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Posted on June 16th, 2012, by

I would like to start this report with my own definition of diversity, of how I understand it. In my opinion diversity covers all the possible and impossible ways that make people differ from each other. These may include nationality, race, gender, political and religious beliefs, everything what makes a person unique. We are living in the world of diversity, it’s either around us, or inside us. By our nature we are an essential part of it, though sometimes we can’t realize that.

Diversity can teach us and give a lot, we just are to use our differences in a proper way in order to gain profit from the uniqueness of every person in such a manner that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the separate parts.

Company’s history and its relation to diversity

Diversity is one of the main principles of the General Mills Corporation (a Fortune 500 corporation which is mainly connected with food products; the company sells such brands as Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Progresso and breakfast cereals, which are known world-wide) the Government of which believes that only diverse teams can create a great amount of the best solutions. It’s a common fact that diverse work force of this Corporation helps it to be several steps ahead of its competitors by the ways of growth and innovation. I’m sure the following statement will open the secret of this unbelievable success:

We strive not only accept and be comfortable with individual differences, but to leverage those unique capabilities and perspectives to help us fuel our growth.(Chuck, Vice President, General Mills)

The Corporation traces its history to the Minneapolis Milling Company. Cadwallader C. Washburn who leased the rights to mills functioning along Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River, founded this organization in 1856. William D. Washburn, his brother, also took an active part in the development of this company. In 1866 the brothers having built the Washburn B Mill at the falls, got into this business themselves. The company was a success and in 1874 the even bigger Washburn A Mill was built.

In 1877 to form the Washburn-Crosby Company the mill entered a partnership with John Crosby. In the 1920s, the Washburn-Crosby Company stepped in to take over Twin Cities radio station (which was failing), and renamed it WCCO.

The 1928 became the year of General Mills’ creation. This year James Ford Bell, the President of the Washburn-Crosby Company, directed his mills to merge with another 26 mills.

After that in 1970 it acquired a restaurant company Red Lobster, which within several years was expanded nationwide and the Red Lobster Chain was formed. In 1982 a new Italian restaurant chain of the General Mills Corporation came to be known as Olive Garden. And finally the Darden restaurants Incorporation was formed in 1995.

In 1990, Nestlé and the General Mills Corporation started a joint enterprise which was called Cereal Partners Worldwide aiming the production of breakfast cereals either for Europe, or for the United states. 2001 was the year of merging with Pillsbury. This event helped the company to occupy a strong position of a monopoly in the market.

Since that time the company has brought a great amount of innovations, new ideas and technologies to the growing market, but still it remains the chief leader in it. The reasons for this are given below.

The role of diversity

The most interesting thing in this company is its approach to the policy and governing. It’s undoubtedly based on diversity.

There are several areas where the Corporation finds diversity to be extremely important and necessary for its business activity. These are: the workforce of the company, its consumers and its suppliers. I would like now to comment on every of these three areas.

Speaking about workforce, it is necessary to point out that if you are going to have diversity as one of your main themes, than you better have a workforce that know something about it and reflects it (Shaw 2003, p.128). Let’s turn our attention to the workforce of the General Mills Corporation. It’s rather important for the government of the corporation to achieve a diverse generality of viewpoints and backgrounds at all steps of management and across the 10,000 employees of the General Mills. There exist a lot of weighable reasons for that, but surely the main is that viewpoints which are diverse, produce new ideas and innovations, the main forces that make business prosperous and successful. It’s not a new that a team consisting of people with different points of view and experience will sequentially become a homogeneous command. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that publicly embracing diversity helps companies recruit and retain diverse staff (Walker and William 1992, p.341).

I do think that the following words would be pertinent here:
A fundamental value like diversity doesn’t expire. It continues to evolve, and it continues to grow. We have goals every year and we believe in setting goals and objectives to stay focused, to measure progress but there is no ultimate, last goal, just as there is no single goal in business … or in life. Other than perhaps to be better.
(Chuck, Vice President, General Mills)

…For a long time the Corporation is being a mass marketer. All the range of its products has a broad appeal. The company turn great attention to all that because it considers every citizen of America to be a potential consumer of its products. It focuses the attention not on a separate group of people, but on all the layers of society simultaneously. The Corporation aims that within several years it could say that there won’t be someone on the planet who could not be a potential user of its products.

And finally for the same reasons as it cares about the employees, the Corporation cares about diversity in its suppliers. Today the workplace is very much interconnected, that’s why the Corporation considers its suppliers to be almost a prolongation of its workforce. To develop the skills of the suppliers it works closely with them. The Corporation hopes to achieve a long term cooperation. There’s no sense to require innovation from their organization, but not from their suppliers.

Anyway, it is obvious that diversity used as a basis at company’s foundation echoes company policy. In turn the concept of corporate citizenship’ underlies the values and practices implemented at company levels (Burlingame and Smith 1999, p.65). Consequently, diversity contributes to more progressive corporate citizenship, which incorporates different views, opinions, and approaches.

I do think that the definition of diversity is rather contradictive. We could achieve more if used our differences in a proper way, from one side, and we could avoid numerous conflicts between individuals, families and the whole nations if our thoughts and opinions were identical, from the other side. Diversity is in the center of community, of conglomerate. It’s like a starting, crucial point for development. This concerns either small conglomerates (such as a family), or scale conglomerates (the whole country, for example).

The law of physics says that the same charges shove off each other, and opposite charges gravitate to each other.

Laws of physics have been proved long ago, the only what’s left for us is to transfer the right understanding of these terms from science into the world of real people.

Let’s now turn to what research says on diversity. The research says that a great amount of companies, either national, or international turns great attention to the question of diversity, especially while recruiting. That’s really true. I do think that diversity in recruiting is necessary because it helps to create a versatile developed team the members of which could add each other, and where their teamwork would be an essential part of their common business. Such companies as the American Express Company, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., American Airlines, California State Auto Association, PepsiCo and Motorola have already proved for themselves and for the entire world of business that such methods as involving and retaining diverse and talented work force in the business process, establishing a special environment (work force), securing a special support system and numerous opportunities for innovations, information and ideas can be successful and profitable.

Addressing the issue of diversity

My own opinion as for addressing the issue of diversity is the following.

It’s wrong to consider diversity to be just a tolerance of people’s differences. Really it’s on the level of comprehension how to enhance these differences, make certain decisions and afterwards unite them into practices and processes (especially business processes) and as a result gain the new valuable experience, methods and technologies.

You can hardly find a person who does not have a goal in front of himself and who does nothing to realize it, as a rule through his job and career. I’m sure that everyone will agree to build the career in the company environment of which respects and reflects individual diversity. I do think that diversity gives a competitive viable edge among the people working together and certainly this confirmation is on of the steps to reaching your goal. So the positive impact is vivid here. Besides that, all of us know that when we fill valued, we give a greater amount of our ideas and energy which are essential for gaining success in any undertaking.

I should also note here that some companies as their main motto use the following statement: Everything that makes us different strengthens us, and undoubtedly makes us stronger and competitive. Every person tries to contribute as much as possible for the common prosperity: some people their energy, some their intellectual or physical potential, some their soul and ideas.

Conclusion

I’ve heard my friend’s opinion that diversity is the engine of the mankind. We are different and that’s why we exist. If we were identical and equal, we would live the same life, have the same thoughts, opinions, desires and values. Our planet could be the planet of clones, not physical, but moral. This world would be static, not dynamic.

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