Organizational behaviour knowledge is very important for everyone. It not only benefits a person as an individual, but also influences organization events. There are five organizational behaviour trends in the workplace: globalization, the changing workforce, evolving employment relationships, virtual work, and workplace values and ethics. In this essay, we will talk about two of them which are the changing workforce and workplace values and ethics. For the changing workforce, as Mcshane and Travaglione (2007) said there are primary and secondary dimensions of workforce diversity. And those diversities can present both opportunities and challenges in organization. Workplace values and ethics is a significant part of organizational behaviour trends. It can dictate people’s priorities, preferences and desires’ (Mcshane & Travaglione 2007, p 13). In order to understand these two trends better, I interviewed a manager who has six years work experience in Seven-Eleven store. During this face-to face interview, some relevant questions were asked. And the research result is quite helpful. Trends affecting the workplace 1. The changing workforce With the development of globalisation, workforce diversity has become one of the most important trends that affect the workforce. People who work in the same workplace may have different religion, education and work experience.
And those diversities can bring opportunities and challenges to an organization. Racial diversity Ethnic and racial diversity in the workplace is a core value in organization. For example, Canada is a diverse country with a number of ethnic groups. Visible minorities account for 10 per cent of the Canadian population in 1995 and this figure is expected to double by 2015 (Demers, cite in Seymen 2006). Furthermore, Atiyyah (cited in Seymen 2006)in his work, concentrates on workforce diversity which is composed of Americans, Europeans, mainly Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran and Persian Gulf countries.
Today,with globalisation increasingly happening , majority of organisation have seen multicultural background employees as a important part of success in this highly diversified society. The advantage of having a multi cultural group of employees in an organization is it broadens an organization’s view as they exchange ideas and opinions, working towards making a better and more effective business decision. However a diversified organization also has its disadvantage. One of the problems to overcome is cross-cultural communication.
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For members of different culture, they interpret certain words, actions or signals differently. As Karoc-kakabadse and kouzmin (2001) highlights that different cultures have different understanding regarding the interaction process and the different style of dialogues. Some misunderstanding could occur due to different interpretation and cause workplace disagreements Therefore in a diversified environment, it is important to practice cultural awareness as to avoid misinterpretation which could lead to unproductive working attitudes within an organization.
Women in workforce Compare to the many years ago, woman in the workforce have increased intensively. Women have proven to be better at managing staff in an organization as they are more people-orientated. As Mcshane and Travaglione (2007) suggest that compared to male managers, woman managers are more relationship orientated and adopt a stronger emphasis on teams and employee involvement. However in many occasion, woman have stronger family commitment compared to men. Therefore higher percentages of main position in organization are mostly men.
On the other hand, woman have been increasingly joining the workforce as many organization have better working conditions offered to woman such as longer maternity leave and in some organizations, childcare services are introduced to help woman return to the workforce after childbirth. Generational diversity Generational diversity could present opportunities as well as challenges in an organization(Mcshane & Travaglione 2007). Basically, generation X and generation Y has different work values as generation X go for job security while generation Y goes more for job satisfaction, status and social involvement(Cinnamo & Gardner 2008).
By understanding generational diversity, it could help to identify employees’ needs, in turn managers or employers could come up with organization policies that matches those needs which could result in better job satisfaction and also low employee turnover. Employee turnover disadvantages an organisation as recruitment cost time, effort and money. And retaining employees with experiences, and training employees giving them more skills could in turn help the organization reach greater heights.
Advantages of generational diversity could be improved decision making and team performance on complex tasks. In a diverse society, a diverse workforce would provide a better customer service too. This is one of the reasons why some organizations choose employees of diversified backgrounds and generations. 2Workplace value and ethics Importance of values in workplace McDonald and Zepp (2007) define values as the embodiment of what an organization stands for, and should be the basis for the behaviour of its members. Value and ethics guide employees’ actions, behaviours and making decisions.
The influence of family, religion , community will determine individual values, Within an organization, when employees have clash of values , It becomes very difficult for them to work together , therefore having a set of organization work policy is very important , it defines the appropriate ethics and values that employees should have. With increasing cultural diversity these days, it is very important to find shared values that majority in an organization believe in, to promote harmony and also increase efficiency as they work together.
However due to society diversity, ethical conflict could occur. As Wartick and Wood (1998) defines ethical conflicts as dissonances among principles of right among principles of wrong. At a workplace, it is common to come across ethical conflict whereby both parties reckon they are right in their own way, making decision to the benefit of the organisation. In this situation, conflict resolution comes in, where they should together and put their differences aside, and come up with an ideal solution. Corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsible is the organization’s moral obligation towards all of its stakeholders. Otherwise as Kotler and Lee (2005) define corporate responsible is a commitment to improve community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources. This refers to a voluntary commitment a business is making in choosing an implementing these practices rather than mandated by law or by other ethical issues. Big organizations like Westpac and McDonalds practice corporate social responsible.
First and foremost, due to their finance ability, and also to its massive marketing campaigns which due to influences the public. According to Macdonald CSR report 2007, over the years, they have been involved in caring for the environment, contribution to the Australian economy, practicing food safety and responsible marketing, and also giving scholarship and grants to children. In recent years, organizations are no longer after just profit-making, corporate social responsible is getting more and more businesses attention. Interview outcome
In order to under to understand these two trends better, a manager of Severn-Eleven who has six year experience has been interviewed. During the face-to-face interview, ten relevant questions were asked. Here is the interview outcome. The changing workforce . What do you think is changing workforce? I think changing workforce is the replacement of skilled labour, and training employees when the situation is required. Do you think the changing workforce is important in the workplace? Yes. I think it is important in a workplace.Why do you think it is/or is not?
With demands around us constantly changing, it is important for us to prepare ourselves with skills, knowledge that is needed to cope with these changes. If not it will be difficult for our business to compete in this harsh and competitive environment. What factors do you think can affect the changing workforce? Technology advance could affect the changing workforce. Is there cultural diversity within your employees? Why yes/no? Yes, I employ a mixture of races of employees within my organsation, and they get along pretty well.
I chose employees from different background mainly because of the multi-cultural environment we have in Victoria, and also the ideas they be able to exchange as they work together. Workplace values and ethics a) What do you think are ethical values? Ethical values are what one think is right or wrong and it guides one’s actions. For example, here in 7-Eleven ethical principles are those tell the truth, take complaints seriously, treat customers and employees fairly and so on. Do you think ethical values are important in the workplace? Yes, it is important. Why do you think they are/or are not? They provide behaviour rules that can control one’s thoughts and actions. They can affect one’s decision making and organization’s operation. What factors do you think have affected the way we think about ethical behaviour at work? It may be past work experience, cultural practices and family influences. Do you think people’s ethical behaviour at work is affected by what their colleagues or superiors are doing? Yes, as the working environment of a person could directly affect a person’s decision and actions.
According to this interview, it is evident that employers find the need for employees continue acquiring skills to keep up with the changing workforce. As technology advances, it increases challenges in the workplace. For example machines and computers replacing human labour. Uren (2009) stated during recession, women, by contrast, have done better in the services sector of the economy, which is not as severely affected by recessions as manufacturing. As intangible service can only be provide by human labour. When equipped with skills, it is not difficult to cope with the changing workforce.
Generally there is agreement about the trends compared to the interview results as the employer interviewed emphasized about inquiring new skills, and also supports cultural diversity within her chosen employees. Upon entering an organisation, ethics and value do affect an employee’s attitude and judgment, however his or her values could be shaped by religion, family upbringing, past experiences, therefore it is something hard to change. Corporate social responsibility educates and affects not only the organisation’s external environment; it affects the internal environment as well.
Employees could learn proper way ethics on the way, as the organisation carry out campaigns, and it could guide the employees, giving them the ability and knowledge to help the public and needy and cutting down on environmental harm. Upon reflecting, the results we have got from the interview were useful and also highlight the importance of the changing workforce and ethics and values in organsations. We would have a better idea of what to expect when u enter the workforce. My new knowledge would influence me to develop cultural awareness in this multi-cultural environment, and also to keep up with changes, by learning new skills on the way.
Conclusion From the above literature review, we could conclude that generational and cultural diversity may not be a bad thing, it broadens employees’ views and prospects, allows them to exchange ideas and interact , bringing out better opportunities in the global market. However, there are its short-comings, like ethics and value conflict and also cross-cultural communication problems. These could lead to major issue like misinterpretation of information and employee conflicts, which could affect employee’s performance and productivity.
In recent years, there are increasing women joining the workforce, furthermore, occupying main position in organisation. In some situations, women have proved to be better managers than men, as they use a more interactive style of management, and more sensitive to employee’s needs. When employees’ needs are fulfill, they are more likely to feel job satisfaction. Corporation social responsible are getting more organization attention and participation as it provides marketing purpose, and also educating the public with minimizing environmental harm and helping the needy.
Compared to the past, organisations are not just for making profit, but also responsible to the public. An offensive action or word may not mean to be offensive to another person. Misinterpretation could lead to conflict within the organisation, and unrest in a workplace. Therefore active listening and cultural awareness should be practice in a workplace. Misinterpretation could also lead to inefficiency at work. Changing workforce could be due to technology advance whereby employees should continuously learning skills to cope with the changes. With inappropriate skills, it could lead to inefficient completion of task, and also affects organisation’s productivity.
Workplace value and ethics could be a challenge as well, as everyone is different. Different individuals have different values and ethic affecting their decisions and action. Value and ethics of an individual are shaped from past experiences, family upbringing, schooling and religion. Therefore it is something very hard to change. But in a workplace, it is inevitable to work with individuals of different ethics and values. And in serious cases, there could be ethic and value conflicts which could slow down teamwork’s progress. Therefore it is important to always communication and listen to sort the best way out when a problem occur.
Corporate social responsibility is getting the attention of many organsations now. Compared to many years ago, organisation now is not just about making profit. They are more concern about environmental harms, people who need help and also responsible marketing and advertising. For example McDonalds which does community work, do clean ups for the environment, discourage wastage, and helping the needy. Most importantly, they engaged in responsible marketing, where they care the food they produce to sell, the health issues and also obesity issues linked to their products.
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