Communication in a culturally diverse organization

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Information about Communication in a culturally diverse organization
Business & Mgmt

Published on March 6, 2014

Author: saugatapalit



How does communication effect an organizations functioning with cultural diversity?


ENVIRONMENT  The environment refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops. It includes the culture and the people and institutions with whom they interact.

CULTURE Culture is understood as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws, custom and other capabilities and habits acquired by an individual as a member of the society.

The inter-national manager needs to be aware of three levels of culture that influence overseas operation. It includes:  National Culture  Business Culture  Organizational Culture

NATIONAL CULTURE  National culture is the dominant culture within the political boundaries of a country.  Formal education is usually taught and business is generally conducted in the language of the dominant culture.  It not only affects language but also business transactions and nature of law that govern the business.

BUSINESS CULTURE It represents norms, values and beliefs that pertain to all aspects of doing business in a particular environment.  It tells correct and acceptable way to conduct business in a society.  It also provides guides for everyday business interactions. 

ORGANIZATIONAL ENVIRONMENT It refers to philosophies, ideologies, value, assumptions, beliefs, expectations and attitude that knit an organization together and are shared by its employees



Culture is a very complex concept comprising of many elements  All these elements have evolved over time  Though the elements of culture are many , we focus here on languages , religion , aesthetics, attitudes ,customs , manners & supernatural beliefs .

1. Language & Culture The influence of language of culture  The influence of culture on language  High and Low context languages 

RELIGION AND CULTURE   1. 2. 3. 4. Religion refers to a specific & institutionalised set of beliefs & practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons There are around 1,00,000 religions across the globe but the major ones are : Hinduism Christianity Islam Buddhism

HINDUISM • From the times of Rig Veda , which contains many prayers for riches , worldly wealth was looked upon as morally desirable for the ordinary man & indeed essential to lead a full & civilised life .

CHRITIANITY Is the most widely practised in reigion in the world almost 20 % of the world’s populations identify themselves as Christians  The vast variety of Christians live in Europe and America 

ISLAM Is the second largest religion with followers spread over more than 35 countries  Some critics argue that Islam discourages profit . THIS IS NOT TRUE  The Quran speaks approvingly of free enterprise & of earning legitimate profit through trade and commerce . 

BUDDHISM Has 250 million followers in Central , South East Asia , China , Korea and Japan  Buddhists stress spiritual achievement & obviously wealth creation is not encouraged  In Buddhist societies , we do not see the same kind of cultural stress on enterpreneurial behaviour that we see in protestant west 

Education : Economic progress of a country depends upon the education of its citizens .  Aesthetics : Refers to the artistic tastes of a culture  Attitudes : It is positive or negative evaluation, feelings and tendencies which make an individual behave in a particular way  Customs And Manners : Manners and behaviou 

Culture And Competitive Advantage Culture may sound abstract but the norms and values prevalent in the society do influence the cost of doing business in that country .  These costs influence the ability of enterprises to establish a competitive advantage in the global market place . 

Cutural Diversity activities at workplace

Table Tents Activities For a large council or new board.  Boldly mark the attendees’ formal name and official titles.  Especially when you know that you are among a culturally diverse group.  Give members a chance during introductions to mention something culturally interesting about themselves. 

Walk Together, Walk Apart      Use two volunteers from your large group. Ask them to stand close together with their backs to each other. Ask your staff to call out things about the two volunteers that are different such as the color of each volunteer’s hair. As each difference is called out, the volunteers should take a step forward making them stand further apart. Ask the staff to now call out things that are the same about the duo.

Cultural Appreciation Day Host an annual cultural appreciation day event at your workplace.  Here you give employees downtime to welcome each others' cultural backgrounds through display boards, activities and food.  Ask each staff member to post something that reflects their culture on their door or desk with a statement that summarizes what it is . 

Attend Diversity Events Register key division leaders for diversity training and conferences.  mix a little bit of social time to allow them to network with each other and other organizations.  to learn a little bit about how they explore diversity issues and activities in their workplaces. 


I. Leadership Driven  Create and maintain culturally and linguistically competent services by supporting:  Multiculturalism embedded into all organizational units.  Continued efforts to recruit, retain and develop a culturally diverse workforce.

II. Staff Oriented  Support cultural competency of the staff.

III. Client Oriented To support and promote the involvement of clients, families and advocacy groups in the planning and development of care.

IV. Information Driven  To support monitoring and dissemination of the level of cultural awareness, knowledge and skills


Advantages Diversity, though a challenging task to manage, carries within it certain advantages : •DIVERSE EXPERIENCE: One main benefit of diversity is the generation of more & better ideas as individual group members •EFFECTIVE DECISIONS: Decision-making may be very slow, unlike in a homogeneous group, but the decision reached tend to be very effective

•GROUP THINK: When this occurs, group participants believe that their ideas & actions are correct & those who disagree with them are either uninformed or are deliberately trying to sabotage their efforts. Unanimity is achieved only through a careful process of deliberation.

Disadvantages There are problems associated with diversity, nevertheless •COMMUNICATION ISSUES: Between co-workers, diversity can place impediments in the way of effective communication, which can directly dampen productivity and the cohesiveness of small groups. •There are perceptual problem too. When culturally diverse groups come together, they often bring pre-conceived stereotypes with them

•INTEGRATION ISSUES: The formation of cliques and exclusive social groups is a natural process that can be impossible to control at times.

•Another problem is the way in which situations are interpreted Example: Many Japanese nod their heads when others talk, but this does not necessarily imply their approval.They are merely being polite & attentive.

Use Simplified Language (The K.I.S.S. Principal) Use Repetition for a Theme Avoid Using Gender-Specific Metaphors Employ the Most Effective Technologies Available Seek Outside Training Be specific about timelines and due dates for deliverables Establish ground rules for your team to collaborate

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