Put a Stop to Type-casting and Discrimination at Work

Published: 31st October 2008
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Copyright (c) 2008 Camilla Patten

Managing prejudices and discriminatory stereotyping in the workplace is an ever present challenge facing employers. When people in the workplace discriminate between one another it is usually due to a lack of information and poor interpersonal skills required to accept each other for the sum of their individual differences.

While you may not be directly involved, if you are in an environment that is conducive to social labeling consider yourself warned. Stereotyping inhibits social development and group learning. Work typecasting will directly hamper an individual's ability to develop personal relationships and networking skills.

Prejudice is an immediate by-product of social stereotyping. Prejudiced behaviour leads to discrimination in the workplace which is less than favourable. The labelling of people at work is a way in which we categorise chunks of information. The less familiar the information and the more complicated it is to disseminate, the more we are prone to assigning a 'general' label to it.

In an attempt to remove workplace stereotyping the best approach to start with is by defining this. Stereotyping or labeling is explained as being the social categorisation we assign to those we meet. It is a human instinct to literally label people as we meet them. In essence stereotyping is a 'lazy' social habit we have developed. Consider the disaster stereotyping has in a place such as South Africa, where the diversity in culture is vast and complex.

When human beings are faced with new information we look for the fastest and simplest way to make sense of it. When bombarded with vast differences and hordes of information the easiest way through is to put miscellaneous matter into a stereotype box. When faced with information we don't understand a kind of mental meltdown ensues. Systems crash and the sheer mystery of such information lead to assumptions.

Prejudice as a Result of Stereotyping at Work

Prejudice behaviour and discrimination is a direct result of stereotyping. Discrimination is an immediate by-product of refusing to accept other for their individuality. Such behaviour is both deconstructive and primitive. As the name explains, to be prejudice is to pre-judge an individual. Instead of awarding people the equal opportunity to prove their personal worth we assign a predefined label to them. Based on assumption, we place individuals into groups of relevancy. Prejudice behaviour in the workplace instills negativity and unfair criticism.

FIVE SOLUTIONS: Remove Stereotyping form the Workplace

1. Learn to interact with people on a more personal level

- Personal relationships are one of the most insightful clues to your own emotional maturity.

- Expand your perceptions and open your mind to diversities.

- Personal relationships are based on your ability to interact with others and harmonise the disclosure of personal information

2. Interact with diverse professional contacts

- Open yourself up to learning about different cultures in business.

- Develop valuable business contacts as a result of mutual sharing and respect.

3. Commit to expanding your knowledge.

- Apply effort to you endeavour to learn from things you don't understand.

- Exercise commitment and patience in your quest to remove stereotyping from the workplace.

4. Keep an open mind.

- Put your feet in others shoes.

- Consider their experiences based on their situation.

- Conceited behaviour is counter-productive.

- Practice humility

5. Make it your goal to remove type casting from your workplace.

- Display conviction to your cause and you will not fail.

- Setting objectives is the best way to motivate yourself.

- Make it your goal to succeed.

Learning from each other's differences and having a slice of humble pie is all that is required to eliminate stereotyping. There are so many things that we can learn from each other's differences. We cannot expect to move forward if we continue to refer back to past stereotyping.


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