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Managing Culturally Diverse Workforce Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Feb 22nd, 2022

Cultural diversity has become increasing important in today’s business environment. Advancement in technology has brought about globalization and thus many businesses have workers from different backgrounds.

Hiring a culturally diverse workforce is important. A diverse workforce can be beneficial to a business although some difficulties may arise in managing it. A manager’s ability to manage the culturally diverse workforce is significant for an organization’s success.

Advantages of cultural diversity

Any kind of business requires people with diverse skills, knowledge and experiences. Employing people from diverse backgrounds can give a company the advantage of having a wider pool of skills and experiences.

Different perspective

Different people have different points of view. Having a culturally diverse workforce can open up opportunities for a business as people from different cultures may bring in different perspectives that benefit the company. For example, an employee from a certain background can give ideas about products or services that may interest a certain community thus creating a business opportunity for the company.

The diversity helps the company in innovation, flexibility, problem-solving creativity, and decision-making. Thus, a diverse workforce can help a company tap into unknown markets (Bhadury, Mighty & Damar, 2000).

Business opportunity

A company finds opportunities to exploit in its line of business. A culturally diverse workforce can give a company an edge. People from different backgrounds bring in a wealth of different experiences and skills and so a company should benefit from its workforce by embracing cultural diversity. Besides, employing people from different backgrounds gives a company a wider pool from which to choose their employees.

For example, IBM increased its revenue between 1998 and 2001 by embracing cultural diversity and making partnerships with diverse vendors (Thomas 2004).

Managing diversity effectively

The success of a diverse team depends on how effectively a manager manages it. The manager must be wiling to be flexible and understand the cultural differences among his or her team. Different people have different cultural characteristics thus a manager needs to learn them in order to deal effectively with a diverse workforce.

Hofstede classified countries according to the culture dimensions and put them into various categories such as – power distance, collectivism vs. individualism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity vs. femininity, long term vs. short-term orientation and indulgence vs. constraint (Meads & Andrews, 2009). People under these dimensions behave, communicate and have different expectations.

It is imperative that a manger learns the differences to manage his or her team smoothly. The manager must learn to treat workers uniquely because the approach of “one size fits all” will not help in managing a diverse workforce (Mor Barak, 2000. p. 347). The manager must come up with strategies that work for his or her particular team and not rely on those that have always worked in the past.

Difficulties of a managing a diverse team

Conversely, difficulties arise when dealing with a diverse workforce. For instance, miscommunication. Miscommunication is a major difficulty which may arise when people speak different languages or when they make different interpretations of communication.

It might also be difficult to reach an agreement when people have different points of views and thus decision-making may take a long time. Workers may fear and resist the change brought about by diversity (Chevrier, 2003).

Ethical leadership concepts in cross cultural management

A successful company requires ethical leadership. A leader who practices the concepts of ethical leadership is bound to lead an organization to success. Through ethical communication, a manager should set standards of truth when dealing with diverse employees. The employees should always be truthful with the manager and him or her with them.

A leader must ensure that quality is maintained in all aspects of the business and the employees will strive to maintain quality. Moreover, leaders must practice ethical collaboration by ensuring they seek advice from people who are qualified to give trustworthy advice on the matters of the company. A leader must plan for succession by identifying employees with potential to lead.

This is important to prepare them for their future role in leadership. A leader should select an employee from the pool of workers regardless of their backgrounds to give every employee a fair chance in the company. Lastly, a leader should not hold on to power in an organization and should give other employees a chance to lead the organization too.

References

Bhadury, J., Mighty, E.J. & Damar, H. 2000. Maximizing workforce diversity in project teams: a network flow approach. The International Journal of Management Science, 28 (2), pp.143–153.

Chevrier, S., 2003. Cross-cultural management in multinational project groups. Journal of World Business, 38, (2), pp.141–144.

Meads, R., & Andrews, T.G., 2009. International management. 4th ed. England: John Wiley and Sons

Mor Barak, M.E. (2000) The inclusive workplace: an ecosystems approach to diversity management. Social Work, 45 (4), pp. 339–352.

Thomas, D.A. (2004) Diversity as strategy. Harvard Business Review, 82, (9), pp. 98–108.

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