A Study of Perceived Diversity Climate by Employees Belonging to Different Social Groups

By Sia, Surendra Kumar; Bhardwaj, Gopa | Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, July 2008 | Go to article overview

A Study of Perceived Diversity Climate by Employees Belonging to Different Social Groups


Sia, Surendra Kumar, Bhardwaj, Gopa, Indian Journal of Industrial Relations


The present study examines the perception of the employees regarding the diversity climate of their organization. The dimensions covered under the diversity climate are organizational fairness, inclusiveness and personal diversity value. The study revealed that mainly the Oriya Hindu Female and Oriya Reserved Category employees differed significantly from the other groups upon perceived fairness and perceived inclusiveness. However, no significant difference was observed among the respondents of the different groups upon personal diversity value.

Introduction

Diversity appears in organizations due to many factors. Article l 6 of the Indian Constitution offers equality of opportunity for employment to citizens irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, or place of birth. Though our states have been carved out on linguistic basis, Article 19 of the Constitution offers the privilege for movement throughout the country and carry out business or profession of one's choice. Directive Principles of state policy provide reservation for weaker and deprived sections of the society like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, women etc. Thus, our Constitution has envisaged a strong legal foundation for a diverse work force.

In the last one-decade, the absolute number of male employees has dropped by about 6 lakhs, whereas female employees have increased by a similar number. The total employment in PSUs has remained stagnant. In percentage terms, while male employees dropped down 5% compared to 30% rise in the number of female employees. The employment trend also corresponds to the faster growth in the services sector in the last decade. Since 1990, the sectors, which have added the maximum number of employees in the public sector are community, social & personal services and finance, insurance, real estate etc. These are also the sectors most suited for females (Kant & Sinha 2004).

Gradually women, minorities and deprived sections of the society are becoming highly qualified and skilled; thus more and more of them are entering in to various organizations at different levels, bringing in changes in the demographic composition of the organisations. Recently some organisations are undergoing expansion into international collaborations. A natural by-product of such events is the workforce diversity. In such cases, the diversity is mainly due to cultural factors and geographical locations of the organization.

A close perusal of the trends of urbanization worldwide indicates that most of the medium or large size organizations are located near urban centers. People from different parts and states of India migrate to those urban areas in search of jobs. As a consequence, people from different backgrounds including religion, languages etc. settle themselves in these places.

Diversity should be considered as a salient aspect of an organisation, particularly those which are diversifying and differentiating. Workforce diversity adds reputation to an organisation. According to Datta and associates (2005), industry characteristics affect the relative importance and value of high-performance work systems. Impact of these human resource systems on productivity is influenced by capital intensity, growth and differentiation. At the same time, if diversity is not managed effectively it can affect the total organisation. Sacco and Schmitt (2005) view a linkage between demographic misfits and turnover, as well as a negative association between racial diversity and changes in profitability.

Manage Diversified Workforce Employees of minority groups and women employees, having lower representation in the organization, may feel themselves being highly visible and are assumed by others to be representative of their social group in the organization. They feel highly contrasted with other members of their work environment. Studies by Kanter (1977) and Yoder (1994) have provided evidences to support these contentions. …

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