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Stereotyping is an opinion formed in advance without adequate evidence to the way things are done or to a specific individual. This may cause people to be treated in a certain way based on their religion, colour, gender, age, etc. Therefore, stereotyping causes an adverse effect on an organisation.
Stereotyping can lead to a bad working relationship within the Organisation. The employee who operates based on stereotypes prevents others from asking for support from their coworkers. This may cause a major problem because the efforts of the employees are hindered. Stereotyping also causes low morale at the workplace. A group or an individual that has been strongly affected loses motivation in performing their duties. It indirectly affects workers when the organisation doesn’t deal with stereotyping behaviour (Macrae, Stangor, & Hewstone, 1996). It also leads to legal tension where someone may be sued due to discriminatory behavior. This could result in financial constraints in a small business hence leading to unemployment. An organisation that engages in stereotyping will always encounter mistreatment and abuse thus promoting bad perceptions.
Most of the stereotypes in an organisation and employees are caused by differentiation of thoughts because everybody has a way in which they structure and group their ideas. This simply determines whether or not someone is in that group or out. Culture and society is complex, so humans want to understand where they belong (Gupta, & Goktan, 2014). An organisation needs to decrease stereotyping in a workplace by encouraging teamwork, be open to new experiences and diversifying towards cultural differences.
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In the organisation’s world today, most employers claim to be “Equal Opportunity Employers.” That is, they claim that their organisations offer equal treatment to all employees regardless of their ethnic background, race, religious differences, their gender, colour, their age, nationality and physical or mental disability. This pledge describes fully how employment, promotions, locality transfers, the recruitment process, and compensation is done to ensure an active and a working atmosphere that is free from any form of physical or psychological harassment due to the differences as mentioned earlier (Cassell, 2000). In order to ensure that such an environment exists, the owners of organisations or employers must provide the necessary training to her employees and provide the resources required to enhance there is diversity awareness of all these issues in the workplace. In this essay, stereotypes and their effects in the workplace will be discussed and illustrated in details. In details, we will discuss the cultural stereotypes and the gender stereotypes and their effects in the workplace or their effects on the success of an organisation.
The Theory of stereotypes
Stereotyping is mostly confused with prejudice. Stereotyping is mostly resulting from the identification of people simply basing them on their membership of a certain category of the social class or simply the act of judging people based on their differences in gender, age, religious background and much more. Stereotypes can be dated back from the early days of the human culture (Hinton, 2000). Stereotypes can either be positive or negative. Some of the possible effects of prejudicial stereotypes are; not willing to rethink our own attitude and behavioural patterns towards a certain group, preventing some people from a certain group from participating in some activities, for example, the common day-to-day leisure games. Victims of the negative stereotypes display a high sense of self-hate that is characterised by mostly these people keeping aloof and not associating themselves with the activities of the other people. In the workforce, for instance, this kind of behaviour is most likely to cause disagreements and lack of cooperation between the various employees, and this will greatly affect the productivity of the company. Some very common example of the cultural stereotype that exists to date is based on the colour, or racial differences that are, the black or African-American man especially in the movie scene and novels is mostly depicted as a lazy, foolish, poor and violence-prone man. This is evident in many movies across the world, and this has led greatly to the rise of many dictators who encourage and supports racial discrimination especially in the 20th century where there was a high rise of dictatorial leadership across the world (Hamilton, 2015).
There are various ways to reduce the impact of stereotypes in the organisations and these includes; getting a personal education and others concerning the science of stereotypes. One of the simplest and most effective ways to deal with stereotypes is to raise the awareness of the effects of the stereotypes in the business setting and how it affects the decision-making process. Making other people especially employees conversant with these effects helps them to self-correct each other and therefore reduce the effects that are brought about by the stereotypes. Educating others can be as simple and effective because research and surveys have demonstrated how and why stereotypes are most likely to influence the decision-making process. According to various researches, the evidence is there that when we educate employees about the effects of stereotypes can help them foster the diversity in science. According to research by the University of Michigan, educating the faculty members led to an increase in the rate of women hiring in the faculty of science. Another way to reduce the impact of stereotypes is the growing of your own mindset. Many people with a certain mindset view the human abilities as very stable and difficult to change. These groups of people mostly use the stereotypes to associate and described themselves and others. On the contrary, those people with growing or changing mindset view the human abilities as flexible through the sustained efforts put by them. They are not likely to stereotype themselves or others (Gupta, & Goktan, 2014). You might think that it is hard to change one’s own mindset but according to research conducted by a Stanford University psychology professor, Carol Dweck he suggested four ways that can help people to change their mindset especially those whose mindsets are fixed. These steps are; respond back to your own mindset voice, recognize that you have a choice to make, accept the results and interpret them within a growing mindset and finally pay close attention to what you are usually telling yourself. Another way to reduce the impact of stereotypes is expanding one’s professional networks. An unfortunate effect of stereotypes is that they feel they don’t belong to a certain group which can have powerful and long-term effects on the people’s career choices. If the organization provides some network opportunities with colleagues, then it’s good to attend as this will enlighten you, mentor, and provide you with information on the professional and personal life. If the company does not offer network opportunities, then you can create your own and make efforts to keep in contact with those colleagues who usually support you and your opinions.
Gender stereotyping in the workplace always results to discrimination. Gender segregation or discrimination has several effects such as unequal pay for the work for equal task in the institution, lack of job promotion as well as sexual harassment. These negative effects of stereotyping are still there in the workplace despite the many laws that govern and prevent discriminatory effects of gender stereotyping (Gupta, & Goktan, 2014). There is need to have measures to rectify the problem of discrimination. The various negative gender stereotyping is discussed below;
Gender stereotyping leads to wage discrimination, according to statistical data provided by the 2005 U.S. Department of Labor report, on average, women’s ages are about 81% of their male counterparts. These statistics are derived from a survey done on wages that male and female workers get from the same job position with equal obligations. One of the reasons that make women get paid less than their male counterparts is based on the gender stereotypes (Hamilton, 2015). The most common stereotype in the workplace is that women don’t deserve to be paid equally with their male counterparts because they are married.
Gender stereotyping may also create discrimination during the recruitment process and also dismissal and promotional practices. Research has it that women do not get promotions since they are limited by the stereotypes in the workplace that pose serious problems and challenges in the career advancement of women. Stereotypes impose women as those who should supplement the man’s work (Gupta, & Goktan, 2014). The stereotypes also claim that women are not aggressive enough and cannot be able to hold the top professional jobs as they are also not good problem solvers. These stereotypes are causing disadvantages to the qualified women from the positions that they are qualified to manage as well as do better than male counterparts.
Gender stereotyping can also lead to sexual harassment and discrimination. Sexual harassment in the workplace is the disallowed sexual conduct that might create an intimidating and hostile environment to work at. Stereotypes that are against the pregnant women also leads to discrimination against the pregnant women and mothers. It is very common that when a woman takes a temporal leave for her pregnancy, she is subsequently forced to work in a less prestigious and consequently low paying job upon her return. A huge barrier to the success of the women who do not receive the opportunities they are qualified to take is the stereotypes associated with the gender discrimination. Various laws are passed in order to prevent the gender discrimination. Such legislation has been receiving huge discouragement from some groups most of them men (Gupta, & Goktan, 2014). Clearly, this policy treated women differently from men.
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It is very common to categorise things, events and people as it helps them organise themselves mentally, makes them analyse the differences between various groups of people. People mostly use these stereotypes to make the necessary decisions about their coworkers, employers and their esteemed customers (LIANG, & TAN, 2014). Stereotyped people are not mostly seen for who they are and what they contribute to the organisation.
Cultural stereotypes sometimes limit the employer’s ability to make the maximum use of their employees’ skills and abilities and they even help them develop new skills. People sometimes are not given the opportunities to develop their skills, for instance, an Asian may be discriminated due to their cultural background, and their abilities may not be recognized due to the cultural stereotypes. The cultural stereotypes demoralise workers, thus reducing the output. Workers are most likely to quit their job if they think that the stereotypes determine how they are treated in the organisation. The cultural stereotypes lead to the productivity levels reducing, customer dissatisfaction and reduction in revenue. These stereotypes tend to hinder the openness in the organisation and teamwork. Failure to include diversity in the employee perspective and skills does limit the organisation’s creativity, competitive ability, and the problem-solving ability. Researchers have identified the various indicators of the cultural stereotyping in the organisation. These indicators include I high employee turnover, high absenteeism and a general poor employee performance. These indicators may be due to lack of opportunities, the bias that is based on stereotypes, stress or even employee perception. Leadership has always been the main factor in the workplace culture (LIANG, & TAN, 2014). The management sets the standards in the workplace through their words and actions alongside other policies and regulations. Organizations must pay close attention to the presence of stereotypes to be successful in their production as well as performance. This enhances that the business retains its most productive and knowledgeable employees. Regular hosting of cultural auditions allows the organisation to examine the various cultural stereotypes in line with its mission and objectives
There are various recommendations for the organisations on reducing the impact of the negative stereotypes. This includes; Encouraging teamwork, a healthy teamwork builds a good relationship between employees, it enables employees to learn and acknowledge the presence of different cultural diversity. Teamwork also makes people feel comfortable about sharing their strengths and weaknesses. Another recommendation is to expand the employee knowledge about diversity. Teach all the employees about the cultural differences in the workplace and help them recognize the importance of each employee. The employer also should make the employees have an open mind. They should deal with situations from the other person’s point of view and also be open to new and emerging experiences.
Other recommendations include; diversifying the members of the hiring committee so that we can reduce the cases of discrimination in the workforce, help the employees build professional networks to connect them with different people of different backgrounds and age, consider the education of employees about the effects of the stereotypes in the business workplace, The employer should also consider appointing a senior leader whom all the employees will be answerable to and who will monitor the organizational fairness. By understanding and respecting one another especially in the workplace, a good and favourable working condition is created that encourages ideas and innovations to flow freely. Due to the rapid expansion of the business world today, it’s important to note that different people with various cultural foundations are working together towards a similar goal in the organisation. It is, therefore, justified to say that the above stereotypes hold organisations back from achieving their main agendas and targets.
- Macrae, C. N., Stangor, C., & Hewstone, M. (1996). Stereotypes and stereotyping. New York: Guilford Press.”
- Hinton, P. R. (2000). Stereotypes, cognition, and culture. Psychology Press.
- Cassell, C. (2000). The business case and the management of diversity. Women in management: Current research issues.
- Hamilton, D. L. (Ed.). (2015). Cognitive processes in stereotyping and intergroup behavior. Psychology Press.
- LIANG, X. B., & TAN, J. L. (2014). The Binding Effect of Cultural Stereotype in Cross-cultural Communication. Journal of Hunan University of Science & Technology (Social Science Edition).
- Gupta, V. K., Goktan, A. B., & Gunay, G. (2014). Gender differences in evaluation of new business opportunity: A stereotype threat perspective. Journal of Business Venturing.