Free Essay On Diversity In Military And Natural Science
Diversity is a broad and unsettled concept. Depending on context and enterprise organization, diversity could assume very different definitions. Interestingly, diversity has been adopted locally and globally against extremely differential understandings of what exactly constitutes diversity, let alone what strategies, policies and practices could be adopted for most optimum application and enterprise sustainment. Literature of for-profits, for example, has long focused on diversity as an inclusive measure of an increasingly expanding workforce, racially and geographically. Non-profits, conversely, show a radical departure in understanding diversity based primarily on human right advocacy and minority enfranchisement. Understandably, overlapping as well as conflicting understandings of diversity result in more misconceptualizations, malpractices, misapplications and, ultimately, delivery failures. To clear away confusion along a well-defined path to diversity, a deeper investigation into diversity in specific areas is required. This paper aims, hence, to explore diversity in U.S. military and natural science specifically in order to examine existing risks and identify potential opportunities.
Diversity in Military
The U.S. military has a long history of discrimination on different platforms: racial, religious and gender. As U.S. demographics has changed dramatically over years, embracing broader policies for increasingly "diverse" cadets, long-standing servicepersons and potential recruits. According to Barnett (n.d.), historical practices are major reasons why many young, 17-24 year old, cannot join military because of inadequate early childhood care which results in disqualification on education, obesity, and/or criminal record basis. Indeed, U.S. military's "diversity" woes are most manifest in senior officer ranks (Rand National Defense Research Institute, 2009). Increasingly notable, as well, is U.S. military's religious "diversity". According to a four-case-study analysis (Hathaway, 2006), Given heterogeneity of spiritual practices in U.S. military, rising needs for more accommodating, multidimensional and awareness of (non)conventional spiritualities are identified. Further, racial as well as gender-based discriminations remain historical woes in U.S. military. Probably, black Americans are most notable example of racial discrimination in U.S. military (Griffin, 1987). Equally acute, rampant and infamous is enlisted women whose enlistment could be addressed according to specific questions including, but are not limited to, reasons of joining, means of entry, gender specific issues, problematic of women in military, specific affiliations and orientation of women in military and opportunities and risks of joining military (Nuciari, 2006).
In response, U.S. military has formulated an Army Diversity Roadmap which delineates broad outlines of a 21st century "diverse" armed forces (U.S. Army, 2010). Integrating U.S. military's "diverse" pool of recruits (existing and potential) and families, diversity is defined as: "The different attributes, experiences and backgrounds of our Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members that further enhance our global capabilities and contribute to an adaptive, culturally astute Army." (U.S. Army). According to U.S. military's own definition, hence, diversity has come to embrace not only serving personnel but also civilian and family members. This is, in fact, a much broader conceptualization of diversity which is not limited to mere ethnic, gender or religious dimensions. By expanding on diversity to include civilian and family members, U.S. military's Army Diversity Roadmap is a document which attempts to address historical diversity woes in response to both institutional (U.S. military's) needs as well as broader U.S. changing demographics. Expressed most explicitly in "Diversity Mission," – "Develop and implement a strategy that contributes to mission readiness while transforming and sustaining the Army as a national leader in diversity" (U.S. Army) – U.S. military is rightly placed within a broader context of institutional diversity as opposed to projecting as an independent, uncontextualized institution.
Diversity in Natural Science
One main area of controversy over diversity is natural science. Notably, women are uniquely absent in STEM specializations, i.e. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Blickenstaff, 2006). Although women's absence in STEM in general and natural science in particular has long been justified by different reasons, gender-based lack of diversity in natural science remains a mystery. A body of literature has, however, suggested approaching gender inequality in natural science differently: by investigating activities undertaken by both male and female students and hence get closer in justifying why gender gaps exist in natural science (Hasse, 2009).
As mentioned, diversity is a broad and unsettled concept. Although recognized by human resource management departments across different industries, diversity is still addressed as an equal opportunity and affirmative action practice (Shen, Chanda, D'Netto & Monga, 2009). Tapping, instead, into diversity's strategic opportunities as a performance enhancer remains a major challenge. The case of diversity cannot, indeed, be emphasized particularly for multicultural workgroups whose creativity and innovation have been shown to increase by diversifying workforce and further internationalization (Gassmann, 2003). Enactment of diversity programs remain, still, much inefficient.
Organizations are shown to seek diversity programs for different motivations: environmental uncertainty, environmental favorability, and institutional isomorphism (Pitts, Hicklin, Hawes & Melton, 2010). A federal survey of 160 agencies has shown implemented diversity programs to be underdeveloped and to rely either on incomplete literature of workforce diversity or simply repackaging conventional equal opportunity and affirmative action initiatives (Kellough & Naff, 2004). This is not to mention resistance to diversity programs which results in opposite results (Karp & Sammour, 2000). Typically, diversity programs are of positive impact on short-range and negative on short-range (Rynes & Rosen, 1994). Overall, diversity programs remain a strategic asset organizations need further exploit in order to enhance possible links, if any, between diversity and performance.
The question of diversity is sweeping, changing one. Contextualization is essential in order to approach diversity from a more acceptable, conceptual point of view. Diversity in US. military has been subject to historical debates spanning religion, race and gender. Present U.S. military's Army Diversity Roadmap is a useful document – and first stepping board – on addressing and managing diversity in military. In natural science, gender gap is most notable as diversity's main issue of concern. Although addressed by human resource management departments across different industries, diversity has not yet been adequately exploited for better organizational performance. Current diversity programs remain largely underdeveloped and still need further conceptualizations for more direct impacts over short- and long-ranges. In order for diversity programs to be more effective, enacted programs should be integrated into organizations' overall strategy. This should ensure learnings are not short-range and well embedded into organizations' day-to-day interactions between co-workers at different organizational levels.
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