With globalisation, it is inevitable to have workforce diversity.
Workforce diversity is the significance differences of each individual that distinguish them at their working environment. This report explores the study of workforce diversity and brings about an understanding of surface-level and deep-level diversity. Furthermore, the report highlights the importance of managing for diversity and explores the characteristics of both Singapore employees and expatriates. SURFACE-LEVEL DIVERSITY AND DEEP-LEVEL DIVERSITYDiversity is being characterised into surface-level and deep-level diversity. Surface-level diversity refers to the observable demographics and psychological differences that include language, culture, race, gender, ethnicity, age and physical capabilities. Deep-level diversity refers to the differences in psychological characteristics which includes personalities, beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences and attitudes. Both types of differences are evident in an individual’s decision, actions and expectations. McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione 2010) Surface-level differences are easily noticeable and measurable as compared to deep-level differences.
One of the example is the use of expatriates who are professional personnel employed outside of their home country to work or assist in another organisation. Standard Chartered is one of the organisations which embraced surface-level diversity. It operates overseas and send executive to run subsidiaries in India and China since 1853. (Mellahi, Frynas & Finlay 2005) There will be a diverse of nationalities, culture and language in the working environment.Deep-level diversity is not as visible as surface-level diversity. It can be illustrated with the differences of working style, attitudes and personality of the expatriates.
One of the examples would be the different characteristics of management style adopted by female and male managers. Male managers generally adopt a transactional style which rewards and punish accordingly while female managers tend to use the relational style which involves motivating employee and focusing on personal qualities instead of position. (Boddy 2008) ADVANTAGES OF DIVERSITYThere are many advantages of a diverse workforce.
Organisations which provide employment opportunities for diverse workforce will gain a competitive advantage in the labour market. Employees will feel that their differences are being valued and will be motivated to perform at their best for their company. By embracing diversity, organisations will have a better perspective on the differentiated market. With a multicultural workforce, it can provide better knowledge of the consumer preferences and habits of the diversified market.A diverse workforce helps the organisation to achieve a competitive edge in a global economy by facilitating understanding of other cultures.
Corporate culture with different approaches helps to enhance organisational flexibility, thus the organisation can respond effectively to environmental changes. Diverse group have the ability to leverage creativity and preserve viewpoints to tackle a problem with more options. Through different perspectives, they could create better solutions. (Bateman & Snell 2004) CHALLENGES OF DIVERSITYNevertheless, diversity also poses challenges to the organisation. IMPORTANCE OF MANAGING FOR DIVERSITY Diversity in workplace presents both opportunities and challenges for the organisation. Having workforce diversity does not imply that either the organisation is successful or the business is profitable. The differences of the workforce in culture, values and behaviour would easily led to increasing problems if the organisation failed to manage for diversity.
(E-journal-A new way to build business case) SINGAPORE EMPLOYEES AND EXPATRIATES