Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Today’s workforce is truly mixture of different races, ages, genders, ethnic groups, religions and lifestyles. It is the job of the management of the organisation to fit together different pieces of mosaic in a harmonious, coordinated way and utilizing the abilities and talents of each employee to its maximum. If skilfully managed, diversity can bring a competitive advantage to an organisation. If not, however, the bottom line can be negatively affected and the work environment can become unwelcoming. Many organisations have recognized that the workforce is changing and they are working to create a work environment in which diversity and difference are valued and in which employees can work to their fullest. They are dealing with the problems that arise when people in the workplace communicate. Businesses must be aware of the impact of cultural diversity on important business factors especially communication and the degree of the effect of cultural diversity on it.

Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Cultural Diversity in Organizations

Culture is an important dimension of group diversity that influences communication. Culture is the integrated system of beliefs, values, behaviors and communication patterns that are shared by those socialized within the same social group. Cultural diversity is the mixture of societies or cultures in a specific region. It is also referred to multiculturalism within an organization. Obvious cultural differences exist between people, such as language, attitudes, traditions, clothing or dress. There are also significant variations in the way culture or society organizes itself, in its shared morality conception, and in the behavior they interact with their environment.

Managing Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Increasing cultural diversity is forcing organisations to learn and motivate people with a broader range of value systems. To succeed in managing workforce that is increasingly diverse and multinational, managers need knowledge about cultural differences and similarities among people from different backgrounds. They also need to be sensitive to these differences that can contribute to their effectiveness in cross cultural communication. In today’s global business world, a manager has to understand cultural differences and their meanings in business relations. The manager who manages diversity should understand that diversity includes every employee. It is a challenge to successfully apply skills, energy, and commitment of employees to make an organization better. It is of primary importance that the manager understands the cultural beliefs and values of the organisation for effectively managing diversity. These beliefs and values group together to create an environment that employee perceive as supportive or not supportive of diversity. Within all organizations there are culturally supportive and non supportive people, policies, and informal structures. Managers should carefully plan and implement organisational systems and practices to manage employees so that the diversity’s potential advantages are maximized and disadvantages minimized. It should be the policy of the company not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person on the basis of race, nationality, color, sex, gender, religion, identity, physical or mental disability, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, age or citizenship. This policy should be applied to all employment practices, including selection, recruitment, transfer, promotion, increase in merit, salary, training and development, demotion, and separation.

The organisations need to understand and accept cultural and communication differences, show respect, empathize and be flexible to communication issues in the workforce environment. It should be knowledgeable about ethical issues and understand values, communicate decisions regarding these issues to employees and keep communication channels open for all employees to feedback information without fear and revenge. Organisation should adapt the policies that directly or indirectly affect the diversity issues. It is important how the organisation addresses and responds to problems that arise from diversity. It must reflect its stance on diversity in its mission statement. If the mission statement articulates a clear and direct commitment to diversity, everyone who comes into contact with that mission statement will grow to understand and accept the importance of diversity. Organisations can also manage diversity through a variety of ongoing practices.

The organisations need to understand and accept cultural and communication differences, show respect, empathize and be flexible to communication issues in the workforce environment. It should be knowledgeable about ethical issues and understand values, communicate decisions regarding these issues to employees and keep communication channels open for all employees to feedback information without fear and revenge. Organisation should adapt the policies that directly or indirectly affect the diversity issues. It is important how the organisation addresses and responds to problems that arise from diversity. It must reflect its stance on diversity in its mission statement. If the mission statement articulates a clear and direct commitment to diversity, everyone who comes into contact with that mission statement will grow to understand and accept the importance of diversity. Organisations can also manage diversity through a variety of ongoing practices.