Today, the whole world has been singled out to comprise one global village, which has been necessitated through globalization. As a result, it has been easier to communicate even for those people who are separated by great distances. Hence, global needs have to be addressed to facilitate the process. Culture comprises of individual’s lifestyles in a given society. It comprises the cultural diversity in the world, which could be described as several human societies in a given social setup. It may sometimes be taken to mean multiculturalism in a given organization.
The dimensions of cultural diversity
Cultural diversity concern “race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, disability, status, or sexual orientation” (Schaefer, 2011) and entails a culture’s cuisine, attire, traditions and their communication diversity about morality and their response to the changing world. Age is crucial in the workforce where the elderly requires more social incentives than the youth. In gender, women are currently flooding the workforce and are quickly replacing men in their positions. Ethnicity especially in a multicultural society such as the U.S is a major problem in which the ethnic minorities are trying to pursue their rights like any other American citizen.
Cultural diversity is such one aspect that has to be handled since it is one aspect that is hindering the world to become a global village. Another dimension is communication, through a language to transmit information from one individual to another. This differs from different social backgrounds where some make use of nonverbal gestures that cannot be understood by others from a different social group. Such gestures may even be taken to be offensive in another culture.
As a result, people must be knowledgeable about others’ cultural values when working particularly if they are from a different cultural background. Attire is also another cultural dimension that characterizes a given social group depending on various occasions although many cultures have that particular attire that fits all occasions (Harvey, 2009).
According to Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions include power distance, individualism/collectivism, uncertainty /avoidance, Masculinity/feminity, and Long Term Orientation. First, power distance is the degree to which a society admits that organization power is dispersed unevenly among individuals. Second, individualism/collectivism is the degree to which individuals perform solely or as belonging to a particular group. Third, uncertainty/avoidance is the degree by which individuals feel endangered by tentative and ambiguous circumstances. Forth, masculinity/feminity is the degree by which a society prioritizes quantity of life such as money over quality of life such as beauty as masculine and feminine traditional roles respectively. Fifth, long Term Orientation is the extent to which a society prioritizes long-term norms as compared to short-term ones.
These dimensions have been achieved by analyzing workplace norms as influenced by cultural diversity and they are crucial in clarifying organization behavior (Lashley & Lee-Ross, 2009).
An organization’s cultural differences have to be addressed through harmonious social interactions to reduce racial parity and oppression. Today, it is inappropriate to trigger ethnic and racial conflicts since they remind of “slavery, colonial oppression, and overt discrimination” (Schaefer, 2011).
Identity with ethnic, cultural, and other groups
I am a young woman of Chinese Indonesian origin although most of my upbringing has taken place in the United States. The movement to the U.S was inevitable since my parents were working for a global corporation. Besides, moving to the United States aided me to learn a new language i.e. English since it was the national language used. Being incorporated into the American culture was a challenge especially due to my religious standpoint as a Muslim and the language barrier.
This deprivation of inclusion was critical in influencing my social identities, which establish diversified values, communication panaches, instigators, and lifestyle change. This is a challenge to the workforce and diversity management. My preference on how to be managed might not be essential since many others in the workforce have even more complex social identities. Thus this complexity based on religion, gender, age, ethnicity among other values contributes to the challenging task in inclusive management in today’s globalized world.
Chinese Indonesians have a diverse culture. Their religious values, family cohesiveness, and economic steadiness are prioritized. This is marked by their focused attention towards establishing and managing business enterprises in pursuit of economic stability. This is most importantly done in cultivating a stable family future in education and luxuries. As a result, these values have been incorporated into my personality of self-determination.
Marriage is an important social institution in our culture in which a traditional nuclear family is achieved and familial values such as cohesiveness cannot be overlooked. In such ceremonies, guests have a chance of showing off their traditional ware, indigenous food and drinks are served, gift-giving occurs to the newly married couple and songs and dances accompany all night long. Religious morals such as purity and shunning premarital sex, stealing, and killing are upheld to cultivate a society that is morally upright and where moral standards are put at the forefront. When one fails to abide by such aspects he or she is considered a social misfit.
The difference between diversity and inclusion
Diversity involves “race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, disability, status, or sexual orientation” (Schaefer, 2011) in which according to Schaefer, it is marked by “stigmatization, prejudice, discrimination, as well as the mobilization of efforts to bring about positive change” (2011). The diversity process for organizational change involves the incorporation of various diversified cultures into the organization.
The elderly, gays and lesbian community, the disabled, and the ethnic minority group are wallowing in poverty in the U.S since they are segregated socially in participating in social activities. There are efforts invested for the elderly to participate in the workforce although they are when they do, they are subjected to ageism. The disabled’s struggle for inclusion has been significantly aided by the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
The lesbian and gay community on the other hand has been prejudiced by the media and continues being faced out in employment opportunities whose rights are yet to acquire. When this process is successful, the organization achieves an inclusion stage. Cultural diversity is such one aspect that has to be handled through inclusion because it is critical in deterring the world to develop into a global village
Inclusion is an interactive strategy, which recognizes and regards cultural diversity through attentiveness, negotiation, and compromise. To achieve this, human resource managers should have a proper understanding of the aspects that establish diversity learning, those influencing organizational change, learn proper approach in dealing with cultural differences about personal perceptions such as prejudice and stereotyping.
Also, they should be armed with information regarding group socialization, which may impact multicultural groups bearing in mind that they differ from each other (Harvey & Allard, 2009). However, many businesses are yet to grasp the right tools in managing cultural diversity so that the entire personnel can enjoy inclusion and identify themselves with the company’s mission. As a result, evaluating the primary value of cultural diversity in a business setup is a major challenge due to its flux nature (Harvey & Allard, 2009).
The importance of workplace diversity training
Cultural diversity is an aspect that cannot be neglected by firms and one which requires to be managed. This is due to global business, which requires joint ventures as well as multinational trading and calls people from different cultural backgrounds to work together. As a result, cultural sensitivity through training is essential since there could emerge issues regarding cultural differences. For instance, there is no need to hardline one’s cultural standpoint while handling international operations but instead; there should be conformity in the corporation.
Cultural training sensitizes the workforce on the cultural dimensions that should be handled without prejudice. It is managed through recruiting members as representatives of the community in which the company serves. Through diversity training, the workforce is made aware of the cultural diversity that exists within the firm, its dimensions, and how to nature them. It is crucial to handle stereotyping based on one’s culture since it limits the member’s input, hence affects the company’s growth.
Moreover, there should be an encouraging environment that should be created to enhance communication within the workforce. Barriers should be handled through addressing members’ opinions, avoiding prejudgments and use of proper language so that diverse, cultures can coexist. For good working relationships, it is essential to appreciate cultural diversity since it provides a pool of diverse workforce. Cultural training is therefore crucial in empowering individuals from different cultural backgrounds to work together to achieve a success in the arena of a multicultural workforce.
For the Human Resource, it is significant to appreciate the densities of organizational variation and management actions that will inspire and endorse the inclusion of a diverse workforce. Inclusive management should not involve segmented responsive tactic in which affirmative action is in the limelight and where inclusion of diversity is a major problem with regard to avoiding litigations. In a conaboutperspective is needed in creatively handling workforce requirements solving any misunderstanding that crop up. As a result, the labor force gains an opportunity to deliver and work up to achieving the overall organization goal.
Besides, “If diversity organizational asset to an organization, it must be seen as a human capital issue that changes how people have led and the way that businesses manage employees, deal with customers and negotiate with suppliers” (Harvey & Allard, 2009). Additionally, cultural diversity adds up to a firm’s competitive advantage since it natures creativity’, making informed decisions, product expansion, marketing among others.
Workplace culture and inclusion
The business policies are becoming globalized and therefore, the need to modify the business environment. The global market poses a challenge of managing cultural diversity. The human resource for instance has to be critical in managing the workforce, which is characterized by cultural differences, especially in global businesses. Unique personal identity created through culture dictates the degree to which individuals interact and which should be guided by workplace values.
As a result, organizational culture greatly influences not only how a person interacts with colleagues at the workplace but also how one interacts and responds to the larger society through conceptualizing critical issues. Global integration at the workplace is limited by cultural diversity and if organizations neglect this aspect, it causes a pronounced drawback in the global village. Therefore, identifying the cross-cultural aspects when considering the inclusion of a diverse workforce is important for a business to achieve a competitive advantage.
The inclusion of a diverse culture contributes to organizational change. Having a diverse workforce, however, is not enough since managers have the role of ensuring that productivity is maximized. At the workplace, the organization was inclusive of African, whites, Asians, immigrants, people with different sexual orientations, those with disabilities as well as the young and the elderly. Therefore, employees, clients, and suppliers emerged from multiple cultural identities, which comprised salience and invisible social identities. The global market as well as advancement in technology continues to limit intercultural communication. Inclusion in this work could be achieved through expansion, assessment, and enactment of policies and programs concerning the organization’s culture (Harvey & Allard, 2009).
For instance, the organization advocate for ‘racial, religious, and ethnic’ rights as well as applying universality in handling organizations. This includes the ethnic minority in making their contribution to society. Consequently, this aids in achieving equality not only in productivity but also in opportunities in giving the minority group such as the disabled a competitive advantage. However, achieving social equality is a challenge since many controversies arise due to multiculturalism perception in all sectors.
The controversies are based on first, consensus, which occurs on the accomplishment of assimilation of a particular group, and occur in a pluralistic society where affiliates have approved to respect variances amid groups. It is also marked by the eradication of an opposing group, extinction, and exclusion. Second, conflict, which is mostly overlooked since consensus in society, assumes that conflict does not exist. This is for instance wrong when justifying racial, religious, and cultural differences, which cause misery and which are supposed to coexist harmoniously (Schaefer, 2011).
Struggle for parity about culture is still underway as asserted by Schaefer that “While the election of Barack Obama as president was historic and worthy of the global celebration it received, it does not reflect the broad movement of members of racial and ethnic groups into positions of power in the private and public sectors” (2011). Many people in contemporary society have yet to neglect repression, which dehumanizes the minority groups. Ethnic conflicts have marked the people’s way of life and to solve this, self-determination is essential but will only happen when current organization structures are modified through incurring social costs. Social contacts among multicultural groups should therefore be encouraged to pledge mutual acceptance and appreciation.
Harvey, C. P. and Allard, M. J. (2009). Understanding and managing diversity: readings, cases, and exercises. 4 Ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Lashley, C. and Lee-Ross, D. (2009). Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management in the Hospitality Industry. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Schaefer, R. T. (2011). Racial and Ethnic Groups, Census Update. 12th Ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.