Provided with the three challenges to OB, I believe Workforce Diversity (WD) has the greatest opportunity for organizations.
Describing increased WD in the context of opportunity depends on what type of opportunity one is concerned. This response endorses WD under the conceptualization of personal growth. Bringing together mixed cultures with different complexities of backgrounds creates an environment enabling a better understanding of personal and corporate identities.
The greatest obstacle for capitalizing on this opportunity is having innately prejudiced personal identities. Who we are and what we know is a collection of life experiences, like growing up in an urban stetting compared to rural, or being financially wealthy.
Another obstacle in increased WD is that the premise immediately concentrates on people’s differences instead of their similarities. However, if diverse groups share genuine interactions and dialogues, individuals can synergize their relationships in common similarities, creating a better appreciation for their differences.
I believe these obstacles to be true, because of the innate nature of man to spend more time with people who think, act and look like themselves. This creates additional hurdles in communication between groups, by corresponding and treating those different than us in generalized ways.
For example, the words one uses and topics one may be comfortable discussing is different depending on the receiving parties’ ethnic or social background. This creates a closed and sometimes dishonest dialogue/interaction from the start and restricts people from engaging on genuine terms. In essence, this protects oneself from being challenged in their ideas and restricts the opportunity for personal and inevitably corporate growth.
For increased WD to have beneficial morale and personal growth for individuals and organizations honest and open dialogue must take place. Therefore, dialogue and interactions should focus equally on personal similarities and differences.
McShane, S.L., Von Glinow, M.A. (2009). Organizational Behavior: Essentials, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Irwin.