Short Discourse — Theoretical Approaches in relation to Equality and Diversity.
Considering three theoretical approaches to studying organizational leadership, in relation to equality and diversity.
In recent years, equality and diversity have become a major concern in many organizations, these organizations have been encouraged to foster an environment that allows for teamwork and collaboration between employees of various backgrounds. The increased need for inclusion and diversity has introduced some values as well as challenges within these organizations, and there are theoretical approaches that have been used to understand the leadership styles used within these organizations. In this discussion, we will talk through the values and limitations of each of these approaches.
These theoretical approaches can be classified as the individual, relationship, and social process approaches. Starting with the Individual approach; in this case, leadership is seen as an attribute of the leader, who the leader is — a direct reflection of their character, habits, and manners. This is common and is applicable in all kinds of organizations, no matter the level. The limitations however consist of not focusing on the other factors like the situation, environment or employees involved. It has been noted in a report (Gündemir et al., 2014) that there is a pro-white leadership bias when this theory is used, an example is an almost always positive response to white names and not having the same response to names of other ethnicities. Another situation is when organizations use only a specific way of grading candidates (example: EQ or IQ tests), irrespective of their language barriers, this can eliminate the chances of diverse groups being in leadership positions. All in all, this approach may not support equality and diversity.
The relationship approach considers the connection and association between leaders and their subordinates. This places a lot of significance on how leaders associate with their followers. Research (Carmeli et al., 2010, p.250) has shown that this approach makes the leaders more inclusive and they exhibit “openness, accessibility, and availability”. There is no discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion, etc, instead, the leaders focus more on the unique value created by employees due to their diverse backgrounds.
In the social process approach, leadership is seen as a frequent social interaction, this approach supports collaboration and prevents disputes. Similar to the relationship approach, this theory thrives on respect being shown to subordinates by leaders. It shows how leaders can be fair and equal to all by acknowledging and handling everyone as an equal, this improves inclusion and equality for all involved.
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Carmeli A., Reiter-Palmon R., & Ziv E. (2010). ‘Inclusive leadership and employee involvement in creative tasks in the workplace: The mediating role of psychological safety’. Creativity Research Journal, 22, pp. 250– 260. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2010.504654.
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