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A Local Business Issues Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 17th, 2021

Introduction

In a diverse globalized world, cultural competence has become a vital skill for business employees at every scale. Furthermore, health is directly linked to cultural perspectives in diverse populations, affecting both employees and customers. In combination, businesses must consider these factors of cultural competence and employee health to remain competitive, maintain a good relationship within the community, ensure appropriate intercultural engagement, and offer proper health-related support. This report will focus on examining a local business and its practices after an interview with the owner, analyzing it in the context of this course.

Business Methods

The selected business is a local family-owned pizzeria which has served the local student population for the last 15 years. The manager, David was interviewed for this assignment. The pizzeria can be considered multicultural, employing an ethnically and culturally diverse staff as well as serving the college population of students and professors who have heritage from all over the world. David notes that cultural competence in this establishment was learned over time since management did not believe it to be a necessary aspect of a restaurant business. However, that soon shifted as the pizzeria began encountering culturally diverse consumers, and without staff having the required competency to deal with them, conflicting situations arose which damaged both the business and reputation of the establishment.

The business took approaches to improve its cultural competence. First, it focuses on hiring a diverse staff which presents an image of inclusion. Consumers of all backgrounds feel comfortable coming into or ordering from the store. Second, the pizzeria offers more options, such as vegetarian, kosher, or halal ingredients along with other specials which appeal to the consumer. Finally, the staff is provided with basic cultural competence training. They are taught to demonstrate emotional connection and understanding, a proper way to pose questions or repeat something if there is a misunderstanding, and overall maintain a positive attitude. According to David, it has contributed greatly to improving the restaurant’s image as a culturally diverse and friendly place as well as allows the staff to provide service more efficiently by utilizing the time that was previously spent on unnecessary conflicts.

Health problems have a significant impact on the productivity of the business. Considering that the workload can be difficult physically and mentally as well as the strict requirements for food safety guidelines, many health issues or illnesses can limit the productivity of an employee. The pizzeria employs mostly seasonal college students as well as a core staff which has been with the restaurant for many years. David notes that when a viral sickness hits, it becomes difficult to operate the establishment with severe understaffing and low productivity despite honest efforts on behalf of the staff that did come in. If some employees experience long-term health issues, their key performance indicators (such as sales, speed, or number of deliveries) begin to decline. David feels debilitated as a manager since it is humane to show compassion and all employees in the business are a tight-knit group, but there are no practical solutions he can think of to resolve the impact of health problems on productivity. The management attempts to offer some incentive to rest and schedules shifts appropriately even if a manager must work on the floor, especially to consider college students who feel they are able to balance studies and a full-time job, resulting in subsequent burnout and health issues.

Compare and Contrast

The business aspects described above will be analyzed in the context of the material and course objectives. Cultural competency can be divided into two distinct concepts, social identity, and intercultural communication. The business took steps to recognize its social identity development in the context of its place in the community and the steps it took to become a multicultural establishment for both employees and customers. The development of a specific approach to economics and business growth led to a changing identity for the establishment and allowed it to integrate. The managers saw that the original plan of action was ineffective primarily due to cultural clashes, leading them to change their worldview and perspective. Cultural identity can play a significant role in the success of a business. Cultures develop with specific value systems which are more predisposed to accept certain attitudes and approaches to conduct (Mackie, 2018). Developing a social identity around this central concept of identity potentially allowed the restaurant to thrive.

The key to social identity is not only to recognize one’s own and develop it but being able to interact with others whose perspectives differ, being able to reflect and learn from such experiences. The business practices adopted by the pizzeria both strive towards this ideal but can be criticized as well. A fundamental role of social identity and subsequent daily interactions consists of categorization. It is a complicated theme considering that category membership may be ambiguous or interact (race and gender for example). This results in a complex formed identity which consists of an individual’s experiences that define their perceptions and interactions, as well as impacting the impressions of other social perceivers. The multifaceted identities present in modern multicultural settings leads to particular perceptions and experiences, which although challenging, may prove to be enriching. Historically, social attitudes did not approve of interaction social identities, but scholarly research supports the positive benefits of diversity and categorization, with its impacts on perceptions of culture (Kang & Bodenhausen, 2015).

The establishment took a certain step to encounter other differing identities and using these experiences to improve their offerings and services. However, it did so in a manner which did not exactly accept or reflect on the encounter. Simply a diverse staff was hired with some basic cultural competency training, creating a barrier, but it remains questionable whether the openness to identity encounters is present.

Nevertheless, on a day-to-day basis in business operations, the focus remains on the understanding of intercultural engagement and communication skills. Intercultural willingness to interact, particularly when a cultural minority faces a major one, depends on these critical skills of communication. The majority of theories on intercultural communication reflect a triumvirate approach of ABC, affect, behaviors, and cognition or knowledge. Cultural differences can be seemingly overcome by accommodation and a mutual exemplification of these elements to achieve a shared understanding and common objectives. However, a dialectical approach to communication places individual competence in relation to the person’s abilities, organizational and cultural contexts, and the nature of the encounter. Cultural competency is a dynamic and processual aspect where a worker can be both competent and lacking it. Since power dynamics is an inherent part of each multicultural encounter, competence is based on certain criteria which are defined by social contexts, often lacking the influence of marginalized minorities (Martin, 2015). The business took adequate first steps to begin improving its intercultural competency and communication skills, which led to evident higher engagement among diverse populations. However, further steps are needed to ensure more comprehensive initiatives are applied which go beyond the superficial but emphasize the deeper aspects of intercultural communication.

An aspect which the business actions fail to consider is how its diverse staff with differing cultural perspectives views and values health and illness. Cultural can have profound impacts on well-being as it is directly intertwined with aspects such as diet, beliefs, familial roles, self-identity, and others which may affect or guide health-related behavior. In order to address disease, it requires an understanding of the mechanisms of the human body. Cultures have differing perspectives on how they view the body, when to seek aid, and whether treatment is appropriate in some cases or not. It is a highly complex approach is paradoxical, sometimes conflict medical science and cultural beliefs (Gurung, 2019). In a multicultural diverse environment, illness and sickness may be perceived significantly differently by employees. Some use preventive care and remain proactive in identifying any potential ailments. Meanwhile, in other cultures, especially males only seek treatment in emergency cases. A business can potentially provide guidelines on health and illness, observing employees, and offering to help if any issue is noticeable regarding their health.s

Social determinants of health are closely intertwined with health care systems and disparities. Aspects such as race or ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic class, and gender can have a profound impact on health issues, access to treatment, and discrimination. The system in the United States particularly creates vulnerable populations which then experience health inequalities. Significant resources are focused on providing clinical services rather than addressing social and behavioral factors. An important aspect of social determinants of health they depend on institutional factors such as schools, communities, and workplaces to provide a safe environment with appropriate conditions for healthy living and allowing to seek access to economic opportunities (Adler, Glymour, & Fielding, 2016). The business is taking some measures in regard to creating a safe environment and limit working hours to safe limits. However, more can be done by holding in-house health training, supporting employees experiencing socioeconomic difficulty and institute policies which prevent any discrimination.

Based on the available information regarding cultural and social diversity and its impacts on health, it is vital to take organizational measures which would appropriately address health disparities and inequities. Businesses can take steps to contribute to establishing healthcare equity and providing their employees with the necessary support to remain healthy. Taking into account the cultural perspectives and social determinants explored above, steps can be taken to provide interventions such as health education, public safety, and potentially provide aid with transportation and housing. Cross-sector collaborations between sectors such as private businesses and healthcare organizations can benefit marginalized employees in a diverse setting. This would not only remove barriers to access but strengthen the business productivity and local economy (Woolf, 2017). The establishment is currently lacking any concrete programs to help its employees beyond scheduling. Formulating culturally appropriate solutions that would address the needs of marginalized and diverse employees is vital to achieving a level of equity, even at the local level.

Conclusions

Cultural competency and perceptions of health are important for a business as these can impact operations and productivity. For this report, a local pizzeria was selected as a business to be analyzed. It was evident that cultural competency was an aspect which helped the business grow and adapt to the multicultural environment which encompassed its customers. Furthermore, the manager noted that productivity is strongly affected by health problems, but there is a little indication as to the reason why.

The business practices were analyzed in accordance with the course. It was determined that although cultural competency measures were taken, helping the development of the social identity as well as cultural proficiency in communication, further steps were needed to ensure a more profound understanding and connection with other social identities in a diverse setting. Furthermore, the multicultural perspective from the employee viewpoint was examined regarding cultural and social determinants of health. It was determined that these aspects can have an impact, particularly on minorities and vulnerable populations. It is the role of the business to provide a healthy stable environment, physically and mentally, as well as offer support, advocacy, and potential collaboration with public services to provide its most vulnerable employees with access to healthcare. Through such steps, health inequity can be reduced in the community while the restaurant productivity will increase.

References

Adler, N. E., Glymour, M. M., & Fielding, J. (2016). Addressing social determinants of health and health inequalities. JAMA, 316(16), 1641-1643. Web.

Gurung, R. A. R. (2019). Cultural influences on health. In K. D. Keith (Ed.), Cross‐cultural psychology: Contemporary themes and perspectives (pp. 129-146). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kang, S. K., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2015). Multiple identities in social perception and interaction: Challenges and opportunities. Annual Review of Psychology, 66(1), 547-574. Web.

Mackie, J. (2018). Business success among Southeast Asian Chinese: The role of culture, values, and social structures. In R. W. Hefner (Ed.), Market cultures: Society and morality in the new Asian capitalisms (pp. 129-146). New York, NY: Routledge.

Martin, J. N. (2015). Revisiting intercultural communication competence: Where to go from here. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 48, 6-8. Web.

Woolf, S. H. (2017). Progress in achieving health equity requires attention to root causes. Health Affairs, 36(6), 984-991. Web.

Dear _______

I am writing to you to thank you for taking the time out of your busy day and having a conversation with me. The information you provided was beneficial in completing an assignment and contributed to my learning process. It is important to apply the theoretical concepts learned in class and examine how businesses operate in the real world. It was my great pleasure to learn from your experience and I appreciate all the feedback and support that was offered. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, _____________

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IvyPanda. 2021. "A Local Business Issues." July 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-local-business-issues/.

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