The Advantages and Disadvantages of Diverse Teams within an Organization – Essay

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Diverse Teams within an Organization.

Columbia Southern University

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Diverse Teams within an Organization.

Compiling a great team is sometimes very difficult. There are many different things to consider such as which person would work best with which person, what task will be tackled, and how will group dynamics come into play. The outcome of the team selection process will most often directly reflect the results of the team’s efforts. Team member selection has been a learned process since grade school. As a child, when choosing a dodgeball team, most kids would rather have smaller quicker players, which leaves the larger slower kids out, but when the game changes, so do the preferences. When the same group of kids decide to play tackle football instead, the big kids are moved higher up in the draft. Situations like this are often the first time kids get to work together and in ways that benefit a group, regardless of differences. The team concept learned early in life is often the same used later in adulthood. Understanding advantages and disadvantages of diversity in team member selection and the ways to avoid pitfalls can be the deciding factor when determining team members and, therefore, the difference between success and failure.

Most times, when given a chance to create a team, the team captain will choose based on past experiences. For example, if Joe was the best motivational speaker at last year’s convention, Bob might select him to be a speaker during corporates next big visit. No one can really know if this selection was correct or not, but based on what Bob knows, this choice looks like a good one. Knowing team member’s strengths and weaknesses prior to team member selection would be ideal, but when this isn’t possible, it’s best to diversify. Diversification of team members assures that if one member proves week in a specific area, there may be someone else who can step up. For example, when choosing the players in the introduction, the team captain knew the game to be played. What would happen if that knowledge was removed from the equation? Would the captain be better off assuming football and pick all the big kids, or would it be better to assume dodgeball and choose all the smaller quicker ones? The truth is, even at a young age, most kids would understand to pick a few big kids and a few quick kids…just in case. The advantages of a diverse team in this case would most likely lead to being competitive regardless of the game. The same holds true in business; when the task is unknown, put a diverse group in the game and see what happens. At least with diversity, you’ll most likely be competitive.

With advantages of diversity, come potential disadvantages. Group dynamics are just as important as individual strengths and abilities. Having the perfect players for the game doesn’t always translate into success. If the best wide receiver on a football team isn’t happy with the quarterback’s ability to get him the ball and throws a fit about it, that receiver has just become a distraction for the whole team. The best way to overcome this issue is for the receiver to understand the team concept. When all players value the outcome of the game more than their own individual accomplishments, success is easy. The individuals on the team will be less inclined to be upset at others performances and more helpful to others in achieving their individual successes and, therefore, team success. All of the group dynamics lessons learned at a young age and even later in development, can translate directly to the business world.

In the work environment, people are constantly being asked to work together, but what if they feel they would rather work alone? In today’s society, people are becoming more and more unsocial. Some say that this can be attributed to technological advances and the use of electronics and social media which promote isolation from society at young ages. Children in the 1980’s used to play outside with their friends, but when gaming systems such as Atari or Nintendo were introduced, the playing went indoors. Fortunately for those kids, the games required you to be in the same room if you wanted to play two players. Nowadays, kids are actually punished for being in the same room. Games are now designed to only allow one player per T.V. which means if you want to play with a friend, that friend has to go to another room or even another house. Kids are growing up in a world where the only time they speak to each other is through a headset while using a video gaming system or computer. So who can blame them when they grow up and don’t understand the value of working together? Who can blame them when they have anxieties about communicating with people face-to-face? Diversity training is, now more than ever, one of the most important learning objectives for current, new, and future employees and employers.

One major training objective in diversity training is the understanding of empathy. Empathizing with a coworker is often the first step in understanding their position. Having never walked a day in their shoes, it is often difficult to achieve this. Getting groups together for guided discussion is a good way for everyone to get to know each other and understand each other’s perspective. It’s very difficult for a man to know how it is to be a woman and vice versa. It’s equally difficult for people of different cultures to understand each other’s perspectives. Not all people have the same values and would, therefore, not have the same goals or natural objectives. Understanding, and then accepting, this truth assists in empathizing with coworkers. Once everyone has accepted this, team cohesiveness combined with buy-in and a unified goal of task accomplishment can lead to success.

Diversity training is a very beneficial part of ones arsenal of skills used when building the perfect team. Understanding the importance of group dynamics can also make choosing team members for a specific task easier and can lead to a more successful team. Once a team is compiled, a good leader will lead his team members by example and will help them focus on task completion rather than unbeneficial rhetoric. While diversity training is important to all business settings, it is more important that all team members place individual feelings below the needs of the team and their shared goal. Team members will find comfort in understanding the mission objectives and the shared responsibility of mission accomplishment.

References

DuBrin, A. J. (2015). Human Relations. Interpersonal Job-Oriented Skills. Twelfth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson.

Hoever, I. J., Zhou, J., & van Knippenberg, D. (2018). Different Strokes for Different Teams. Academy of Management Journal. Vol. 61 Issue 6, p2159-2181.

Doll, S. (2019). Human Resources Magazine. Winter 2019, Vol. 24 Issue 1, p18-20.




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