Organizational Culture And Ethnic Culture

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

- Explain briefly the meaning of organizational culture and ethnic culture and also explain the main difference between these two cultures. Provide suitable examples to support your explanations.

Organizational Culture in basics of terms is the personality of an organization. It is what determines the decisions of the organization such as the rights and wrongs, change, incentives, recruitment and termination, all of which can be made from the past and present experiences, assumptions, philosophy and values that hold it together towards a more profitable future. In other words, the way an organization functions is its culture.


How organizations conduct their business.

Local and online advertising, marketing and surveys

Studying their competition

How employees are treated.

Performance based appraisals and incentives

Leadership styles may differ in organizations or even at different levels of the hierarchy in an organization in which an employee's attitude towards the organization can be positive or negative.

How customers and the wider communities are treated

Contributions to communities such as donations to a hospital

Studying the demographics to better satisfy customers


Ethnic culture belongs to a group of who have common grounds, i.e. religion, beliefs, language, behavior, customs & traditions, art, music and literature.


1 North and South Indian cultures consists of people who speak the same Hindi language, pray to the same Gods, have similar types of wedding and prayer ceremonies.


Organizational culture is created by the owner and the people working with him/her to achieve the organization's goal.

Ethnic culture is created by a group of people sharing the same beliefs passed on from generations.

Can be short term oriented - it can change due to external or internal factors. E.g. Kathmandu had to introduce a new management team after the company's owner Jan Cameron sold her shares and resigned.

It is very difficult to change as it is based on traditions and customs passed on from generations to generations. Because of this ethnic culture is not as flexible as organizational culture.

Employees must follow rules and regulation in the interest of the company.

Followers are strongly attached to their customs and traditions and wish to follow the ways of their ethnic culture rather than to adapt to another one

Diversity may be limited as they have already set the pattern to be followed. E.g. Competitive cultures operate in a stable external environment being more focused on its customer base.

May have more diversity regarding food, clothes and thinking. E.g. India is full of Indians but there are so many different kinds of Indians - Gujarat, Punjab, Hindus, Tamil and more.


Week 4 Notes-Culture and Leadership, Tutor-Mona

Question 2 - Select a leadership example from a culture other than your own and:

a) Explain how cultural perceptions may influence the leadership style and behavior of the individual or organization selected.

For the Leadership Example I have selected Nancy Rehan - 3IC Manager for Kathmandu (A retailer for quality outdoor equipment and clothing) Manukau Store. She is from Punjab in India where she worked in Sales and Marketing. Nancy is of a culture which is very different to the New Zealand culture in many of the following ways:



Most people are vegetarians

Both non-vegetarian and vegetarian people

Mainly full of Indians

Multicultural environment

Similar language/s spoken and pronunciations

Variety of languages. Most people learn to use Kiwi accent



Leadership styles are more 'Autocratic' than anything else

Leadership styles may depend on the type of organization. E.g. Kathmandu has 'Participative' Leaders

Communication is mostly from the top where management is more concerned of the organization's goal rather than anything else

Most businesses have/are adapting to flat hierarchical structure as it is more effective in the smooth running of the business.

Nancy has started work with a multicultural team consisting of Fiji-Indian, Fijian-Niuean, Kiwi, and Scottish staff, all of whom speak with a Kiwi accent and have been very friendly and welcoming. Nancy has been inspired by the culture of the organization to learn new things and adapt to the culture to bring out the maximum potential within herself for the interest of the company as well as herself. She has been developing herself with the following ways:

Language - There is no difficulty for Nancy to speak English but her pronunciations differ to that of Kiwi accent. E.g. she pronounces 'merchandising' as 'mer-kan-dising'. She also has to familiarize herself with words like 'um...' and phrases like "Have a good day". On the plus side Nancy can speak Punjab and Hindi (with an Indian accent) very well. All these are essential for excellent customer service.

Leadership - Nancy is of a culture where the leadership style is more autocratic then it is anything else, however she is quickly learning of the participative style being used in Kathmandu and adapting to it by getting and providing feedback from her juniors as well as other management members.

Communication structure which is flat within the branch is evident as everyone is expected to provide feedbacks to other team members and management team.

Nancy has learned to motivate her team to achieve results rather than to demand them.

Most important of all Nancy has learned to adapt to changes and is ready to adapt to any further changes that may occur within the organization as she is a very result-oriented person who is passionate about developing herself and learning new things.

These are some of the ways which Nancy may or has been influenced by the culture of Kathmandu.

b) Explain how your own approach might differ because of your own cultural perceptions and what will be the impact on your behavior.

The leadership style of Kathmandu is very effective in getting the maximum potential of employees. Before I mention how my approach may differ it is important to know of my background and culture. I am a Fiji born Indian raised both in New Zealand and Fiji and am familiar with both these cultures. I have also worked as an I.T Administrator in Fiji and am now currently for Kathmandu as a Sales Advisor here in New Zealand. My approach may differ in the following ways:

Language - I can speak English with a kiwi accent and Hindi with a Fiji accent so I have no trouble communicating with staff and customers from all over the world. Although, I do have trouble speaking Hindi with an Indian Accent and don't know how to speak Punjab at all so because of this I may not be able to get maximum sale from customers who are of India.

Leadership Style in Fiji is mainly autocratic although now the democratic style is being practiced, while in New Zealand the style that is commonly used is democratic. Since I am familiar with both styles I can easily adapt to them and perform as per required. Example: With democratic style I know how important it is to keep providing feedback where as with the autocratic style it is more important to get the job done than anything else. As a leader I would implement the democratic style as this style gets more positive results. This leadership style gives me opportunity to lead by example, get feedbacks from staff and to motivate in a way that is result-driven.

Because of my previous work experiences I would say I am ready to adapt to any change that may occur in Kathmandu. I believe in setting goals and planning my way to achieve them while developing my skills, knowledge and traits. Example: I would study staff and their culture to get their maximum potential from them by observing, monitoring in a timely manner to identify their strengths and weakness and communicating with them effectively. This would give me the opportunity to develop my knowledge by learning of new cultures.

The above are some of the ways of how my approach may differ.


(Nancy Rehan - 3IC Manager, Kathmandu Manukau Store, 09 912 2685)

Question 3

Describe what is meant by a multicultural organization. And also explain the advantages and disadvantages of being a leader in this type of environment.

Multicultural organization is an organization consisting of employees who have several different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and experiences where they contribute freely, and achieve their individual potentials in the interest of the organization and themselves.

In other words multi cultural organization is cultural diversity and due to globalization diversity is increasing among workforce. A Leader should learn to work with diverse group of employees, customers, and other stake holders. Examples of multicultural organizations in New Zealand: Woolworth, Food town, The Warehouse, Kathmandu, NZ post, all banks including ASB, BNZ, ANZ, The Kiwi Bank and many more.

The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working in a multicultural organization.



Developing new skills- It helps one to lead the way to the success. Being a leader one has to show the quality attributes towards work. I.e. to use their abilities, education qualification and special skills to perform certain tasks.

Difficulty in management- The most difficult task a leader may have is working with people from different cultures, behaviors, attributes and age. Certain thing like forecasting and planning, analysis of risks, uncertainty and competitive tendering are to be managed.

Learning new culture and traditions- It helps to handle the conflicts between home culture/traditions and new culture/traditions. If a leader can contribute to learning of a new culture it helps them better understand the culture.

Increase in conflict- Being a leader and working with people from diverse locations can create conflict. Situations may arise where the staff / followers and are not ready to accept the commands or are not ready to accept different ideas and views.

ADAPTION - For some people it may not be easy to adapt to a new culture but it will give them the opportunity to better develop their knowledge and in doing so they can achieve goals in the interest of the organization more effectively.

Less social interaction- Being a leader one may show that he/she is working 24/7 for that particular organization. In result this gives him/her less time to interact with people at work as well outside the work place to lead them effectively. This might not help them in future because they are not familiar with the leader.

Creative problem solving- It helps to create solutions to problems which is independently created rather than learned with assistance. If one is solving a problem the solution should either have value, clearly solve the stated problem or appreciated by someone for whom the situation improves.

interpersonal probleMS -

We all experience these problems every now and then. These difficulties usually involve some conflict, which causes discomfort and hurt. Interpersonal problems can emerge in their own rights as different people clash, or it may be a symptom of other underlying problems such as anxiety or depression.Whatever the cause, as social beings, tense relationships can be difficult to manage. It can affect our self-esteem and confidence and make managing life difficult while also contribute to already poor communication skills.