HOW DOES SELF-IDENTITY INFLUENCE DIVERSITY AT WORKPLACE?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion champions lead D&I’s Top initiatives within the organization. They engage a broad spectrum of employees in conversations related to identity, unconscious bias, and inclusion practices in teams. Enhancing Diversity in the workplace is the starting point for such initiatives. Diversity is a quantitative and qualitative measure of how people are different on various counts such as cognitive traits and preferences, race, culture, and ethnicity. Self-identity refers to the sense of self – “Who am I” and Identity is the perception of who a person is in the social context.
By understanding different dimensions of diversity Diversity in the workplace, organizations become aware, acknowledge, appreciate, and finally play on diversity to deliver better business results. There are multiple models of diversity that have been suggested by various psychologists and research institutes.
In the Asian context, language, religion, socioeconomic status, food habits, gender, and sexual orientation are some of the important dimensions. In India, being one of the oldest civilizations, diversity is a given. Regional and religious diversity are two significant dimensions of diversity in India. Tied to the regional diversity is the diversity of language (with over 200 languages spoken).
By sensitizing employees about the local traditions, and cultural norms (both tacit and explicit) and then blending them with organizational values we can provide a predictable, coherent, and inclusive workplace context to the employees.
Lee Gardenswartz and Anita Rowe have done extensive work in the space of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Their 4-dimension model of diversity clarifies the genesis of the self-identity and helps us understand which aspects of identity could be relevant from the organizational aspect.
4-Dimension Model of Diversity
The 4 dimension model of diversity talks about the following four stages of diversity:
Level 1: Personality
This covers all the factors that constitute the personal style of the person. Behavioral style, personality traits, own interests, and passion are unique to an individual and together constitute the overall unique personality of a person. Several assessments are available to measure differences in the personality – such as DiSC and MBTI. However, when a person derives their identity from a certain personality, the context may be more subjective than something objective.
Level 2: Internal Dimensions
This represents diversity at the individual level, especially the one that an individual is born or has an inborn tendency for. For example, ethnicity, race, gender, physical ability, and sexual orientation. These remain largely static throughout one’s life. Organizations focus a lot of their diversity measures and programs on this form of diversity.
Level 3: External Dimensions
This dimension relates to the stage of life a person is at. It’s certainly more dynamic than the level of the Internal dimensions. There is also a greater sense of control over this dimension of diversity. It includes aspects like habits, work experience, educational qualification, marital status, and income. This dimension changes over a period.
Level 4: Organizational Dimensions
This dimension, which the individual may have some control over is largely influenced by the organization. It relates to the work location, job title, job role, seniority, and status of an individual within an organization.
To conclude, the current dialogue around Diversity in the workplace usually relates to the Personality, Internal and External dimensions of diversity. By understanding the degree of discrimination minority groups within these dimensions may face and building programs to counter the effect of related biases and stereotypes, organizations can build an inclusive workplace.
Contact us if you are interested in a diversity and inclusion program that is tailored to the needs of your organization or team.