Good Essay About Service Learning Reflection

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Diversity, Conflict, Community, People, Workplace, Habitat, Theory, Experience

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/26

For my service, I worked for Habitat for Humanity Restore. ReStore has a mission to organize and sell items from donation to raise funds to support other Habitat for Humanity projects, prevent garbage, and make available affordable items for the public. I worked in a group with people from different backgrounds. This great experience allowed me to learn so much about myself, my team members, and the people at my workplace. Even more, this experience allowed me to recognize some valuable theories that we have discussed during this semester and how I can apply them in the real world.
One theory that immediately comes to my mind is diversity. Diversity is a very wide, deep and forked concept that can obviously be recognized around us, especially in the workplace. According to Andersen and Taylor, diversity refers to “the variety of group experiences that result from the social structure of society” (2008, p.11). The authors also state that “people are shaped by the social context around them,” which include race, ethnicity, sex orientation, religion, age, and health which are factors causing different effects on experiences of individuals (2008, p. 11). These differences cause people to think; work, and act in differently, and when many differences exist in a group for the reasons stated, there is great diversity.
In addition to different religions, many races were present in our group; including Middle Eastern, white American, Chinese, Filipino and Mexican. Our ages in the group were also very diverse, ranging from early twenties to over 65 years of age. There was in fact an older volunteer who was about 85 years old. He was a good source of professional knowledge about organizing supply tools, due to his many years of experience. In addition to that, both genders worked alongside each other. We also had a gay worker who has a disability from his previous work, and now works at Habitat.
In addition to diversity, there is conflict theory which states that at all levels in society, “there is always inequality in the distribution of material, symbolic, and political resources, with the potential for conflict always present” when people work together, face to face, who are from diverse background or societies (Turner, 2004). Though potential for conflict is always present, with good communication and respect, conflict can be avoided. An example is my culture which does not allow shaking a male manager’s hand; another is conflict that could arise when my group had a conflict in choosing the team leader. Every one of us could have their own interest and goal but in the end we handled this conflict through negotiation and compromise techniques.
The lessons that I have learned from working in such a diverse group are that though I was very different from other workers there, with communication and an open mind, we were able to accomplish goals, and I was an invaluable part of that process. I could fit in with others and do new things with help and guidance from others who had the experience. I also got help in simple things such as lifting heavy items, arranging the shelves, and with technical things such as working in customer service with many diverse customers. I also learned that even though my English may not have beeen perfect when communicating with other people who English is their primary language, we got along well. I gained the confidence to speak to others through practice with my workmates and customers who were all supportive of the efforts I was making in speaking proper English. With more confidence in talking to others, I realized that I love working with groups and enjoy collaborating and sharing with others, because working as team helps me overcome some challenges.
Apart from personal lessons, I learned that even if I feel uncomfortable about the diversity in the workplace, I have to continue and not give up. Because when we have respect for each other and communicate well, we can eliminate and minimize the conflict that diversity may cause. For example, when the manager tried to shake my hand, I explained to him that in my culture, women only shake the hand of men in the nuclear family. He was interested in knowing more, so I took that opportunity to teach him about my culture.
Through interacting with others of different backgrounds, I learned many things about myself and had an opportunity to learn much from others as well as share my own culture. Habitat for Humanity was effective in promotion of diversity in the workplace. . Even though diversity can cause challenges and conflict when people fail to work together and strive to understand each other, diversity and conflict in the workplace can increase productivity, generate new ideas, teach group members about different market norms.

Works Cited

Andersen, M., & Taylor, H.F. Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society. 4th ed. California: Thomson Learning, 2008. Print.
Mor Barak, Michálle. “Social Psychological Perspectives of Workforce Diversity and Inclusion in the National and Global Contexts.” The Handbook of Human Services Management.
Ed. Rino J. Patti. USA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2009. 239-254. Print.
Turner, Jonathan H. (2004). “Conflict theory.” Encyclopedia of social theory. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2004. Credo Reference. Web. 15 Apr 2015.

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