Positive Influence of Cultural Diversity on Organizations
Cultural diversity is a growing trend with the increases of globalization in the world. It refers to the differences in nationality, race, language, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion as represented within a society. Diversity is an increasingly significant part in organizations. Diversity not only affects the operations and people in the organization but also other stakeholders including customers and suppliers. Cultural diversity encompasses the dissimilarities in the composition of associates of a given firm in terms of, race, nationality, color, creed, gender, religion or age- in other words, an assortment of culture existing amongst individuals from different backgrounds. Organizational behavior, on the other hand, refers to the category of collaborations amongst individuals and assemblages within an organization. The positive influence of cultural diversity facilitates members of the organization to build relationships and acknowledge each other regardless of their differences of origin and background (Schwalbe, 2015). Embracing diversity is a paramount step for organizations that want to remain in the volatile, uncertain and competitive business environment. In this essay, the role and importance of culture and diversity will be explored in deep.
Diversity enables an organization to offer a broad range of products and services because of the diverse skill base. Diversity brings different strengths and talents to the workplace and companies benefit from drawing from the wide-ranging skills (Joshi & Roh, 2009).Organizations can increase their service range by leveraging the diverse talent pool. A broad skill base helps a company to have the competitive benefit of adaptability. In today’s changing and uncertain business environment organizations that adapt to change are the ones that thrive. In addition, diversity increases an organization’s productivity (De George, 2011). Diverse teams perform better and are more productive. The diverse range of expertise, experience and working methods that diversity offers enhances productivity and escalates the problem-solving capability. While working in homogenous teams seems easier, it can lead to an organization to settle for status quo. On the other hand, diversity breeds competition making the team stretch to achieve its best (Mullins, 2007). Healthy competition may result in greater efficiency. Studies show that one of the reasons why diverse teams perform better is because of the challenges of operating in a diverse group.
Cultural understanding, insight and local knowledge help in producing an effective marketing strategy. Market specific knowledge is invaluable in imagery, design, and translations. To produce translations that are culturally sensitive the input of naïve speakers must not be overlooked. Also, when design billboards have an insight of the local market since what may be seen as good in one place might seem grotesque in another. Diversity helps in mitigating the risk of creating a serious marketing blunder. Besides, diverse cultural perceptions can drive innovation and inspire creativity (Weiss, 2014). Our cultural background influences the way in which we perceive the world. The wide-range of viewpoints offers new perspectives breed creativity and drive innovation helping meet customer needs in better and exciting ways as well as solve their problems. Multiple perspectives can lead to out-of-the-box thinking thus inspiring creativity. Furthermore, a company which is devoted to a diverse labor force, thus, is one that purposes to bind a puddle of personalities with inimitable potentials, viewing this amalgamation of metamorphoses as a prospective for evolution rather than openings for human conflict. Attached to this pledge is also a target to cultivate and grow the prospective of every member (Steiner, 2010).
Diversity in Service Range and Adaptability
Diversity provides an opportunity for professional and personal development. It offers an enriching experience by enabling one to learn about various perspectives and traditions. Diversity exposes one to new skills and methods to work. It enables one to learn from the pool of talented professionals. Bonding over differences and similarities enables one to abandon an ethnocentric worldview (Kearney & Gebert, 2009). Besides, a culturally diverse workforce helps personnel in acquiring knowledge about other cultures which enables them overcome culture shock as the organization expands and becomes international. Since global expansion is an agenda for most organizations, information about other cultures comes in handy for workers. Companies with a culturally diverse workforce save time and incur fewer expenses in informing staff about work procedures and culture of foreign countries. Moreover, there is also a practical benefit in having an assorted labor force. As persons have their exceptional time obligations, having a diverse workforce aids make sure that work responsibilities can be satisfied at all times of the year (Lusardi & Beeler, 2006).
Diversity plays a key role in community relations. Most communities are becoming increasingly diverse hence organizations should mimic the societies they serve. Embracing diversity enables companies to understand the consumers’ needs and communicate with them effectively. Having a diverse workforce is vital in developing community relations. The wide range of experiences and background contributes to a greater understanding of clients. In addition, from the bazaar perspective, a corporation which encourages workstation diversity and an all-encompassing work environment adds to its attraction as an employer. A workplace which is open to reconnoitering novel concepts and designs is particularly attractive for the audacious open-minded workers of Generation Y (Celuch, Murphy, & Callaway, 2007).
Cultural diversity increases an organization’s reputation. Diversity is fundamental in building a great reputation for the firm. Business reputation is enhanced when firms shows their commitment to embracing diversity through recruiting efforts and aggressive outreach. A company known for its fair employment practices, appreciation for diverse talent is able to attract qualified applicants as well as customers due to its socially responsible practices.
A diverse labor force can capture a larger stake of consumer market. A diverse workforce with different backgrounds and skills helps in effectively marketing to consumers with distinct backgrounds. In today’s globalized economy, a culturally diverse labor force helps organizations expand their business in worldwide markets. Besides, staff members are able experience more individual development in a work setting environment in which they are exposed to variances in culture, sentiments and ideas. Employers often get chances to progress their aptitude to adapt to diverse conditions in an assorted environment. They are obliged to work through dissimilarities in culture, personality, and background. Causal ethno-centric philosophies might ultimately be brought to the forefront and antagonized as they pick up how to work with different styles and beliefs (Bowie, 2017).
Diverse Teams and Productivity
Although cultural diversity plays an important role in organizations it also has negative effects. There are drawbacks to having a diverse workforce such as reversed discrimination. Reversed discrimination involves discriminating against professional workers so as include minorities in the organization. Another challenge is contradictory working approaches across groups. Working attitudes and styles can be very dissimilar due to the diverse cultures. If not addressed, conflicting work methodologies can negatively affect productivity (Turban, Leidner, McLean, & Wetherbe, 2008). For example, approaches to collaboration and teamwork vary across cultures. Some cultures emphasize on the independence of the individual while others value collective consensus. Similarly, emphasis on organization, rigor and order in the workstation versus spontaneity and flexibility reflect the underlying cultural values. Another challenge is difficulties in communication across cultures and languages (Burke, 2013).
Communication is an integral part in every organization. Language barriers are impediments to effective communication across different cultures. Moreover, effective cross-cultural communication encompasses more than just words spoken. Non-verbal communication also plays a vital role in cultural interaction. Non-verbal communication largely affects how a person understands the message. Different cultures have distinct patterns in relation to behavioral concepts of proxemics, haptic and kinesics. A communication misunderstanding may occur in the process of decoding the various behavioral patterns. In a culturally diverse workforce some employees are less likely to let their voices be heard. Colleagues from polite or deferential cultures are less likely to speak up especially if they are in a junior role or are new to the team. Having a diverse brain power is not enough it is important to create an open working environment so that all team members feel empowered to contribute. Negative cultural stereotypes and prejudices make it difficult to integrate teams across cross cultures. Underlying prejudices between cultures makes workers to be less inclined to work together (Rossouw, Van Vuuren, Ghani, & Adam, 2010).
Negative cultural stereotypes are detrimental to the firm’s productivity and the employees’ morale. While outright stereotyping and prejudice is a serious concern, unconscious and ingrained cultural biases is a challenge that is more difficult to overcome. Cultural diversity increases the tendency of organizational staff to indulge in interpersonal conflicts. Conflicts arise in the workplace since due to the differences in opinions, values, beliefs, thoughts, customs, traditions and trends. The various differences hinder he development of unity. Interpersonal conflicts lead to development of negative emotions among workers which can be detrimental to the productivity of the organization.
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