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Different cultures affect differently the behavior of society regarding how people relate with each other. In a society, comprising of mixed culture some people may find it hard accommodating others while for some they blend with others easily. A society made of mixed cultures is hard to fit in for some people. People who live in a community that is made of different cultures are called culturally diverse.
They may be foreigners or from the same country but having different identities in their beliefs and ways of doing things. The experiences of an individual living in a society with different cultures affect his or psychological behavior such as sexism.
Sexual behavior at work place also varies during instances of sexual advancements, which is another level where experiences of a culturally diverse individual can exhibit.
Manifestation of cultural experiences can also be felt in issues to do with securing a job when decisions about remuneration are to be discussed and some members feel they are underpaid. By discussing these areas, one can have a better understanding on how they affect a culturally diverse person on his psychological development, behavior trend and distress.
Sexism means perception of human beings based on sex on other people especially during decision-making processes. For instance, in placements involving professional responsibilities culturally diverse people base their opinions about one’s ability on sex, which is a form of discrimination (Douglas, 2010).
Sexism affects negatively psychological advancement of culturally diverse individuals because they experience special challenges adapting in a new culture while still conserving their own.
Culturally diverse people go through psychological impacts that make them feel inferior and think others are superior because they dominate in terms of cultural values. Student who are studying abroad or immigrants are the mostly affected (Douglas, 2010). When a person finds it hard to accommodate new culture, he or she responds through distress. The person becomes frustrated psychologically and this manifests through distress.
People in a culture that differs a lot from their own are unable to decide which culture to take and which one to abandon. It becomes hard to follow a culture they have not experienced since their early age. However, if the culturally diverse individual opts to follow the foreign culture he or she may behave differently and against the norms of the new culture.
This may cause the individual to react in ways that conflict expectations of other people especially if many people in the society interact with him or her. How such a person behaves varies according to the extent of cultural conflicts where the behavior is a natural way of getting rid of the conflicts (Berg, 2009).
A foreigner might therefore accept the new culture to feel accepted in the society. Culturally diverse people experience identity crisis if they are not certain of their identity. When such people are strongly embedded in their culture, they take a lot of time to accommodate the new culture. Identity crisis mostly affects young culturally diverse people where they experience psychological problems in their developments.
Sexism is a key determinant of personal perception for people who live in a foreign culture and affects their insight about their roles in the community. It can also determine one’s view and response to his or her new roles in a community. When culturally diverse individuals feel their roles are better defined in their own culture than in the new society they behave in ways that oppose the difference.
They treat others according to the roles that they are already accustomed. However, continued exposure to the new culture changes their behavior. The concept of sexism may be at low levels in individuals such that they do not realize. Culturally diverse people then transfer the hidden sexism traits to the new values (Berg, 2009).
Sexual harassment occurs when a person seeks sexual attention from another person who is not ready to give the attention. Depending on the level of harassment, an individual may find it hard to continue with employment. Cases of sexual harassment are usually unreported and thus hard to cope with for culturally diverse individuals.
The feeling of being powerless for a person in a new culture makes the act to progress and advance to higher levels. Sexual harassment may create a situation where a person in a new culture feels unable to cope because of threats issued and fear of report to the relevant authority.
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Most cases of sexual harassment occur to minority groups. Such people are usually not informed about their rights or how to seek redress when they are harassed sexually (Hajdin & LeMoncheck, 1997).
Some issues about sexual attention might be acceptable in some societies while in others they are regarded as harassment. What might be considered as sexual jokes in a certain community might be regarded as sexual advancements where a culturally diverse person might feel offended and even take action.
Culturally diverse individuals may misunderstand some actions, which are not sexual jokes and interpret them as sexual harassment. Culturally diverse individuals may also be misinterpreted to be harassing others sexually when they behave in certain ways, as every culture is unique.
These differences lead to poor communication between individuals with different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, it is important for people to be aware of what others expect regardless of their cultural differences to avoid unnecessary pressure when one seeks employment, promotion or education. Misunderstanding leads to tension and embarrassment (Stockdale, 1996).
Despite cultural differences, diverse individuals need to understand what may be misinterpreted as sexual harassment because lack of understanding might lead to people harassing others out of ignorance and later being accused.
This requires communities to be enlightened about cultural differences to equip them with various approaches accepted at organizations, institutions, work places and behaviors that are not acceptable while interacting with various people. Sexual harassment can be eliminated in the society through implementation of adequate penalties to protect the victims.
Lack of laws to suppress sexual harassment may lead to high prevalence of the behavior in institutions where cultural diversity is high. Organizations should also develop mechanisms to inform employees about cultural diversity and sexual harassment as well as create a common practice for everyone, which is known as code of ethics.
Society should solve the problem of sexual harassment through awareness to facilitate common behaviors by specifying what is legal and illegal irrespective of one’s cultural background (Hajdin & LeMoncheck, 1997).
Unequal pay refers to lack of a uniform scale for wages and salaries for employees doing same responsibilities in an organization. This is illegal but some employers pay their employees using different salary scales and justify the act using excuses. The employees who are paid less for the same tasks done by others are affected psychologically and the situation is worse if they know about the differences.
When employees are discriminated in terms of pay, they suffer from low esteem and feel less valued. An employee who has low esteem may be disillusioned and dissatisfied with his or her job (Burchell, Horrell & Rubery, 2007).
Discriminated employees lack the morale needed at work place because they know that even when they work extra they are not rewarded enough. Such people feel they are not part of the majority culture and are likely to cooperate less in strategies meant for the growth of the organization. In the past, discrimination based on pay has been prevalent between genders because of sexism in organizations.
The concept of unequal pay is even worse when it affects employees who are sexually harassed at work place because they may welcome the behavior hoping they would be rewarded financially to compensate for their low pay.
Some organizations do not have established boundaries for employees at different levels, which perpetuate unequal pay. In such cases, discriminated employees are not informed about the unequal pay and when they realize it, lack mechanisms to address the problem properly (Burchell, Horrell & Rubery, 2007).
Most societies do not regard the rights of the culturally diverse people with importance, which makes the group live with injustices in their places of work as most of such employees form the minority group in the society. They prefer fitting in the new systems to avoid interrupting them and console themselves that even though their pay is less it is still higher than they would be paid where they come from.
Culturally diverse individuals may be aware of their low payment but continue working extra hard to achieve same results as their workmates, which is stressing. The experience of being paid less than expected can lead to distress and negative attitude towards job as well as the organization.
The consequence of such feelings is change in behavior for the affected employees leading to poor performance and less output in the organization (Burchell, Horrell & Rubery, 2007).
Culturally diverse individuals find it hard to embrace values in a corporate culture because they have to adapt to the new culture and familiarize with values outside the organization. Corporate culture may borrow a lot from the culture that dominates, which is advantageous to the employees who come from the dominant culture. Culturally diverse individuals who are paid less do not have many expectations in such cases.
This trend can be passed on to future generations in the category of culturally diverse individuals. In organizations where sexism is prevalent, women might develop less expectation for many years (Burchell, Horrell & Rubery, 2007).
The many challenges that culturally diverse individuals experience affect their behavioral development and awareness about their ability in a community. Analysis of culturally diverse people can help address issues of identity crisis, self-perception and distress that face them when they have to live in a new environment.
It is hard for such groups to learn new values in a new culture because they are strongly embedded in their own culture. However, there are many advantages for culturally diverse individuals trying to adapt in a new culture if they feel free to interact with people from the dominant culture and have the knowledge in socializing with them.
The experiences such people go through can help them adapt fast or slowly based on other elements like time and social structure in the new environment. It is possible to develop a cohesive society if culturally diverse individuals learn how to relate with people from other cultures.
Berg, B. (2009). Sexism in America: Alive, well, and ruining our future. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.
Burchell, B., Horrell, S. & Rubery, J. (2007). Unequal jobs or unequal pay. Industrial Relations Journal, 20(3), 176–191.
Douglas, S. (2010). Enlightened sexism: The seductive message that feminism’s work is done. New York: Times Books, Henry Holt and Company.
Hajdin, M., & LeMoncheck, L. (1997). Sexual harassment. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Stockdale, M. (1996). Sexual harassment in the workplace. Thousand Oakes: Sage Publications.