“Strength lies in differences, not similarities”- Stephen R.Covey
Cultural diversity (also called as diverse group or multiculturalism) is a group of diversified individuals from distinctive cultures or societies (Lombardo 2016).
It is the duty of a leader to organize and coordinate his distinctive group in the right track to achieve the defined objectives (Mullins 2013: 26-32). The main focus of this blog is to identify the benefits, demerits and fundamental requirements of working with people from diverse cultures.
Figure 1: The actual need for diverse teams
(Source: Emens and Emens 2012)
What could be the benefits of working in a diverse team?
The competitiveness and achievement of an organization depends on its capability to grasp diversity and recognize their benefits (Greenberg 2004). It also includes the following:
- Employees from varied culture bring individual skills and experiences in suggesting concepts sufficient to meet customer and market demands. Also, there would be a collection of numerous viewpoints from employees and a higher supply of solutions for problems arising within and external to the organization and thereby effective decision making (Phillips 2014).
However, there could even be objections faced by diverse teams. It includes,
- An upsurge in conflicts. Clashes occur when two or more individuals or teams do not see eye to eye on a precise situation. Lack of recognition and ignorance could also be a cause for conflicts (Henry & Evans 2007).
- People from diverse cultures lack proper communication skills. Indecisive communication leads to confusion, reduction of morale and team work (AVERWEG and ADDISON 2015). Dr. Beeka had conducted a group activity challenge on week 2 Leadership class named “Can you tie a tie?” It was a straightforward challenge in which one person had to communicate to the other how to tie a tie. The person who spoke used sentences like ‘put this one inside that one and take that from this one then circle it’ and so on. It was a total chaos. Neither did the person who was assigned to tie the tie nor did we understand it. Though it was a simple exercise, everyone realized the importance and turmoil of communication.
As the topic deals with managing divergent teams, let’s analyze Hofstede’s model of cultural dimensions.
Professor Green Hofstede (by the term of 1970’s) organized one of the greatest analysis of how principles in an organization are affected by culture (Geert-hofstede 2016). The figure below gives a detailed explanation about the theory.
McSweeney’s critique (2002) denies Hofstede’s model and discovers organizational culture unreasonable as a consistently spontaneous factor of employee behavior; its logical inconsistency, premises and paradigm (Williamson 2002). Similarly, results propose that cultural diversity points to process failure through work conflicts and diminished social integration (Stahl et al. 2009).
Figure 2: Hofstede’s Cultural dimensions
(Source: Usdkexpats 2011)
In order to get a sharpened idea, let’s examine Hofstede’s cultural dimension model applied to Google Company, India.
Figure 3: Cultural dimensions of India
There is an infinitesimal dissemination of Power distance between the leader and subordinates of the institution. This could be either due to the staff member’s job profile or involvement within the organization (Abadal and Codina 2008).
(Source: Geert-hofstede 2016)
The organization emboldens and triggers collectivism, team work and is anxious about its employee’s well-being, thereby, provides every freedom to grasp finest practices through teams and team events which illustrates individualism (Head 2006).
It can be approximately stated that the company boosts masculine value system because of the prosperity it furnishes for their employees. Benefits include annual bonus, transportation, health and medical coverage, outings, entertainments et cetera (Head 2006).
Google has an alertness that business status varies promptly. Hence, there is no procrastination to take steep risk which illustrates the Company’s uncertainty index (Abadal and Codina 2008).
Google has a long term orientation perception with respect to serving the forthcoming of employees by overseeing their pleasantness with current job and considers that business verdicts will be made with long term benefit for the company and their shareholders (Clearlycultural 2016).
I intent to work as a Finance adviser and working in a diverse team is crucial as it helps gather accurate financial and non-financial data, establish and resolve diversity approach, policies and proceedings together. A case study on KPMG (UK), a professional services institution that pursues in audit, tax and advisory services, has a devoted diversity and admittance team (Accaglobal 2014). KPMG guides its employees by contributing connection to networks, expansion opportunities and emphasizes the importance of hard and soft measures as the company is aware of the benefits diverse groups bring like; information diversity, perception, adaptability and rational thinking (Jada, Jena and Pattnaik 2014).
Overall, it’s hard to find organizations in this era that exists without workforce distinctiveness and it provides an added advantage in terms of creativity and better efficiency. Managers must initially figure out the organizational culture and then implement diversification policies (McKinsey & Company 2015). However, there could be challenges like discomfort, rougher interactions and lack of trust if the leader fails to communicate to his employees in an open and lucid manner about the organizational goals and requirements (Phillips 2014). Furthermore, diversity training’s should be conducted to eliminate cultural conflicts and thereby engage them to work in teams to secure high achievements and a regular two-way feedback session helps in knowing one’s present performance and hence encourage further improvement (Tsai, Lin and Su 2011).
Accaglobal (2014). Diversity management. [online] Available at: http://www.accaglobal.com/content/dam/acca/global/PDF-technical/human-capital/pol-tp-tbcfdm-diversity-management.pdf > [Accessed on 25th February, 2016].
AVERWEG, U. and ADDISON, T. (2015). Managing challenges of multicultural Information Systems project teams in South Africa. African Journal of Information Systems, [online] 7(4), pp.17-20. Available at: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/bsi/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=01814e68-2376-4252-af23-1d3807b00344%40sessionmgr4003&vid=24&hid=4107 [Accessed 25th Feb. 2016].
Beverly Head, Smh.com.au, (2006). Google in need of the feminine touch – Technology – smh.com.au. [online] Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/04/17/1145126035129.html [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].
Clearlycultural, (2016). Long-Term Orientation | Clearly Cultural. [online] Available at: http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/long-term-orientation/ %5BAccessed 25 Feb. 2016].
Emens, R. and Emens, R. (2012). Lost In Translation – Working With Global Teams. [online] UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley. Available at: http://svprojectmanagement.com/lost-in-translation-working-with-global-teams [Accessed 25 Mar. 2016].
Geert-hofstede, (2016). India – Geert Hofstede. [online] Available at: http://geert-hofstede.com/india.html %5BAccessed 25 Feb. 2016].
Jada, U., Jena, L. and Pattnaik, R. (2014). Emotional Intelligence, Diversity, and Organizational Performance: Linkages and Theoretical Approaches for an Emerging Field. Jindal Journal of Business Research [Accessed 25 February 2016].
Jennifer Lombardo- Study (2016). Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Definition, Trends & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. [online] Available at: http://study.com/academy/lesson/cultural-diversity-in-the-workplace-definition-trends-examples.html [Accessed 25 February 2016].
Josh Greenberg, Multiculturaladvantage, (2004). Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions. [online] Available at: http://www.multiculturaladvantage.com/recruit/diversity/diversity-in-the-workplace-benefits-challenges-solutions.asp [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].
McKinsey & Company, (2015). Why diversity matters. [online] Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].
Mullins, L. (2013). Management and Organisational Behaviour. 10th ed. FT Publishing International, p.26-32. [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].
Ongori Henry and Agolla J.Evans ,Academicjournals (2007). [online] Available at: http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJBM/article-full-text-pdf/2D1C0DE16759, pp. 072-076 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].
Phillips, K. (2014). How Diversity Works. Sci Am, [online] Available at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/, 311(4), pp.42-47 [Accessed 24th Feb, 2016].
Stahl, G., Maznevski, M., Voigt, A. and Jonsen, K. (2009). Unraveling the effects of cultural diversity in teams: A meta-analysis of research on multicultural work groups. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(4), pp.690-709 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].
Tsai, M., Lin, Y. and Su, Y. (2011). A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY ON THE BUSINESS MODEL STRUCTURE OF GOOGLE. International Journal of Electronic Business Management, [online] 9(3), pp.231-235. Available at: http://web.a.ebscohost.com/bsi/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=01814e68-2376-4252-af23-1d3807b00344%40sessionmgr4003&vid=34&hid=4107 [Accessed 23 Feb. 2016].
Usdkexpats, (2011). Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions. [online] Available at: http://usdkexpats.org/theory/hofstedes-cultural-dimensions [Accessed 24th Feb. 2016].
Williamson, D. (2002). Forward from a Critique of Hofstede’s Model of National Culture. Human Relations, 55(11), pp.1373-1395 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2016].