Managing Cultural Diversity
For the assigned discussion topic, our group will address the concept of diversity in two perspectives, cross cultural diversity management and managing multicultural teams. On this document we start by defining diversity and move on to multicultural aspects of diversity. Following, we will introduce the concept of managing multicultural teams to whom we will briefly introduce the four challenges of managing multicultural teams as well as some strategies to unravel it. Finally, we list the group dynamic for the class discussion, as well as provide recommendations and conclusion.
The concept of Diversity Diversity describes the many differences and similarities, which exist between people. These differences may be apparent, such as race and gender. However, diversity also includes obvious differences, such as cultural background, moral/ religious values, or political views (Pollar, 2004). Lee Gardenswartz and Anita Rowe present four layers model of diversity to help distinguish the important ways in which people differ: (a) Personality, the dimension which constitutes the core of this model, covers all aspects of a person that may be classified as “personal style”. ) Internal dimensions, are considered to be dimensions that may not be easily changed by individuals and are thus taken into account by the relevant equal treatment acts. (c) External dimensions, are characterized by their variableness. “Religion” or “worldview” are exceptions, which is why they are highlighted. (d) Organizational dimensions, are defined by corporate or institutional affiliation (Gardenswartz, 1994). Why This Topic? The main reason is our group being composed by individuals who come from different places and different cultures but pursuing the same vision and goals.
Secondly, Organizations that are able to attract and retain qualified minority groups, keep faith with them through fair and equitable career advancements and treatment, thus, gain competitive advantages in attracting and maintaining the best talent. There are differences among employees and these differences, if properly managed, are an asset to work being done more efficiently and effectively (Bartz et al. , 1990). When doing business multicultural aspects of diversity become crucial to finalize a contract or enter into a new market.
Multicultural aspects of diversity Why study multicultural aspects of diversity? Chances are very high that you will be working with diverse cultures. As a professional it is important to understand differences between cultures and what ramifications this will have in the way you interact with these diverse cultures. This section is meant to provide awareness of how diversity influences the way we do business across cultures. Our group will present cultural diversity challenges based on day to day businesses experiences in Angola, China, Kenya and Korea.
Such aspects as body language, business meetings, r red tape will be presented in a way that our peers can have a clear idea that success on any International business environment is conditioned to understanding diversity. Managing multicultural teams Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization. That sounds simple, creating organizational changes that enable all people to pertorm up to their maximum potential it is not an easy task (Kreitner, Kinicki, 2010). Four categories of challenges occur when managing multicultural teams. a) Direct versus Indirect communication (b) Trouble with accents and fluency c) Different attitudes toward hierarchy (d) Conflicting norms for decision making. (a) Direct versus Indirect communication Individuals have their unique communication styles, influenced by culture, age, or gender (Sherrie Bourg Carter, 2011). If members in a certain group don’t try to understand those patterns, they will clash and wreak havoc on the relationships. Communication can be roughly categorized into two styles: direct and indirect.
In direct communication, the speakers tend to say what they think. Direct communication style is common in low-context culture, which usually underline on ndividualism, independence, and self-reliance (Cynthia Joyce, 2012). Therefore, the speakers are liable for clear communication in the direct style of culture. On the other hand, in the high-context culture, it is common that what the speaker is driving at is implied in sentences. The communication is used not only by words, but also by nonverbal behaviors, implication, and understatement (Cynthia Joyce, 2012).
In this culture, the people emphasize more on avoiding conflicts and having social relationships, than on being honest. Therefore, the listeners are responsible for nderstanding the meaning of communication. (b) Trouble with accents and fluency In creating a multicultural team, there comes a wide array of multifaceted challenges. Although English is considered to be the language of International business, when team members have accents or lack vocabulary, they avoid sharing their ideas on an area of their expertise.
For instance, when discussing business with clients in Europe, a Marketing team from a Peru, may feel threaten or easily misunderstood by the cleanliness and objective English from their homologues in London. Such type of ehavior is set off when team members who are not very tolerant of accents don’t listen to them. That generates a self-reinforcing stigma. (Melymuka, 2006). On this particular case, all team members must be aware of the language barriers and focus on the task or goals they are trying to achieve. c) Different attitudes toward hierarchy Members from different cultures may react differently according to their position in an organization and also the organization structure. In case of differing cultural norms, the whole project may blow up if members feel they have been treated nfairly Strive for a balance between an overly directive and overly collaborative workplace environment. Establish your role, balance that by encouraging employees to communicate issues, problems and solutions. Inform employees of the consequences of unwanted behavior. Document your discussion with the employee.
Follow up on a regular basis and enforce discipline if the behavior is ongoing. (d) Conflicting norms for decision making Differences among employees also have effects on how quickly decisions are made and how much analysis is required beforehand Oeanne, 2006). Managers in western culture tend to make decisions quickly, while managers from others’ take longer time for more analysis and certainty. If properly managed, the decision making process becomes an asset to work being done more efficiently and effectively. Four strategies There are various strategies that can be applied when dealing with diversity challenges in the workplace.
Some of the most successful teams and managers used the below strategies to cope witn these challenges. (a) Adaptation, (b) Structural intervention, (c) Managerial Intervention and (d) Exit. Adaptation This involves acknowledging cultural gaps openly and working around them. The strategy works when team members are willing to accept differences and find ways to live with them. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.
Structural intervention This strategy consist of changing the shape of the team into subgroups or smaller working groups of diverse cultures of corporate identities. This enables teams to mix cultures and expertise. In order to leverage the full potential benefits of diverse orkforce, organizations are urged to realign the diversity management strategy to the overall business strategy and objectives of the organization. Managerial intervention Managerial interventions at an early stage when differences, can help a team start out effectively.
Understanding that the team will have diverse views subject to differences in opinions will prepare the management with necessary tools for conflict resolution. Exit This is the last resort when all other strategies have failed, this can be voluntary or by management request. Some team members may feel that they cannot keep up with he group and hence Join another group that is a good fit. Our Approach for the Class Discussion We decided to focus on challenges possibly occurred when people work in the different culture.
For that matter, we are going to address diversity in the cross cultural diversity management and managing multicultural teams. At first, we will introduce the topic giving a general idea of diversity and playing a video explaining diversity. After the video we will explain the definition of diversity, advantages of diversity in the workplace and ask questions about diversity according to our lassmate’s workplaces. The following will be addressing multicultural aspects of diversity, encouraging people to consider importance between business and culture by giving some questions of business mannerism in different cultures.
On this section, we will present cultural diversity challenges based on day to day businesses experiences in Angola, China, Kenya and Korea. Such aspects as body language, business meetings, or red tape will be presented in a way that our peers can have a clear idea that success on any International business environment is conditioned to understanding diversity. Another video will be played on this section. Moving on, we will introduce the topic managing multicultural teams, talk about the four challenges and strategies to solve problems.
A video may be played to emphasize it. We will finish our presentation with some recommendations and talking about the do’s and don’ts of diverse environment. Discussion Questions 1) Why is diversity important? 2) Why study multicultural aspects of diversity? 3) What comes into your mind when you think about doing business or working in other countries? 4) How does your experience and background prepares you to be ffective in different environments? 5) What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? ) What kind of leadership efforts would you make to ensure a commitment to the diversity initiative or value? Conclusion It is acceptable to state that there is no best way to manage diversity. The execution of the workforce diversity concept could be vastly different from country to country, from company to company. The very success of its implementation depends on business needs and workforce issues as well as situational factors, such as the rganizational culture and workplace environment. A diverse workforce is a reflection of a changing world and marketplace.
Research has shown that a diverse work teams bring high value to organizations and respecting individual differences benefits the workplace by creating a competitive edge and increasing work productivity. Management tools in a diverse workplace should be used to educate everyone on diversity issues including the laws and regulations. It gives a company a better image and bigger opportunity on the marketplace. Most workplaces are made up of a iverse population and therefore organizations need to learn how to adapt and be successful. Summary of the Assigned Article According to Jeanne et al. s article (2006), multicultural teams have cultural differences, which can create difficulties to work together, even though also have various gains such as knowledge of different product markets, or culturally sensitive customer services. However, if these obstacles are managed by appropriate strategies, multicultural teams can avoid conflicts. To figure out obstacles, there are four types of challenges when you work in different culture. First, the differences between direct and indirect communication can lead team members to damage relationships when they share information and make decisions.