Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Challenges in Diversity Management: A Case Study of MediHealth Systems

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Challenges in Diversity Management: A Case Study of MediHealth Systems

Article excerpt

The intent of this paper is to discuss a real life case in India that focuses on diversity management initiatives at the firm level and the challenges that the HR manager faces. Though diversity has been encouraged from an equal opportunity and affirmative perspective as well as from an innovation and business impact perspective, much has not been discussed and highlighted on the challenges in managing diversity. This paper tries to address this void by discussing the different types of challenges that may be experienced while managing diversity through a case study. It borrows from literature on reasons and the various challenges that could arise both directly and indirectly in managing diversity. These observations are mapped to case instances and the challenges are discussed. The paper enunciates possible challenges in creating and sustaining diversity management initiatives and concludes on the note that a diversity management initiative has to be viewed from a holistic and systemic perspective to ensure sustainability and to derive firm level benefits in the long run. Some practical recommendations are also suggested.

Key Words: Affirmative Action, Discrimination, Diversity, Diversity Management, Inclusion

INTRODUCTION

Diversity Management (DM) has begun to gain considerable attention in HRM literature as well as practice. This is due to its contribution in the development of knowledge in Human Capital Management from sociological, ethical as well as economic dimensions.

Diversity is the way in which people differ from each other. These differences among employees could arise due to their age, gender, race, ethnicity, personality, educational background, organizational function and the tenure, etc. These differences among employees create diverse experiences for employees themselves in their organization in terms of performance, motivation, communication and inclusion (Harvey and Allard, 2009). Thus, diversity includes those differences in people that not only impact how they see themselves but also how they see and interact with each other at work (Patrick and Kumar, 2012). In an organizational context, we consider diversity to be all those differences among people which impact how organizations view and perceive the employees and which affect their employment relationship.

Due to globalization, most organizations today have a diverse workforce. However, managing the expectations of different employees and keeping them engaged is not an easy task. HR managers cannot assume and apply a common formula to attract, retain and motivate all employees in their organization. There cannot be one way of managing diverse employees. It is imperative that specific needs of various employees are understood and met.

Diversity Management ensures that policies and processes of an organization are designed in such a manner that they are sensitive to the needs of all different kinds of employees. As a result all members of the workforce are able to perform to the best of their abilities and can contribute to their full potential towards organizational goals. It aims to create an env ironment where no one is adv antaged and no one is disadvantaged over another and an environment where "we" means everyone (Thomas Jr., 1990).

Literature on diversity management is not very exhaustive and primarily has been developed in the west (Thomas Jr., 1990; Thomas and Ely, 1996; Ivancevich and Gilbert, 2000; and Jayne and Dipboye, 2004). Some studies have tried to define diversity and diversity management in the Indian context (Woodward and Saini, 2006; Ratnam and Chandra, 2006; Cooke and Saini, 2010 and 2012; Patrick and Kumar, 2012). Very few research studies have written ab ou t the issues and challenges in man agin g workplace diversity in Indian organizations. In order to address this literature gap, the current paper presents a case study and discussion to add to a holistic perspective to understand diversity and how human dynamics manifest. …

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