Thinking About Diversity and Inclusion

There are several aspects to consider when thinking about the dimensions of cultural diversity. Diversity is not restrained to the workplace only and is seen in all environments. There is diversity in communities and social organizations all of which need to be considered. People must be able to define and understand diversity in order to begin accepting it. Accepting diversity then leads to inclusion. Dimensions of Cultural Diversity There are several dimensions of cultural diversity. According to Richard T. Schaefer, University of Phoenix Racial and Ethnic Groups.

Census Update, Twelfth Edition (2011), cultural diversity includes age, gender, ethnic background, metal and physical disabilities, characteristics, race, and sexual orientation. The dimensions of cultural diversity define each person as an individual. Cultural diversity dimensions are often visible such as race and hair color or texture, but cultural dimensions such as religion, language, and education are not as easily identifiable. Each individual is born into cultural diversity and have no way of changing all of the dimensions which define them.

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People can learn a language and choose what religion they wish to practice, but dimensions such as mental and physical disabilities, characteristics, and race often cannot be changed and must be accepted. Individuals must develop traits to define themselves rather than allowing their culture speak for and define them. People should use culture only to define where they are born, raised, the language they speak, and who they interact with; all other parts of a person should be defined by the individual standards, beliefs, and characteristics.

Cultures should not limit a person or the potential they possess. Identifying with Ethnic, Cultural, or Other Groups Often times, people allow their ethnicity, culture, or other groups identify them and how they act. Some people may blame their behavior on their ethnicity, culture, or groups they identify with and make no attempts to change. The dimensions of cultural diversity define the author as being a Caucasian female. The values of the author define her as holding strong cultural and family ties.

Strong family ties and descending from a family with strong ties to the military led the author to make the decision and join the Air Force. The author completed her time in the military and has knowledge and understanding with this group. The author is also a student and belongs to this group. Being a student while working full-time brings on several challenges and the author can relate to this group of personnel. While trying to better herself, she takes on the daily struggles.

The author feels these are both groups that once associated with people will have a general understanding for others in the groups. Diversity and Inclusion Differences To have an understanding of the differences between diversity and inclusion, they must be defined. Diversity is defined as “The ways in which people differ that may affect their organizational experience in terms of, communication, performance, motivation, and inclusion” (Harvey, C. P. & Allard, M. J. , University of Phoenix, 2009).

Diversity continues to create attention in the working environment and looks to employee personnel most qualified for the position instead of focusing on hiring minorities to show diversity in the organization. Inclusion is defined as “Bringing diverse workers into an organization” (Harvey, C. P. & Allard, M. J. , University of Phoenix, 2009). There are factors that work against or make inclusion difficult in all environment; these factors are prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, and privilege. All of the factors draw negative attention to the concept of diversity in all environments.

Diversity is expanding the cultural dimensions and adding qualified personnel to an environment, but inclusion is an aspect of diversity. If inclusion is not conducted or is counteracted by the factors, the diversity is not successful. Diversity Training The importance of providing diversity training is that people need to know how to work and interact with diversity in all environments. Today’s society has laws and regulations in place, including Equal Employment Opportunity Legislation (Harvey, C. P. & Allard, M. J. , University of Phoenix, 2009) to promote a diverse work environment.

The laws and regulations make it so people are hired based on their qualifications and not their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, or genetic information (“U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”, n. d. ). While these laws and regulations are in effect, there are some people who may not have had any interaction with diversity and do not know how to act or what to or not to say. Diversity training would provide all employees the opportunity to ask questions and have a general understanding of the interactions they will be faced with.

Diversity training may also discuss prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, and privileges and what will not be tolerated. Cultural Experience in the Workplace Being employed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) and a military veteran, there has been and continues to be cultural diversity interactions. The work environment is extremely diverse and all employees interact with each other seamlessly. There is inclusion in the work environment, and people are looked at and looked at as a person.

In the work environment, people are expected to work together on various projects; there is no room for prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, or privileges to take effect throughout the project or time spent together. MIT LL employees are expected to handle and conduct themselves in a professional manner and by doing so there is no room for prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, or privileges. MIT LL personnel are looked at and defined as a person and what they do or how they contribute to the work that needs to be complete, not by any of the cultural diversity dimensions.

Conclusion In today’s modern society, there is little room for prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, or privileges. With the ever growing globalization with the internet and social networking sites and diverse working environments, people need to know how to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Throughout the internet there are web pages and social networking pages dedicated to prejudice and discrimination behaviors and work against the goal of diversity. People should be viewed as a person and should be defined by their actions rather than their cultural dimensions.

References
Harvey, C.P. & Allard, M.J., University of Phoenix. (2009). Understanding and Managing Diversity Fourth ed. Retrieved from Harvey, C.P. & Allard, M.J., University of Phoenix, SOC315 website. Richard T. Schaefer, University of Phoenix. (2011). Racial and Ethnic Groups. Census Update, Twelfth Edition. Retrieved from Richard T. Schaefer, University of Phoenix, SOC315 website. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/index.cfm

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