The culture of a populace is a significant factor, which is always aimed at being kept alive, no matter where on the globe a person is located. With the world becoming a smaller place, it seems there are no cultures that are specifically pertaining to various localities, rather, every culture is present everywhere.
Similarly, each organization has its diversity of cultures, which may cause problems at times. Diversity of cultures means that many different cultures are present in a single place. This in turn gives rise to different views and opinions of people according to their own specific cultures, which also leaves an impact on the way they perform at work. The different mindset of people is a natural phenomenon, but when it comes to a diversity of cultures prevalent at the workplace, something altogether different is evolved.
It has not been suggested that a difference of cultures has a negative impact on the environment of the workplace, but it is just an acknowledgment that a difference of cultures does exist in corporations. When these differences are ignored by the managerial staff, the term cultural blindness is used.
Being a police officer of a small police department in the United States Supreme Court, there are several procedures and policies we have to follow. Not much attention is paid to gender or cultural differences. The same regulations apply to every employee present; there are no discriminations between the personnel, and no preference to any specific culture, whatsoever. Everyone is treated the same.
Police departments are run homogenously, to remain fair and avoid any complaints. The complaints that are avoided are done so in order to keep any discrimination away. In a place where lots of cultures exist, there is a possibility of the people being treated differently, according to the cultures to which they belong, one given preference over the other. But in the police department, there is no distinction among the employees, and every employee is given the same amount of attention. If one person belonging to a certain culture is given preference, the others would feel jealous and felt as though they have been mistreated.
Cultural synergy is an important element in the running of organizations with diverse cultures. Through this phenomenon, the individual organization members are given due respect according to their cultural backgrounds, and company strategies are made according to their cultural patterns. This is the best way that can be adopted for reducing cultural blindness and giving due regard to cultural diversity.
Advantages of Cultural Diversity
Organizations can derive several benefits from cultural diversity. With cultural diversity, organizations do not limit themselves to unique and single perspective products but they implement new ideas, have multiple perspectives and multiple interpretations. They expand the meaning of their products and services. There is more flexibility and choice among the products so that people from diverse cultures can choose products according to their needs. Openness to cultural diversity also increases creativity and enhances skills in problem-solving. Organizations that hire managers from different cultures are at more advantage from others because managers from different cultures can realize the needs of their specific culture and can give innovative ideas to improve products and services. Another big advantage is communication skills and dealing with clients from various cultures. A manager from the UK may not be able to understand and communicate with clients from Asian countries. Hence, he may not be able to understand the needs of Asian countries as well as a manager from that specific country. A Japanese manager will better understand the needs of Japanese culture and would be better able to deal with buyers from his country. He may propose certain new ideas and innovations in products and services that would boost sales in the Asian market. He would be able to market better in his local market.
He will better understand his local employee and motivate them. Homogenous teams selected locally will be able to better understand their local marketing strategies, social issues, politics, economics, and cultural environment. Diversity can give fruitful results when organizations expand their services, marketing approach, diverse strategies, and tactics. Resultantly there will be more diverse, innovative, and creative products lines. There will be more productivity, flexibility, problem-solving skills, an effective environment, and more effective dealings with diverse clients. There will be enhanced communication between managers, employees, and culturally diversified clients. With diversity, organizations can have synergistic advantages and cultural-specific advantages. Cultural diversity must not be treated as a liability but as a resource hence potential benefits will be much greater when managers from different cultures produce joint ventures. Among several benefits are new innovative products development, new ideas to improve services and products, better communication, new markets, joint ventures, and strategic alliances. In joint ventures, each manager will understand the needs of their specific cultural needs and produce far better results. Communication patterns will be enhanced and improved with culturally distinct clients. Hence marketing strategies will be more effective in different cultures.
Alder, N. J. Creating Culture Synergy. Chapter 4. In ‘International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior 5th ed South-Western’.