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Workplace diversity is defined as an issue that focuses on the similarities and differences that employers and employees bring to organizations. Diversity includes a number of dimensions such as gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, parental status, marital status, race, height, profession, weight, and education. Workplace diversity is inclusive of every individual within an organization. According to Thomas, an organization that encourages diversity enables individuals to learn from each other’s culture, beliefs, values, and attitudes. Therefore, the behaviors of individuals in a team can be as a result of the interaction between themselves. Diversity has been found valuable for work teams within organizations.
Importance of diversity
As a concept, diversity focuses on a wider set of characteristics than gender and race. When employees and their employers value diversity in the workplace, they will create a workplace that includes differences and respects, recognizes various contributions that are made by individuals with varied characteristics, and creates a good work environment which maximizes positive contribution from all employees. Diversity is the best way of reducing discrimination at workplace due to interaction between individuals with varied cultures, values, beliefs, and other demographic characteristics. Sharing of cultural traditions, ideas and different ways of working out problems, helps individuals to be more tolerant of each other in workplace and discontinue their pre-conceived stereotypes and notions. Diversity cultivates an environment in which every individual feels valued and accepted for his or her contributions towards the organization as a whole.
Workplace diversity has been found crucial in organizations if they are prepared to do well in the current competitive business environment. Diversity is a very important issue that should be embraced by organizations so as to increase productivity because it encourages individuals from diverse demographic groups share ideas on how to solve various problems that face the organization. Discrimination will be reduced due to workplace diversity and therefore, individuals will learn from each other to promote understanding within work teams.