Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Department

Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Sharon Radd

Abstract

There are many factors that impact and influence the wellbeing of an organization. The nature of the workforce is one such factor. This research project focuses on the impact of a diverse workforce on an organization. Diversity in this study embraces all forms of diversity with special attention to cultural diversity in order to best understand the challenges and opportunities of a diverse workforce. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the current practices in organizations related to diversity, and to assess and evaluate current contributions of a diverse workforce to a given organization. The research question is, “What are the challenges and benefits associated with a diverse workforce and how can managers use their leadership to maximize the potential of diversity in the organization?” The research methodology was a qualitative case study, including interviews and observations, using appreciative inquiry to learn more about the positive behaviors of employees in a diverse workforce. The salient themes that emerged from the research included the importance of effective communication, trust in relationship, hiring and retaining employees from different cultural backgrounds and training. One important recommendation of this action research project is that organizations should strive to employ employees of diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences especially because a diverse workforce will lead to higher performance, increased efficiency and improved productivity.

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