In most organizations, the workforce usually includes people from various ethnicities and from different countries. On the other hand, the professionals should not use their diversity as an excuse for poor performance. The business environment in which organizations operate today is rapidly changing and thus there is a need for diversity in the workplace. This paper focuses on the strategies that can be applied to ensure that their cultural diversities are not in conflict.
Professionals are expected to deliver desirable results regardless of where they are stationed. What professionals should know is that the mission of their organization has to be achieved regardless of their personal differences. Guilherme and Glaser (2010) explain that there are several advantages that come with multicultural employees. First, everyone has his/her own expertise and thus their differences can bring different ideas for the benefit of the organization. This means that when decisions are being made there will be so many options.
For instance, major media houses such as Cable News Network have correspondents who are almost in every country. When they are being deployed to the field they are sent to areas where they can relate with their subjects. Let’s say an American reporter is deployed to Iraq and is expected to report on the events that are taking place there. He/she may not get the reliable information because Arabs tend to be hostile towards Americans hence it would be advisable to send someone who is of Arabic origin because he/she will be able to mingle with them freely without fear.
According to Brett (2007), the key to success in a multicultural environment is to respect other people’s cultures and beliefs. When an engineer or any professional ignores the cultural values of his/her colleagues they are most likely to avoid his/her company and in the long run, they may develop a negative attitude towards him/her. When a professional is moved to another environment that is strange because the people there don’t speak his language or are of a different religion, the best thing to do is to interact with them by learning their language because in that way he/she will understand them better.
However, there are some obstacles that have to be overcome by a professional who relocates to a new multicultural environment. In some cultures women are not allowed to take leadership positions even in an organization, thus if a female professional is deployed to such an area she should execute her duties without fear because those days that men were thought to be intelligent then women are far gone. In general the professional should be prepared both for the worse and for the best.
In some cultures, senior employees can never be criticized by their juniors thus if you are new in such an office you should express your views in a different approach that does not imply you are criticizing your seniors. On the contrary, if you are the overall overseer in a new office and your previous colleagues did not object to your decisions don’t be surprised when almost all of your suggestions are objected to. Sometimes this could be sabotage from the previous predecessors to ensure that nothing works while they are away in order to convince the administration that they are the only ones who can get things done (Adler & Gundersen, 2008).
Daft and Lane (2009) outline that the management of the multicultural organization should make it clear to their employees that they were not selected for their positions because they are of the same ethnicity or religion as some members of the management but since their qualifications matched with the requirements of the organization. This is because some people are hired according to their ethnicity hence if the most senior person of that organization is of their tribe they think they can dominate the other employees because they are well connected with the management.
When a professional is moved to a new multicultural environment, he/she should observe the way things are being done and ask himself why they are being done that way. Remember, there are various ways of doing something to achieve the desired results hence how one does it does not matter as long as they get the preferred results. There are some people who are very conservative because they believe there is only one way of doing something which is very wrong. Professionals should know that being diverse is ok (Hogan, 2007).
The language can create the greatest barrier in an organization because in a multicultural environment organizational teams may be formed along tribal lines. Although these groupings may bring a positive impact on the organization because some people work better when they are under the authority of leaders who share the same cultures with them, it might also bring unfair competition among teams. This is because the employee’s performance will be judged according to their cultures such as religion, ethnicity, and race. Hence the teams should comprise people from different cultures. It may be difficult at first but the employees will get used to their differences.
In this regard, respect for other people’s cultures is very crucial in a multicultural environment. This respect is not limited to cultures only but also to their careers as well. It’s important that all professions are equally important for the success of the organization. Employees should be allowed to exercise their cultures as long as it does not affect their performance negatively. For instance, if a Muslim engineer is moved to a Christian environment he/she should be allowed to continue practicing his/her culture alongside the project task assigned to him/her, hence when he/she leaves the office for prayers the management should bear with him/her. On the other hand, the person in question should compensate for the time that she/he was away.
Adler, J. & Gundersen, A., 2008. International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. Belmont: Cengage Learning.
Brett, J., 2007. Negotiating Globally: How to Negotiate Deals, Resolve Disputes and Make Decisions Across Cultural Boundaries. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Daft, R. & Lane, P., 2009. Management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Guilherme, M. & Glaser, E., 2010. The Intercultural Dynamics of Multicultural Working, New York: Multilingual Matters.
Hogan, C., 2007. Facilitating Multicultural Groups: A Practical Guide, Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page.