Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Cultural diversity in the workplace provides strength as well as challenges to businesses today. Diversity is a reality in today’s workforce. Diversity is otherness or those human qualities that are different from our own and outside the groups, to which we belong, yet present in other individuals and groups. It is important to understand how these dimensions affect performance, motivation, success, and interactions with others. Institutional structures and practices that have presented barriers to some dimensions of diversity should be examined, challenged, and removed. Managing diversity well provides a distinct advantage in an era when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness. An organization needs to be flexible and adaptable to meet new customer needs. With effective management of diversity, the campus develops a reputation as an employer of choice. Not only will you have the ability to attract the best talent from a shrinking labor pool, but you can also save time and money in recruitment and turnover costs.

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Managing diversity is about valuing differences. It is about treating people with dignity and allowing everyone to be able to perform to their level of ability. From the organization’s perspective, it means improved effectiveness and efficiency.

Lifeskills – Cultural Differences

Managing diversity means acknowledging people’s differences and recognizing these differences as valuable; it enhances good management practices by preventing discrimination and promoting inclusiveness. Good management alone will not necessarily help you work effectively with a diverse workforce. It is often difficult to see what part diversity plays in a specific area of management.

According to a recent survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), one-third of UK organizations have already adopted a strategy that ‘brings components such as learning and development, together with aspects of the working environment, into the benefits package… It goes beyond standard remuneration by embracing the company culture and is aimed at giving all employees a voice in the operation, with the employer in return receiving an engaged employee performance. (Spiers).

Managing diversity focuses on maximizing the ability of all employees to contribute to organizational goals. Organizations that proactively learn from diversity and which integrate the varied perspectives and ways of working holistically can fully unleash the benefits of a diverse workforce. Key organizational features contributing to the success of diversity management are openness, communication, and flexibility. Cultural diversity within our workforce is now the norm as well as an economic necessity. Spurred on by globalization and increased personal mobility, the need for skilled immigrants to fulfill labor shortages has brought many changes to the workplace. Challenges can be broad-ranging from basic communications and language difficulties to complexities in decision-making processes and team management. Effectively managing cultural diversity enables organizations not only to overcome such challenges but also to fully exploit the opportunities of cultural synergy to strategic advantage.

Apart from valuing employees for whom they are and giving them increased job satisfaction, a successfully managed multicultural workplace generates opportunities for learning, creativity, innovation, and leadership among others. Diversity and cultural diversity management interact with other organizational strategies. To fully benefit across the organization strategies need to be well integrated and a holistic encompassing approach should be adopted. In this way diversity, management will interlink and mediate with other strategies to enhance their effectiveness. Employees, teams, managers, and leaders all perform better in open communicative environments. Effective people management improves the motivation, behavior, and performance of all employees in the multicultural workplace. By removing barriers and facilitating workplace communication and by creating an open accepting organizational culture, diversity management programs increase the productivity and efficiency of all employees. Workplace Diversity provides business managers with the creative and effective solutions they need to succeed in today’s multifaceted and ever-changing workplace. With insights into the most difficult and sensitive issues managers encounter, Workplace Diversity offers timely, practical, and invaluable guidance.

An individual’s cultural identity may be based on heritage as well as individual circumstances and personal choice. Cultural identity may be affected by such factors as race, ethnicity, age, language, country of origin, acculturation, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, religious/spiritual beliefs, physical abilities, occupation, among others. These factors may influence behaviors such as communication styles, diet preferences, health beliefs, family roles, lifestyle, rituals, and decision-making processes. Culture is neither ethnic nor racial. Culture is learned and varies from person to person. Every culture has something distinctive to offer.

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Cultural diversity is the characteristic of Europeans. People who at some stage in their history migrated from an original homeland and settled in a European country that is diasporic groups, estimated to be eight percent of the European Union (EU). The local, the national, and the transnational are the three crucial spatial and cultural contexts where the experience of diasporic groups evolves. The local is where every day is lived; the national is where citizens’ rights and obligations are formed and formal rules for political and cultural exclusion/inclusion are set; the transnational is the global diasporic networks expand and where diasporic communities are sustained. New information and communication technologies gain a growing role in sustaining communication and networks in and across the three spatial positions; in representing diasporic groups to themselves and the rest of the society; and in finding a voice and establishing a visible presence for excluded groups.

Hiring people from a medley of cultures can add that extra dash of color and spice to any organization. Workplace diversity is a result of globalization. Increased collaboration between different cultures is essential since companies are expanding geographically. This makes it necessary for companies to understand the culture in these new markets. (Diverse Culture).

Many of the popular media talk on behalf of communities, although they are usually run by small groups of individuals, minority entrepreneurs, or organizations. Such community projects often raise internal conflicts about who has the right to talk in the name of whom, reflecting similar conflicts about representatives as those expressed about other media. Firms reach out to a broader customer base, they need employees who understand particular customer preferences and requirements.

The dominant trend is the lack of connection between cultures, including media, policies, and migrant, or diasporic, exclusion policies. Migration is usually considered either a phenomenon or a problem and policy often undermines the integration and participation of diasporas and migrant groups in European and national societies.

The result is that many policy documents exclude minorities from mainstream cultural projects on the national and European levels. Policies that integrate migration, minorities, and cultural and socio-economic issues are rare and inconsistent.

London is now more diverse than any city that has ever existed. Altogether, more than 300 languages are spoken by the people of London, and the city has at least 50 non-indigenous communities with populations of 10,000 or more. (Wood et al).

The policy discourse, when addressing issues of minority integration and participation, focuses on majorities when it looks at issues of racism, representation of minorities in the media, and on informing the wider public about minorities, their needs, and rights. This approach contributes to the image of minorities as voiceless, or as a problem, and undermines the fact that these diasporic groups actively construct cultures and identities and experience exclusion from public and cultural projects.

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Managing diversity means maximizing potential advantages while minimizing the barriers such as prejudices and bias that can undermine the functioning of a diverse workforce which involves both compulsory and voluntary management actions. There are many legally compulsory actions employers must take to minimize employment discrimination.

To manage a culturally diversified organization, organizational activities should focus on strong leadership. The Company must assess the current state of affairs concerning diversity management. The common tools for measuring diversity include equal employment hiring and retention metrics, employee attitude surveys, management, and employee evaluation, and focus groups.Management can provide diversity training and education if required. Organizational activities should be combined with other concrete steps aimed at changing the organization’s culture and management systems. Evaluate the diversity management program and ensure that employee attitude surveys must indicate at least some improvement in employees’ attitudes toward diversity. Training immigrants in their native language can facilitate learning as well as compliance with matters such as safety rules and harassment policies, and thereby facilitate their entry into the workforce.

It can be concluded that the failure to recognize Diversity can often lead to problems in teamwork where different members of the team are unable to understand or adjust with each other. Cross County Cultural Mix in Teams further aggravates the problem and only then do Organizations realize the potential problems and swing into action. For the smooth running of the business it is necessary to understand cross-cultural economic, social, cultural and civic networks could be measured from observation and interviews to establish whether there are any ethnically and culturally mixed business associations, social clubs, religious groups, political parties and movements. The ethnic community in the UK enjoys many privileges and the diasporic media culture of the land puts them in a better position.

Work Cited

Diverse Culture. Citeman Network. 2008. Web.

Lifeskills – Cultural Differences. IET: The Institute of Engineering and Technology. 2008. Web.

Spiers, Carole. Weekend: Workplace Culture. Khaleej Times Online. 2007.  Web.

Wood, Phil., Landry, Charles., & Bloomfield, Jude. Cultural Diversity in Britain: A Tool Kit for Cross Cultural Co-Operation. Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 2006. Web.

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Questionnaire for employees

  1. Does diversity threaten unity?

Yes No

  1. How often do you receive professional training on cultural diversity provided by your company?

Often Never Rarely

  1. Are you often encouraged to express different ideas in your organisation?

Rarely Yes No

  1. Are there barriers to cultural expression that you have experienced with regard to your work or environments?

Yes No

  1. Are there any particular places and spaces in your organisation that you feel encourage intercultural mixing?

Yes No

  1. To what extent do people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds actually cooperate and collaborate?

Some extent Great extent Not at all

  1. Would you say your company is an intercultural city or do people keep to their own groups?

Some extent Great extent Not at all

Questionnaire for Management

  1. How the cultural insensitivities lead to business losses?

Some extent Great extent Not at all

  1. Is it often for your organisation to deal with the opinion conflicts formally?

Often Never Rarely

  1. How much people are working in your organization with diverse culture? Some extent Great extent Not at all
  2. What role did the existence of a diverse population have in your choice?

Some extent Great extent Not at all

  1. What sort of training programmes can be implemented to avoid cultural insensitivities?
  2. what are the different kinds of cultural insensitivities and how the cultural insensitivities lead to business losses?
  3. Are there colours, designs and symbols that you would like to use on your businesses that would help to express your culture?
  4. What kind of people do you mix with in terms of where they live, their age, their cultural or socio-economic backgrounds?
  5. What do these diversity programs look like and how do they address attitude changes?
  6. Would you say your company is an intercultural city or do people keep to their own groups?
  7. Do you feel that your physical environment expresses the cultural diversity of the local community – i.e. are there artworks, designs, signs and decorations that celebrate cultures?
  8. Are there colours, designs and symbols that you would like to use on your homes or businesses that would help to express your culture?
  9. How many people are working in your organisation?
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