5 Article Discussions
The Best Buy Case
As one of the successful companies within the field of technology, Best Buy continues to display organizational practices, which are considered ethical and positive within the society. Since its inception, the corporation has focused on integrating diversity within its organizational culture. By doing this, Best Buy has secured opportunities for different types of employees irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender, race, age, religion as well as sexual predispositions. In addition to this, the firm has been capable of integrating diversity within its flexible framework for individuals experiencing mental and physical difficulties. Hence, one of the main issues evident within this case involves disability. Consequently, Best Buy has been supportive of disabled individuals by incorporating them fully within their organizational culture (Harvey 176). By establishing a framework based on inclusion and diversity, Best Buy has been able to create a diverse culture from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom.
Generally, the issue of disability continues to be an imperative factor of consideration in organizations nowadays. This is because firms have expressed concerns regarding the capability of disabled persons in different workplaces. However, this should not be an issue since millions of individuals residing in the United States are able to participate effectively within the workforce. Moreover, companies expressing issues regarding accommodation expenditures need not worry since such costs are much lower than anticipated. Concerning performance, it is also evident that disabled workers perform correspondingly in comparison to non-disabled workers. Relating to the company, Best Buy has been able to ensure diversity by verifying clear values, establishing constant executive support such as backing diversity initiatives such as Employee Business Networks (EBNs) which are geared towards the sustenance of diversity, empowering them and responding to their needs (Harvey 177).
Indeed, the issue of diversity continues to be a considerable force in contemporary workplaces. In relation to Best Buy, diversity is an imperative aspect within its organizational culture. By ensuring that it supports disabled individuals considerably, the organization ensures that it incorporates a sense of multiplicity within its internal environment. Nevertheless, it is impossible to ignore the relationship between disability and social responsibility. Naturally, corporations tend to engage in actions that please the community in order to gain their approval. On the business side, by engaging in such activities, organizations build a positive reputation which appeals to investors and customers alike. Hence, concerning Best Buy, it may be possible to assert that its mission of diversity is more of social responsibility rather than an integrative aspect of its organizational culture.
For instance, the implementation of Employee Business Networks and Focused Involvement Networks (FINs) appeal positively to the clients based on the manner the organization focuses considerably on ensuring greater customer service even for people with physical and mental impairments (Harvey 178). Moreover, the partnership between Best Buy stores and schools for hearing impaired customers further illustrates the significant engagements that the corporation is partaking in establishing its stance towards social responsibility (Harvey 180). However, regardless of its involvement in such a common and generic practice among organizations, Best Buy has clearly demonstrated its disparity with other firms by ensuring that it provides opportunities such as internships and chances for disabled individuals to be part of a larger community. In addition to this, the organization has also focused on creating a society free of discrimination by assisting and employing the disabled.
The Cracker Barrel Restaurants
Discrimination is also another factor contributing to conflicts within the workplace. Unless handled properly, this action can lead to unfortunate outcomes for the respective organization. The Cracker Barrel Restaurants are a formidable illustration of the defects that discrimination imposes. Accordingly, the organization vehemently expressed its intentions to restrict homosexuals from working in any of its operating units (Howard 187). By doing this, the chain of restaurants clearly exuded acts of discrimination based on sexual orientation against potential employees. However, this action only proved unfortunate for the American corporation based on the reactions of the lesbian and the gay community. In addition, the company had engaged in a violation of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act by firing an employee due to sexual orientation. This further caused tensions for Cracker Barrel forcing it to consider its policy and finally revoking it in order to employ both heterosexual and homosexual individuals.
Regardless of the attempt, a series of protest movements and demonstrations started gaining excessive media coverage that would pit customers and employees alike against the corporation (Howard 189). Moreover, as the boycott based on Cracker Barrel’s sexually discriminative policies continued, the corporation also faced another allegation of prejudice in relation to racism. Because of this new development, the company faced demonstrations based on sexism and racism, further causing a deplorable effect into its finances. Due to the occurrence of these series of protests based on the mentioned issues, it is evident that one form of bias can result into another. Even from the purchase of shares from lesbian and gay supporters amidst all the negative protests and demonstrations, the corporation did not face any substantial recession in its financial growth. This is because of the high number of restaurants it possesses in different parts of America and the strength of its net sales (Howard 190).
Indeed, the inclusion of diversity is also evident in the case encompassing the Cracker Barrel Restaurants. However, the issue of miscellany in this context revolves around sexual orientation. Based on the study, the Cracker Barrel Restaurants have faced an insurmountable load of criticism and protest from customers and enthusiasts alike. By choosing to restrict the hiring of homosexual individuals and pushing for the retrenchment of such persons, it is clear that the corporation has engaged in an act of discrimination based on sexual inclinations. As much as the organization seems bent on living up to conventional American standards, it fails to recognize the values enshrined within the country’s executive order. Simply, the government of the United States does not prejudice based on color, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, race and religion, in relation to a variety of matters such as accessing classified information in organizations.
As ethical as it may be for organizations such as Cracker Barrel to address the issue positively, it is impossible to deny the rights that the company has concerning the employment of workers. There are no laws that can coerce organizations to employ people without the consideration of one’s sexual orientation. Because of this, firms possess the right to hire any person they want, even based on sexual orientation. Hence, it is up to the organization to decide the employees it seeks to have since such aspects contribute extensively to its success or failure. The same instance also applies to Cracker Barrel. Indeed, it would be unfair to the organization to coerce to implement policies that may actually distort valid statements such as the Mission, Vision, goals and objectives based on its culture.
Social Class: The Fiction of American Meritocracy
The populist American Dream, a common facet of the American culture, is also another thing founded on meritocracy. Indeed, it is believed that America is a land of opportunity in which success comes through hard work only. Even though this perception is real, it does not necessarily function in that way. The notion of success in meritocratic context has developed the framework of classism. In this framework, the rich and highly successful are considered being in a higher class and that the reason for their success is due to the hard work they applied. The vice versa is also evident. Individuals considered being failures are placed within the lower class and are said to have tried less than expected. However, based on the discourse, that is a stereotype. Overall, classism originates from biases founded upon false presumptions (Fahy 199). Irrespective of popular perceptions, social mobility is still restricted especially for persons possessing limited resources such as education in the United States.
Further discussion also points out the measures used to enumerate social class. Such measures comprise wealth and income. Accordingly, people under categorization based on the income they possess personally or as families and households (Fahy 200). In addition to this, educational accomplishment and occupational prestige are also common aspects used to measure social class. Based on the utilization of such measures, it is not difficult to witness classicism within the workplace. Accordingly, employees can only engage in interactions with persons belonging to similar social classes based on factors such as industry and occupation. However, this form of classicism in the workplace, especially in relation to meritocracy, can only lead to conflict in the workplace because of the way individuals group themselves in certain classes within the organization.
In a personal opinion, it is clear that the American society is rife with a considerable notion of classicism. The American Dream also sets materialistic objectives as the only way to achieve success in the United States. One of the issues presented as an outcome of meritocracy constitutes social class. Indeed, there has always been significant evidence of social class. Accordingly, people deemed to be successful have always established themselves in higher classes due to the wealth and income they possessed. This perception has created a euphoria seemingly based on the achievement of materialistic aims in order to gain the perception of success. Due to this, individuals who lack wealth are deemed as lower class. Thus, such individuals are incapable of gaining important resources required to facilitate their mobility through the social ladder (Fahy 201).
Because of the limited amounts of resources and the incapability of lower class persons to gain, persons within the higher social ladder have been capable of exploiting the occupants of the lower class in return for diminutive wages: a thought widely expressed in the Class System Theory. Even though such a notion seems radical, it is possible to witness a recurrence of the exact situation in contemporary society. Undeniably, people earning less income are incapable of gaining essential assets such as a good education (Fahy 202). Hence, such families are unable to educate their children forcing the situation to be repetitive. Simply, if a family lacks such important resources, then it becomes incapable of attaining a chance to climb the social ladder. Similarly, due to the capability of acquiring such sources, higher-class individuals continue having an edge over underprivileged persons and thus, sustain their positions within the social ladder. This sense of inequality within the American population causes such problems and continues to restrict upward social mobility among members of the society.
Religion in the U.S. Workplace
Religion is also another controversial factor in the United States. In relation to the workplace, religion has always posed an effect on the manner people and companies carry out business transactions. For instance, Jewish and Christian beliefs affect the way most individuals engage in commercial activities in America (Fisher, McNett and Sherer 216). In order to understand the effect of religious conviction on the workplace, it is important to understand that much of America’s work ethic stems from creeds influenced by Puritanism and Protestantism. However, after the allowance of immigration, a number of religions constitute a large part of the American society. These comprise Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism (Fisher, McNett and Sherer 218). Based on the effect and proportion of religion in the United States, certain issues regarding the respective topic arise. Foremost, the integration of religion within the workplace is considerable based on the impact it poses within an organization.
In overview, religion poses positive and negative effects in the workplace. On the positive side, it offers mutual values that enable interaction and connectedness among employees. It also establishes a joint organizational culture that provides the organization with a valuable competitive edge. In addition, it also adds to the firm’s capability to comprehend its various stakeholders, including its clientele (Fisher, McNett and Sherer 219). Negatively though, religion, just like most social issues, also serves as a factor for conflict within the workplace. Due to the issues presented by religion, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) entitles organizations to respect all religions whether they are conventional or novel by negating religious harassment and providing reasonable accommodation. Regardless of this, religion presents a platform for the establishment of discrimination within any organizational workplace.
Personally, religion does impose an effect on the workplace in American society. Over time, religious convictions have acted as the factors used by people to guide their ethical and moral inclinations. In as much as creed establishes a positive organizational culture, it is significantly divisive (Fisher, McNett and Sherer 220). Accordingly, some of the conflicts that arise in organizations between employees are because of superimposition of religion. For example, an educational institution such as a school may require students and teachers similarly to engage in a Christian educative class. However, not every student possesses Christian beliefs. Therefore, such acts of opinionated acts founded upon religion act as a common factor for endorsing disputes based on the way they disregard another individual’s religion. From the illustration, it is evident that religious convictions can also cause discrimination among people, even employees within their particular organizations.
Nevertheless, it is still possible to address religious discrimination in the internal environments of companies. Undeniably, several organizations are developing strategies that are viable in mitigating conflicts based on different faith-based convictions. Some of the common tactics comprise the moral and acceptable doctrines or guidelines provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Fisher, McNett and Sherer 222). The organization offers employers with the practices suitable for ensuring that religion does not cause divisiveness among employees. The downside to the mechanisms provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is in accordance to their lack of legal function. The EEOC only provides guidelines; hence, it does not possess the power to convey authorized decisions on employers refusing to participate in absolute secularization or comprehension of other religions. Essentially, religious discrimination is still a significant issue in the workplace irrespective of the EEOC’s contribution.
Appearance and Weight Inclusion Issues in the Workplace
Apart from the other issues discussed such as religion, social class, sexual orientation and disability, physical attractiveness is also another point of bias in the American workplace. The basis of this is according to the actuality that organizations utilize physical features in order to provide employment. One of the major points highlighted in the discourse involves the supposed importance of physical attractiveness in the workplace. Consequently, employees have used this feature in ensuring long-term income growth, promotion position, receiving exceptional assignments, gaining employment and receiving high performance ratings. However, the obvious reality is that physical attractiveness constitutes another factor of discrimination within the workplace. Based on several reviews, it is evident that individuals who are deemed attractive receive higher incomes than those perceived to possess average looks (Allard 230). In addition to this, the members of the society with the most aesthetic challenges experience intense discrimination because of physical appeal.
Physical attractiveness is not the only factor endorsing discrimination in the workplace. Another major issue constitutes appearance. Accordingly, organizations have either employed or retrenched people based on the manner they dress. By imposing strict standards on employees, companies have focused on creating dress codes that exude their social reputation and limit distractions arising from provocative and contemptible attire (Allard 231). Weight is also an issue that normally results in workplace discrimination. Indeed, employers have established standards that limit overweight or obese individuals from securing job vacancies. In addition to this, organizations assert that locking out obese people only prevents them from gaining large expenditures that may result from insurances concerning the employees’ health (Allard 232). However, in order to establish obesity as a reason for restricting employment, it is also important to factor in the standards set by various entities such as the media concerning the definition of overweight.
From a personal perspective, the issue concerning attractiveness and weight are deeply rooted within society. Foremost, it is agreeable that stereotypes have constructed the manner in which people view appeal and body weight. By establishing positive and negative perceptions for physically attractive people and aesthetically challenged individuals, employers and the general society has set certain standards that are impossible to expunge. For instance, the media consistently advertises the perfect body image for men and women. This has further contributed to the development and implementation of physical standards that individuals should possess in order to be acceptable in society and the workplace environment as well. Moreover, the institutionalization of such standards has influenced business organizations to employ personnel based on stereotypical judgments and physical appeal.
Apart from the problems encompassing the notion of appeal and weight, appearance policies seem to be rather weak in legal context. Since organizations define this facet, it is impossible for a person to gain a decision that favors his or her legal defense. For instance, a person considered obese or overweight is likely to be restricted from employment regardless of his or her credentials or personality. However, since the firm is capable of establishing the impact that appearance imposes on its business, then the legal decision is more likely to favor it over the aggrieved individual. Furthermore, the lack of a definition for what constitutes obesity or overweight or even physical attractiveness limits the defense that people discriminated on basis of physical appeal have against organizations. In as much as such policies attempt to remedy the situation, the power of companies to dictate the effect of appearance on profitability is viewed as more rational.
Allard, June M. “Appearance and Weight Inclusion Issues in the Workplace.” Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases and Exercises. Eds. Carol P. Harvey and M. June Allard. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 230-239. Print.
Fahy, Colleen A. “Social Class: The Fiction of American Meritocracy.” Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases and Exercises. Eds. Carol P. Harvey and M. June Allard. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 199-212. Print.
Fisher, Kathleen M., Jeanne M. McNett and Pamela D. Sherer. “Religion in the U.S. Workplace.” Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases and Exercises. Eds. Carol P. Harvey and M. June Allard. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 216-229. Print.
Harvey, David P. “The Best Buy Case: Committed to the Inclusion of People with Disabilities.” Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases and Exercises. Eds. Carol P. Harvey and M. June Allard. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 175-184. Print.
Howard, John. “The Cracker Barrel Restaurants.” Understanding and Managing Diversity: Readings, Cases and Exercises. Eds. Carol P. Harvey and M. June Allard. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 187-197. Print.