Leadership, War, and Hollywood
Writing Prompt 10
There is an undisputed fact that we as a society have been and continue to push towards a more diverse work place. Diversity though is quite the umbrella term, leaving room for interpretation and scrutiny. Racial and gender diversity continue to make the most strides in our society, with sexual orientation and gender identity beginning to make waves as of late. While some regard the increase in diversity a tangible gain in civil rights towards the minorities, there are many individuals in the population within the population find the increase in demanding diversity preposterous and unneeded. David Rock and Heidi Grant write that diversity is not just an attitude people want to have, but rather a doctrine that will lead to more success in the workplace. Rock and Grant suggest that a more inclusive work environment will focus the group more on facts than opinions, more care and thought when interpreting the facts, as well as being more innovative in the way the workers think.
In the article Rock and Grant do a great job of clearly expressing and providing examples and statistics regarding the economic benefit of having a diverse work force. Statistics such as if the company has ethnic and racial diversity in their management would financially average 35% higher returns than if the company did not have this diversity, along with 15% higher if the company had gender diversity. Rock and Grant provide clear and straightforward experiments, such as the experiment run in Texas and Singapore about asking groups of people to price stocks, to further enforce their perspective on the benefit of having a racially and gender diverse work force.
While focusing on the economic impact of a diverse work environment, while I recognize where the article was published, I find little acknowledgement to the social benefit of a diverse work environment. One of my favorite experiences from attending boarding school and now college is the fact that the communities are inherently diverse. At The Hill School, we were 32% international students and had representatives from 37 different states. With different individuals from different backgrounds, socioeconomic standings, and general differing life experiences I was able to connect, and learn outside the classroom. An example of this is fact I learned that Finnish people hardly ever snack or make small talk, along with that the most recognizable brand in Brazil is Havaianas, a flip-flop company. While these facts did not improve my grades, or give me any tangible evidence to being “better” than a non-diverse environment, they provided me with a greater understanding of the world that I live in, along with the opportunity to interact with individuals who are inherently different than I am. For these reasons I feel Rock and Grant miss out on the social benefit to a diverse work environment.
While Rock and Grant specifically refer to economic gains with respect to a corporation, there absolutely is direct application to the military. Two out of the three arguments Rock and Grant provide is the fact that members in a diverse work environment are with focusing more on facts and then being careful with those facts. In the military, where quite literally people’s lives are in question being able to be more rational and careful can only be a positive. Another reason diversity would benefit the military is the fact that the American military run through a hierarchy of checks and balances. Having more and differing opinions will benefit the military as a whole so that a situation that happened to Barnes in the movie Platoon, will never actually happen in real life. A more diverse military will just add another layer of checks and balances throughout all layers which will only benefit the military.
Being “diverse” in today’s society is essentially a given. Racial and gender diversities while most thought of and highlighted by Rock and Grant, there can still be room for improvement in diversity regarding sexual identification and gender identity. Rock and Grant do a fantastic job listing out the economic benefits to having a diverse work force. However, I feel that they leave the social impact of diversity out of their article as well as many of the other diversities. While Rock and Grant target mainstream corporations, there is absolutely lies a benefit to carrying over their argument to the hierarchy of the American military.