Diversity is important in the functioning and efficiency of an organisation. If employees from all backgrounds are respected, valued, and treated fairly, this positive treatment will also have a positive effect on the organisation. An organisational subculture develops when a small group of individuals within the larger culture forms. These subcultures can form from common beliefs, working in the same department, a similar identity or ethnicity, or from living in the same area. For example, if a workplace has four employees who are Muslim, these workers may form a bond with each other. Another example of possible organisational subcultures are LGBT individuals, these employees forming a common bond based on their sexual orientation. How many subcultures an organisation has is a good indication of how diverse a company is. When people from diverse backgrounds are accepted in an organisation, there is an unwritten feeling of interconnectedness that develops between co-workers and supervisors. This solidarity makes employees more likely to commit themselves to the organization’s mission.
The book “Creating Healthy Organizations: How Vibrant Workplaces Inspire Employees to Achieve Sustainable Success,” by author Graham Lowe highlights the essential elements that outline the factors necessary for positive, healthy organizations. Lowe emphasizes how an organisation with positive subcultures are usually more successful. In contemporary society, it is more commonplace to see workplaces where employees come from many diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, races, and sexual orientations. These individuals also come from different family backgrounds, communication styles, and values. Employing many type of people can be advantageous to an organisation . In terms of communication styles, having employees who manage conflict in different ways can not only help co-workers and supervisors learn from each other, but can also help when customers are involved in a business. For instance, a customer may know very little English, her native language Spanish. However, there is a bilingual employee on staff who can speak Spanish to this customer, help develop a rapport, and conduct business with her, this diversity serving to help the organisation.
Subcultures all have something to offer. Asian employees are often more aligned with collectivist values, the needs of a group superseding individual needs and desires. These types of group values can serve to improve team work, especially during team meetings and on team projects. Asian employees are often not as likely to object to the opinions of other people in a group situation, which also help with a team. According to Lowe, an organisation’s overall success is contingent on positive culture and companies that value diversity. (Lowe, 2010).
When an organisation does not accept different races, ages, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, discrimination and oppression can occur, which can lead to some dangerous attitudes and actions. Heterosexism, the belief that being heterosexual is the normal way of being, as well as ageism, the belief that people who are older have less value in as society, can make individuals feel undervalued and underappreciated. These types of oppression can also create hostility in a company, which can increase overt and covert instances of discrimination , such as qualified LGBT individuals being passed over for promotions or older employees having their hours reduced. These attitudes and actions can decreases one’s motivation to work hard for an organisation, an organisation that is not supporting or backing up the worker. When workers are getting treated unfairly, this affects company morale, productivity, communication, and conflict management.
As you can see, diversity and an organisation’s subculture are intertwined, diversity often a representation of a company’s subcultures. Organisations that are accepting, respectful, and value diversity are more likely to foster success and a positive work environment, each worker committed to the organisation’s purpose and goals. Diversity, evident in employing workers from various backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender, and races, can help employees learn from each other and communicate better, especially in team situations. Not tolerating diversity can result in negative attitudes, such as heterosexism and ageism, two attitudes that make employees feel undervalued. This can also result in intolerance and employee discrimination. The person’s work performance may drop, which negatively affects the organisation’s total success, productivity, and reputation.