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Managing Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Managing Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Ratings: (0)|Views: 381 |Likes:
Published by sgrifennu
This white paper
• examines cultural differences and challenges, within global, local, industry and geographic divisions;
• assesses the cost of inadequate, ineffective cultural diversity and understanding; and
• outlines key factors in creating a successful, culturally diverse work place, from recruitment to training and management.
This white paper
• examines cultural differences and challenges, within global, local, industry and geographic divisions;
• assesses the cost of inadequate, ineffective cultural diversity and understanding; and
• outlines key factors in creating a successful, culturally diverse work place, from recruitment to training and management.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: sgrifennu on Mar 22, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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Maximizing Potential:Getting the Best from Diversity
2 http://www.ircsearchpartners.com/global-ofces.html
The culturally diverse workplace isa reality.
– Companies and people increasinglycross borders and continents in search of business opportunities.– Technology is connecting us all, globally,every day.– Tweeters (Twitter) discussing diverseworkplace issues range from NewZealand universities, Paris (France) basedInternational Chamber of Commerce, andUS-based The Conference Board.– In February 2012, University of 
Missouri students participated in the rst
 ‘Bottom Line for Diversity’ symposium –an event focused on cultural competencyin the workplace, including a culturallycompetent training session.
Successful integration of local andglobal cultures is challenging.
Potential problems of a less-than-cohesive policy of cultural integration andunderstanding can include inadequatecommunication, poor decision-making,and misunderstandings – all of which canlead to a non-competitive, non-globallyaware business.
This whitepaper:
• asks why managing cultural diversity is
examines cultural differences andchallenges, within global, local,industry and geographic divisions;
assesses the cost of inadequate,ineffective cultural diversity andunderstanding; and
outlines key factors in creating asuccessful, culturally diverse workplace, from recruitment to training andmanagement.
Why managing cultural diversity isimportant 
Workplace diversity offersan opportunity for a richand varied corporateenvironment, with thedifferent experiences andperspectives leading toimproved results.And in Europeancountries, such as Gemany where exportorientation is an important key toeconomic success, the demographicchanges result in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural workforce. Companies with aninnovation culture tend to be marketleaders and have more sustainablebusinesses.Indeed, some of the world’s largestcompanies successfully manageincreasingly diverse workforces:
Diversity Inc’s
2011 Top 50 Companies for Diversity listincludesPrice Waterhouse Coopers, IBM and KraftFoods. It is ranked by CEO commitment;human capital; corporate and organizationalcommunications; and supplier diversity.
http://www.ircsearchpartners.com/global-ofces.html 3
In 1999, Fortune magazine’s
 ‘America’s 50 Best Companies for Asians,Blacks, and Hispanics’ included some of Wall Street’s top performers. Global operations with culturally diverseworkforces have unique access to peoplesharing global and local experiences. This
provides better insight on specic client
needs arising from geographical/cultural
differences within a specic country. The
challenge is in harnessing this diversity to
the organization’s benet by adapting and
adopting the best of various cultures.Successful examples include:
the Indian operations of Unilever-
Hindustan, and IBM; and
integration of the diverse and some
-times disadvantaged peoples of SouthAfrica to create companies that wingovernment tenders in addition tocorporate, often global, business. Racial andethnic diversity and transformation is partof the legislative framework in the country.
Global? Local? 
A survey of 
alliancefound that cultural diversity is
considered a signicant issue in emerging
markets such as Eastern Europe, China andIndia, where companies are increasinglyoutsourcing labor-heavy functions. Theidiosyncrasies of these countries’ particularcultures demand corporate understandingand awareness for effective co-operation ina multi-cultural workforce.However, cultural diversity is also seenas a global phenomenon: “Very fewenvironments and/or companies are somonolithic that there is no exposure topeople from diverse backgrounds.” Experiencedexecutives realize that inaddition to the increased cultural awarenessneeded by the developed countries, that theconverse is also true:”To be successful,emerging countriesneed to learn how towork with business andcultures in the Western world. For exam-ple, China and India need to learn a lotabout European and American customs.” Even in countries such as Canada andBrazil, where different cultures areaccepted and integrated, there is still needfor a deeper understanding of culturalcustoms on both business and social levels.
Among Asia Pacic countries, false ‘cultural
ceilings’ can mistakenly inhibit executiveadvancement, and contribute to a lack of diversity at senior levels, as experiencedbyAustralia and Singapore based Culture Resource: ‘In the Australian culture in general …staff are pretty muchexpected to take care of their own career:it is up to you toexpress what you want,you are directed to theavailable resources bythe organization (i.e.the communicationvia the intranet) and you canconsult your manager about the bestprocess – but you need to take theinitiative. Some of the non-Englishspeaking cultures … believe that it is notup to the employee to decide what theirnext career step is, they expect theirmanager to take the initiative.Not surprising, it was mostly theAnglo-cultures that worked their way upthe management ladder, while the non-Anglo cultures waited patiently for theirmanagers to promote them. Of course, when many of the non-Angloemployees felt over-looked, they often leftthe organization, resulting in high staff turnover and a lack of cultural diversity atsenior levels.’ As Culture Resource concluded: ‘eventhough the management team actuallywanted to encourage culturally diversestaff for managerial positions, they quicklyrealized that this process needs tobe guided by culturally appropriatepractices to remove the culturalceiling and avoid the negative impact of high staff turnover.’ 

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