Issues Related to Diversity in Organizational Communication

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  • 0:03 Organizational Communication
  • 0:36 Workplace Diversity
  • 1:56 Diversity-Related…
  • 4:30 Solving…
  • 5:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Reed

Danielle works in digital marketing and advertising. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and an MBA.

In this lesson, we'll examine the many different diversity-related issues encountered in organizational communication. Factors impacting diversity include gender, age, ethnicity, and social status.

Organizational Communication

Organizational communication drives the productivity, quality of work, relationships, and even loyalty of a workplace. The introduction of diversity to the workplace comes with benefits like improved employee performance and a better talent pool. It does impact the organizational communication of a company when you introduce any variation in gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social status.

It is important to note that there are no absolutes in the world of diversity and communication. Not every common issue applies to every employee.

Workplace Diversity

Business communication keeps the workplace running because a person is bringing his or her individuality to a workplace for contribution. Individual contributions all work together for the better of the company. Some factors impacting diversity in the workplace are:

  • Gender: Employees are more flexible than ever in gender identity with openness becoming status quo around the world. Research on gender diversity in the workplace shows companies with diversity enable better problem solving.

  • Age: In the current workforce, there are traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Millennials. An age-diverse workforce has a more balanced talent pool because of information and education coming into play with every team.

  • Ethnicity: Ethnicity introduces factors like cultural values, holiday traditions, and even actions to take during communication. Workers from various ethnicities provide insights to communication trends and cultural values. Often, ethnicity drives internal and external change in an organization.

  • Social status: Typically, social status refers to the position within a company. People on different levels of hierarchy in the company get treated based on position in the organization. Teams composed of members who are moderately distant in status do well in idea generation and task completion.

Diversity-Related Workplace Issues

For the purposes of this lesson, communication includes both formal and informal. Formal business communication consists of communication occurring because of policy, rules, and regulations by the company and occurring within company hierarchy. An example of formal business communication is an employee handbook. Informal business communication is the exchange of information from people of different statuses within a company. These are the things you hear through the grapevine.

Varied Communication Styles

One common diversity workplace issue arises from varied communication styles. Across cultures and ethnicities, communication style occurs directly or indirectly. Western cultures tend to be more direct while others are indirect in suggestions.

In Western culture, it is not rude to interject one's opinion in a meeting. With Americans, Australians, Germans, and Canadians, efficiency is valued. With Japanese, Chinese, Saudi Arabian, and Indian people, directly stating something negative is rude. Ease into topics softly with other cultures.

Gender Dictating Learning and Listening

Another factor involves the concept of _gender dictating learning and listening. There are no absolutes in the world of gender designations, but men and women are often raised differently. In a study by Robin Lakoff, it was found that girls are ''taught to use passive, empathetic voices and more encouraged toward active listening. Boys, however, are encouraged toward competition, using forceful, active tones.''

These subtle differences lead to misunderstanding. For example, a woman asks more questions during training than a man might ask. Men may see this as being indecisive, while a woman sees this as being thorough.

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