WORKFORCEDIVERSITY AND BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
WorkforceDiversity and Barriers to Effective Communication
Effectivecommunication is a vital and fundamental aspect of any givenorganization since organizations are made up of people, and peopleneed to communicate to work together as a team. In cases whereeffective communication is not achieved, the overall performance ofthe organization is always compromised (Locker, & Kaczmarek,2013). For communication to be made, there needs to be thetransmission of information from a source to a receiver and asubsequent offer of feedback from the receiver back to the source(Rai& Rai, 2012).One cannot decline to note that there are different forms ofcommunication, which are used in various kinds of situations in thecontext of an organization. This paper offers an overview of barriersto effective communication in situations characterized by workforcediversity in an organization. It involves a case study of AirtelCompany, which suffers from a management issue relating to thesubject matter and consequently offers proposed solution to theproblem at the firm.
Theproblem of Workforce Diversity and Barriers to EffectiveCommunication
Tobegin with, it is important to mention that the communicationsituation in organizations of a diverse workforce (having employeesof heterogeneous backgrounds) faces more barriers of achievingeffectiveness compared to a case wherein the labor force in anorganization is homogeneous (Xiaoyan, &Lan, 2013).This represents a management issue at Airtel Ltd., a multinationalcompany in the town of Plano. I am employed as a supervisor at theenterprise. Undeniably, the general conditions of work at the companyare nothing short of satisfactory I have even developed a personalgoal of becoming a managerial level employee in the firm after Icomplete my bachelor’s degree. Also, I have managed to build goodworking relations with some members of the top management as well assubordinates in the company, which tends to recruit higher-levelemployees from within. Nevertheless, and over time, I have noticedthat the firm, which is full of workplace diversity, suffers frombarriers to effective communication.
Managementby objectives (MBO) is observed as one of the means by whicheffective communication is promoted within an organization (Locker, &Kaczmarek, 2013). At Airtel company, however, the aspect of MBO isheavily disregarded by the top management. Further, a look at thepeople occupying different positions in the company shows that whitesdominate most of the managerial positions while Blacks and Latinosdominate positions of subordinates. There are also some technicalpeople of Chinese descent. In some thoughtful manner, there is asense or racism within the organization. However, the opinions ofsubordinate level employees are often disregarded during moments ofcritical decision-making. Such seems to be the norm in organizationswith diverse workforce (Okoro & Washington, 2012)
Despitethe situation at the company, some measures could be implemented toreduce the adverse effects of this management issues and promoteeffective communication in the business. To understand this viewpointbetter, it is important to analyze specific cases that relate withbarriers to effective communication. In Airtel Company, there was aninstance wherein the company underwent moments of financialchallenges. During the initial stages of the financial crisis, therewere rumors among subordinate employees that the company intended tomake pay cuts on their salaries. Important to note is that there wasno official communication from the top management about the financialturmoil in the firm. Instead, information was rapidly spreading amongthe workers via grapevine and speculation. Still, some subordinatesthat worked in the finance department would be seen chattering aboutthe situation with colleagues from other departments. Soon afterthat, a good number of subordinate employees (from ethnic minoritybackgrounds) got letters from the top management informing them thatthey were to lose their jobs. Additionally, a good number of workersthat were not laid off, including me, were subject to pay cuts. Thishappened without any meaningful or detailed communication from themanagement. Moreover, there was no memo to indicate that the companywas in times of financial hardships. The resultant effect was thatmany workers felt they were treated unfairly they lost motivation intheir jobs and a general sense of commitment to the organization. Itwas clear that the people suffered from distressing feelings ofresentment towards the management, and some opted to quit their jobsaltogether. With a gap in human resources, the workload alsoincreased for the remaining workers.
Solutionto the problem
Asa solution, the company should consider engaging processes ofmanagement by objectives, wherein all members of the organization areinvolved in critical decision-making processes that affect the largerenterprise. This would make the workers gain feelings of belongingand commitment to the company (Xiaoyan, &Lan, 2013).From the initial stages of the crisis, the management should haveestablished a clear and reliable communication channels with the restof the organization’s staff (Guffey, & Loewy, 2012). Eventhough it is a little late, such an approach should still beinitiated. It would be used to communicate the financial soundness ofthe firm at every level of progression and make them understand theongoing situation. As a result, the employees would maintain somedesirable patterns of behavior at the workplace. Even thoughdifferent people bear different feeling in similar circumstances, theapproach would still be advantageous because the workers are fromvery diverse backgrounds.
Additionally,the company should maintain a sense of balance in filling jobpositions at all levels. In as much as competence remains a matter ofgreat importance in employment, people from different racial, ethnic,and cultural backgrounds should be made to work together in teams forpurposes of achieving connection and interaction as a group dynamicsstrategy. As well, such a move would enhance and facilitate more roomfor differentiated opinions, reactions, viewpoints and or responsesto matters of concern to the company. According to Xiaoyan and Lan(2013), cultural differences among members of a diverse workforcehardly have any negative impacts on the performance of a firm thecontrary is true. Undeniably, subordinates may not offer any forms ofpositive feedback to management that they feel is discriminating andor undervaluing them. On the other hand, having people from diversebackgrounds in all levels of employment in a company would make everymember free to engage with management and offer feedback. As such,MBO can be easily established and maintained. It is well understoodthat there are professionals in the job market that are from allracial and ethnic backgrounds that exist in the world. In actuality,the performance of the business relies on its capacity of managing anot only competent but also an all-around workforce as a humanresources team (Guffey, & Loewy, 2012). If Airtel Company, whichis an MNC, ensures to achieve this approach of management, then itwould be safe to say that the company’s nature of operationsreflects the aspect of globalization. In fact, the team should try toreplicate the strategic management approaches of HRM from top levelMNCs like Ford, Target, and McDonalds for examples. The top rankingMNCs comprehend that having a diverse workforce is the achievement ofglobalization.
Communicationremains an all-important tool for the propagation of operationswithin and outside of an organization. The level of effectiveness ofcommunication determines the level of efficiency and effectiveness ofa firm’s performance. Undeniably, diversity in the context of anorganization might make communication a challenge in one way oranother. As such, and regarding the case reviewed in this paper, themanagement of Airtel Ltd can better focus on manipulating the natureof its operations in a manner that facilitates or promotescross-cultural cooperation among employees of different racial andethnic backgrounds. The company needs to evaluate ways of improvingcommunication efforts between the management and the workers. It mustalso be noted that managing communication in an organization with adiverse workforce such as is not an easy task. Culturaldiversities are manifested in complicated ways whereas one employeemay value communication via employee meetings, another may desiredirect personal communication.
Establishmentof teams composing of members of different backgrounds would lead toenhanced interaction and ultimately the betterment of performance ofthe larger organization. Even so, the human resources managementorgan of the firm should focus on recruiting the right people for thesensitive management jobs, individuals with good personalities,leadership skills, and enthusiasm who value working together withothers of divergent backgrounds.
Guffey,M. E., & Loewy, D. (2012). Essentialsof business communication.Cengage Learning.
Locker,K., & Kaczmarek, S. (2013). BusinessCommunication: Building Critical Skills.McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Okoro,E. A., & Washington, M. C. (2012). Workforce diversity andorganizational communication: Analysis of human capital performanceand productivity. Journalof Diversity Management (Online), 7(1),57.
Rai,U. & Rai, S. (2012). Effectivecommunication (2nded.). Mumbai [India]: Himalaya Pub. House.
Xiaoyan,Z., & Lan, H. (2013). Cross-culture influences on interpersonalrelationship in communication management. InternationalJournal of Business & Management,8(12), 117-125