Topic 2 : The challenge of managing diverse teams

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Question: “Differences can foster creativity, enjoyment and satisfaction at work but can also be the potential for conflict and frustration. To what extent do YOU agree that success at managing differences is the real key to organizational effectiveness?” (Mullins, 2013, p132)


1.   Two edged-sword : managing diverse teams

On the common sense, diversity can be connected to both advantages and disadvantages. In other words, sometimes diversity can lead to disruption and confusion, on the contrary, can induce maximization of synergy. It is reason why the role of leaders are important in managing diverse teams. However, apart from good or bad, diverse teams are a kind of trend in global era. With the help of advance of technology, the employee and managers from different backgrounds like ethnic groups have more opportunities to work together (CMI, 2008).

2. The views of diverse teams

Diverse teams are defined as those to bring together people from different backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, and generations (Ibarra and Hansen 2011: 71). However, nobody can say that only those have advantages or challenges, as a result of this, there are different structured theories and models. Moreover, diversity have long been recognized as important for effective team performance but in recent years attention has been given to the management of diversity (L J. Mullins, 2013, P154). According to J.M.Barry Gibson (Chief Executive of Littlewoods ), “ the fact is that if we effectively exclude women, ethnic minorities and disabled people we are fishing in a smaller pool for the best possible talent. As a service organization, we ought to reflect the style, taste and opinions of our consumers, who of course represent both sexes, all colors and creeds, all ages and disabilities. The main point is that cultural diversity will strengthen the equality of the company and will make us much more outward-looking” (1998). By his comment, we can know basic concept inducing positive direction. In addition, there is a report saying that encouraging diversity in the office and recruiting people on the basis of capability can result in success and good performance by a joint from the CBI and TUC (2008).

Detailed speaking, firstly, diversity increases employee satisfaction, and this reduces recruitment, at last can increase productivity. Secondly, it enables the organization to understand better diverse customers, spending habits and how to access markets. However, in accompanied with researches suggesting those advantages, there are views focusing on criticisms and limitations for diverse teams. Most important thing is tension between individual as subjective of diversity and organization or group. In other words, encouraging diversity and at the same time expecting group co-operation and team work are potential triggers for tension (Mullins, 2013, p160). As another limitations, there is threat by power relationships. According to social exchange theory, diversity leads to uneven balance of outcomes through a kind of power game. People who locates at the lower end of power relationships, mainly part-time or casual workers or ethnic minorities, may be disadvantaged (Ibid)

3. The Role of Leaders in diverse teams

“Diversity management goes beyond what is required by legislation designed to promote equal opportunities and prevent discrimination. It comprises an approach which recognizes and values differences and aims to make positive use of the unique talents and perspectives within the workplace” (CMI, 2008). When it comes to my chosen industry(atually even though I am a public officer, I chose a industry as interested industry), i.e. hospitality industry, is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry. Leaders of hospitality industry, regardless of where they work, can usually achieve a good performance on condition that they should held a lot of people. So, they want to develop cool and smart ideas for this. In other words, creativity is a core of good performance in chosen industry, therefore, diverse team is more adequate than stereotyping teams in aspect of demonstrating creativity because multiple background enable people in diverse team to give other views. For this, leaders of diverse teams should endeavor to build free environment to reveal openly their ideas without tension and reserve. Especially, leaders had better pay attention to minorities and give an opportunity to reveal their idea because there is a possibility of being coerced silence by social power relationship (Mullins, 2013)

4. Conclusion

Diverse teams are a kind of trend in globalization era, so we can’t helping choosing the teams. Moreover, my chosen industry (hospitality industry) need to bring together people from different backgrounds in aspect of displaying creativity. In conclusion, more importantly, managing diversity requires a company-wide philosophy and commitment, a change to organizational culture and supportive systems of management and training (L J.mullins, 2013)


Laurie J. Mullins (2013), ‘Management & Organizational Behavior’, 10th Edition, PEARSON

Ibarra, H & Hansen, M (2011), ‘Are you a collective leader?, Harvard Business

Chartered Management Institute (2008), ‘Management Recruitment: Understanding Routes to Greater Diversity’

J.M.Barry Gibson (1998), ‘Littlewoods: Increasing Diversity, Increasing Profits’, Equal Opportunities Review

CBI & TUC (2008), ‘Talent not Tockenism: The business benefits of workforce diversit’

Chartered Management Institute (2008), ‘Implementing a Diversity Management Programme’, Checklist 152

Tony Anderson (2010), ‘Motivating, Developing, and Coaching Diverse Teams’ [


14 thoughts on “Topic 2 : The challenge of managing diverse teams

  1. Nice video from Tony Anderson! And I particularly agree the quote about diverse team “Fishing in a smaller pool for the best possible talent”, which is complete true that diverse team is a small group of people with combination of intelligence. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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