Introduction to the Complexity of Diversity

What you’ll learn to do: Describe the complexity of diversity in the workplace

A transfeminine executive meeting with a non-binary employeeAs we have just discussed, diversity is everywhere, including the workplace, and that’s a wonderful thing! Diversity can be defined on a variety of levels. There are both external and internal factors that need to be considered when discussing diversity. External diversity is often displayed in a person’s appearance. External diversity can include but is not limited to, gender, age, ethnicity, and sometimes even religion. It is also important to note that even external diversity traits are not always easy to identify as not everyone ages the same or looks the same, even if they’re from the same part of the world or expressed their gender in the same way.

Internal diversity, on the other hand, is an even more challenging to define and identify. Internal diversity includes individual experiences and backgrounds. Internal diversity examples may include how people were raised, where they went to school, previous job experience, etc.

Not every piece of the diversity puzzle can fit neatly into a category. Diversity is extremely complex and incorporates almost every aspect of a person’s life. You may find people that are similar to you and have similar core values and beliefs; however, there is no one who is exactly like you because everyone has different experiences throughout their lifetime. Even similar interactions and experiences may have a different effect on each individual who lives it.

The workplace is equally as complex as the rest of society. Once again, the workplace will not identically mirror society but it still experiences similar diversity challenges. In this next section we will discuss five different types of diversity and how they each influence organizations.

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