Sample Management Essay Paper on Social Identity Processes in Organizational Contexts

            I am an only child Chinese female so ultimately Chinese is my first language as both my parents are Chinese. I am not religious as both my parents are not religious and very liberal in all political matters. At college, my major is Mathematics joint Economics. Most of the times I prefer to stay at home than go out and socialize making me an introvert. I derive most of my values from my parents and the Chinese culture. Being an introvert helps me think independently and more deeply buy it also limits me from exploring options as I am mostly locked in my head. My liberal political beliefs help me embrace different personalities and individuals as liberal beliefs are rooted on the promotion of diversity. In this paper I will reflect on my social identity, to what extent it helps me achieve or limits me, and discuss how my social identity will contribute to a diverse work place in the future.

            We often hear about diversity, especially now in the 21st century where it is a requirement in organizations. What is diversity and why is important to my future? Diversity is the state of having variety or different elements. It is the inclusion of different races, culture, religious and political beliefs in organizations and groups. As a Math-Econ major I will be working in the business world where I will meet people from different walks of life. These people will have different experiences and values from mine in terms of personality, income levels, geography, gender identity, disability status, belief system, and race. I will work with and for them, lead them, report to them. These diverse people will be my clients or I theirs. Understanding and embracing diversity is therefore important for me in the future as I venture into the diverse work place.

            In order to understand and embrace diversity, I need to become self aware of my own identity. According to the Social Identity theory, social identity is an individual’s sense of who they are based on the groups they belong to (Hogg &Terry 3). These groups are ethnic, social class, religious, family and political. As stated above, I am a Chinese female thus my first language is Chinese. My Chinese heritage plays a great role in my values. The Chinese culture values education and no accomplishment can measure up to a higher learning. This value originates from the Confucian school of thought that advocated for learning. In my culture, students attend school to honor their parents and family. In my case, attending college brings honor to my family. As an only child, my parents have invested in my education so that I can have a better future. This value of education is of positive impact to me and it has helped me achieve a lot in terms of academics and will in the future help me land a high profile job in the society.

            The Chinese culture also dictates that children carry on their family heritage without dishonor. As an only child, this value places a big load on my shoulders. I am expected to make my parents proud by respecting their wishes and by upholding the family name in the society. This has helped me avoid situations that might embarrass my parents. To some extent, it has helped me maintain high morality in the society. I believe this value will help me in future when I start earning a living. There is the stereotype in the society that Asians are good with numbers. As an Econ-Math student, this stereotype places a lot of pressure on me. [Stereotype threat] can have a disruptive effect on performance (Sucher 31). As an Asian; I am the spotlight to perform excellently in my major so as not to dishonor my family and race. However, I feel that this tradition might hold me back at some point. Though my parents might have the best interests for me, I am not them. I am a different individual with different dreams and goals. Their expectations-and those of the society might hold me back from reaching my full potential. As a liberal, the value of upholding family values might keep me from being me.

            Liberal politics are based on the beliefs of democracy and a constitution that protects the freedoms and rights of individuals. I belong to this school of thought that embraces diversity in political beliefs. Liberals are reported to have greater openness as opposed to conservatives who are reported to be more conscientious than open. Therefore, liberals are more tolerant, flexible, open to new experiences and ideas, and creative. I possess all the above named traits and I believe this will be important to carry to the work place. However, liberals are more indecisive, impulsive and irresponsible. I am not irresponsible but sometimes my liberal nature makes me impulsive.

            Being liberal contradicts my introvert nature. I barely go out to socialize and prefer to keep my own company at home. In our society, extroverts are applauded and introverts are encouraged to be extroverts. I find this to be wrong as introverts like myself have our own strengths. I find that I have a greater appreciation for understatement and subtlety. I take longer to answer questions because I take more time to make a mental connection. My answers often have more substance than those of extroverts who have a hard time trying to think deeply. For me, thinking deeply comes naturally. Being an introvert has also increased my level of self-sufficiency. I do not depend on other for approval of others. I am able to focus on my goals and achievements without expecting the approval of others. Since I do not share the urge to gain approval or attention, I am able to focus on more meaningful relationships.

            Religion is supposed to keep us morally grounded but since time immemorial, religion has been used to foster differences and wage wars among different religious groups. During the Second World War, Nazis prosecuted Jews. In todays world Muslims and Christians are at war. The fact that I do not belong to any religious group makes me neutral. I can relate to people from all religious beliefs without being biased. However, the fact that I am not religious makes people think that I am a heathen. There is this perception in the society that if you do not believe in a certain deity then you must believe in the devil. I believe in none. I believe in being good.

            Now that I have out lined who I am, how can I understand and contribute to a diverse work place. “The way a person conceives of her or himself has a great deal to do with how that person operates in the world (Davidson 25)” Organizational contexts provide a perfect arena for the operation and development of social identity. Many employers value introverts as they deem them thoughtful, measured and calm. As an introvert, I would be best suited to develop ideas independently. As a liberal I am more open to new ideas meaning I can work with others in the work place to solve a problem. Diversity prompts diverse ideas which in the end provide an endless list of solutions for a problem. There is the stereotype that Asians-like me are good at math. While my major might serve to reinforce this stereotype in the work place, it is not always the case. There are Asian artists and musicians.

            My social identity helps me achieve or limits me sometimes and understanding this will enable me to contribute effectively in a diverse work place. According to Hofstede’s identity pyramid there are three conceptions of an individual’s identity (Davidson 25). At the top, is our sense of uniqueness, at the middle is the part of our identity that is rooted in group membership and at the base is the part where we identify as universal human beings belonging to the same homo sapiens class. Using this pyramid I am able to understand myself better as a unique being, as part of a group and finally as a human being. Having understood myself, I can therefore understand and promote diversity in the work place.

Work Cited

Davidson, M. N. (2002, August). “Primer on Social Identity: Understanding Group Membership.” Harvard Business Publishing Product #: UV0644-PDF-ENG

Hogg, Michael., Terry Deborah. Social Identity Processes in organizational Contexts. Psychology Press, 2001. Print

Sucher, S. J. (2007, November). “Differences at Work: The Individual Experience.” Harvard Business Publishing Product # 608068-PDF-ENG