Diversity in the Workplace

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Introduction

Diversity Day, the second episode of the comedy series the office highlights the importance of embracing cultural diversity at the workplace. The Manager (Michael Scott) makes a tasteless joke based on the imitation of comedian Chris Rock. The employees find the joke to be offensive as it touches on racial discrimination. The comedy carries several crucial concepts of organizational behavior and the effective relations at the workplace. The paper evaluates the various organizational concepts that a viewer can gather from the comedy.

Diversity in the Workplace

The comedy presents the issue of diversity at the workplace. Traditionally, most workplaces were homogenous as the management hired individuals from the nearest location. However, globalization has increased the movement of people beyond their geographical comfort zones. Today, it is difficult to find an organization where the employees are homogenous. Organizations despite the size are largely diverse, in relation to the composition of employees. Diversity in the workplace represents issues such as race, gender, ethnicity, age, and personality. Diversity focuses on how people perceive themselves as well as how other people within the organization perceive them (Kreitner, & Kinicki, 2007). The effectiveness of a diverse workforce lies in the ability of the organization to establish effective communication strategies. Additionally, the organization must demonstrate its willingness to change and adapt to the diversity that manifests among the employees. In the comedy, the employees at the company were from various races including African Americans, Caucasians and Americans with an Indian descent.

The appreciation of diversity among colleagues in the workplace fosters the feeling of mutual respect. The employees utilize their cultural differences as a platform for learning rather than a platform for emphasizing ethnic differences. In the comedy, the employees appear to have been receptive to each other’s racial differences. The employees appear to be operating as a team without much consideration of their cultural backgrounds. Unfortunately, their manager, Michael, appears to be ignorant of the sensitivity of making fun of other cultures. Michael makes a joke about the African Americans; a joke that the employees do not appreciate. Workplace diversity minimizes conflict at the workplace as the employees learn to accommodate their differences and find a platform where they can acquire certain similarities.

Generational Differences at Work

The comedy also highlights the emerging issue of generational differences that occur at the workplace. Organizations operate in an environment where the employees vary according to their age. Organizations often have traditionalists, baby boomers, generation Xers and millennial who work together. The management of any organization must establish ways of managing the different generations thus ascertain smooth operations. The management must also strive to understand the main differences between the different generations in the organization. The baby boomers, for instance, think and operate differently from the millennial. Failure by the management to establish a comfortable environment for all generations can result in conflict that may interfere with the organization’s efforts to achieve its objectives (Kreitner, & Kinicki, 2007). Generational differences are evident in the comedy. Michael makes a racial statement as a joke. Unfortunately, the rest of his employees do not find the joke funny. An overview of the employees in the comedy reveals that the company has a mix of generations with a majority being from the baby boomer, X, and Y generations. Michael appears ignorant of the fact that the “N-word” can trigger racial sentiments. Michael picks the joke from Chris Rock’s show and assumes that the imitation will be as funny as Chris rocks. The Y-generation employees appear aware of the intensity of using the N-word and the feelings it creates. The management must be at the forefront in creating a comfortable environment for the different generations of employees.

Effective communication

The comedy also highlights the importance of effective communication in the workplace. The management must involve his employees when introducing new ideas into the organization. Michael introduced the training program without consulting the employees. Michael thus did not gather the input of the employees on the training initiative. Michael commences a racial diversity seminar with the intention of teaching his staff about tolerance and diversity. Michael hires a consultant (Mr. Brown) to oversee the training session. Unfortunately, he does not give Brown the chance to oversee the class. Michael introduces his teaching style that does not auger well with the employees. In one instance, Michael provides the employees with an index card that has a race marker. Michael expects the employees to wear the index cards on their foreheads and let them give each other clues on the culture they are wearing. Michael finds the racial demonstration funny, but the employees were not happy (Kreitner, & Kinicki, 2007). In one scene, Kelly slaps Michael over his offensive comments on the Indian culture. It is apparent that the training process was failing. Michael should have consulted the employee on the relevance and overall purpose of the training. Additionally, Michael should have let Mr. Brown oversee the training exercise since he is the expert. The authoritative leadership approach that Michael adopts is causing more harm than good in the organization.

The Ideal Training Program

Michael’s training program lacked direction and was self-driven. In the end, it emerged that Michael was in need of training of diversity at the workplace rather than his subordinates. An ideal training program should be acceptable to all participants. A training program must undergo prior planning. The management should inform employees on the overall objective of the training program. The management should also give employees an opportunity to highlight the areas that they would prefer to cover in the training exercise. The management would have realized that training program of diversity at the workplace yields positive results if well implemented. The training program would have covered critical areas such as building the spirit of teamwork in a diverse workplace, building a culture of respect and inclusion, as well as the need to engage in respectful language.

Conclusion

The office is a hilarious comedy with an underlying message of the need for organizations to embrace workplace diversity. The integration of employees from a diverse background calls on organizations, to embrace training programs on diversity. The training program should target employees and manager alike as everyone requires training on the integration of diversity. The comedy also demonstrates the importance of communication as a strategy for enhancing the training exercise. It is critical for the management to involve employees in the training exercise so that the employees can provide their input. Overall, the comedy demonstrates various scenarios of discrimination and stereotyping at the workplace.

Reference

Diversity day: session 1, episode 1

Kreitner, R. & Kinicki, A. (2007). Organizational behavior. 7th edition. McGraw-Hill Irwin

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in pre written college essays. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from pay someone to write my research paper services.

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