September 12, 2013
Racism, Prejudice, and Discrimination in the WorkplaceThe workplace, including its composition and internal organization, is subjected to extensive regulation by the state. The civil society and its voluntary associations, have in fact, an important function with regards to workplace matters. In particular, they serve as a buffer against the state and an autonomous domain. Without them, differences and individual voices can eventually challenge the prevailing political order. But civil society and associational life in particular, perform other crucial functions that depend not on separating and shielding individuals from the society at large but on linking them to each other and to the society.
In general, workplaces have grown to be more sociable, cooperative and integrated. Nonetheless, issues appear to be inevitable in any working environment. For instance, most workplaces are hardly a domain of freedom, equality or democracy. It is a common tendency that personal choices in the workplace are sacrificed, particularly in terms of the people a worker deals with on daily basis. Interaction among co-workers is often forced by managers. In addition, the workplace is often constrained by rules and regulations. The workplace is subject to a staggering array of governmental regulations governing many aspects of the composition, organization, and treatment of the workforce. Indeed, the workplace can better foster connectedness among individuals from different racial and ethnic groups precisely because it is subject to state regulation in the form of the employment discrimination laws.
The bureaucratic human relations model initially flourished in an era of widespread and largely unchallenged discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and women. Indeed, the esprit de corps that these organizations sought to inculcate was founded partly on the homogeneity of their white-collar workforces. The civil rights laws challenged those practices. In union workplaces, these laws pushed the organizations towards procedural fairness, clear rules, job descriptions and promotion ladders. In addition, these laws played a role in reducing supervisory discretion. The actual incidence of discrimination is difficult to quantify. However, some studies suggested that the use of auditors can serve as benchmarks. Furthermore, it is likely that using these auditors could lead to equal workplace conditions.
In actuality, a cooperative interaction in the workplace can occur. However, traditional issues on racism and gender often hinder the attainment of an equal workplace. This tendency is often evident in the relationship between black and white individuals. In some cases, the differences in skin color or appearance results to other social divisions that greatly affect work relations and output. In a way, the division between races is far more intense as compared with gender. This perhaps is due to the fact that ethnic groups can often work in isolation; they could go on with their lives without having the need to interact with other races. However, in terms of gender, the division between men and women is less severe as they have several opportunities to interact even outside the workplace. This in turn lessens the tension between these individual groups.