Table of Contents
During the last summer, I was lucky to engage myself in a work activity purposely to enhance my skills and put into practice theories I was learning in school. In the organization, I was fascinated how activities and operations were carried out by different employees. The supervisor placed me in the human resource office as my first workstation. My duties involved updating employees’ details and filing their respective files. The supervisor had mentioned that before the end of the attachment, I will have gone through most of the departments, for example, the accounts and finance, purchasing, marketing, and the research and development departments. The supervisor assured me that I would be a changed person after going through the departments at the end of my internship.
Everything seemed to run perfectly during the first two weeks of my internship until the supervisor summoned all employees to a meeting on a particular Thursday afternoon. The main reason for the meeting was that there were numerous cases of discrimination ongoing amongst the employees. According to the supervisor, the source of discrimination emanated from educational differences where some employees were grouped according to their academic credentials and that they did not meet the needed accolades to be in their present ranks and positions. Whereas I did not view nor classify this as discrimination, the supervisor mentioned that those who had superior academic credentials were looking upon those who were successful through on job training. I later learned that such simple groupings within a workplace could result in disastrous conflicts amongst employees with ripple effects experienced by an organization.
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After the meeting, the supervisor motioned concerned employees and after giving them a lengthy talk on the aspect of diversity and co-existence amongst employees, she reiterated that anyone who gets involved in such cases again would face a stern disciplinary action from the management. I would say I was captivated by the conflict resolution strategies employed by the supervisor with the help of the human resource manager in the organization. Moreover, I was thrilled to learn other different forms of discrimination cases experienced in an organization apart from those that are commonly known, for example, cultural and religious differences. From the interaction I had with the Human Resource Manager, I got to understand the role of identifying conflicts amongst employees and embracing appropriate strategies for resolving the problems.
The case of discrimination indicated a disagreement in career advancement and success based on experience and educational accolades. Accordingly, it is inevitable to miss such diversity in a workplace, therefore, it is the role of the management to harness these differences for the benefit of an organization. When such a disagreement is solved, employees continue to demonstrate team player characteristics and manifest mutual respect towards each other
Discussion: Comparison of the Case with Personal Experience
From the internship experience, I was further exposed to yet other social issues that tend to bedevil most employees at the workplace. Given the impacts that could be realized from this experience, I can relate to other social issues of inequalities that I have come across in my neighborhood and at school. The case of looking down upon others inevitably compromises relationship between individuals and may further impact the overall performance of a business. I can relate the internship scenario with another inequality case that I witnessed in my neighborhood. Whereas the latest case involved employees’, the first case had involved a customer and an employee with the differences being ignited by their racial differences. Despite the occurrence of this issue, there are mixed reactions regarding the response to its prevalence amongst different scholars.
In a study carried out by Boutwell et al. (2017) sought to estimate the prevalence of discrimination experiences amongst an identified representative sample in the United States. Results and findings from the study gave an approximate rate of almost a quarter of the sampled members’ reporting being discriminated against from the sample drawn across racial and ethnical groupings. Whereas additional findings indicated that minimal discrimination was faced amongst the members, the majority suggested that cases of discrimination rose from other factors such as; race, gender, sexual orientation, and even cases of age. Given the findings from this study, I can relate to the happenings in my neighborhood with most of such cases being instigated along racial lines. Whereas there are assumptions outlining decline in racial discrimination cases, there are many studies that attribute that there is no decline (Seabrook, & Wyatt-Nichol, 2016; Street, 2007) with others even suggesting profound adverse impacts experienced in the healthcare settings (Williams, & Mohammed, 2010; Fazeli Dehkordy, Hall, Dalton, & Carlos, 2016). In this case, I can attribute that discrimination cases duly impact many people even those who had not expected to face or experience discrimination.
In his discussion, Treviño (2015) points out the sequence of conflicts and how they are perpetuated in the society. Accordingly, the author attributes the structure of the society and how it contributes to the inequalities that are faced based on race, and even cases of gender. From my perspective, such cases are prevalent in workplaces and even in the neighborhoods that boast individuals from multi-cultural backgrounds. Whereas many people approach the case of diversity with care, it is imperative to note that it can stir either negative or positive consequences for those involved. Concisely, it is imperative to that many businesses are vulnerable to such myriad cases of discrimination.
The case scenario during my internship can be compared to the principles posed by conflict theory regarding how the group with higher academic credentials upholds irrational attitudes against the group rising through the ranks because of their on-job learning experience. As such, Shepard (2010) points out that conflict theory suggests that some of the groups in the society compete with others for resources may elicit aggression that further leads to prejudice. In this case, the group that is viewed as the minority suffers from the negative consequences, for example, being sidelined and even ridiculed. However, it is been noted that the underprivileged group may seek revenge an action that is likely to cause a ripple effect in an organization.
On the other hand, the functionalist perspective details ideas in a society where individuals are suited to their respective norms values or rules amongst other societal elements (Barnes, 1995; Llewellyn, Agu, & Mercer, 2008). The case of discrimination is manifested where another group tends to think that the other group subscribes to such rules or norms that they set to their advantage. The case study depicts such a scenario posed by the principles of the functionalism theory where the group rising through the ranks owing to on-job experiences raise the concern of being discriminated by the group with higher academic credentials. Whereas functionalism draws its understanding from social issues form the constituent elements of the society, many scholars have termed its principles outdated (Shepard, 2010; Ashworth, & Long, 1999; Giddens & Griffiths, 2006). Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that this perspective provides another different approach towards understanding the source of discriminations faced at places of employment and other spheres of our livelihoods.
The facts raised from the two sociological perspectives indicates the persistence of social issues in most societies worldwide. From the discussion above, inequality as a social issue is prominent and continues to impact many people worldwide. Moreover, the two theoretical perspectives also enable an individual to understand other social issues that are prevalent in our societies and how they are perpetuated. Some of the social issues that many nations are grappling with at the moment based on include; race, sexual orientation, gender, and health care. Compared to these issues that impact people worldwide, the positioning and diversity of workplaces indicate that they are most vulnerable places for discrimination. Additionally, discrimination is likely to be experienced by different social groups in societies, for example, gender-based discrimination or discrimination amongst patients.
In addition to the type of discrimination identified amongst employees in this discussion, findings from numerous studies carried out on the subject have revealed that different types of discrimination, for example, stigmatization, exclusion, and threat are rampant and experienced on a large scale at workplaces (Brondolo, Rahim, Grimaldi, Ashraf, Bui, & Schwartz, 2015). Nevertheless, deducing from the facts raised by the two theoretical perspectives correlated with the findings from the studies it is imperative to note that trend of discrimination is on the rise in our societies. Therefore, business organizations are tasked with the responsibility of formulating and implementing policies that guide employees at their respective workplaces. There is a high likelihood that when these policies are followed by employees’ cases of discriminations amongst employees can reduce in number.
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Reflection on the Experience
Conflicts amongst employees can lead to reduced productivity amongst the employees’ themselves and even reduced organizational performance. Therefore, it is important to put in place concrete strategies to guide employees and help arrest any issue elicited by discrimination. In my perspective, I would suggest tailored meetings between the management and the employees with the latter taking a center in such a session. The aim of this session is not only aimed at enhancing the relationship between the management and employees but also harnessing the potential of employees as they are paired with employees from other departments. The interaction should enable the management to identify any unique skill or ability amongst the employees and make a pursuit of a one-on-one meeting. The other relevance for this meeting is to introduce employees to the management and assure them that they are safe and that the management supports their endeavors.
Another strategy is to organize numerous get-together parties which are different from the ones that are held once in a year by different business organizations. This meeting is different from the first one as this one is informal. The essence of this meeting aims to build strong bonds between employees and having such a meeting once in three months can help minimize and eliminate any chance of conflicts rising amongst employees. When employees are brought together they view themselves as a family and not competitors in an organization. These meetings centered on bonding are effective as they can help foster employee engagement, recognition, and appreciation for outstanding employees. The meeting coupled with the presentation of gifts can help boost employee morale and reduce employee negativity that may be present amongst employees.
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