Addressing Cultural Diversity within Organizations
TEG does not have a diversity management program or policy in place. Cultural diversity within organizations has been known to enhance productivity and good inter-relationship between the employees. Examples of cultural diversity are multicultural negotiation, communication, management as well as in other business practices such as recruitment. This kind of diversity has gained significance in the current global economy. However the cultural differences concepts and their effects on doing business and communicating are complex and have several competing terms in use. This paper seeks to establish the terms for cultural differences as well as examine their impacts on an industry such as Target Engineering Group (TEG). The paper also seeks to establish the cultural diversity programs that can be developed at TEG.
The terms inter-cultural and multi-cultural are mainly used when referring to the integration of different cultures from different countries. In as much as this may be true, cultural diversity also embraces several local aspects such as the ratio of women to men in a workplace. In Helen Sharp's (1995) work “Challenging Students to Respond to Multicultural Issues”, there are two cases that query the possibility of an American working in a foreign land. Also, the terms in cultural diversity are not only synonymous to international integration, but also to gender, race, generational or socio-cultural issues. Understanding the meaning of diversity is the initial step towards addressing the issues related to diversity.
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The world in which we live demonstrates a perfect example of diversity. There is a diverse cosmos of the moon, sun, stars, planes and other bodies with each having its own destined path as well as its purpose fro being. Since the people who live in this world are of diverse gender, race, cultural and geographical entities the industries and companies such as TEG must assimilate and acculturate these concepts. The employees in a company are diverse in class, gender, religion as well as diverse countries and backgrounds. For successful operation of TEG, it must adopt culture diversification to accommodate each of the above listed diversities.
Cultural diversity may be defined as the variety of cultures or human societies in a particular region - in our case the TEG. Cultural diversity also refers to the cultural differences that exist between individuals such as language, dress and traditions, art and pastimes, moral and religious as well as the disparities in the way societies organize themselves. Cultural diversity is however difficult to quantify but on the other hand it is easily identifiable. There are certain aspects of cultural diversity that lack at TEG on top of the lack of a diversity management program. TEG does not have a diverse group of the black employees as well as women on their staff. This is evidenced by the low percentage of black employees in this company. TEG has also not taken the advantages that come with the adoption of cultural diversity despite being very successful in providing professional engineering services in the tri-county regions of West Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. Also the Human Resource at TEG does not focus its efforts on seeking the services of the minorities especially when advertising for a job position. The job advertisements are placed on the websites or the newspaper (Keyton, 2005).
The companies that have developed cultural diversity are doing very well despite being in the same business as TEG. The PBS & J is one of those companies that highly values diversity. Another example of a company that upholds diversity is the Associated Engineering. This company has a recruitment strategy in place that embraces diversity by the periodic recruitment drives. These drives are geared towards capturing the services of immigrants from foreign region such as South Africa, Asia or Australia. In order to address these cultural deficiencies at TEG, the interventions made must clearly identify the need, pursue clear objectives, fill a legal void, as well as provide the appropriate achievable solutions by setting various norms and standards. It is therefore prerequisite to ensure that each of the above requirements is met for our case in point-TEG.
There are several aspects that have led to the cultural diversity deficiency at TEG. One of these aspects is the lack off comprehensive vision on the effects of globalization on cultural diversity. In as much as TEG may be successful in the provision of engineering consultancy services, the company does not preserve the diversity of cultural expression with regard to the mounting globalization of the economy. The approach taken by TEG does not embrace cultural diversity and may be termed as fragmented. This relates to human rights, language rights, heritage protection, international cultural cooperation, cultural policies, cultural pluralism as well as intellectual property rights. TEG requires understanding on all these requirements as it strives to create diversity within the staff ranks. The company should focus on recruiting the minority groups more so the immigrants. These individuals have diverse knowledge that would be used to the advantage of TEG. The article by Replicon Inc. just totally supports this perspective in “Employers Embrace Diversity: Immigrants become cornerstone of company growth”. Due to the shortage of technologists and engineering professionals TEG is bound to focus on the foreign opportunities for recruiting staff. The system has been adopted by Associated Engineering and it is actually working to their advantage (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2009).
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Another challenge that could be facing TEG and could also be a possible cause of the cultural diversity deficiencies realized is the difficulty in addressing the culture issue head on. The company seems to be more focused on the commercial aspect as opposed to the cultural diversity aspect. In order to achieve a rapprochement between the commercial and cultural aspects there is need to openly express the cultural perspectives. TEG might be suffering from fear of the liberalization of trade in the world being hampered by developing cultural diversity preservation policies. However, cultural diversity expression will be vital in the capability of the company adopting the changes that come with globalization. Therefore the company should subject the commercial issues to culture imperatives and hence prevent commercial aspect from dominating the business. It is only by cultural diversity that the company can be able to realize the commercial aspects effectively.
TEG can be able to promote cultural diversity guided by the principles discussed below. The company must recognize the existence of cultural diversity as an important tool for achieving the commercial objectives of the company. Therefore, the company should affirm and recognize cultural diversity at the local, regional and international levels as well as reflecting on the policies brought by this diversity towards realizing the goals of the company. The company must also promote participatory democracy. This means the promotion of heritage representation while including the active input of all the stakeholders. This would be achieved by the use of negotiation, consultation as well as participation. Heritage representation especially of the employees will motivate them to divulge their diverse cultures towards making the company more successful.
TEG must also focus on coordination and cooperation. This means that the company should share projects and promote cultural exchanges in a view of cooperation and coordination. This will ensure that the company is maximizing resources and the available expertise both at a global and regional level. For TEG to achieve cultural diversity it must embark on community building and peace making. TEG is bound to recognize and appreciate the sense of identity and place of the diverse individuals it may recruit. By appreciating their diverse inheritances and fostering a shared perspective, the spirit of reconciliation and confidence on the multi-cultural employees is built. This will culminate in effective job productions and widening of the business.
Cultural diversity is also realized through capacity building. The company should be directed to transform and change as per the multicultural societies that exist around. Finally the company should ensure the resourcefulness of the diverse cultures it may have in the form of staff. This will ensure that the company can maximize on the diversification of the resources available to address the concerns of cultural economics as well as cultural equity. The culture of an organization guides the members on how “work” of the organization should be conducted. The culture also entails the reasons foe existence and the objectives of the company. Finally cultures in organization dictate how individuals should relate to each other at the workplace as well as to those outside the place of work.
As Cox (1991) illustrates, prejudice is the expression of negative personal attitudes towards individuals affiliated to a particular cultural group. Discrimination on the other hand involves the observable adverse behavior directed to members of a particular cultural group. Therefore, TEG must ensure that it protects its resource of diverse cultured employees from these actions. This will lead to peaceful and confident working areas. There are several dimensions to cultural diversity not necessarily established at TEG. These are: ethnicity, age, family status, income, Gender, military experience, educational background, sexual orientation, race, Work experience as well as social class. All these dimensions must be considered in the event that TEG might want to integrate cultural diversity by employing staff from different cultures. This is because of the fact that a heterogeneous group of individuals can only work together and effectively through cooperation and consensus.
The company must also not forget about recruiting the local individuals who are qualified for the job. This will ensure the maintenance of culture within the region where the company operates. Two individuals do not necessarily have the same opinion by virtue of being in the same cultural group. Therefore in as much as diversification should be encouraged integration with more of the local cultural groups will also prove successful. In order to derive maximum output from the rich cultural backgrounds, TEG must establish level playing fields for the different cultural groups. Two qualified individuals form the Black community and the White community should have similar remuneration packages as per their qualifications and job experiences. Also the women employed in the company having similar qualifications as the men should also be given equal remuneration packages. This will promote culture equality that will enhance job production since no cultural group will feel inferior to the other.
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In any company, the first phase of deriving maximum benefits from diversity is the development of a concerted effort towards what forms of cultural diversity exits within an organization. The acknowledgement of the existence of various individuals and groups of individuals with different cultural backgrounds is an important step in this initial phase. The various cultural dimensions that exist in PBS & J as well as Associated Engineering will be discussed in order to address the cultural diversity issue amicably. PBS & J Corporation has been in the front line in embracing cultural diversity within its environs. The inclusion of a webpage known as diversity in their website will definitely work well for the advantage of the company. The webpage consists of information on diversity training, diversity awareness, and affinity groups as well as the CDAC-supported professional organizations web pages. This has enabled the company to offer best solutions to their clientele and at the same time increasing their productivity. The company also offers diversity training program that include a one-day workshop.
It is a known fact that the adoption of cultural diversity has its own share of disadvantages. There will be conflicts, stressful situations and ill feelings arising from the adoption of sub-cultures in these companies. Therefore it is necessary for all the individuals to communicate about their cultural differences. However, it is difficult to discuss cultural differences without resorting to stereotypes. In ideal nature, stereotypes do not exist. This is because no individual is perfectly similar to another and no member of a cultural group can be a clone of another. Also, as cultural diversity develops, the challenge of communication also arises. This leads to the necessity for greater efforts that will harbor improved and effective communication skills. Therefore, PBS & J Corporation should adopt effective communication strategies to be use by their multi-cultural employees. This will ensure that there are no cultural conflicts or discriminations on the basis of culture.
Discussion and awareness presents a clearer picture of cultural diversity, understanding and appreciating cultural diversity does not necessarily indicate tolerating differences amongst the persons in a group but it also involves nurturing and supporting them. By supporting and nurturing diversity within the cultural groups, the company will enhance its other objectives through sharing of information, ideas, issues as well as cultures. It has been established that nurturing diversity creates opportunities for development of character through teaching respect and tolerance for individuals and promoting the concern for equity. For the company in question to perpetuate and flourish, it must support a culturally-diverse team that values and respect all individuals from different backgrounds. The adoption of the status quo of cultural diversity may face some challenges but it does not serve as excuse for avoiding transition (Nestor, 1991).
The traditional melting theory has two perspectives on immigrants who have settled in America. The strategy of immigrant has been adopted by Associated Engineering Corporation and it is working well. There is a high possibility that the immigrants will shack the characters and ways of their old countries and intermingle perfectly with the new environment. However there are two fallacies that are presented by this theory. The first one assumes that the non-white Americans will strive to be like the white Americans. The second one is that the non-white people will not find any importance in adopting the culture of the new world. Those fallacies however have been marred by rejection and a lot of controversies. This is because of the deterioration of the single monoculture in today's world. Many organizations are adopting a pluralistic workforce that continues to evolve through cultural influence and integration. The Associated Engineering Corporation should ensure that the immigrants hired from different cultures blend well with the dominant whites culture in the company.
Another aspect that was seen as a cultural diversity deficiency in TEG is the issue of gender preference. The company has women employees as compared to the men population. Therefore, TEG should increase the qualified female employees in their staff. There are other factors that impact the limits to which diverse cultures integrate with the existing ones. The reason for immigration of the recruited employees influences a lot. The neighborhood or background of the immigrants must also be established. Some immigrants come from ethnic or non-ethnic neighborhood that might influence the attitudes of these individuals towards cultural diversity. The socioeconomic status, education and the upward growth of these individuals should be evaluated so as to establish how well they adapt to the different cultures they may face. TEG's mission is built to respond to the customer's needs by providing quality services through better management of the personal resources. Therefore, to ensure that this mission is realized, the company should embark on promotion of diverse cultures.
Cox, T. (1991). The Multicultural Organization: Academy of Management Executive, vol.5, no.2, pp.34-47.
Helen, S. (1995). Challenging Students to Respond to Multicultural Issues: Journal article by Janice Tovey, vol.60, pp.10-11.
Hellriegel, D. & Slocum, J.W. (2009). Organizational Behavior. Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Nestor, L.G. (1991). Managing Cultural Diversity in Volunteer Organizations: Voluntary Action Leadership. New York: Springer.
Keyton, J. (2005). Communication and Organizational Culture: A Key to Understanding Work Experiences. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.