Practical outsourcing advice and case studies for IT and business process outsourcing.
  Home > Outsourcing Tactics  > Personnel / Employees / People Search:
 
 for    
 Highlights: Buy Books|Outsourcing Blog | Quality Events and Training Calendar | Quality Dictionary | Outsourcing Discussion Forum | Outsourcing Jobs | Outsourcing News and Press Releases | Free Outsourcing Newsletter | Online Surveys
 Free Newsletter!  
Improve your
Outsourcing skills and knowledge


Sign up today!
  Manage Subscriptions
  What is Outsourcing?
  What is Offshoring?
  What is BPO?
  Offshoring to India
  Offshoring to China
  Glossary of Terms
 Sourcing Directory 
  Outsource by Function
  Outsource by Region
  Outsource by Industry
  Outsourcing Strategy
  Outsourcing Tactics
  Legal
  Research & Statistics
  Tools & Templates
  Vendors & Consultants
 Channels 
  Business Process Mgt
  Innovation
  Six Sigma
 Quick Access 
  Help
  Search
  Advertise Here
  Article Archives
  Newsletter Archives
  RSS/XML Feeds
 User Feedback 
  Please suggest site
  improvements.
 
  [ larger form ]

Culture Matters: Workforce Diversity in India and the US

Bookmark This Page Bookmark This Page
Email This Page Email This Page
Format for Printing Format for Printing
Submit an Article Submit an Article
Outsourcing Article Archive Read More Articles
Related Tools & Articles
  • Discussion Forum
    "I suggest you'd be better off by fixing appointment with HR executives of good KPO companies. Secondly, you can also visit the career forums & events hosted across various Indian cities periodically and put your question to the right person."

    Contribute to this Discussion

    By Karine Schomer

    The world's two largest democracies, India and the United States, are also the world's most diverse societies. The demographics and structures of their diversity – and their legal frameworks – differ substantially. Consequently, the diversity challenges and priorities of business in India and the United States differ in many ways.

    Demographic Differences

    India's workforce is preponderantly young. Large numbers are entering the professional workforce at a time of rapid economic expansion that provides increased opportunity for the well qualified and well connected. However, access to professional education, socialization, entry and career advancement is still disproportionately concentrated among social groups that have traditionally dominated the professional fields. Despite its many strengths, the educational system doesn't provide sufficient trained talent for the job market, particularly the IT sector that is the new economy's engine of growth. This puts special pressures on employers in India around finding, competing for, holding and cultivating the skilled employees they need.

    In the United States the average age of the workforce is older, mirroring the age demographics of the population. Changes in American society have brought an unprecedented social diversity into the workforce, not only immigrants from all over the world, but segments of the society previously excluded or under-represented in the professions, especially in managerial and leadership roles. Corporate cultures, employment policies and networks of influence have been forced to change. The principal challenge for American employers today lies less in finding diverse talent, but in developing it and creating an environment that supports social cohesion amid the diversity.

    How Diversity Is Defined

    In the United States the operative diversity categories are not only gender, race/ethnicity, national origin, and religion, but also disability, age, marital status, immigration/citizenship status, armed forces veteran status and sexual orientation. Discourse about diversity distinguishes between social groups that are under-represented in the society's institutions of wealth, power and privilege, and are therefore "protected classes," and those that have had greater access to opportunities and professional advancement.

    In India, the main diversity categories are gender, religion, place of birth (ethno-linguistic region) and, for Hindus, caste – specifically, whether individuals belong to one of the traditionally dominant "Forward Castes," one of the traditionally excluded "Scheduled Castes" or "Scheduled Tribes," or the large "Other Backward Castes" grouping.

    Legal Frameworks

    In the United States the past four decades have seen the development of a robust system of anti-discrimination legislation, including mechanisms for monitoring compliance and redress for violations. It includes legal accountability up the corporate chain of command for discriminatory or harassing behavior in the workplace. It includes protection of employees from "hostile work environment" situations and protection against retaliation for bringing forward complaints. The success of a number of high-profile lawsuits against corporate offenders has helped create a climate where discriminatory practices are no longer considered acceptable, and the expected social norm for corporations is compliance with the law.

    By comparison, the legal safeguards, redress mechanisms and monitoring processes in India are less developed; discrimination in recruitment, selection and career advancement are less likely to be aggressively challenged.

    Another aspect of the American legal framework is an approach to affirmative action that has shied away from outright quotas and reservations as a way to remediate past discrimination. Instead, it has been to encourage greater opportunities for women and under-represented minorities by monitoring their numbers in occupations, positions and companies, encouraging special recruitment efforts, and allowing some latitude for preferential hiring. The concept has taken root in the operations of most responsible corporations, as have practices such as diversity councils to support the success of various categories of employees, and diversity training for managers and employees.

    In India the approach toward correcting caste-based employment discrimination has been quantitatively fixed reservations (quotas) in public sector jobs, state-financed colleges and legislatures. The pros and cons of this approach are passionately debated, in ways reminiscent of public controversies in the early days of civil rights and affirmative action legislation in the United States. Recent attempts by the Indian government to extend the reservations system to the private sector have met stiff resistance from Indian industry, and this initiative is now on hold. Backlash against the existing reservations system has also won some legal victories. The coming decade will see continuing controversy and change in this aspect of India's legal framework. A sign of voluntary change is the adoption by most of India's major IT companies of the U.N. Global Compact's principles regarding the elimination of discrimination with respect to employment and occupation.

    Take-Away Tip for U.S. and Indian Managers

    When Indian and U.S. corporations work together or operate on each other's soil, all levels of management need to understand the important differences in workforce demographics, diversity categories, and legal frameworks relating to diversity, employment discrimination and equal employment opportunity. To apply generic "diversity management" and "global multicultural team" principles without understanding the specifics of these differences could lead to unintended negative consequences.

    When a company is working globally, good diversity management requires understanding the social, cultural and legal particularities of each country, and navigating the differences while at the same time managing a corporation, division or team in a manner that is internally consistent across the globe.

    Useful Links

    CMCT India Cross-Cultural Training and Management Practice
    http://www.cmct.net/india_practice.html

    About the Author:

    Dr. Karine Schomer with CMCTDr. Karine Schomer is President of Change Management Consulting & Training, LLC, and leads the CMCT India Practice, specializing in cross-cultural training, change management, communication and management consulting for doing business with India. She has been involved with India for over 25 years, including 8 years living and working in India. She is fluent in Hindi and has in-depth understanding of Indian culture, values and business and social customs. She has been a University of California-Berkeley professor, dean at Golden Gate University, and Chief Operating Officer of the California Institute of Integral Studies. Contact Karine Schomer at schomer (at) cmct.net or visit http://www.cmct.net/india_practice.html.

     
    Rate This Article:  Current Rating: 3.72
      Poor    Excellent     
              1    2    3     4    5
    Copyright � 2003-2014 – Sourcingmag.com, CTQ Media. All Rights Reserved
    Reproduction Without Permission Is Strictly Prohibited – Request Permission


    Publish an Article: Do you have a sourcing tip, learning or case study?
    Share it with the largest community of Outsourcing professionals, and be recognized by your peers.
    It's a great way to promote your expertise and/or build your resume. Read more about submitting an article.

    Outsourcing AdLinks
    AdLinks Information
     
    Home | Discussion Forum | Event Calendar | Job Shop
    Link To Sourcingmag.com | Report A Problem | Submit Article For Publishing
     Terms of Service. ©2003-2014 Sourcingmag.com, CTQ Media. All rights reserved. v1.0, 0.1
    About Sourcingmag.com | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Site Map