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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 Wooldridge email@example.com
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TO RESEARCHING THE IMPACTS OF A DIVERSE WORKFORCE
Fellow, National Academy of Public Administrationand Professor The L. Douglas WilderSchool of Government and Public AffairsVIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITYRichmond, VA 23284-2028
(Jackson & Schuler, 2000, p. xx)
“A mix of people in one social system who have distinctly different, socially relevant group affiliations” Cox and Beale (1997, p. 1).
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. ).
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).
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).
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.
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
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.
INSIGHT IN ACHIEVING A
HIGH PERFORMANCE ORGANIZATION
WITH A DIVERSE WORKFOCE
Some theories that provide insights in managing a diverse work force:
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
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).
The perceived fairness of the way rewards are distributed among people.
(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.
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.
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).
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).
While distributive justice and procedural justice are antecedents of trust in an organization, interactional justice is an antecedent of trust in a supervisor. Furthermore, employees who trust their supervisor are more likely to trust the organization as a whole. For this reason, organizations would benefit from encouraging close relationships between supervisors and their subordinates and from investing in training that would teach supervisors how to treat employees fairly and politely while also improving supervisors’ managerial and interpersonal skills (Wong et al., 2006).
Informational justice, a term proposed by Greenberg (1994), claims that employees are more likely to label organizational procedures fair when the organization provides sufficient information to the employees explaining the reasoning behind the decisions made. Greenberg looked at the varying levels of information presented to clerical workers regarding an upcoming smoking ban and found that employees were most likely to accept the ban when the organization provided thorough information and displayed high amounts of social sensitivity (Greenberg, 1994).
Latham and Pinder (2005) identified organizational justice theory as one of the three most important approaches to work motivation to surface in the past 30 years. Motivation is a psychological process that results from the interaction between an individual and his environment. Justice within an organization enables employees to maximize personal gain, acknowledges their value to the organization or to management, and shows that the organization or those in authority hold a basic respect for the employees’ worth. Employees who feel that the organization values their worth are more motivated to exhibit high levels of performance and favorable work ethic, which will in turn benefit the organization (Latham & Pinder, 2005).
A primary cause of negative feelings by a majority group toward a minority group is an absence of meaningful interaction that breeds ignorance and hostility. Increased contact with minorities should contribute to more tolerance among members of the general public.
Researchers employing innovative experimental research designs soon concluded that a wide variety of conditions had to be met before contact with a minority group produced more positive feelings toward that group. Most importantly, beginning with Sheriff and others (1954) numerous studies have indicated that members of the dominant and minority group must have equal status for the duration of the contact and that they must work cooperatively on an endeavor if the contact is to produce ameliorative effects.
In addition, the interaction must be fairly intimate and the institution or society in which the contact is taking place must support the interaction between the groups (Allport, 1954). While these conditions are problematic enough, they are only the “essential” ones (Devine, 1995). Other researchers have found evidence that successful task completion (Blanchard, Adelman, ad Cook, 1975; Worcel and Norvell 1980; Worchel 1986), non-stereotypicality of minority participants, shared values and varied interaction (Sheriff et al, 1954) are necessary for contact to have positive effects.
There is also substantial evidence that people routinely classify themselves and others based on social categories such as age, gender, race, and status and evince strong preferences for groups based on these social categories (Tajfel and Turner, 1986). Research consistently has shown that individuals choose to interact more often with members of their own social group than with members of other groups (e.g., Stephan, 1978).
The similarity-attraction hypothesis maintains that similarity in attitudes is a major source of attraction between individuals. A variety of physical, social and status traits can be used as the basis for inferring similarity in attitudes, beliefs, or personality. For example, interpersonal attraction has been associated with similarity in socioeconomic background, competence (Baskett, 1973) and even leisure activities (Werner and Parmelee, 1979). Consequences of high interpersonal attraction may include frequent communication, high social integration, and a desire to maintain group affiliation, which may result in low turnover.
The leader-member exchange (LMX) model has been offered by Graen and his colleagues (e.g., Graen & Wakabayashi, 1994) as an alternative approach to the study of leadership. In contrast to traditional models that imply that a leader exhibits a similar leadership style toward all members of a work group, the LMX model suggests that leaders may develop different types of relations with different members of the same work group. In this respect, the model depicts leader-follower relations (exchanges) as existing on a continuum ranging from high to low quality.
(Bollino & Turnley: Journal of Management Volume 29, Issue 2, April 2003, Pages 141-160)
A growing body of research indicates that individuals in organizations often engage in impression management behaviors that are designed to influence the way in which they are perceived by others (e.g., Bozeman and Leary; Rosenfeld, Giacalone & Riordan, 1995).
Giacalone, (Personnel, 66 n5, May, 1989) categorizes Impression Management into two distinct strategies: