The world is changing with an alarming speed leaving behind the old and familiar convictions and giving rise to the new queries and challenges. Among various key factors responsible for this change is the cultural diversity. The increasing number of urban communities comprises diverse groups in abundance. This movement has left a very little room for the fully homogeneous groups in the world. Britain demonstrates this development in a better sense as London is considered the most diverse city in the world. It has inhabitants from nearly every nation, race, religion and culture. “More than 300 languages are spoken by the people of London and the city has at least 50 non-indigenous communities with populations of 10,000 or more” (Wood et al, 2006, pg1).
A major population of migrants and minorities live mostly in British cities and specifically London epitomizes the notion of a cosmopolitan world city. Sassen (1991) claims that the UK capital London is one among the original ‘global cities’ (as cited in Nathan and Lee,2011).It is also a nucleus of the global financial system together with New York (Gordon et al, 2009 as cited in Nathan &Lee,2011). The materialization of established new communities and a large number of UK migrants have made London more cosmopolitan in the past 15 years. The schoolchildren in London speak about 300 languages (Gordon et al, 2007).
The drastic boost in the UK in-migration has affected the London quantitatively and qualitatively making it exceedingly cosmopolitan in nature. London has witnessed the positive internationalization especially among younger mixed population. Gordon et al, 2007). Cultural diversity involves greater international knowledge correlations and catches the attention of more innovative people that consequently leads to more innovation. There is a need to understand the effect of cultural diversity on organizational output in cities like London that is the most culturally diverse city in the world. Its increasing cosmopolitanism is a positive feature (Nathan & Lee, 2011).
In the contemporary workplaces, it has become important to acknowledge the necessity of adequate and comprehensible communication between diverse workforces. Words and expressions have different connotations in different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that communication between diverse workforces be comprehensible. Different aspects of life rooted deep in the cultural systems of diverse societies have specific connotations. Varied interpretation of social and religious issues, prohibited topics of discussion, inherent prejudices, and life experience vary from culture to culture giving less room for a universal ground for communication between employees in the organizations. Every culture has its different style of dealing with conflicts and that may create stress in culturally diverse environments. For instance, people in Netherlands have a positive attitude for discussions and arguments while solving a problem, however, in Japan, public disagreement is considered highly offensive giving no opportunities for arguments. Employees from both the countries may face many problems associated with their diverse cultures while working together. Hence, they are expected to learn the cultural peculiarities of their business counterparts from different cultural backgrounds before starting business dealings with them. Contemporary international business dealings lay more emphasis on verbal communication and body languages as these may lead to unnecessary rift between culturally diverse business associates (Ingram, n.d.). For instance, most North American and European countries are highly punctual. Being late for work, appointments and meetings is considered unprofessional. However, in many countries this is a normal trend and is not considered amateur. In comparison to other countries, the work environment in UK is reasonably calm and casual. It is a normal trend to become frank and entertaining with colleagues. However, it may seem unethical and unprofessional to new joiners from other countries such as Germany and Japan. Providing intercultural training to diverse employees helps them in familiarizing with the new culture they are working in. It leads to stronger relationships and improved communication at work place (Business Culture UK, 2013).
The national and city government and the business community in London consider the cultural diversity in the city as an economic strength (DWP/HO2007, GLA, 2008, London First 2008 as cited in Nathan & Lee, 2011). In the contemporary business environment, business organizations are a mixture of different races, ages, genders, ethnic groups, religions and lifestyles. There are employees with different beliefs and prospects who work together at one place. The key purpose of organizations is to be useful in fulfilling human needs as employees have a direct influence on the working of an organization and are considered the most important resources for them (Mor-Barak,2010).
The demographic constitution for a workforce in the UK has changed over time with a diverse population at workplace. Number of families having dual income is greater than before. More women are willingly playing the role of single mothers. Besides, more transgender folks and multiple races have integrated tightly into the business world. Different perspectives bring forth diverse views and initiatives that are suggestive of organizational benefits.
The extensive and latent payback of a diverse workforce is perceptible in appropriate decisions, amicable resolution of the problems and innovating ideas These benefits are essential for improving product development and making the organizations competent in the global market. A diverse workforce contributes to larger market shares. The UK economy is highly influenced by the diverse culture that comes forth due to continuing immigration. Cultural diversity fulfils the requirements of the changing communities. Organization get the advantage of understanding the needs of different clients and customers and employ the innovative and diverse knowledge in international business affairs (Schutte, 2013).
For utilizing cultural diversity effectively, organizations need to engage employees with diverse potential and talents in a pleasant and valuable manner to make the optimal exploitation of their capabilities. The proper utilization of the diverse talents can bring a competitive advantage to the organization. Many organizations have set out to create such environment for their employee that values difference and diversity and is congenial for their efficient performance. Hence, the prerequisite for successful businesses is to analyze the importance of diverse culture at workplace and see how cultural diversity affects their businesses. An effective interaction is required between the employees for the growth of the employees and the organization as well.
Aim of Research
Despite the increasing prevalence of the term ‘cultural diversity’ in the UK organizations, there is a paucity of attempts defining and explaining the concept. Hence, this paper aims to explain what cultural diversity means and the apparent impact of culturally diverse environments of the UK organizations in their businesses. Further, it also aims to see the impact of strategic cultural diversity management in facilitating organizational growth in the UK.
Defining the terms
It is important to understand the meanings of the terms culture and cultural diversity before looking into the subject of cultural diversity and its impact on business environment.
Culture: Culture is a complex and multifaceted assembling beliefs and values. Lane et al (2009) view culture as a set of shared beliefs and values of a team that direct their interaction with each other. This set of convictions and values guide people about ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’ in life. These beliefs are inculcated at so early age and unassumingly that the people cannot identify their impact.
Culture plays many important roles such as canalising the expectations and priorities of people in organizations. The vital decisions such as the organizational structure, budgeting procedure, management of organizational activities and events and the moral responsibility of decisions are guided by a set of tacit values or norms that are unanimously shared by a group of people. Culture also imposes limitations keeping people of a specific group within a boundary. This boundary provides safety to its people and makes them easily identified. Besides, culture works as a linkage between the individual and the organization or group resolving the differences between them (if any). The individual is expected to keep his preferences aside and move along with the cultural norms in order to smooth the progress of interaction. Values are extensively linked with culture as these direct the acts of people. Values are identical within a culture, hence are important in measuring the cultural aspects in diverse cultural settings (Lane et al, 2009).
According to Hogan (2005) “Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning “to cultivate”) is a term that has different meanings. Culture refers to the norms and values that a group of individuals share for example this can include the way people think, act, interact with each other, and make decisions. It also defines what individuals eat, what they wear, what they think is right or wrong, and much more” (as cited in Bannon & Mattock, 2003, p.15).
Dr.Geert Hofstede formulated a distinct approach to cultural differences. Hofstede defined culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human human group from another” (Hofstede, 1980a as cited in Taras et al, 2010, para 8).
His work throws light in the subject of cross-cultural management as it can be helpful for organizations to deal with the diversity at work place. He has presented five cultural dimensions.
Individualism-Collectivism: The first dimension relates to the extent people of a country are integrated into groups the individualistic side demonstrates loose bond between individuals as they are concerned with the welfare of their families and themselves. On the other hand collectivist side represents societies where people are integrated into close and sturdy in-groups, such as extended families that works as a shield in exchange for absolute affection.
Power Distance: Power Distance: Power distance relates to the disparity in the distribution of power among people in the organizations and institutions. Power and inequality are very basic facts of any society and international experiences allow people to identify the extent of this inequality of different societies.
Uncertainty Avoidance: It refers to the extent to which a society tolerates vagueness and uncertainty. Unstructured situations are new, unidentified, surprising, strange and unusual. Cultures that avoid uncertainty or novelty use strict directives and rules, safety and protection measures to decrease the opportunities for such situations. These societies believe in the idea that there is only one truth and that is theirs. People from these societies are emotionally unstable. Whereas cultures that enthusiastically accept ambiguous and uncertain situations show greater tolerance to different beliefs and have a more liberal idealistic and spiritual attitude. Such cultures make people to emotionally strong, phlegmatic and introspective.
Masculinity-Femininity: This dimension refers to the distribution of roles and responsibilities between men and women in a society. Hofstede found that women’s values are more unwavering and diverge less than men transversely. He also recognised two types of groups exist around the world pertaining to men’s values On e group is known as the assertive pole that is immensely different from women’s values and is called masculine. The second group that is similar to women’s values is feminine and is considered the modest and caring pole. Men and women share similar values in feminine countries, are endowed with modest, and compassionate values whereas in masculine countries where little recognition is attached to women’s values, therefore, they tend to become more forceful and competitive. This dimension evaluates the extent to which cultures lay stress on tasks and work or associations and better life.
Confucian Dynamism: This dimension refers to the long term or short- term orientation. It deals with the values. Values such as prudence and insistence are associated with long term orientations and short-term orientation involve respect for customs, meeting social requirements and shielding one’s face (Hofstede, 1980 a, 2001 as cited in Taras et al, 2010).
When we observe cultural stereotypes or labels worldwide, we particularly connect with the people of Australia, Italy, China, the USA and the Middle East. Following chart shows the personality differences among such people:
|China||hard working, diligent|
Source: Accommodate Cultural Differences at Workplace, 2008, p.3
Diversity is manifested in two levels. First level is the surface level diversity that includes observable features such as race, age, sex and nationality and the second level relates to deeper psychological traits such as attitudes, personalities and values (Harrison et al cited in Lane et al, 2009).
“When we put all people of one color, gender, or ethnic group into one category, we disregard the many other ways in which people are diverse. Many of the factors that create diversity may not be immediately visible: personality style, thinking style, processing style, assertiveness level, religion, values, energy level, habits, likes and dislikes, education and knowledge, goals and ambitions, political views, lifestyle, sexual orientation, social status, job titles, and many others. We can find diversity even in a group of 25-year-old, native-born, white males of the same religion, size, and colouring. Diversity simply means “differences” and no two people are identical” (Dupont, 1999, p.9).
Diversity of views, experiences, cultures, genders and age is essential for the success and expansion of an organization. Diversity delivers innovation. Cultural diversity can be strategically employed in the organizations for gaining the optimum outputs.
Sometimes when cultural diversity is not taken into consideration there is a possibility of wrong cross cultural negotiations. Salacuse (2005) states the example of Enron Company, “When Enron was still and only a pipeline company, it lost a major contract in India because local authorities felt that it was pushing negotiations too fast. In fact, the loss of the contract underlines the important role that cultural differences play in international negotiation. For one country’s negotiators, time is money; for another’s, the slower the negotiations, the better and more trust in the other side” (Salacuse, 2005, p.1).
According to Giam Swiegers, CEO of Deloitte, “Cultural diversity is about the hard facts. Deloitte is changing. The market is changing. We have to understand these
changes, and put strategies in place, to guide perceptions and behaviours within the firm, in order to have a strong organization that understands and nurtures all of its talented people” (Cultural diversity: The benefit for business, 2013, p.2).
Diversity literature consists of the following key concepts
Diversity Density: The extent of individual representation from diverse groups at all levels of the organization.According to Hopkins et al (2008) the adaptation and exploitation of the external diverse information depends largely on the extent of diversity density within a firm. Hence, diversity within the organization is significant at all management levels and within a range of job groups. This internal diversity is helpful in creating a diversity mindset (The business case for equality and diversity, 2013).
Diversity mindset: The mindset of the senior executives of the organization about diversity considering it as a business strategy and not a management issue is significant in utilising it adequately. Various studies have identified that a global mindset directs senior executives to gather and interpret new knowledge about diverse cultures and markets.
The absorptive capacity: The capacity of an organization in recognising the value of new external information and utilising it strategically towards competitive benefit denotes its absorptive capacity. Hence, it is important to make employees feel involved and integrated in the firms. It is vital on the part of executives to create a safe environment leading to information sharing among the diverse employees.
Customer agility: The ability of the organizations to manage customers’ influence to achieve market information and discover competitive prospects is known as customer agility. The attentiveness of the organizations in finding ways to progress through diverse customer base makes them successful in the business world.
Cognitive diversity: Cognitive diversity signifies the extent to which the organizations see the diverse cognitive attributes in the individuals of a group or team. Diversity in marketing groups enhances the understanding of different cultures, hence, they should be equipped with adequate infrastructure including up-to-date knowledge on market segmentation (The business case for equality and diversity, 2013).
Gestland has developed the ‘Patterns of Cross-Cultural Business Behaviour’ with an aim to influence cross-cultural business behaviour of entrepreneurs at international level. He states that there are different patterns of business behaviour prevalent around the world. The focus of these patterns varies in diverse cultures and countries. The culture determines the priority of people on different aspects of business.
Patterns of Cross-Cultural Business Behaviour
Deal Focus vs Relationship Focus Cultures: People focusing on deal are task-oriented. They give priority to the task rather than relations. People who give more priority to relations and people are relationship oriented. People with different priorities trigger conflict in the market. Relationship focused people find Deal focused people representing Nordic and Germanic Europe, Australia, New Zealand as assertive, aggressive and impertinently blunt whereas DF types find their RF counterparts from The Arab world most of Africa, most of Asia and Latin America as lazy, indistinguishable, and enigmatic. However, there is one more category of moderately deal focused countries such as Great Britain, Central and Eastern Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Informal vs Formal Cultures: Informal business people representing the egalitarian cultures form Australia, USA, Canada, Norway, Ireland have difficulty in dealing in the formal business environments of most of Europe and Asia, Arab World and the Mediterranean Region. The breezy casualness people belonging to informal cultures may not fit in the status-conscious formal business environment and they might feel offended.
Monochronic vs Polychronic Cultures: The cultures worshiping time representing Nordic and Germanic Europe, Japan and North America have conflict with their hassle-free business counterparts from the Arab World, Latin America, Most of Africa and South and Southeast Asia. The polychronic cultures have their chief focus on people and not on punctuality. The punctual workforce regards the fluid-time colleagues as sluggish, unruly and impolite. On the other hand the relaxed societies feel that the rigid-time people are arrogant disciplinarian who are bound by unnecessary time limits. There is a mediocre cultural group representing Australia, New Zealand, Russia Singapore, Hong Kong, China, South Africa, South Korea and most of East-Central and Southern Europe, that is somewhat monochromic and to some extent polychronic.
Expressive vs Reserved Culture: Two types of cultures are prevalent in societies with respect to communication modes. One cultural group belonging to The Mediterranean Region Latin Europe and Latin America, communicates in an expressive manner whereas another belonging to Nordic and Germanic Europe and East and South East Asia is more reserved. The confusion between these cultural groups may result in damaging effects to business dealings across different cultures. People from USA Eastern Europe, New Zealand, South Asia and Africa represent the variably expressive nature (Gesteland, 1999).
Several international studies have established that diverse workforce performs better in complex situations, show greater creativity and expansive thought process. It is also evident that “companies that drive innovation by leveraging the ideas and knowledge of their employees meet product revenue targets 46% more often and product launch dates 47% more often than industry peers”(Cultural Diversity: the benefits for business, 2013, para5).
According to Kandola and Fullerton(1998) harnessing the visible features (colour, gender, race) and invisible features (culture, religion, disability) of diversity will lead to a prolific environment that values every individual and utilize his skills to the most with respect to the fulfilment of the organizational goals. Managing diversity in organizations involves amalgamation of different talents and potentials in the organization in the same way that several pieces of a mosaic join to make a pattern. In the diversity-oriented organizations, it is important to develop an organizational culture that enables the employees to understand the values, expected behaviour and operational system of the organization. They believe that the following elements are vital for empowering organizational culture.
- a liberal and trusting setting
- absence of bigotry and favouritism
- equal distribution of resources such as income, access to information, jobs etc.
- allotment of crucial projects and responsibilities on merit only
- diversity management viewed as the business objective
- recognition of the valuable ideas from every level
- common perception regarding the core values of the organization
- open flow of knowledge and communication between all levels of the organization (Kandola & Fullerton, 1998).
The diversity is particularly recognized as a significant element for the creation of new ideas and for materialization of new products and strategies. Cultural diversity makes it convenient for the organizations to understand the diverse client segments. The diverse working force provides businesses with significant language skills, cultural awareness and understanding and familiarity with the business practices, consumer tastes and preferences in overseas markets. Proper utilization of the diverse work force can be done by increasing their efficiency and productivity. It can be achieved through recognition of extent of their talents and skills together with language and communication skills. Organizations can benefit by promoting their active and valuable participation and taking advantage of their skills to offer quality service to diverse clients. The talents and skills of diverse work force can be enhanced with measures like improving cross-cultural communication and understanding and endow them with prospects active participation in training (Cultural Diversity: the benefits for business, 2013).
It is evident in the recent surveys conducted by Deloitte and Forbes Insight that there is competition for talents on international level and that specific programs for recruitment, development and retention of diverse employees are prevalent globally. Organizations promoting cultural diversity are capable of boosting the morale of their valuable staff and retaining them for longer period (Cultural Diversity: the benefits for business, 2013). Diversity in values, norms, manners, beliefs and etiquettes creates a lot of perplexity, poor communication and misinterpretation at workplace. The intercultural training is a prerequisite for minimizing these adverse impacts of diverse cultures on business transactions. Awareness about different cultures increases the business potential of companies (Business Culture UK n.d.)
“Economic analysis of diversity has traditionally focused on the labour market impacts of ‘immigration shocks’, rather than on wider effects of larger, more mixed communities and cities” (Nathan, 2012, para3).
Cultural diversity may affect economic market in different ways. It may lead to innovation as diverse workforce enables access to a wide range of ideas and perceptions. However, there are chances of communication problems and lower level of trust among the employees for some time. On the other hand, these diverse cultural groups may be beneficial in reaching the international market; however, favouritism may affect their success in the market (Nathan, 2012). Diversity of views, experiences, cultures, genders and age is essential for the success and expansion of an organization. Diversity delivers innovation. Forbes study has found that internal innovation and business growth is highly affected by diversity among employees. Besides, McKinsey found that diverse executive boards contribute to higher earnings and ROEs (Walter, 2014).
There are evidences that culturally diverse groups are more capable of creating innovative approach and problem solving especially in areas that are knowledge demanding such as software industries. The Silicon Valley in the United States exemplifies this trend. Scientists, entrepreneurs and engineers with a extensive range of varied educational and cultural surroundings from different places of the world such as India, Israel, China have contributed to the success of Silicon Valley in the late nineties (Fujita & Weber, 2004).
According to researchers, approximately 20% of the Australian populations were born in other different countries. It is must to mention that in 1788, 100% of Australian populations were indigenous people but this number has decreased a lot and it has been now 1.8%. A wide range of Australian people are migrants.
A multicultural society always recognizes the differences in various cultures living in it and accordingly it encourages its people to keep hold of their languages and cultures. On the other hand, a culture is not just immigration; it is about the values, knowledge and the beliefs of any society.
Different cultures have connected to each other in different ways. It is based on different social, political and religious backgrounds, adjustment in different climatic conditions and types of food available in their surroundings and also accessibility to resources for economic developments. The ways of expressing feelings, gestures, and ways of communications all vary from culture to culture. Working with different culture background people means that a person has to adjust himself in those cultural differences. And they have to respond in a very cultural manner which is suitable for the other person too coming from different cultural background. It is easy to work with similar cultural background people as people have similar language and gestures. They already know when to shake hands and how to address but get a feel for other culture is challenging (Accommodate cultural differences in the workplace, 2008).
Fijita and Weber (2004), in their study related to cultural diversity led innovation in the firms in London identified that management diversity had contributed to the development of innovative products and practices across industrial structures. The key contributors were the huge diverse local markets, industrial immigrant business owners, diasporic groups and international links.
“In British government research, minority ethnic groups are differentiated based on a combination of categories including race, skin colour, national and regional origins and language” (Ethnic group statistics, 2003,pg 7).
According to Mr. Singh (2007), FTSE identified in their studies of 100 companies in the UK that appointing direct ors from minority ethnic groups has contributed to the overall value of the company’s stocks (as cited in The business case for equality and diversity, 2013).
In their study of the effects of cultural diversity, Chatman and Flynn (2001) found that the greater demographic heterogeneity was responsible for decreased cooperation among employees only for a short period. Individuals with more diverse demographical settings from their groups showed greater tendency of adapting to changes and were more cooperative to their group. They found that homogeneous groups showed less cooperation. Cooperation as the cultural norm of the group yielded more success (as cited in The business case for equality and diversity, 2013). Many studies have established that different types of diversity can affect the team performance in different manners. Harrison and Klein (2007) believed that diverse groups in organizations can cause separation due to polarisation of employees into extremely distinct groups based on diverse values, outlooks and beliefs. These groups fall short in realising the advantages of the diverse knowledge, views and approaches in their performances. It may lead to damaging effects on group solidity, harmonization and morale (as cited in The business case for equality and diversity, 2013). Herring (2009) identified in reviewing the data presented by the National Organization Survey 1996-97 that diversity contributed to improvement in sales revenue, increase in the number of customers and augmented market share and increased profits. In the correlation the positives would prevail over the negatives. (as cited in The business case for equality and diversity,2013).
Stahl et al (2007), in the meta-analysis of 108 experiential researches, found that cultural diversity caused process losses due to task conflicts and low levels of social integration, however, it contributed to process gains due to augmented creativity and contentment. They hypothesized that higher level of diversity escalated the divergent processes bringing varied ideas and values to a group. On the other hand, increased diversity reduces the convergent progression that supports the group with common intentions, dedication and outcomes. According to them, varied experiences, perceptions, knowledge processing modes are the valuable features of culturally diverse teams that offer a huge variety of approaches for problem solving and a greater reference range to follow for actions and related outcomes. Unlike many of the previous researches that found better level of interaction between the homogenous groups, Stahl et al (2007) identified an increased level of contentment among diverse team members that was suggestive of the fact that diversity fulfils human requirements of variety, exploration and improvement (Stahl, et al, 2007).
David (2010) emphasizes that “the interaction of diversity density, diversity mindset and other characteristics of the firm contribute towards the development of ‘distinctive’ capabilities that in turn allow the accumulation of strategic resources. Interventions to encourage and foster diversity in organizations require a diversity friendly infrastructure at the organizational level” (as cited in The business case for equality and diversity, 2013, pg.32). It is important to incorporate adequate policies and practices to gain business benefits from the cultural diversity in an organization. It is required to incorporate different approaches in view of the nature and workplace context (internal and external) of increased diversity to assure their business benefits. The key approaches leading to business benefits include appropriate management of diversity that can lead to business benefits. Diversity, if managed poorly may result in increased business cost. The economic and organizational context of the organization is responsible for the way in which diversity produces business benefits. Strategic approaches to diversity should be an integral and stable part of the organizational strategies (The business case for equality and diversity, 2013). Big organizations have set out to develop separate positions for managing diversity in their organizations. Motorola and some subsidiaries of Grand Metropolitan have distinct positions of Vice President Diversity or Diversity Director, who are responsible for the effective management of diversity in their organizations. Small organizations may not appoint a separate person specifically for this purpose, however, they can create a co-ordinator position for managing diversity efficiently within their organizations. With prevalence of diversity in an organization, core connection is also required regarding agreement on the mission and standards of the organization. Without focusing on this core similarity of mission and values, there ‘Balkanisation’ of the organization may take place where individuals divide into separate groups giving rise to conflict and tension between them (Shepard, 1964; Gordon, 1982 as cited in Kandola and Fullerton, 1998). In view of the risk of ingraining negative stereotypes in different ethnic groups, the focus of cultural awareness programs initiated by the organizations should be on individual differences and not on group difference. Kandola and Fullerton (1998) believe that employees should be free to establish their own separate groups or celebrate their special cultural events; however, the organization should not take any initiative in such events.
Taras et al ( 2010), in the empirical study of Hofstede’s cultural value framework, identified that cultural values can affect the organizational and workforce consequences in the same way as the other personal characteristics of individuals do. However, cultural values did not affect the aspects such as turnover, absenteeism and job performance, their influence was noticeable in organizational loyalty, citizenship behaviour within the organization, mind-set and sensitivity associated with team, organizational identification, interest in certain leadership skills and orientation to feedback for better performance. The cultural values can be utilised better by the managers, when certain emotional reactions, convictions and approaches are crucial to the situation. They also found that in culturally rigid societies such as Pakistan, India, Singapore, it is easier to yield more accurate employee outcomes whereas in culturally liberal countries such as the United States and Hungry, the cultural value measures need to be additionally supported with other crucial individual diversity predictors (Taras,et al, 2010).
Cultural literacy is very important for gaining and using knowledge of other cultures. Wood et al (2006), studied the relation between cultural diversity innovation and success in British background. While looking at the intercultural context of the business people from different cultures, they identified that “a feeling of separation from the mainstream leads them to innovate. Each builds on the social, economic and cultural strengths of their original community, but then departs from it and create something that at times is alien, or in conflict with their own community. However, it is precisely this tension that needs to break with tradition that gives them the impetus to expand into new ventures” (Wood et al, 2006, para13).
Diversity, generally, has two types of effects on the groups. The first impact is that it creates obstruction to effective social interaction and affects the performance negatively and second impact embraces the positive outputs such as creativity, innovation and excitement and leads to better performance. (Harrison et al cited in Lane et al, 2009).
Lane et al (2009) found in their meta-analysis that the cultural diversity was responsible for task conflict and relationship conflict in the organizations to some extent, however, its contribution in the form of enhanced creativity was remarkably high. The study revealed that the obstructions generated due to cultural differences may lead to poor social interaction and complexities in teamwork, however, varied perspectives within the team are a good basis for creativity and innovation and benefit the organization s with improved performances of the workforce. Therefore, cultural diversity is more associated with process gains rather than the process losses in the businesses. The study also revealed that the people feel satisfied while working with the people from other cultures and exposed to different ideas in multicultural environment.
Industry profile: The research about cultural diversity impact in businesses is particularly conducted in UK market and it specifically depicts the impact of cultural diversity in UK businesses.
Research Objective: the purpose of this research is to find out the cultural diversity impact on business and for this primary and secondary researches have been conducted.
This will provide an overview of the methodology and the data collection tools used in getting the answer of the question: what is cultural diversity and how it affects business? The question specifically tries to get answer focusing on the country UK.
The presented research is a qualitative as well as quantitative analysis of the effectiveness and a descriptive survey design to investigate if cultural diversity affects UK businesses. The findings aim to provide a detailed analysis of the data from a given population to determine the status of different cultural factures that put impact on businesses in UK. It also observes can cultural diversity can affect the businesses effectively if properly managed within organizations.
According to Dawson (2009), it is must to know the difference between qualitative and quantitative methods before research methodology starts (Research Methodology: An Introduction, n.d.).
Qualitative research involves subjective data. Dawson (2009) mentions that qualitative research focuses on behavior, attitudes and experiences through the methods like interviews. Since attitudes, behavior and experiences are very important so this kind of research tries to get in depth feeling and opinion from the people who participate in the survey (Research Methodology: An Introduction, n.d.).
Quantitative research is a pragmatic approach used for research purposes. The quantified data is captured here. It involves objective data. Large data is collected through questionnaires or structured interviews. Dawson (2009) states that quantitative research aims to target more people and connecting with people is much quicker than it happens in qualitative research. Both the researches need skillful, trained and experienced researchers.
According to Veal (2005), following are some traits of qualitative approach (Research Methodology: An Introduction, n.d.):
- This method aims that the researcher understands the personal experiences of the participant in depth.
- It mainly aims for people’s understanding instead of focusing on external causes.
- It helps the researcher to understand the research issues form the point of view of the participants.
- It examines personal changes happened in a period of time.
- It focuses on human-interest issues
This part of research deals with research methodology that was employed in conducting the study. It therefore covers the research locale, research design, target population, sample selection, research instruments, conducting, reliability of research instruments, validity of the research instruments, data collection procedures, data analysis, and reporting.
The research methodology that was used in the study is the combination of a qualitative as well as quantitative research method. By using this methodology, the hypotheses of the research questions can be measured, determined, and analyzed. The method also helped in determining the quantity and consistency of results. The method contributed in determining the cultural diversity impact on UK businesses.
The method used is a descriptive representation of the phenomenon and collect quantifiable data that can be statistically verified and analyzed to measure the effectiveness of the whole research.
Hence, qualitative research technique was used as it was concerned with the quality or kind. This research technique uses in depth interviews for exploring the better view of the situation. It also intends to know about the understanding of people relating to a particular subject or institution (Research Methodology: An Introduction, n.d.).
Moreover, the survey provided important statistical quantitative data to compliment and confirm the findings presented by qualitative data.
Qualitative research is done with an aim to improve quality and is often considered as ‘Motivational Research’. It also focuses on people’s opinion about particular subjects or institutions (Research Methodology: An Introduction,n.d.).
The statistical survey provides standardized information about the research subject. It is a well-organized way to gather information regarding the understanding of a subject by a large number of respondents. For the purpose of this study, Likert scale, a bipolar scaling method, is used to construct the questionnaire.
Likert scale is used to construct questionnaires to get psychometric replies from the people. It aims at obtaining the degree of agreement or knowing the preferences of the respondents. These scales do not use comparative techniques, but rather evaluate a single feature. The level of agreement has to be shown with the statements in an ordinal scale (Bertram, n.d.).
The Likert Scale is an easy to use system in the surveys. It can be in the form of self- completion questionnaires or can be given as a self-completion part of survey, administered by an interviewer (Brace, 2008). In this system, participants are asked to show their degree of agreement with the given statement. Likert scale system uses five-point scale system where the respondents have to pick any one option from the given five points. Before the final distribution of the questionnaire, a test research was carried out. For this purpose, 10 copies of questionnaire were sent randomly through email. The aim of the pilot study was to make sure that the questionnaire is easy to understand to the participants. Then the questionnaire was sent to the sample selected for the research.
The design is best suited for this study. The rationale behind the choice of the design is that it studies individuals or objects as whole units and not in parts. The design also investigates tunnel environmental conditions in depth with a view of understanding it more broadly.
The purpose of the study is to study the different cultural factors which are influencing UK businesses. Quantitative research methodology is used because data (perceived effectiveness) being tested in this study was through various sources which support it. The study is guided by the actual data collected from the respondents, and the purpose of the study is to analyze them. Such worldview requires the analysis of the strength of the facts and comments.
This worldview entails a systematic procedure and structure in the research process because it follows a rule-bound approach, which meant that this worldview made use of surveys, content analyses, field experiments, and other assessments that will collect verifiable data (Philimore& Goodson, 2004). The worldview also entails the focus on data that will reveal trends, patterns, and statistical relationships. A quantitative research methodology will also be used because the method will utilize open –ended questions as well as close questions; pre-determined approaches, and numeric data (Creswell, 2003).
According to Ross (1999), the quantitative method is more frequently associated with using surveys, which entails studying a large number of subjects that is drawn from a specific population. The research design for this study will employ the use of survey questionnaires and analyzing data gathered from the respondents.
The study involved the use of the questionnaires. These were prepared in advance, and the questions were reviewed to find their relevancy in the concept being investigated. The language used in the questionnaires was relatively moderate to be understood by the people and the procedure was understood.
There were some short answers type questions too where the participants had to choose just one answer out of five options.
Population and Sampling Procedure
The population of interest for this study is 20 people working with different organizations on different posts from totally different ethnic groups: Britishers, Americans and Indians. A large no of participants is used in the sample. Since this is a descriptive design, sampling is a significant process because of the need to obtain an accurate representation of the population (Heck, 2004).
Survey questionnaires were used as the research instrument. The survey was conducted in three ways- a face to face interview, a telephonic interview and through emails. In a face to face interview, all the participants were provided with survey questionnaires in order to determine their perceived level of explaining cultural diversity and its impact on UK businesses. The survey instrument was based on the general type of questions related to their understanding about the possible factors, which influence UK businesses.There were two types of questions open-ended and closed targeting different groups.
In a telephonic interview similar survey questionnaire was used. Normally telephonic interviews are avoided in the qualitative research as the reliability of data seems not to be very authentic. Also there is much probing required. Though the respondents feel comfortable through a telephonic interview yet, it is perceived that the quality of the data will not be very good (Novick, 2011).
One set of the questionnaire was prepared recognizing the different levels of understanding of the situation by the different nationalities like Indians, Britishers and Americans.
The data collection method that was used needed to be clearly defined and described; in terms of the how instrument has been tested and validated by past studies (Sunderman et al., 2004). The strategy for obtaining good measures for the study involves upholding the relevance and appropriateness of the study for the data collected and the purpose of the study. Thus, the instrument section clearly defined the processes for this method, which will enable future researchers to duplicate the study.
In order to uphold the reliability of this study, the participants were selected according to their various types of nationalities. The questionnaire targeted people from different professional groups from different organizations as per the setting of its questions.
Data Collection Procedures
This dissertation captured both primary and secondary data to get proper answers of the research questions. For this study in depth interview was chosen as data collection method. The questionnaire was used for in depth interview. The survey took place at the participants’ work place so they could feel relaxed and comfortable and could answer the questions with their full thoughts, experiences and feelings. According to Kinnear and Taylor (1979), “In-depth interviews may be defined as an unstructured personal interview which uses extensive probing to get a single respondent to talk freely and to express detailed beliefs and feelings on a topic with little directional influence from the researcher” (as cited in Research Methodology: An Introduction, n.d.).
Each participant was asked 6 open ended and 4 close ended questions. Every question was explained by the researcher to make sure that the respondent understood the question and was comfortable to answer. This survey lasted for half an hour.
Data which is collected from direct experience is called primary data. First the researcher gets some insight of the issue by collecting secondary data then primary research is conducted. This process involves many forms such as questionnaires, direct observation and telephonic interviews. A published data which is collected by others is called secondary data. Secondary data is time saving which one could spend while collecting data. It gives bigger and better data. If any researcher could try to collect on their own, it could be expensive for him.
The main advantage of using secondary data is that it is obvious that background work like literature reviews, any case studies etc have already been done. Uses of texts and other statistics have been done and personal contacts have been consumed. On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to the fact that the researcher is not able to check the data face-to-face so it is difficult to check the reliability of the data.
It was planned how to reach the people for collecting data. The locale of the study was conducted in various UK organizations. The choice of location was based on how accessible the organizations were to the researcher based on Singleton’s (1993) argument that the ideal setting for any study should be easily accessible to the researcher.
The target groups for this research were the various nationalities working on different posts in different organizations. A sample that is fully representative of attitude and views of people that use tunnels was selected. Sampling is a technique used by researchers to gather information. It involves selecting individuals or objects from a population or a group for study. The main research instruments to be used in this study were questionnaires. In this case, three sets of questionnaires were prepared for the target groups. These questions targeted various nationalities working on different posts in different organizations.
After making the survey questionnaire, some people were approached directly but some people of any particular companies were approached through their companies’ administration department which would receive the questionnaire.
The test-retest method was used when one tunnel was selected. Printed copies of the questionnaire were distributed later. The questionnaire was given to the respondents to fill for a later scoring. The participants were given sufficient time to complete the questionnaire. After one week, the same questionnaire was given to the group for scoring.
Ethic Issues: The qualitative research has different ethical problem in comparison to quantitative research. The ethical conflict occurs in connection to how a researcher approaches a community group and what kind of effect he may have on the participants. The main focal point of qualitative research is to define, explore and examine people their likely atmosphere.
Respondents were made aware of the purpose of the study, the researchers agreed not to reveal the identities of the participants and not to disclose their personal information for ethical reasons. All the respondents were made sure that their views on any questions would be kept confidential. This was to win their trust so the quality of data could be good. A particular time frame of the survey was decided and it was determined that interview time would not exceed from the set time and the respondents would not be stressed except they themselves wanted time for answering questions.
Primary Research Findings
This dissertation presents the finding of the primary research. The primary research was conducted by making questionnaires and those questionnaires were distributed among 20 participants. The participants were divided in three groups. This division was based according to their availability. The survey was conducted among 10 people through their administrative department and also by sending them mails. Rest other people were interviewed through telephone and personally. This research was carried out to collect data. Different questions were formed to know the answers from different ethnic groups to identify if there are any differences in personal styles, dress codes, time sensitivity etc among Americans, Indians and Britishers. Some findings have been presented through a graph to describe more clarity and to compare responses between cultures and then among three cultures. To proceed in this research it was required that all the participants should have experience in dealing with cultural diversity at their workplaces. Consequently, before choosing the respondents for the study they were asked about their experiences in this field. Each participant was explained clearly each and every question. The data was analyzed in two ways:
- Comparison of data between the two respondents of same culture
- Comparison of data among different cultures
This was done to understand the responses deeply and in a balance manner.
The results of the interview are shown below
While asking about the meaning of cultural diversity most of the people responded that the culture is the set of shared values, beliefs and norms and when we see differences in these values it becomes cultural diversity. They further mentioned that cultural diversity involves greater international knowledge correlations and catch the attention of more innovative people that consequently leads to more innovation.
While asking about the effect of cultural diversity on businesses, it is concluded by many that Cultural diversity makes it convenient for the organizations to understand the diverse client segments. The diverse working force provides businesses with significant language skills, cultural awareness and understanding and familiarity with the business practices, consumer tastes and preferences in overseas markets.
When asking about the effect of cultural diversity on UK businesses it is mentioned by most of them that there is a need to understand the effect of cultural diversity on organizational output in cities like London that is the most culturally diverse city in the world. Its increasing cosmopolitanism is a positive feature.
While being asked about the training on the importance of managing diversity with in the organization, a few employees mentioned that their organizations trained then but some other totally denied.
When asking about if the departments contact with each other on the progress of diversity issues, it got revealed through various answers that in some organizations it happens where departments need to examine what is happening in other department and if there is anything which can be leaned and If accordingly the actions can be taken.
Cultural diversity is very important with in organizations; it was accepted almost by all ethnic groups since diverse work force can make any organization successful. Diverse workforce performs better in complex situations, show greater creativity and expansive thought process and it could be achieved by increasing their efficiency and productivity and through recognition of extent of their talents and skills together with language and communication skills. Organizations can benefit by promoting their active and valuable participation and taking advantage of their skills to offer quality service to diverse clients. The talents and skills of diverse work force can be enhanced with measures like improving cross-cultural communication and understanding and endow them with prospects active.
The data taken on likert scale is elaborated below:
The above mentioned data shows that these different ethnic groups almost had similar views on punctuality, addressing people, wearing casual dress and greetings.
Though while greeting people in business meetings Indians prefer to shake hands but Britishers and Americans normally say ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’. With Britishers hand shake is only necessary when they are familiar with the person. Normally they prefer to use ‘hello’ verbally. But if they find the person very important with whom they are dealing, they prefer handshakes. Though Indians prefer to shake hands and it does not matter for them whom they are meeting. Dressing casual in business meetings is considered by the Britishers as that they want serious business. Though Indians normally prefer wearing suits during their business meetings, Americans dress may vary. The Indian and UK respondents both affirmed that they would prefer to dress smartly for business meetings but it would totally depend how serious was the meeting. Though for Americans the clothing for business varies extensively. It depends on the region of the country, a person’s company where he or she works. It also depends on his or her position with in the organization in which he or she works. They prefer to be conservative except they observe what others are wearing in the office. One can be more casual after he or she gets an opportunity how other people dress up.
While addressing people Indians normally address their business partners with their title. Though Britishers address their business partners by their title but it depends mainly on their age and the level of relationships. The responses between the UK people depicted that while being a business meeting, addressing people by their title depends on their relationship and age. It also depends on the way they introduce themselves. Indians normally address their business partners by their titles and never try to be informal and never ask any kind of personal questions to their business partners such as, their family life etc. But UK people adopt more informal approach. They first start the meeting with first name then gradually they develop a friendly tone during the discussion in such meetings.
Punctuality was considered an important thing by all ethnic groups and almost they all got agreed strongly on this point. While doing survey in the same ethnic group like Indians, it was found that Indians like to be punctual but some answered that they do not mind if there is a delay of few minutes but there should a good reason. The Indians are happy if the meeting continued beyond the meeting schedule time as they believe that they have good chance to know their business partners more. But the UK people value the time and believe to be on time in their meetings or being there slightly early. UK people prefer to stick to the scheduled time instead of running overtime. So UK people do not like running over the planned meetings but Indians prefer it so they can know their business partners well before jumping in to a business deal. UK people only prefer meetings running overtime if they are business related. They seem to be highly time sensitive.
According to Salacuse (2005), “Indians, whose goal is to create a relationship rather than simply signing a contract, need to invest time in the negotiating process so that parties can get to know one another well and determine whether they wish to embark on a long term relationship. Whereas, the UK people want to get straight down to business as time is money” (p.33).
Americans find it rude if someone is late in business meetings so for them being on time is very important. If someone is late they think the person is undisciplined and they think it a lack of respect. Being on time means the person has to be there in the meeting five minutes early. If the person is late for five minutes it can be considered after giving apology. If a person is late for ten to fifteen minutes, a phone call is absolutely needed and apologies are must (Bosrock, 2014).
For secondary research many different journals, books, magazines which are related to the topic have been analyzed to support the findings on cultural diversity impact on businesses.
Limitations of the Research: Due to limited time for research, the researcher created a small sample of the questionnaire for distributing in different ethnical groups like, Indians, Americans and Britishers. The participants belonged to different organizations and were holding different designations. The researcher wanted to include more people from different ethnic background but due to limited he could approach only them. Only 6 open ended and 4 close ended questions could be asked as the time was limited. The participants in the survey were from small to medium kind of businesses.
The respondents have to give time and commitment for in-depth survey for the primary research, so the researcher had to give a prior notice to the respondents while scheduling time and date for doing the survey. As there was not much time, any kind of cancellations interrupted the research process a bit.
Discussion and Analysis
The research findings supported the idea of cultural diversity impact in workplaces.
For analyzing cultural diversity, Hofstede (1996) have suggested five cultural dimensions to evaluate the values which have some particular patterns. Those five dimensions are collectivism vs individualism; masculinity and feminity, power distance, long term orientation, uncertainty avoidance (Chang, 2003, p.568).
Power distance is used for society where individuals have different status and levels of importance. Power distance measures power and authority from higher executives. Collectivism vs individualism means to give priority to the groups. Collectivist culture focuses on personal and protective ties in the group and family. Individualistic culture focuses on looking out for oneself where common goal is targeted. Masculinity and femininity refers to the roles of men and women in the society. Hofstede (1996) believes that both men and women have different goals. Uncertainty avoidance is strong and a culture considers an unknown situation menacing.
Hofstede’s five cultural dimension approaches are depicted through the following chart for showing cultural differences among India and the UK.
Hofstede’s five cultural assessment: a comparison between India and the UK
Hofstede’ s five cultural assessment: India
Power distant: the scored higher than the UK by scoring 77. It shows that Indian people are very sensitive to the position of the people. All the senior people should get proper respect. The workplace gives importance to senior people and hierarchy system is followed.
Collectivism and Individualism: Score 48 tells that Indians follow traditional family system and value family. They avoid any kind of conflicts.
Masculinity/ Femininity: The score 56 shows inequality in genders. Male children are highly desirable and women are expected to be good wives.
Uncertainty avoidance: Indian people are not threatened by uncertain circumstances.
Long term orientation: score 61 tells that Indian businesses are done for longer period and mostly with family and friends.
Hofseteds Five cultural assessment on the UK
Power distant: Britain scores 35. It believes that inequality in the society should be reduced.
Collectivism vs Individualism: UK scores the highest. It could be beaten only by the countries like USA and Australia. The British try to find out their individuality and how can they uniquely contribute to the society.
Masculinity / Femininity: score 66 tells that Britain is a masculine society that is success oriented.
Uncertainty avoidance: the British are quite happy with the day start and flow with the day as it passes.
Long-term orientation: UK scores as a short term society which has great respect for history. It focuses on future.
According to Ingham (1995), “Not everyone is open-minded about learning about different cultures. It is evident that there are some cultural groups that know only about their own culture and are reluctant to learn about other cultural backgrounds”
It was found that various types of business cultures have all different characteristics. In relationship-focused business cultures, people do not have it in mind to do business with strangers despite the fact that in deal focused business cultures, people are comfortable when dealing with strangers. Relationship focused people take time to build trust with the clients before going into business but deal focused people get in to business just after small conversation. Relationship focused business people prefer a face to face contact but deal focused people are comfortable in communicating through phone, fax or emails.
Formal, hierarchical business culture shows respect in an important way and normally people address their partners by family name instead of addressing them by given names. In Informal, egalitarian business culture, informal behavior is not minded. People address their business partners by given names instead of addressing them by surnames or titles.
Polychromic business culture focuses on relationship. People take first place to punctuality and schedules. The schedules are flexible and meetings can be broken up. In Monochronic business cultures punctuality and schedules are must to be followed at workplace. Schedules and deadlines are pursued stringently. Meetings are hardly ever intermittent.
In Reserved business cultures the speaking style of the people is very polite and they like silence. A little distance is maintained while meeting and there is not much physical contact apart from hand shakes. In this culture people stay away from continuous eye contact at the time of business settlement. Facial expressions are better than any other gesture like hand or arm. But in Expressive business cultures people speak loudly generally. They do not like silence. While talking they prefer physical touching. While doing business negotiations direct and intense eye contact is expected and this shows interest and sincerity in business dealings. Dynamic facial expressions along with strong hand and arm gesturing are very much expected in this type of business culture.
In view of punctuality, most North American and European countries are highly punctual. Being late for work, appointments and meetings is considered unprofessional. However, in many countries this is a normal trend and is not considered amateur. Providing intercultural training to diverse employees helps them in familiarizing with the new culture they are working in. It leads to stronger relationships and improved communication at work place.
The significant and possible benefits of a diverse workforce lead to improved decision-making, problem solving and innovation. These benefits are indispensable for improving product development and making the organizations proficient in the global market. A diverse workforce contributes to larger market shares. The UK economy is highly influenced by the diverse culture that comes forth due to continuing immigration. Cultural diversity fulfils the requirements of the changing communities.
Many organizations have set out to create such environment for their employee that values difference and diversity and is congenial for their efficient performance. Therefore, it is important for the business people to observe the influence of cultural diversity on important aspects of their businesses. An effective interaction is required between the employees for the growth of the employees and the organization as well.
The research findings show that different cultures have different way of communication, especially, how they greet each other, how they speak, how they address each other and how they express their feelings and react to the feelings of others.
While working in an atmosphere where cultural diversity is there among the colleagues and the clients, we have to be aware of the following things:
Non verbal communication and culture: The tone of voice, eye contact, facial expressions and gestures all vary from culture to culture. In India hand shaking from side to side depicts the concurrence of business but in Australia it is considered reversed.
Personal space: keeping a distance or getting very close to the clients can be misunderstood. The gender of the client is very important.
Eye Contact: Interpretation of eye contact varies from culture to culture. Some cultures like Japanese, Mexican, and Korean avoid eye contact that shows respect. But in some other cultures it is regarded as being rude as if the person is not interested in listening.
Use of Silence: Marinating silence also varies from culture to culture. Arabic people prefer silence for collecting thoughts. French, Russians and Spanish consider silence as a common agreement on any point. But Asian culture has different perspective as they consider silence as a sign of respect for others.
Cultural Variations in interpretation of social issues: There could be cultural variation on social issues, for example, marriage. In some cultures, woman still thinks herself attached to her husband though he has left her since she believes deeply in marriage constitution and has this notion that they both are legally married.
Cultural responses to emotions: Responding to anyone’s emotions also varies from culture to culture. For example, in some cultures it is considered all right to touch the hand of the crying person, but in some cultures tissues or glass of water is offered to such people.
Cultural differences can be observed on daily basis in wider aspect in the work places. Many management thinkers, like, Fons Trompenaars, Geert Hofstede and Edward T. Hall have tried to measure by creating some frameworks how the cultural diversity will fit in to this complicated continuum.
Nandita Gurjar who is the global head of human resources at Infosys, which is a global IT services company based in India, believes that cultural awareness is key. “Most managers, when confronted with cultural conflict, often have little idea that the underlying issue could be cultural. They tend to think: ‘Why are you so upset? This is the way I normally behave and people in my home office never get upset. What’s wrong with you?” (Competing across borders, 2012, p.13).
The wind full with changes is blowing all the way through the world economy. The workplace is becoming more international day by day. Companies have started expanding their businesses cross borders and they are understanding the impact of cultural differences while communicating with the clients all over the world. In this way the colleagues from different countries, cultures and time zones are creating their own fortune. Diversity of views, experiences, cultures, genders and age is essential for the success and expansion of an organization. Diversity delivers innovation (Basu & Altinay, 2002).
Organizations are self-motivated network of people who work together and communicate with in and across complex system of relationships. Such kind of network of people is different in many ways- different personal experiences, different views, different personal values, different professional and national cultures, different emotional stats etc.
This is the fact that such cultural diversity sometimes creates conflicts but still it is welcomed as an essential innovative thing. According to Dr. Francis Westley, “sPeople act from deeply-held personal beliefs and values that need to be surfaced. Learning how to engage with conflict is an essential prerequisite for generating knowledge integrated from diverse perspectives and values” (Exploring how diversity impacts on our workplace, 2008, p.3).
There is a need of recognizing diversity at workplace and accordingly to embrace it. The diversity is inherited in organizations. Some global developments are making workplaces more complicated. “Cultural diversity which is growing with in the organization is diverse in many areas like age, different attitudes, communication styles and various different approaches to using communication technologies and it is creating a noteworthy challenge for the managers at their workplaces” ((Business advantages of diversity in the workplace, 2014).
The physical migration of many talented young people is creating an increase in cultural augment. The teams are having people from anywhere in the world. “The partnerships are increasing globally and the contractual relationships are adding different culture background people on the workplaces, which are creating diversity” (Business advantages of diversity in the workplace, 2014).
The diversity is particularly recognized as a significant element for the creation of new ideas and for materialization of new products and strategies. Cultural diversity makes it convenient for the organizations to understand the diverse client segments. The diverse working force provides businesses with significant language skills, cultural awareness and understanding and familiarity with the business practices, consumer tastes and preferences in overseas markets. Proper utilization of the diverse work force can be done by increasing their efficiency and productivity. It can be achieved through recognition of extent of their talents and skills together with language and communication skills. Diversity is a driving force for improved prospects in businesses. For businesses, diversity creates a competitive atmosphere at workplace through better skills, talent and innovation (Business advantages of diversity in the workplace, 2014).
Cultural diversity may affect economic market in different ways. It may lead to innovation as diverse workforce enables access to a wide range of ideas and perceptions. However, there are chances of communication problems and lower level of trust among the employees for some time. On the other hand, these diverse cultural groups may be beneficial in reaching the international market; however, favoritism may affect their success in the market
Diversity does not only relate to the dissimilarity in gender, difference in skin color or disparity in background. We learn values and morals but these can be learned again in a time span. Each and every one has a different personality which makes the workplace also different. Prior to suggest recommendations, it will be described that successful organizations value the cultural diversity among people.
Since all the cultures are so different we need to understand people having different cultural background. Everybody has different preferences and they prioritize their preferences according to their cultural values. Tasks can be very crucial for some people and casual for others depending on the value attached to the task in their culture. Proper utilization of the diverse work force can be done by increasing their efficiency and productivity. It can be achieved through recognition of extent of their talents and skills together with language and communication skills. Organizations can benefit by promoting their active and valuable participation and taking advantage of their skills to offer quality service to diverse clients. The talents and skills of diverse work force can be enhanced with measures like improving cross-cultural communication and understanding and endow them with prospects active participation in training.
Following are a few recommendations
- The beliefs other cultures should be appreciated. One mindedness should be kept for the people who are different. It is not necessary that one has same perspectives as the other.
- Proper etiquettes should be used when dealing with different cultural background people.
- Don’t get scared if other people’s actions are uncomfortable. There should be an honest communication.
- People should be treated in the way one would like the treatment for himself.
- If there is any confusion in pronouncing any name then it is better to ask about it to avoid any misunderstandings. It will develop healthy relationships.
- Everybody is responsible for any kind of workplace behavior. If there is any discrimination on the basis of cultural background, it should be encountered. Attitudes cannot be changed but behavior is changeable.
- Successful interaction among all different cultural background people is must.
- One should be confident while presenting his own cultural knowledge and experiences at the work place.
- Generalizing people is not right. Everyone is an individual personality having unique characteristics.
- Trainings should be provided related to cultural diversity at the workplaces.
- Cultural awareness and language skills should be promoted.
- Programs should be organized to show respect people of different cultural background.
- A register should be maintained at the workplace for the people who speak languages other than English
- Cultural holidays should be arranged by the organizations where people can observe the differences in cultures.
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Open ended questions
- What do you understand with cultural diversity?
- Do you think that cultural diversity has any effect on businesses?
- Does cultural diversity impact businesses in UK?
- Are the employees trained on why managing diversity is important to an organization?
- Is there any regular contact between departments on the progress of diversity issues?
- Is cultural diversity important with in organizations?
Close ended questions
Rate the following
|A person should be addressed with Mr. /Mrs./Miss while doing any business negotiations|
|It is important to wear formal clothes when meeting with clients|
|A gesture like hand shake or greeting is important when meeting with clients|
|China||hard working, diligent|