and Work Institute, 1997). Other findings of the Institute include, 46 percent of the workforce are parents of children under the age of 18 and 20 percent are single parents; and 20 percent of all parents also had responsibilities for raising children and caring for elderly relatives. This occurrence is often referred to as the sandwich generation. • Look at “Family Responsibilities Discrimination (USA Today 10/25/07 B3)
The number of known gays and lesbians in America is not an easy number to derive considering the obstacles many homosexuals face when openly admitting their sexual orientation. Although debated for years, recent research indicates between 2 to 12% of the American population is gay but due to self-reporting factors and the risks involved in admitting homosexuality this number could be fairly conservative (Carr-Ruffino, 1996; Wooldridge & Maddox, 1995).
Cognitive styles have been defined as "...information processing habits representing the learner's typical mode of perceiving, thinking, problem solving and remembering," (Keefe, 1979, p. 8). Some of the more important cognitive styles are: • Perceptual Modality Preferences-preferred reliance on one of the three sensory modes (kinesthetic or psychomotor, visual or spatial, and auditory or verbal) of understanding experiences (Dunn, Dunn, & Price, 1978); • Field Independence vs. Dependence-analytical as opposed to a global way of experiencing the environment. independents perceive things as discrete from their background field, while dependents tend to be influenced by an embedding context (Witkin, et al, 1971); • Conceptual Tempo-individual differences in the speed and adequacy of hypothesis formulation and information processing on a continuum of reflection vs impulsivity, (Kagan, 1966);
Locus of Control (Rotter, 1971), and • Leveling vs Sharpening-levelers tend to blur memories and merge new precepts readily with previously assimilated experience; they tend to over-discriminate, (Holzman & Klein, 1954). For a more detailed description of each of these learning styles see Wooldridge and Haimes-Bartolf (2005) and Wooldridge (1995).
Other research indicates that half of the adult work force does not read, write, or compute well enough to perform their work satisfactorily (Ford, 1992). The U.S. Department of Education estimates that the functionally illiterate now account for 30% of the unskilled, 29% of the semiskilled, and 11% of the managerial, professional and technical workforce. It is estimated that more than half of the 26 million new jobs that will be added to the economy during the turn of the century will require some post-secondary training, and about one-third will demand a college degree (Bernardon, 1989).
Workers with Disabilities: Approximately 54 million non-institutionalized Americans have physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities (the term intellectual disability is used instead of cognitive disability and mental retardation. The term psychiatric disability is used in place of emotional disability). Of these cases, 26 million are classified as having a severe disability. Severe disabilities include Alzheimer’s disease, autism, mental retardation, and long-term use of a cane, crutches, walker, or wheelchair. Census figures indicate that of the 15.6 million working-aged adults (aged 16-64), with disabilities only 34.6% were employed in contrast with 79.8% of those without disabilities.
Increase in diversity of work-related values • Power Distance “The degree of inequality which people consider normal; from relatively equal (that is small power distance) to extremely unequal (large power distance)” (Hofstede, 1994, p. 5). • Uncertainty Avoidance The degree to which individuals prefer structured over unstructured situations. Range of acceptance that risk is a normal part of every day life. • Individualism/Collectivism refers to which individuals prefer to act as individuals rather than as members of groups. Individuals view their responsibility is to themselves and immediate family, Collectivist believe they have a reciprocal responsibility with their extended family and community members.
Increase in diversity of work-related values • Masculinity and its opposite pole Femininity (or Growth vs Nurturing) is the degree to which values like assertiveness, performance, success, and competition, which in nearly all societies are associated with the role of men, prevail over values like the quality of life, maintaining warm personal relationships, care for the weak. • Long-term versus Short-term Orientation At one pole one finds values oriented towards the future. On the opposite side one finds values orientated towards the past and present.
Country PD UCA IND/COLL MAS/FEM LT/ST • (0= low, 100 = high) • USA 40 46 91 62 29 • Germany 35 65 67 66 31 • Japan 54 92 46 95 80 • Mexico 81 82 30 69 n/a • West Africa 77 54 20 46 16 • Hong Kong 68 29 25 57 96
CONTINGENT WORKERS As a result of changing demographics, nontraditional work arrangements are increasing. A survey of CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies showed that 44% rely more on temporary, part-time, leased, and contract workers than they did five years ago, and 44% expect to rely more on external workers in the next five years than they do now (Fierman, 1994). Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ definition, contingent workers are those persons who expect their jobs to end in a year or less or report their jobs as temporary. There are an estimated 5.4 million contingent workers in the United States (Monthly Labor Review, June 2001). In addition to contingent workers, the bureau refers to classifies independent contractors, temporary workers, on-call workers, day laborers and those employed by contract firms as workers employed in alternative work arrangements. The February 2001 labor survey found 8.6 million independent contractors (6.4 percent of total employment), 2.1 million on-call workers (1.6 percent of total employment), 1.2 million temporary help agency workers (0.9 percent of the employed), and 633,000 contract company workers (0.5 percent of total employment).
GENERATIONAL DIVERSITY In 2006 it was estimated that there were four generations currently in the workforce-Matures (The “silent generation”) were about seven percent of the work-force, Baby Boomers were about forty-two percent, Generation Xers were about twenty nine percent, and the millennial generation about 22 percent . “Workers didn’t always mingle in the workplace with the generations the way they do today” (Eagan as quoted by Hilton, 2001 August, p. 53).
THE OLDER WORKER Older workers as an increased percentage of the workforce: In the year 2014, the median age of the workforce is projected to be 41.6 years up from 34.8 years in 1978, 36.6 in 1990 and 39.3 in the year 2000. In 2014 twenty-one and two tenth percent (21.2%) of the workforce will be older than 55 years as compared with only 13.1% in 1984, 15.6% in 2004. (Toossi, 2005). In 2014, 46.9% of the workforce will be older than 45 as compared with only 28.1 % in 1984.
The group of individuals that have come to be known as Generation X has been much the center of attention in recent literature concerning management and employees, education and training. As usual, stereotypes have evolved and negative opinions have been formed and reinforced. • "Generation X," "The Post Baby Boom Generation," "The 13th Generation," "Slackers," "Baby Busters," "Grunge Kids," "After Boomers," "The Clueless Generation," "Whiners." Just as there is no common term to describe this segment of the workforce, neither is there a consensus as to the birth dates of this generation nor the approximate number of this group. McIntosh (1994) identifies those born between 1961 and 1981 as the 13th generation because they were determined to the 13th generations of Americans. He suggests that this generation represents nearly 79.3 million Americans. Losyk (1997) suggest that Generation X refers to those born between the years 1965 and 1976, and represent 44 million Xers, as compared with the 77 million "boomers" born between 1965 and 1985.
GENERATION X As Zill and Robinson (1995) warn us, sweeping generalizations about any group are bound to be incorrect (see also Haworth, 1997). The individuals that make up Generation X are by no means homogenous, however, members of this group appear to be extremely different from earlier generations (Jennings, 2000; Heselbarth, 1999; Dunn-Cane, Gonzales & Stewart, 1999; Corley, 1999; McGarvey, 1999; Payne & Holmes, 1998). For example, as to overlapping life experiences relevant to their education and training, many Xers grew up with technology right at their fingertips. In their homes, they usually had unlimited access to video games and some even had computers that they could freely use. Even further, some Xers were fortunate enough to have computers in their classrooms and at arcades on weekends. Not only is technology a key factor in their environment, Xers were probably more familiar with their television set than they were their schoolbooks, spending more time in front of the television than in school
Members of Generation X place a high priority on education and training. "People in Generation X view training as a way to improve their chances of getting promoted," (as reported in Lynch, 1998, p.1). Schaaf (1998) found that younger workers give training higher marks than do older workers. Generation Xers tend to make job decisions based on whether training is available. "The organizations that provide continuous education are in a better position to retain productive employees" (Caudron, 1997, p. 24). This view is supported by the research of Bova and Kroth (1999) which reports that Generation X employees place a very high value on workplaces that support continuous learning.
GENERATION Y Nexters, Echo Boomers, Generation Next, Millennials, Nintendo Generation, or N-Gen (Internet Generation Halford (1998) refer to those born after 1980 as Generation ”Y”. “The pace of business is changing dramatically. That’s why understanding … Gen Y is crucial to businesses today” (American Demographics, 2001, September 1, p. 6). Understanding how the 14th and largest generation to date born in the United States (Business Week Online, 2001) must start with learning what makes this group so different from those that have come previously.
In sheer numbers alone this group encompasses between 71 – 76 million people spanning the age range of those preparing to enter kindergarten, preteens or “tweenies”, teenagers, and young adults.
Bombarded with global viewpoints Nexters confront gender bending rules and sexuality through redefinition, not to mention a far from traditional concept of the family structure as once seen by their parents and grandparents. Reared by single parent households headed by mothers or fathers, extended families, and cohabitating parents, the children of Generation Next are more tolerant of what constitutes a family and diversity in form is widely accepted.
Gen Y plans to customize their work life to accommodate their own high expectations of what work can offer coupled with a plan for a pleasing personal life. In this approach to customization, the expectation exists for supervisors to be supportive of Nexters’ goals toward balancing professional and personal lives (Kleiman, 2001). “With three to four part-time job or internships under their belts … this group is already sure they know what they want out of their careers and how they want to be managed” (Business Week Online, 2001).
BUT ACHIEVING HIGH PERFORMANCE FACES CHALLENGES IN AN ORGANIZATION WITH A DIVERSE WORK FORCE. IN SOME STUDIES, DIVERSE GROUPS HAVE BEEN SHOWN TO OUTPERFORM HOMOGENOUS GROUPS IN CONTRAST, OTHER STUDIES HAVE DEMONSTRATED THAT HOMOGENOUS GROUPS AVOID THE PROCESS LOSS ASSOCIATED WITH POOR COMMUNICATION PATTERNS AND EXCESSIVE CONFLICT THAT OFTEN PLAGUE DIVERSE GROUPS.
WELL IF THE RESEARCH ON THE RESULTS OF INCREASED WORK FORCE DIVERSITY ON ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE IS MIXED, WHAT RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT A DIVERSE WORK FORCE IS FUNCTIONAL FOR HPOs, WHAT THEORIES WILL GUIDE US IN DEVELOPING COMPENCIES IN MANAGING DIVERSITY?
Diversity of employees is important for high performing organizations for at least three reasons. First, some studies have shown that diverse work teams are more effective, efficient and produce higher quality solutions than there homogeneous counterparts when diversity is managed properly. Tsui, Egan and O'Reilly (1992) do an excellent job of reviewing the previous literature on this issue. They point out that there is evidence the diverse work groups are beneficial for tasks requiring creativity and judgement (Jackson, 1991)
Secondly, the concept of Representative Bureaucracy holds that the demographic composition of the staff of an organization should mirror the demographic composition of the general public. In this way, the preferences of a heterogeneous population will be represented in organizational decision making. That is a female manager with dependent children is more likely to hold values and be sensitive to the experiences of a female subordinate with the same responsibilities.
Finally HPOs need a diversified staff because of the concept of vicarious self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is an important element in individual performance, since belief that one has the capacity for producing a desired result is vital for motivation (see Vroom’s Expectancy-Valancy Theory of Motivation, 1964), and performance is a function of motivation, opportunities, role clarification and acceptance, and abilities (Steers & Black, 1994).Bandura also believes that the most important source of information concerning self-efficacy is personal performance accomplishment because it is based on personal mastery experiences. Successes raise mastery expectations.
However, people do not rely on experienced mastery as the sole source of information concerning their level of self-efficacy. Many expectations are derived from vicarious experience. “Vicarious learning is learning that takes place through the imitation of other [role models]. That is, we observe and analyze what another person does and the resulting consequences. As a result, we learn without having to experience the phenomenon firsthand,” (Steers and Black, 1994, p. 105). Seeing others perform activities successfully can generate expectations in observers that they, too, will improve if they intensify and persist in the efforts. If people of widely differing characteristics can succeed, than observers have a reasonable basis for increasing their own sense of self-efficacy.
THEORIES THAT PROVIDE INSIGHT IN ACHIEVING A HIGH PERFORMANCE ORGANIZATION WITH A DIVERSE WORKFOCE
David Silverman defines a “Theory” as a “Statement in general terms about the likely relationship between two or more phenomena. It suggests hypotheses that is possible to test, and where necessary, refute.” Some theories that provide insights in managing a diverse work force:
CONTENT THEORIES OF MOTIVATION SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT Employees are motivated by economic incentives HUMAN RELATIONS Employees are motivated by having their social needs meet on the job ORGANIZATIONAL HUMANISM Employees are motivated by challenges and the ability to grow through their work CONTINGENCY THEORY Employees are different. Each is motivated by a different mixture of incentives
ORGANIZATION JUSTICE THEORY Organizational justice is people’s perceptions of fairness in organizations, consisting of perceptions of how decisions are made regarding the distribution of outcomes (procedural justice), the perceived fairness of those outcomes themselves (as studied in equity theory or distributive justice), and the perceived fairness of the interpersonal treatment used to determine organizational outcomes (interactional justice) (Greenberg & Baron, 2003).
Distributive Justice The perceived fairness of the way rewards are distributed among people. Equity Theory (Adams, S; Weick, K) The most popular is a series of Social comparison theories of motivation (Goodman, 1977). Others include: Inducement-Contribution (March and Simon), Social Exchange (Holman, G). Social comparison theories focus on individuals’ feeling or perception of how fairly they are treated as compared to others.
Equity Theory continued Two basic assumptions: It is assumed that individuals engage in a process of evaluating their social relationships much like they would evaluate economic transactions in the marketplace. Social relationships are viewed as an exchange process in which individuals make contributions or investments and expect certain outcomes in return. Secondly, it is assumed that people do not assess the equity of an exchange in a vacuum. Instead, they compare their own situation with others to determine the relative balance. Determining the extent to which an exchange is satisfactory is influenced by what happens to oneself compared to what happens to others.
Equity Theory continued • Inputs: Investments, represent those things an individual contributes to an exchange. In a work situation, inputs include items like previous work experience, education and the level of effort on the job. • Outputs: Items that an individual receives from the exchange. Outcomes include pay, fringe benefits, accrued status, seniority, and positive feedback.
Consequences of Perceived Lack of Distributive Justice • People may alter their inputs • People may alter their outcomes • People may distort their inputs or outcomes cognitively • People may leave the field • People may distort the inputs or outcomes of others • People may change objects of comparison • People may engage in property deviance
Procedural Justice Procedural justice is perceptions of the fairness of procedures used to determine outcomes. Procedural justice is the employees’ perceived fairness of the formal procedures governing an organization’s decisions (Masterson, Lewis, Goldman, & Taylor, 2000). Employees judge procedures based on consistency, correctability, consideration of group opinion, accuracy of information, morality or ethicality, and lack of bias (Hubbell & Chory-Assad, 2005). Even when workers see a high degree of distributive justice, a low degree of procedural justice can negate the perceived fairness of the outcomes received (Hubbell & Chory-Assad, 2005).
Consequences of Perceived Lack of Procedural Justice • Lower trust in management • Higher intention to turnover • Lower evaluation of their supervisor • Greater conflict, lower harmony • Lower job satisfaction • People may engage in production deviance
Interactional Justice Interactional justice is the perceived fairness of the interpersonal treatment used to determine organizational outcomes. Two major factors contribute to interactional justice. These are informational justification (the thoroughness of the information received about a decision) and social sensitivity (the amount of dignity and respect demonstrated in the course of presenting an undesirable outcome, such as a pay cut or the loss of a job).