Effects of cultural differences in workplace Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
    High School
  • Page:
  • Words:

Culture diversity 10

Table of contents

31.0 Introduction

32.1 Importance of culture diversity

42.2 Benefits of cultural diversity

42.3 Promotion of cultural diversity

53.0 Effects of cultural differences in workplace

64.0 Managing cultural diversity in the place of work

64.1 Style of management

64.2 Managing diversity

74.3 Role of the manager

85.0 Conclusion


1.0 Introduction

Understanding and respecting cultural diversity is the initial stage of the process of making any workplace global. Cultural diversity can be referred to as varieties of cultures or human societies in a particular region or in the entire world. From the obvious differences in culture that exist between people such as traditions, dressing and language, there are other variations through which societies may arrange themselves in their ways of shared environmental interactions and conceptions. With an increasing rate of globalization, it has been common that a person next to you may be of different faith and may also be from another part of the world. Cultural diversity needs to be well understood especially where the markets go beyond the boundaries to make sure that the organisation culture is successful. Diversity describes people who are ethnically, culturally and racially different from one another. This can also be referred to as people belonging to demographic make-ups that vary and the life that is associated to that variation. Cultural diversity is very broad and does not only describe how we appear physically but it also includes the mental make-up which involves the way people communicate, think and manage (Jackson & Alvarez 1992).

The global business involves the transactions which are created and performed across the national borders with an aim of satisfying the organisations’, companies’ and individual’s objectives. Examples of types of international business include import and export trade. This has caused a lot of organisations to face pressures for competing on global basis. Most of the firms are now seeking global policy instead of national sourcing (Pathak 2011).

2.1 Importance of culture diversity

We define workplace by identifying the number of people to complete the workforce. Global education which is becoming a trend has spread diversity to the workplace and to the neighbourhood, thus it has led to the needs for what is seen as intercultural communications. People for a diversity of background come with ethics and values which may not suit everyone but this diversity is required to be understood and celebrated for any workplace to be successful. In this case, the management will play a great role of creation of a working environment which will encourage the acceptability and respect of a diversity of perspectives. This creates an economic environment in the workplace as everyone will be working towards achievement of the organisation goal of making profit (Rajeev 2011).

2.2 Benefits of cultural diversity

Every business is focused on global competition which makes biodiversity promotion more necessity for business rather than a legal or moral issue. The main benefit of promoting cultural diversity in the workplace is increase in productivity and profit. Investing on a diversity of people will lead to investing of experiences, skills, innovation, diverse workplace ethics, and perspectives in the overall working of the company. If managed and channelled properly, this diversity becomes a valuable asset in the place of work. If the employees are valued irrespective of their differences, there will always be individual contributions in the workplace. Employees with difference point of view can be obtained from people with different backgrounds (Butruille 1990).

2.3 Promotion of cultural diversity

The legal enforcement of cultural diversity was done through programs which included affirmative action and other laws that advocated for equal rights in employment. Development of business strategies have led to an understanding that there is a wide range and enormous benefits of incorporating talents which are diverse in the workplace. These strategies mostly consist of cultural awareness in great depth and its impact on the overall market and the workplace. Communication in the workplace will also be enhanced through workshops and use of practical tools in order to reduce misunderstanding of cross-cultural diversity and also encourage a positive working environment (Beehr et al 1995).

An employee can promote cultural diversity in the place of work by identifying and becoming aware of his or her own cultural values. You should also avoid stereotyping and generalising people into small blocks of mind. By avoiding this, before criticising anyone, you need to take time first to understand the various practices in culture and the circumstantial influences. The culture of promoting communication rather than making presumptions will take a long process which does not only include making your workplace truly secular and dynamic but also your neighbourhood (Bibikova & 2011 Kotelnikov).

3.0 Effects of cultural differences in workplace


Every member of any culture has same assumptions on how people should communicate, behave and think. This is because cultures vary widely from one group to another. Culture affect communication in a strong way but you can always improve your communication across different cultures by recognizing that there are differences in culture then find a way to overcome your own tendency to make judgements on other groups based on the standards, customs and behaviours of your own group. Issues on cultural diversity will always arise if people will make such comparisons like deciding that someone’s group is inferior and yours is superior. An effective communication is both non-verbal and verbal. Good communication will involve very slight differences in protocol, manners, etiquette and the style of communication (Ingram 2012). The wider the cultural differences the more probability of getting a misunderstanding in the workplace. While trading with different cultures, it is very essential that the message you are communicating is received and understood only by those you intend to receive it. Failure to control business information according to culture will result to poor performance and failure in the relationships that were identified through business (Bibikova & 2011 Kotelnikov).

4.0 Managing cultural diversity in the place of work

Organisations should first realise that cultural diversity is not a negative feature but it can be used to promote the organisation. Multi-culturist is linked directly to the organisation’s success due to presence of diverse knowledge and skills. Cultural intelligence requires three components to enable global communication. These are knowledge, skills and mindfulness. Knowledge involves the ability to learn and understand the culture of other people. Skills entail the ability to master communication cross-culturally and also the ability to be an effective communicator. Mindfulness describes the capacity to learn from our actions in a continuous manner and then making a reflection on them (Bailing & Janssens 1985).

4.1 Style of management

Majority of people get motivated by feeling that someone is respecting and hearing them that the contribution they are making is meaningful. As the place of work becomes larger, the relationships also increase in importance. You should get enough time to communicate with various groups and individuals. If the concern is the effectiveness and retention of the employee, you should take more time supporting the team spirit and building rapport with various individuals (Star it 2009).

4.2 Managing diversity

In order to address the issues on diversity within the organisation, you should put into consideration the following questions: what practices, policies and the ways of thinking within the culture of the organisation impact differently on different groups? What changes in the organisation are required to be made in order to meet diverse workforce needs and to maximize the workers’ potential? (Butruille 1990)

4.3 Role of the manager

Competitive managers have a key role in the organisation culture transformation in a manner that it will reflect more closely the diverse workforce values. Some of skills required include accepting and understanding concepts of managing diversity, recognising that diversity is linked through all management aspects, self-awareness which is achieved by understanding that we own biases, culture, stereotypes and prejudices and finally the willingness to challenge and also change the practices that are institutional which act as barriers to various groups. Managing diversity is directed towards acknowledging the differences in people then recognising these differences as valuable. This ensures good practices in management by promoting inclusiveness and preventing discrimination (Business International Corporation 1991).

Specific strategies that may be applied to manage diversity include;

  • Making specification on the need for skills in order to work in diverse environment in the workplace in an effective way. For instance, a demonstration of skills to work in a diverse environment effectively.

  • Making sure you make efforts on good faith to recruit applicant tool that is diverse

  • Focusing on the job description and requirement during the interview with assessment of experience but also making considerations on demonstrated competencies and transferable skills which include communication, organisational, analytical and coordination. Previous experience do not necessarily mean the success or effectiveness on the job (Fugita & O’Brien1991)

  • The format for interviewing should be panel to make sure that there is diverse committee, job classification, and unit affiliation, variety of life experiences and length of service to eliminate any bias and to represent different views from the process of selection.

  • Make sure there are appropriate accommodations for any disabled applicant.

  • Know and understand how we own the biases. What style of communication do we prefer? What stereotypes do we possess regarding individuals from different groups and how good they may do the job? Sometimes what you may see as desirable and appropriate candidate’s qualities may be a more reflection on our personal choices than the required skills for performance of the job (Gummesson 1987).

The strategies on international business must put into considerations all social-economic features related to native countries and provide practical policies for expansion of the business based on each culture. There is need to customize all the action plans because what is favourable for a particular culture may not work for another culture (Pathak 2011).

5.0 Conclusion

Ignorance of issues of cultural diversity leads to incorporation of time, money, costs and efficiency. Various consequences of cultural diversity ignorance include loss of productivity which results from increased conflict, unhealthy tensions, lack of ability for retaining and attracting all kinds of talented people, lack of the ability to retain those employees that are valuable to the organisation which lead to loss of investment during recruitment and training, and development of complaints and legal actions. This calls for an effort to have a good understanding of the effect of diversity on success, motivation, performance and interactions with other people. Institutional practices and structures which may act as barriers dimensions of diversity require examination, challenging and removal. The landscape of international economics is being rapidly reshaped by globalization, thus, globalization requires to be managed carefully and intelligently.

Culture has strong effects on communication. People can improve their ability to effectively communicate across different cultures through recognition of the differences in culture, then they can overcome their own urge of making judgement on any group based on their own behaviours, customs and standards. This will lead to reduction in the issues concerned with cultural diversity.

Body language and verbal communication are very essential dealings of international business. This is because the innocent posture, hand gestures or mannerisms may create a gap between business partners with cultural diversity. This will make communication ineffective leading to reduction in production or complete failure of the entire business.


Bailing, J & Janssens, P 1985, ‘Work Stressors, Gender Differences and Psychosomatic Health Problems’. South African Journal of Psychology, vol.1, pp 12-34.

Bibikova, A & , V 2011, KotelnikovManaging cultural differences. Retrieved on 22 February 2012 from:
http://www /cultural%20diversity/communication_cross-cultural.html

Butruille, SG 1990, ‘Corporate caretaking’. Training & Development Journal, vol. 25, pp. 49-55. 

Business International Corporation 1991, Developing effective global managers for the l990s. New York: Author.

Beehr, TA, Walsh, JT & Faber, TD 1995, ‘Relationship of Stress to Individually and Organizationally valued states’. The Journal applied to Psychology.vol. 2, pp. 24-73.

Barsade, S 2002, ‘Diversity in top management teams’. Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 45, pp. 802-836.

Fugita, SS & O’Brien, DJ 1991, Japanese American ethnicity: The persistence of the community. Seattle: Universityof Washington Press.

Gummesson, E 1987, ‘Lip services—a neglected area of services marketing’, Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 1, pp. 1-29.

Ingram, D 2012, The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Business Communication.
Retrieved on 22 February 2012 from:

Jackson, SE & Alvarez, EB 1992, Diversity in the workplace: human resources initiatives. New York: The Guilford Press: pp. 13-29.

Pathak, S 2011, ‘Managing Cultural Diversities in
Internationalization of Business’, International Journal of Enterprise Computing and Business Systems, Vol. 1 no. 1.

Rhodes, SR 1983, ‘Age-related differences in work attitudes and behaviour: A review and conceptual analysis, Psychological Bulletin, vol. 93, pp. 328-367.

Rajeev, 2011, L Cultural Diversity in the Workplace, Retrieved on 22 February 2012 from: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/cultural-differences-in-international-business.html

Swallow, D 2009, Cultural Diversity Issues in Communication. Retrieved on 22 February 2012 from: http://www.diversitytrainingtoday.com/index.html

Star it 2009, The Problems of Cultural Diversity in International Business. Retrieved on 22 February 2012 from: http://www.instablogs.com/cultural-diversity/