Human Resource Development

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In some organizations, cultural diversity efforts are met with resistance from key managers and employees. Please identify at least one reason for this resistance and recommend ways it can be overcome as it relates to Human Resource Development? Support your recommendations. Respond in a substantive way with at least 250 words. Then reply to the following students with at least 100 words.

(Emily)
Cultural diversity in the work place can be a difficult thing to be done within a work place. It is not always widely accepted due to the fact that it can be an uncomfortable topic. People do not like change, and implementing a new change, especially an uncomfortable change, will not be quickly accepted. When dealing with this type of situation I think that the best way is to have it optional for employees to be a part of. Make it legitimate and appealing to be a part of, but be educational for the employees so they can learn about the different diversities that are a part of their work place. People are afraid of what they do not know. Educating and making people become more familiar with who they are around can make them more accepting of change and difference. Having cultural diversity can be a huge benefit within a work place. Having multiple different backgrounds gives more opportunity for information within a work place. Not every work place is functioning in the same way, so with being able to have insight of how things worked well in different work places as well as other countries can be a great benefit within a company. Having diversity programs as an option would be the best way to have people be a part of a program. Forcing people to do things tends to mostly cause resentment towards what is trying to be introduced. Resentment is the last thing that a work place needs. It would be wise of a HR department to make this program optional.

Source: 7 Biggest Diversity Issues in The Workplace – ThisWayGlobal – AI for Talent Acquisition and Sourcing. (2017, July 14). Retrieved from https://www.thiswayglobal.com/blog/top-diversity-issues-in-the-workplace/.

(Samantha)
“Culture is defined as a set of shared values, beliefs, norms and artifacts that are used to interpret the environment, and as a guide for all kinds of behavior” (Werner and DeSimone, 2012, p. 518). Many different attributes help differentiate cultures from one another, and further classify broad descriptors into the smaller subgroups (IE: religion is a broad attribute broken down into subgroups such as Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, etc) which exist within each broad attribute. Some reactions or resistance to cultural diversity programming include deep-seated biases and prejudices, perceived competition for jobs and resources, and confusion bout terms that are used to describe these programs (political correctness, diversity, multiculturism, pluralism, equal opportunity and affirmative action) (Werner and DeSimone, 2012). Managing diversity as defined by Werner and DeSimone (2012, pg. 529) as “a comprehensive, managerial process for developing an environment…that works for all employees”. Essentially managing diversity means creating an environment that is all-inclusive. It may be difficult to overcome reactions or resistance to cultural diversity due to personnel’s reluctance to address the five areas found within the managing diversity approach: 1) a long-term commitment to change; 2) substantive changes in organizational culture; 3) a modified definition of leadership and management roles; 4) both individual and organizational adaptation; and 5) structural changes. Flatly said, an organization should be willing to adapt ALL parts collectively – however, many organizations mix and match parts of this approach, assuming that by addressing separate identified parts, that the other areas are either a. perfect the way they are in the current state, or b. can be implemented independently of each other with success. Often, in my experience, the people making changes rely on zero input from the employees negating the existence of problems that may exist or need to be identified and addressed and go on to address only the issues which the supervisor find important to him or herself. Therein can be found much of the resistance. If the supervisor/owner/HRM is not 100% committed to 100% of the program, then success will not follow at 100%; and if collective input is avoided, 100% commitment to the problems/reactions/resistance will be askew.

Werner, Jon M. and DeSimone, Randy L.. (2012). Human Resource Development, Sixth Edition. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

If you were a manager in a shoe manufacturing plant and you were asked to design and implement self-managed work teams, what kind of intervention strategy would you use? How would you involve first-line supervision in the process? What kind of problems would you anticipate? Respond in a substantive way with at least 250 words. Then reply to the following two students with at least 100 words.

(Samantha)
Common characteristics to self-managed teams (SMT’s) are 1. There is an interdependent relationship between members of the team; 2. Members have discretion over such things as work assignments, work methods, work schedules, training and dealing with external customers and suppliers; 3. Team members have a variety of skills that allow them to perform several tasks, and 4. The team receives performance feedback. To design and implement a self-managed work team for a shoe manufacturing plant, the following intervention strategies would need to be employed:

  • Awareness training should be introduced in an effort to explain the process to individuals
  • Skills training specific to the SMT will introduce the team to management-oriented skills, budgeting and planning, problem-solving and communication
  • Cross-training will be utilized to familiarize all members to shared tasks

First line supervisors should be involved from the start by helping to develop an SMT vision and mission, and establish a strategy for the team; to help identify team goals, work practices and processes, and general team management processes; and to supervise productivity, quality, cycle times customer satisfaction, quality of work and SWT flexibility (Werner and DeSimone, 2012).

While these types of teams seem to be more effective because they are made up of people who work the job on the frontline, they may not be without problems. Some of the problems that could arise may stem from communication gaps between SMT’s, as wells as between SMT’s and front-line supervisors. One example would be 2 SMT’s given similar yet slightly different training resulting in 2 slightly different products – that are caught in quality control at a later date; and the lack of guidance as one supervisor handles multiple teams, becoming unavailable uniformly to all SMT’s for questions etc. Another problem that I can see, as cited by Lynn McDonald in her article “What is a Self-Managed Team” (2019) include the tendency to succumb to ‘group think’ and not raise issues that may upsetting for fear of being singled out in the smaller group, and the inability to fully onboard with the program due to the lack of managerial skills and training.

MacDonald, Lynn. (March 7, 2019). What is a Self-Managed Team. Chron. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/selfmanaged-team-18236.html.

Werner, Jon M., and DeSimone, Randy L.. (2012). Human Resource Development, Sixth Edition. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

(Christine)
A self-managed team is a group of employees that’s responsible and accountable for all or most aspects of producing a product or delivering a service. Traditional organizational structures assign tasks to employees depending on their specialist skills or the functional department within which they work. Their essential characteristics include independent tasks, autonomous decision-making, shared responsibility and shared leadership. In an ideal self-managed team, members plan, organize, control, staff and monitor their own work.

As a manager of a shoe manufacturing plant I would implement self managed work team in the following groups:

  • Design Concept
  • Make Sole
  • Cushioning support
  • Shoe Assembly
  • Lacing
  • Packaging

Giving factory workers the ability to make their own decisions and see direct result will give them more skin in the game to do their job well. Talk about adding meaning to their work! Showing you trust your workers by giving them freedom to manage their workflow shows you respect their ideas and, in turn, they’ll want to keep bringing you value. By using an employee app that allows bottom-up communication, you not only improve internal communication in your factory, you also give workers the floor to express their ideas and instill a sense of belonging. The more you make employees feel like they’re part of the bigger picture, the more they’ll give back. Due to this I don’t foresee problems with the work teams unless an employee just doesn’t like the freedom to make group decisions and feedback.

References:

Werner and DeSimone, Human Resources Development. 6th Edition, 2012. Chapter 14 and 15

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