Diversity Issue in Today’s Organizations

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 3
Words: 837
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College

Diversity encompasses how people identify themselves and how others perceive them. Examples include age, gender, color, religion, economic upbringing, and culture. Many businesses in the 21st century aspire for increased diversity in their staff. A diversified company has a better chance of finding new markets, attracting desired people of all races and ethnicities, and being flexible in a competitive context. However, diversity can lead to various challenges in the workplace. One of the most frequently encountered diversity challenges today’s organizations face is communication barriers. Communication can be difficult for people of diverse cultures, languages, ages, appearances, and skills, which can slow down the company’s work and contribute to low production efficiency (Yusof & Rahmat, 2020). This essay presents how communication barriers affect communication flow and information in a diverse workplace and offer viable ways to overcome cross-cultural communication barriers.

First, communication barriers lead to high anxiety, a stumbling block to communication in diversified organizations. Anxiety and low proficiency in individuals reduce their motivation to interact with others resulting in poor cultural adjustments and low levels of work (Seeger & Gustafsson, 2021). Anxiety causes tension because of the uncertainties in intercultural encounters as they do not know what is expected of them, which makes them exhibit defensive behavior. An example is where an individual on a new job does not want to make any mistakes or appear awkward. The hesitation can lead to less communication and misunderstandings in the organization, affecting productivity in the workplace.

Secondly, the phenomenon becomes an issue for a commercial organization when the team ceases to find a common language. Ineffective communication leads to confusion, lack of interest, and low morale (Goel, 2018). Together, this gradually reduces work efficiency and, consequently, the company’s productivity. Furthermore, holding on to one meaning in a language can easily lead to misunderstandings because words often have more than one meaning, and adding connotation or context complicates matters. Every individual’s cultural background influences how communications patterns emerge, which can vary significantly among cultures and influences worldview. Language skills cause adaptation, and a lack of them leads to workplace divisions (Seeger & Gustafsson, 2021). Anxiety over properly speaking another language or one’s native language to someone with limited or unknown experience and skill in the language may result in constraints or reservations in intercultural engagement.

Thirdly, insufficient information about the people in cross-cultural communication leads to irrational decisions. Irrational decisions in organizations impede productivity and efficiency by slowing down work (Yusof & Rahmat, 2020). They exaggerate or overgeneralize our perceptions of people, leading to increased anxiety. Every person imposes one stereotype on another person or group of people. Stereotypes get formed due to fear of the group being stereotyped or a lack of understanding of the group (Jenifer & Raman, 2015). These preconceptions are the primary causes of disagreements regarding the opposing culture, which leads to miscommunication. Stereotyping encourages people to overlook distinctions among members of a specific group, and as a result, they frequently fail to examine individual characteristics.

The last key stumbling block for organizations is ethnocentrism which involves thinking of one’s culture and group behavior as the benchmark against which all other groups are measured. Ethnocentric views lead to a more narrow-minded vision of how things should be done, even though there are different ways to achieve the same aim (Seeger & Gustafsson, 2021). It is a weakness that affects employees’ performance at work as it reduces their motivation to improve their performances (Yusof & Rahmat, 2020). Unintentionally, one’s own cultural experience causes them to believe that their culture is unique, increasing workplace anxiety. Therefore, the anxiety level is directly proportional to workplace ethnocentrism.

To overcome the challenges mentioned above on cross-cultural communication, a business organization must build cross-cultural competency in its organizational structure. Cross-cultural competence rests on three pillars, cross-cultural ability, awareness, and sensitivity (Jenifer & Raman, 2015). Therefore, organizations should undertake the following measure to improve their cultural competence: They should offer cross-cultural knowledge training where employees recognize the existent differences in perceptions, beliefs, values, and interpretation. Furthermore, language training should be issued to promote sensitivity and help individuals grasp self-concept, awareness, and neutrality. Lastly, the organizations should enforce a mutual benefit policy that promotes win-win situations at the workplace, motivating diverse workers to be efficient and productive.

Communication barriers negatively impact organizations today as they aspire for increased diversity in their staff. Therefore, they cause high anxiety, which lowers employee motivation to interact with others lowering levels of work. Moreover, organizations have high confusion levels among their employees, which reduces their work interests and lowers their morale. In addition, employees use language skills to adapt to the workplace; a lack of these skills leads to workplace divisions, not to mention the irrational decisions made in organizations impeding workplace productivity by slowing down work. Cross-cultural communication competence enables a company to achieve its goals while respecting the individuals impacted by its operations’ values, norms, and beliefs. To overcome the existing challenges to cross-cultural communication, a commercial organization must build cross-cultural competency in its organizational structure.


Goel, S. (2018). The Impact of Workplace Diversity – Benefits and Challenges. International Journal of Research and Analytical Reviews, 5(2), 2207.

Jenifer, R. D., & Raman, G. P. (2015). Cross-cultural communication barriers in the workplace. International Journal of Management, 6(1), 348-351. (PDF) Cross-Cultural Communication Barriers in Workplace (researchgate.net)

Seeger, I., & Gustafsson, S. (2021). Barriers to Intercultural Communication:-A Case Study on IKEA Japan.

Yusof, A. N. A. M., & Rahmat, N. H. (2020). Communication barriers at the workplace: A case study. European Journal of Education Studies, 7(10).