by Travis Barker
Originally published: June 29, 2016
Gardenswartz, Rowe, Bennett, Tobin, and Palthe (2008) explain that effective management of workplace diversity is crucial to support a healthy, dynamic, and effective workplace:
“…global business realities were highlighting the need for increased cultural understanding and flexibility. Because of vision and necessity, companies began to understand that diversity was a business issue and managing it effectively was a strategic imperative for growth and survival (Gardenswartz, et al. p. 35).”
Benefits of workplace diversity include an ability to more readily adapt to the changing needs of the customer, the environment, the regulatory landscape, and business conditions. This ability to adapt is often referred to as agility in the business literature, and represents a competitive advantage particularly in a service environment where demands are often competing and fluid in nature. This increased agility, in turn, also supports the organization’s ability to provide a broader service range to an increasingly diverse customer base. With workplace diversity come an increase in skills, perspectives, abilities, and interests. Similarly, the viewpoints that are available within a diverse workplace support the organization’s ability to identify relevant and meaningful services, strategies, and values that will have the largest impact on the organization’s mission.