Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Organizations are growing more complex, and the relationships are significantly more important today on the individual level. In contrast, micro-to-micro interactions determine the state of the system and its capacity to self-organize. Without an individual ability to manage complexity, modern companies, which operate as open systems and living organisms, cannot innovate and respond to the external trends as efficiently as they require to sustain their competitive advantage and remain profitable. One of the critical challenges in modern society and the business environment is to create a viable social system that offers unity in diversity (Gharajedaghi, 2011). For this reason, leaders need to be able to identify the various voices of the organizational system and make these voices work as one whole.
How to Accomplish the Unity and the Innovation
While it is evident for many leaders and companies that diversity is not the want. Still, the need for organization, the ways to achieve the diversified company goals, and individual relationships remains one of the major challenges for these companies (Erbe, 2014). Nakabandi (2015) notes that it is the art of leadership to ensure that individuals with varying interests and independent mindset can exist and work in an organization that they see as an interdependent whole. To achieve that, according to the author, responsibility and accountability should be an imminent attribute of each position, irrespectively of its hierarchy and level of seniority. Like Nike, organizations create project teams where each member can offer the product or innovation for testing. Decisions are made within the project teams to bring such ideas to the Beta testing level (until a certain budget) without organizational involvement leadership. This gives a higher degree of accountability to the micro-level and builds on interdependency within smaller sub-groups of a large organization. Easley (2010) further notes that cultures ‘multiplicity can build on strong growth within the companies. The best way to reduce the barriers and build on the opportunities that come from the diversity of ethnic backgrounds and cultures is to educate people to accept and value this multiplicity. In other words, working along with individuals and groups to evoke change is essential to the success of diverse organizations and cultures. Indeed, education and diversity training should become an essential part of organizational training to ensure that cultural sensitivity and awareness are essential elements of organizational behavior. Easley (2011) gives Parish Pilot Training programs an example to address the change and diversity in African American Communities. Parola, Ellis, and Golden (2015) also discuss the impact of diversity on the organization by exploring gender diversity as an instrument to optimize performance after Merger and Acquisition (M&A). The point that should be made here is that it is fundamental to leadership to comprehend the double-edged sword of diversity in the organization and adopt approaches that can develop diversity as an instrument for innovation and responsiveness.
Diversity is essential to modern companies as it reflects the sociocultural trends. With the intensification and internationalization of the social relationship, companies are forced to build on new leadership approaches to support individuality in interdependent systems. The best to achieve companies' desired outcomes of diverse is to educate individuals and change the culture from change-resistant to change-seeking not only at the top echelons of modern businesses but at the bottom of organizational pyramids.
Easley, C. A. (2010). Expanding a conversation: Is how we live as a culturally diverse society congruent with our underlying assumptions, methodologies, and theories regarding change? The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 46(1), 55–72.
Erbe, N. (2014). Approaches to Managing Organizational Diversity and Innovation. New York: Business Science.Reference Publishing. 2014. Print.
Gharajedaghi, J. (2011). Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture. Chapter 3, “The Logic of the Madness,” pages 57–68.
Nahavandi, A. (2015). The art and science of leadership (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Parola, H. R., Ellis, K. M., & Golden, P. (2015). Performance effects of top management team gender diversity during the merger and acquisition process. Management Decision, 53(1), 57