Summary of the Learned Concepts Essay
Throughout the course, I have learned about different concepts that underpin diversity, equity, and inclusion, including types of discriminatory practices, primary and secondary dimensions of diversity, implicit biases, microaggressions, micro affirmations, organizational change management models, and the rationale for upholding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). For instance, organizations need to implement change initiatives due to the dynamic environments characterized by changes in all factors of the internal and external organizational environment (Furxhi, 2021). Amidst the inevitable nature of organizational change, accepting diversity, ensuring equity, and fostering inclusion emerge as profound strategies for upholding fairness, belongingness, and promoting a diverse workplace climate that contributes to innovativeness, talent retention, and improved employee productivity (Chaudhry et al., 2021). Although DEI is an element of a healthy work environment, challenges like the prevalence of discriminatory practices and restraining factors for organizational change affect the likelihood of anchoring diversity in the workplace culture. Consequently, this paper comprises two parts (I and II) summarizing all the learned concepts consistent with diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and change management.
Internal and External Forces of the Change Model (Unfreezing, Change, and Freezing)
Kurt Lewin’s change management theory provides a framework for initiating, implementing and sustaining change initiatives and processes. Hussain et al. (2018) contend that change management entails the planned process of “continually renewing the organization’s direction, structure, and capabilities to serve the ever-changing needs of external and internal customers” (p. 124). In this sense, the urgency and the inevitable nature of change prompt organizations to use models that support consistent monitoring and evaluation of structures and processes. Lewin’s theory requires organizational change agents to adopt three steps: unfreezing, change and refreezing.
The unfreezing stage encompasses change initiation processes like identifying drivers for change, status quo forces, and evaluating organizational structures that would support change. Secondly, the “change” phase entails actualizing the plan by motivating change, creating and communicating a vision, allocating roles, responsibilities, and resources, and sustaining momentum (Hussain et al., 2018). Finally, the refreezing stage involves strategies to incorporate new approaches into the organization’s culture after a rigorous change implementation process. Activities relevant to the refreezing phase are aligning leadership structures with new approaches, providing technical and professional support to employees, and developing policies that support change sustenance.
Although the three steps are essential in inspiring change management practices, internal and external factors can compromise the scope and sustainability of change initiatives. According to Furxhi (2021), institutions operate consistently with open systems that form internal and external environments. Internal factors influencing or affecting organizational change include employees, structures, and processes. Similarly, economic, technological, social, and consumer factors represent the external aspects that can compromise or facilitate change.
Change initiatives rely massively upon elements of the internal and external environment to realize the desired outcomes. For example, a change initiative about instituting mandatory diversity training for all employees may face resistance due to internal factors, such as personal bias, limitations in organizational structures, uncivil behaviors, and resource constraints. External factors that compromise the effectiveness of this initiative are technological constraints, the prevailing social conditions of diversity in the immediate society, and regulations that guide employee career development and life-long learning.
Internal factors like the prevailing talent acquisition and retention policies, organizational norms, and wage structures can hinder the change process in a second change initiative regarding appointing a chief diversity officer. Similarly, external factors such as shortages in the number of qualified applicants can impede the appointment of a chief diversity officer. These factors affect the unfreezing, change, and refreezing stage of change management by creating barriers to the initiative’s effective initiation, implementation, and sustenance.
The third change program for initiating applications for diversity awards would prompt the organization to prepare employees for the change by explaining nomination requirements and criteria for awarding employees who uphold diversity. As a result, personal biases and negative perceptions of the awarding system, the organizational norms, and leadership styles are the internal restraining factors for change. Similarly, competitor policies and regulations that guide employee performance reviews are external forces that can jeopardize the change program’s initiation, implementation, and sustenance. Consequently, the organization should assess the internal and external environment interactions to identify driving forces of change and restraining factors.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Implicit Bias, and Microaggressions
Throughout the course, I have learned about diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the primary and secondary dimensions of diversity that influence interpersonal interactions, socialization, and organizational culture. These dimensions include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental challenges, social class, appearance, language and military service, and religious differences. Equally, I have learned how implicit bias and microaggressions influence perceptions toward people with unique dimensions of diversity. For instance, Turner et al. (2021) argue that microaggressions are unconscious statements and actions facilitating discrimination against marginalized communities. Alongside implicit bias (unconscious prejudice in favor or against a person or a group), microaggressions result in multiple adverse effects on the targeted people.
As a student, I have had ideal opportunities to interact with people of different dimensions of diversity, including age, social classes, gender, physical and mental challenges, race, ethnicity, and language. These aspects of diversity have significantly influenced my life by determining the levels and nature of interpersonal interactions. For example, differences in race and ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical and cognitive abilities, and social class explain variations in individual and group worldviews, including different learning perspectives, behavior, attitudes, and experiences. Therefore, I have often faced difficulties developing meaningful relationships with people with different perspectives of life associated with these dimensions of diversity. Consequently, I have learned the importance of accommodating diversity by avoiding implicit perceptions and alleviating judgmental thoughts and stereotypes that facilitate discrimination.
Outside the learning environment, diversity’s primary and secondary dimensions will remain relevant during my lifetime, especially considering the current emphasis on ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion at organizational and societal levels. For example, organizations are susceptible to vigorous campaigns that support the inclusion of women, ethnic minorities, and people of unique sexual orientations, such as gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, in organizational cultures and leadership positions. These campaigns target eliminating discriminatory practices based on gender, racial, ethical, and sexual orientation differences. It is essential to note that women, ethnic minorities, and people of unique sexual orientation (LGBTQ) face discriminatory practices, including lower wages, unfair treatment, oppression, and limited access to employment opportunities. Amidst contemporary pressure on organizations to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), I believe that diversity’s primary and secondary dimensions will remain significant in influencing interactions and determining organizational cultures.
Principles of Social Justice
Social justice cuts across various sectors, including healthcare, education, the economy, and the labor market. According to Killen et al. (2021), it refers to “promoting fairness, equality, equity, and right across multiple aspects of society” (p. 257). Social Justice is a heavily studied concept, considering the long-lasting urge to ensure justice, fairness, and equality. Killen et al. (2021) argue that individuals have fought against social hierarchies, cultural institutions, and power structures that undermine human rights, justice, fairness, and equality. As a result, it is essential to consider social justice as a profound aspect of human dignity and the elimination of social, political, and economic inequalities.
Many social scientists have conceptualized theories to explain the tenets of social justice. For example, John Rawls published a Theory of Justice in 1971 to criticize the gap between the highest and lowest-paid workers (floor and ceiling) and advocate that rich people should pay more taxes. Also, Rawls argued that justice should be based on fairness and basic moral principles (Ornstein, 2017). Rawls’ book provided vital insights and points that enabled scholars and pundits to summarize the principles and policies of social justice. According to Ornstein (2017), authors identified 30 basic tenets that form a framework for defining social justice. Some of these principles are;
- Ordinary people can change the course of history by joining a movement.
- A fair and just society will encourage democratic principles of equality, opportunity, and mobility.
- Every democratic society must try to reduce the gap in income and wealth among its citizenry.
- In a just society, all lives have equal value, opportunity, and chances for success.
- In a just society, individual rights supersede group, corporate, and property rights.
From a personal perspective, these five principles of social justice fit in contemporary constructs of diversity, equity, and inclusion because they affect members of specific dimensions of diversity. For instance, women, older adults, ethnic minorities, and people of unique sexual orientation (LGBTQ) are susceptible to discriminatory practices in the workplace that manifests through unfairness, harassment, oppression, assault, exclusion, gaps in payment, limited access to employment and job promotion opportunities (Roscigno, 2019). Therefore, the affected group can join advocacy movements to change the course of the history of discriminatory practices.
On the other hand, organizations should ensure fairness and justice by encouraging equality, opportunity, and mobility. Also, they must address wage gaps and leadership positions by adopting merited wage structures that focus on skills, competencies, commitment, and working hours. Thirdly, upholding individual rights as a profound dimension of addressing workplace discrimination is essential. In this sense, organizations should promote respect, fairness, and dignity to prevent uncivil behaviors and acts like harassment, oppression, marginalization, and assault based on diversity’s primary and secondary dimensions.
Part 2: A Current Social Justice Issue
Limited access to healthcare is among the most pressing social justice issues globally and in the United States. Health is a profound aspect of human existence, meaning interest in community health has increased exponentially in recent decades. In the United States, the Healthy People initiative has significantly improved the public health system over the last four decades by emphasizing enhancing access to quality health services and addressing health disparities. According to Suarez-Balcazar et al. (2018), health disparities are health differences that primarily emanate from socioeconomic disadvantages. In this sense, people with socioeconomic barriers have limited access to healthcare services.
Socioeconomic aspects that compromise people’s access to care include racial identities, sexual orientation, geographical constraints, gender, mental health status, low socioeconomic status, and disability. These dimensions of diversity form the social determinants of health (SDOH) that represent the “conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age” (Kleinman et al., 2021., p. 251). Limited access to care and health disparities are social justice issues because they violate human entitlements and rights.
Besides violating human rights, limited access to quality care and health disparities has multiple adverse consequences that threaten human existence and well-being. According to Johnson (2022), health disparities result in adverse health outcomes. For example, people grappling with limited access to care are susceptible to premature deaths associated with untreated health problems and challenges exacerbated by underlying health conditions, including disability, poverty, and compromised quality of life. As a result, governments and healthcare organizations face immense pressure to address the root causes of health disparities and limited access to quality care.
Strategies to Champion for Change
Often, interventions to alleviate health disparities and promote access to care focus on addressing poor social determinants of health. Johnson (2022) argues that social determinants of health (SDOH) are products of circumstances that contribute to structural racism. For instance, people grappling with poor living conditions are susceptible to discrimination enshrined in various reinforcing systems, including housing, education, earnings, employment, healthcare, media, and criminal justice. In turn, structural discrimination impacts the availability of resources, public health policies, and laws. As a result, a plethora of evidence recommends community-based initiatives and strategies for improving social determinants of health, enhancing access to care, and addressing health disparities. These recommendations include:
- Prioritizing and investing in community-level interventions that promote healthy equity by eliminating prejudice and discrimination facilitated by sexism, ageism, classism, and other forms of oppression (Kleinman et al., 2021).
- Ensuring equity in resource allocation and utilization to improve health and well-being for all (Johnson, 2022).
- Implementing policies that eliminate root causes of health inequalities, including economic empowerment, access to affordable housing, neighborhood environment development, early childhood education, and improved employment opportunities (Kleinman et al., 2021).
- Investing in health promotion programs and interventions for improving health literacy, including community-based education initiatives, stress reduction programs, reducing food insecurity, enhancing physical activity opportunities, and transforming health’s social and community context.
- Incorporating advanced technologies, such as telemedicine, to bridge chasms associated with geographical and locational aspects, including remoteness. Advanced technologies can improve access to timely, convenient, and quality care (Gajarawala & Pelkowski, 2020).
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are vital in contemporary organizations because they contribute to tolerance, healthy workplace environments, and the proliferation of civil behaviors. Although primary and secondary dimensions of diversity, including differences in age, gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religious inclinations, and physical attributes, can facilitate discrimination, employees should perceive them as a strength that renders organizations unique and functional. More essentially, diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to social justice and human rights because they promote impartiality, fair treatment, and respect for individual entitlements that should supersede corporate rights. Amidst the prevalence of pressing social justice issues like limited access to care and health and health disparities, policymakers and organizations should focus on eliminating the root causes and improving modifiable dimensions of diversity. For example, eradicating poverty, enhancing employment opportunities, reducing food insecurity, ensuring access to quality education, health promotion, improving the built environment, and incorporating technology in care delivery processes can promote access to quality care and tackle health disparities exacerbated by unfavorable social determinants of health (SDOH).
Chaudhry, I. S., Paquibut, R. Y., & Tunio, M. N. (2021). Do workforce diversity, inclusion practices, & organizational characteristics contribute to organizational innovation? Evidence from the U.A.E. Cogent Business & Management, 8(1), 1–24. https://doi.org/10.1080/23311975.2021.1947549
Furxhi, G. (2021). Employee’s resistance and organizational change factors. European Journal of Business and Management Research, 6(2), 30–32. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejbmr.2021.6.2.759
Gajarawala, S., & Pelkowski, J. (2020). Telehealth benefits and barriers. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 17(2), 218–221. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2020.09.013
Hussain, S. T., Lei, S., Akram, T., Haider, M. J., Hussain, S. H., & Ali, M. (2018). Kurt Lewin’s change model: A critical review of the role of leadership and employee involvement in organizational change. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 3(3), 123–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jik.2016.07.002
Johnson, C. D. (2022). Conquering the health disparities of structural racism. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 28(1), S15–S17. https://doi.org/10.1097/phh.0000000000001431
Killen, M., Yee, K. M., & Ruck, M. D. (2021). Social and racial justice as fundamental goals for the field of human development. Human Development, 65(5-6), 257–269. https://doi.org/10.1159/000519698
Kleinman, D. V., Pronk, N., Gómez, C. A., Wrenn Gordon, G. L., Ochiai, E., Blakey, C., Johnson, A., & Brewer, K. H. (2021). Addressing health equity and social determinants of health through healthy people 2030. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, Publish Ahead of Print (6). https://doi.org/10.1097/phh.0000000000001297
Ornstein, A. C. (2017). Social justice: History, purpose and meaning. Society, 54(6), 541–548. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-017-0188-8
Roscigno, V. J. (2019). Discrimination, sexual harassment, and the impact of workplace power. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, 5(5), 237802311985389. https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023119853894
Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Mirza, M. P., & Garcia-Ramirez, M. (2017). Health disparities: Understanding and promoting healthy communities. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 46(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1080/10852352.2018.1386761
Turner, J., Higgins, R., & Childs, E. (2021). Microaggression and implicit bias. The American Surgeon, 87(11), 000313482110234. https://doi.org/10.1177/00031348211023418
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Start by reading and following these instructions:
1. Quickly skim the questions or assignment below and the assignment rubric to help you focus.
2. Read the required chapter(s) of the textbook and any additional recommended resources. Some answers may require you to do additional research on the Internet or in other reference sources. Choose your sources carefully.
3. Consider the discussion and the any insights you gained from it.
4. Create your Assignment submission and be sure to cite your sources, use APA style as required, check your spelling.
Your final assignment helps to integrate all that you have learned over the course. Your future role as a leader will benefit from this exercise by applying your new knowledge to the real world. Please fully address the questions in Part I and Part II to complete this assignment.
Please address each question prompt using at least 350 words. This part of the weekly assignment will be at least 1,050 words in order to address all the questions.
In terms of the change model (unfreezing, change, and freezing) what internal and external forces might resist the implementation of each of the following in a professional organization: instituting mandatory diversity training for all employees, appointing a chief diversity officer, and initiating applications for diversity awards. program?
Now that you have learned about diversity equity and inclusion, implicit bias and microaggressions, what have you learned about yourself? The list of primary and secondary aspects of diversity include: Race, Ethnicity, Age, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Physical and Mental Challenges, Social Class, Religion, Appearance, Language and Military Service. Of all of the aspects of diversity, which so far have affected your life the most? What examples can you provide to substantiate your answer? Do you think these may change in importance during your lifetime? Why or why not?
Access the article by Ornstein, A. C. (2017). Social justice: History, purpose and meaning. Society, 54(6), 541–548 found in the Additional Materials for this module. Read “The Meaning of Social Justice” on pages 546-548. The author identifies 30 basic principles that should be considered as a framework for defining social justice. Select five (5) of the 30 basic principles and discuss why they are important to you. How are they significant to others? What groups are impacted when they are not initiated? Do you think all people should be committed to provide a fair chance for everyone to succeed and develop their abilities and talents; why or why not? What are some recommendations for improving social injustices in the United States?
Select a current social justice issue that has been in the news, on social media, or in the newspaper that may impact employees in an organization. Write an APA style essay (500 words) that addresses the issue and what strategies you would use if you were asked to be a champion of change for your selected issue.
Some of the most pressing social justice issues are:
Healthcare lack of access and disparities
Refugee crisis and immigrations (children separated from parents at the border)
Hunger and food insecurity
Title Page in APA style
Address Part I and Part II
Reference Page in APA Format
References: Use the appropriate APA style in-text citations and references for all resources utilized to answer the questions. Include at least five (5) scholarly sources to support your claims.
Length: 2550 words including Introduction, Part I, Part II and Conclusion.
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