The Advancement of Women and Minorities in the Workplace Essay

Within any organization there is a chain of command. Someone always out ranks someone else. In today’s workplace, issue like discrimination, harassment, and racism, are subjects that we as employees don’t want to believe are happening, and more so, hope they never happen to us. Over the past couple of decades, America has come a long way to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for progression. Unfortunately, for those of us who are not naive enough to believe that this is always true, issues like these do happen.

The glass ceiling, for example, refers to a level within the managerial hierarchy beyond which very few women and minorities advance. This is the invisible barrier that prevents women and minorities from moving up in the world. The Hispanic population is estimated to increase by the year 2050 by 24. 5 percent. (Vines, 2001) I am a minority and although my goals are to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource/ Management and becoming an entrepreneur, I want to see more minorities, and yes women, advancing in high position corporations.

Many times you see minorities mainly Hispanics especially of the Mexican race working as cooks, janitors, or some type of work that does not take a very high level of knowledge or training. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not want a job given to me out of pity or because a company has to meet their quota of minorities. I want my position to be given to me because I earned it. For this reason I am totally against affirmative action; which is the basically selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity. (Fullinwider, 2005) I want to be hired based on my expertise, knowledge, experience and educational background.

The following paper will cover this hard-hitting topic as it relates to the workforce and examine its anticipation to the need to change, the impact on a company, various advisor’s considerations, methods in overcoming resistance, the institutional timelines, and some strategies needed to accomplish the change. One of the manager’s most difficult tasks is initiating a change and/or renewal within the organization. As a manager, you must be sensitive to changes in markets, products and competition and be aware of the need for an adaptive and flexible organization.

The first step in the change process is an awareness that a problem exits. For this reason, I feel that many times, though the use of an external professional managerial improvement is a good idea in helping a unit deal with this issue. An outsider to the company can look at the company in a way that no one within the organization can. In a sense, they would be looking at the problem from the other side of the fence. They can act as a facilitator to promote team problem solving and collaboration, and encourages such values as trust, openness, and consensus.

The external source is not put in a political or power type of position, but instead acts as a mediator with the companies goals of diversifying the workforce as his or her priorities. The Hispanic population is growing rapidly and I hope that most take advantage of programs that are willing to teach English, how to prepare for a job interview, and even how to write a resume, so they can advance and prosper in today’s business world. Neither Hispanics nor minorities in general should expect for firms to wait on them, instead they should take advantage and progress to represent many factors such as; hard workers, trustworthy and loyalty.

Not to brag, but I feel as though I represent these key factors and more as evident by my desire to further my education and the drive to broaden my knowledge in the Human Resources/Management field. With all these traits, as well as having some what should be called seniority, shouldn’t I be a prime candidate for more of a management position instead of just being a ‘worker-bee’? The military is an excellent example of women and minorities not advancing to obtain high positions. The Air Force recently experienced what was called Force Shaping.

It was/is the release of numerous military members from active duty service was required to meet particular career field manning numbers so the Air Force came up with various programs to allow members to get out; i. e. Palace Chase, which allowed active duty members to join various Reserve Units, Voluntary Separation Pay, which paid members of certain career fields (pilots, navigators) lump sums in exchange for the remainder of their time promised, and of course the Blue-to-Green program which allowed Air Force members to transition into the Army. Yuck!

Now is the time to take advantage of the Force Shaping where those in high positions, or just in positions higher than myself, are retiring (which are mainly white males) and progress and attain those positions. Women and minorities need to study hard and test well to advance in high positions in the military, such as Command Chief Master Sergeants and even as Generals. Unfortunately, getting over the minorities issue is just one problem, for many men, the though of a woman being their superior is a dreadful thought. Researchers have long suspected that women employ a different leadership styles than men.

And even though women make up only a small fraction of CEOs at the largest corporations in the United States and beyond, their leadership style might actually be more effective than men’s, according to at least one expert. Herb Greenberg, CEO of Caliper Corp. , a Princeton, N. J. -based consulting firm, has undertaken a multi-year, global study of leadership qualities of men and women. Preliminary results were released in the spring (see the Executive Briefing column in the June 2005 issue of HR Magazine), and more details are slated to be presented at the World HR Congress in Singapore.

What’s clear so far is that, in general, women executives demonstrate more empathy, better listening skills and a more inclusive style of leadership,” Greenberg said. No surprise there. “What is somewhat surprising, however, is that many successful female leaders tend to be more assertive, more persuasive and more willing to take risks than their male counterparts,” Greenberg stated. According to the Women Leaders Study found at www. caliperonline. com, qualities that distinguish women leaders begin with in-depth interviews with leaders from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Using personality tests as well, the study found few significant differences between leaders on the two sides of the Atlantic. But it concluded that female leaders “possess stronger interpersonal skills (empathy, flexibility and sociability) and are more assertive than their males. ” The study also observed that “the strong people skills possessed by women leaders enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive ability.

Female leaders are interested in reaching the right decision, not necessarily confirming their initial belief, the study found. Female leaders want to build teams and share success. The male leaders we studied,” Greenberg continued, “run the risk of not necessarily convincing people to agree with them so much as pushing for their point of view. ” (Greenberg, 2005) But how would this impact the organization’s customs? What is it about the culture that is so important? Basically, the culture is the personality of the organization.

Culture is comprised of the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization members and their behaviors. Members of an organization soon come to sense the particular culture of a group. Culture is one of those terms that is difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when they sense it. For example, the culture of a large, for-profit corporation is quite different than that of a hospital which is quite different that that of a university. You can tell the culture of an organization by looking at the arrangement of furniture, what they brag about, what members wear, etc. – similar to what you can use to get a feeling about someone’s personality. You can sense just by walking in if diversity is lacking in the culture of an organization. For example, walk into any barber shop, I guarantee that the majority of the barbers will be male. Now, hypothetically speaking, unless you’re already a female, if you were a woman don’t you think you would feel a little intimidated when applying for a job there? Would the overwhelming male presence make you fell a little uncomfortable?

Now assume that out of the eight barbers that were there, three were women. Now would that change the way you felt? I would assume so. Women leaders have an attitude of “I’ll show you,” and that is a great motivator. How big of a boost to the organization do you think it is when the one in charge maintains a positive attitude and always keeps a positive approach on any and all problems? Don’t you think the people who work for them would be more susceptible to take the same approach? I think this would definitely affect the culture within the organization.

My wife has experienced a situation, where people doubted her being able to join the military let alone finish basic training. Her goal became to prove everyone who doubted her wrong. Basic training is a mind game and she made it. Another situation was at our previous base her superintendent (a male) doubted that she would do well in an Anatomy and Physiology class she took over the summer. Although it was a real challenge and at times and she sometime felt like quitting, all I can remember was her wanting to prove him wrong, sure enough she earned an A in that class and it was well deserved!

I know that her drive was contagious and it made me not only to want to excel in the classes that I was taking at the time, but I also wanted to see her do especially well in her class. Women leaders who can survive tough times with their self-esteem relatively intact have an opportunity to demonstrate that the collaborative approach to management—the constant willingness to embrace the ideas of others—can be the most successful leadership style in the business world of the 21st century.

Many studies suggest that women are bringing a style of management into the workforce that is more caring and intuitive than that of their male counterparts. Males are thought to have a traditional approach to management. The traditional approach has characteristics of control, rigidity, and like I mentioned in the beginning, chain of command. Women on the other hand are bringing a style of management to the work place with characteristics of openness, inclusion, and empowerment for employees. Empowerment for Employees!

We are a social species. We become and like to remain connected to those we know, those who have taught us, those with whom we are familiar. These along with many others are some of the resistances that must be overcome in order for diversity and change to occur. If you ask people in an organization to do things in a new way, as rational as that new way may seem to you, you will be setting yourself up against all that hard wiring, all those emotional connections to those who taught your audience the old way.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it? ” In order to surpass these problems, we need to create a climate where everyone involved in the change program feels free and not threatened to communicate with others will minimize resistance in the long run. Attitudes of respect, understanding, and communication will help to break a cycle of reciprocal threat and resentment on the part of the employees and the advocates of the change program.

Acceptance of change can be improved when certain conditions are present that minimize the threat or discomfort of a proposed change. The probability that a change will be accepted is increased if the manager or even the outside consultant can create a climate in which people feel free to change rather than pressured. Given the outcome of the research data for this project, it is clear that women and minorities in management in the years to come will not only be prepared, but appear to have a distinct advantage over their male counterparts in supervising the changing work force.

Being bilingual is another advantage minorities have. This only makes you more marketable and all of us know that the more marketable you are the better chances you have at getting the job you want. Given the issues examined in this paper, women not only appear to be different in their approach than men, they also appear to be more naturally equipped with a style of communication and nurturing skills that gives them an edge over the men in managing their employees.

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