Jun 25, 2018 in Research

Organizational cultural diversity

Globalization has brought about diverse cultures interaction in multinational business circles prompting culture diversity and interactions that need tolerance in order to understand the different cultural affiliations that can be represented in an organization. Literally, the Western has a soft spot for individualistic pursuits in excellence while the Eastern countries prefer collectivism success with the environment being a source of inspiration. Diverse communication culture affects the overall meaning of message perception that is usually distorted and manipulated by intrinsic cultural aspects and therefore in order to maintain good relationship among cultural diverse employees, understanding of diverse languages within is vital to the success of business.

High and low context is a theory proposed by Edward Hull that defines high context as a long term social interaction between people sharing a culture thus allowing then to be quite independent while making decisions associated with the culture without much consultation since the cultural premises are said to be learnt and intact. Low context identifies social interaction that have lasted for a short time thus filled with questionable mode of operation that new comers have to be frequently furnished with rule and regulations regarding the culture (Jennifer, 2003). Therefore a company should aspire to build a wide range of high context fused with low context communication system that would allow them to apply a more internalized and knowledgeable approach to solving communication challenges. Roughly, high context relationships fuse strong relationships thus offering a good atmosphere that enhances positive understanding of instructions bonded with a symbol of common good that is attached to the management behavior (Jennifer, 2003). Asians tend to hold a common bond with family affiliations playing a role in the business world and therefore they hold to high context culture while the Europeans divorce family affiliations for personal success and thus press for a codified form of business culture that with the company with attribute to company mission importance over interpersonal relationships.

High context culture promotes an indirect way of communication with indirect command that is associated with the local Asian culture whose instructions are reserved and easily understood between the members. Deep respect is harmonized thus it becomes a crime if a western cultured manager issues a direct threat of firing an Asian religious leader underperforming employee who is looked up to by the Asian community within a corporation (Nishimura, 2009). The European request for equality while the Asians admire a constant historical and religious  reference to status and relationship with assigning of meanings to events and therefore a simple firing exercise can be interpreted religious as a bad omen that can detrimental affect the morale and lead to downsizing of production quality time in the part of Asian employees while the Western counterparts would openly accept such as a common disciplinary measure as accorded in the low context codified culture. While low context European cultures allow questions as a way to clarifying instruction and politeness as office etiquette; the high context cultures disregard the idea of questioning as distasteful while requiring listening and politeness as a part and parcel of life. The Finnish people are said to lack the ability to show signs of listening even though they observe and listen to a speaker and therefore if Finnish and Indians work together they could develop personal prejudiced perspective since Indians listen intently (Nishimura, 2009)-therefore if the Finnish and the Indians work together discrimination will be common unless the lack of interest culture is done away with.   

High power distance theory according to Hifstede’s intercultural dimensions promotes inequality thus creating status with open show of rank while low power distance societies advocate for equality with sound mobility in between the distribution of culture and wealth. High power societies like India encourage their employees to be separated from the managers who acquire the boss status to mean that regular guidance is compelled from above the hierarchy such in case of a failure of corporate performance the subordinates can be fired by taking blame. Asian employees are aptly likely to react negatively to corporate loss information requesting employees while rewards and appraisal schemes can terribly create a personal prejudice that will affect cooperation and teamwork if the company objective entails teamwork. Individualistic, high power together with high uncertainty avoidance distance tends to create high hierarchy whereby employees are defragmented across a wide range of salaries that openly display disregard for the low earning employees. On the contrary, low power distance culture that is associates with the Finland, US, Australia and Sweden afford low power distance with the intent to distribute wealth, rank and status. Therefore managers treat managers with respect and total accord for liberalism and democracy. Socialization takes place across the set hierarchies without much emphasis for special treatment and appearance respect (Kwint, 2010 ). Communication is can be formal as well as informal thus blame for company loss is taken generally as an equal responsibility. Finland has a PDI score of 33, US 40, Japan 54 as opposed to Indian 77%  and Russia 85% (Kwint Essential Map, 2009 ); to mean that Indian and Russian employees need corporate direction and sometimes have to be pushed in accordance with the Douglas McGregor’s X theory motivation (ACCEL, 2010). Accordingly, low power distance coupled with the tolerant and understanding low uncertainty avoidance culture together with collectivism can lead to an organized corporate culture that allows easy understanding of instruction and interactions that are free and liberal that an organization can benefit from a moral boost of friendship and business. Gender integration is deemed to be a source of coherency and harmony within organizational management and human resource managers are required to train their subordinates in cultural practices that contribute to social synchronized.

Monochromatic culture like in the US is based on organizations planning events and activities in terms of agendas, calendars and deadlines which ensure that things are timely done and well managed. Use of schedules is enhanced to ensure punctuality and give sense of time to individuals. Polychromatic cultures as in the case of Japan do not give time the first priority but priority is given to the immediate needs of individuals. This makes it possible for people to work on multiple tasks instead of entirely putting all the focus on one. This means that an individual used to polychromatic culture need to adjust himself appropriately to fit into the monochromatic cultured organization since he cannot at any given time given the opportunity to fall back to his former culture. When to come to an individual failing to adjust or fit into the monochromatic cultured organization that calls medical report when sick, a call to explain reason for lateness or absenteeism, then it results to an employee receiving harsh warning or threat letter warning. The manager now gets used to using harsh communication language on the victim who in turn feels dejected and thus may at all times avoid communication with the management. This leads to a situation where there is no sharing of opinions and view from the victim though they may be necessary to the organization. The management in turn fails to respond to requests asked by the victim due to dishonesty feelings. The end result is an impaired communication between the two cultured individuals that may result into no communication at all since it started as a conflict form of communication (Theamway, 2006).Tight culture comes along with many set of rules and norms that describe the standard behavior to be used. These rules have to be followed for the individuals to ensure they do not break a norm thus portraying themselves as ignorant to the set standards. The tight culture comes along with strong and strict rules like how to smile or talk to the elderly or those in authority. This culture does not give room for cases of individuals breaking the norm or showing ignorance as they get punished and harshly criticized and condemned by the society while to some extend some are killed. On the other hand, a loose culture has very few rules and standards and people are likely to abscond or break the rules and nothing is done about that. Tightness of a culture requires homogeneity of cultures since there has to exist an acceptable norm when cultures are loose. Highly populated cultures call for tightness of culture in order for individuals to perform and do the right thing at the given time (Triandis, 2004).Loose cultures as in the case of the US makes it possible for individuals in the workplace to give their views and opinions more freely and clearly. Loose culture gives room for individuals to contribute more openly to the organization on their values and ideas alongside personal beliefs thus results into openness on issues and expressiveness thus a more sociable environment is created. The conservativeness of people from loose cultures makes it impossible for their counterparts from the loose culture to freely talk and express themselves as the ones from the tight culture may feel offended as they are used to a strict communication code. Further the loose cultured individuals will tend to avoid the tight cultured ones especially if manager or the boss comes from a tight culture. On the other hand, individuals from the tight culture may fail to fit in the class of the loose cultured ones since they tend to keep in mind their norms when communicating thus may fail to clearly express their opinions and ideas that might have otherwise been useful. The strictness of norms may make individuals from the tight culture to shun off any communication and association with their counterparts from the loose culture since they perceive them to be unethically right and regard their talks as worthless. This cuts of good communication between employees in a given work department resulting into poor communication at the workplace or totally no communication is available (Mount Holyoke College, 2000). Collectivist culture perceptions vary greatly from those of the individualism culture. Collectivists as common on India have the tendency of focusing on the context during communication as opposed to the individualists who opt for the content. They tend to maximize their attention on the tone or gestures on how something is said other than what is being said. Furthermore, the collectivist culture perceives people to be alterable while the environment remains constant. Further, the human behavior is regarded to be influenced by forces from the outside such as the society rules and laws which influence character change due while the individualistic culture  like in  Finland perceive people to be stable while the environment is prone to changes and aspects like personality are essential in molding individuals behavior as the human is independent. Collectivists are known to give an upper hand to interests of people within the same category or grouping while focusing on set norms as opposed to individualistic who focus entirely on personal goals and attitudes (Triandis, 2004). Collectivist cultures align themselves towards a particular group such as “we are the rich”. “We are Christians or Muslims”, “We are Indians and you are selfish individualistic” thus prejudicing against others indirectly. The individuals then give first priority to other peoples’ needs and feel socially dejected if they cannot fit in any group as they are fond of using the “we” vocabulary. On the contrary, the Individualistic do prefer to keep to their own premises and such models as commissions and individual rewards work towards motivating them unlike collectivism. Individualists tend to describe themselves in terms of personal achievements and skills such as “I play golf”, “I have won seven medals in management” while seeking others’ approvals and positive comments that can be quite offensive to collectivism societies in Asia (Mount Holyoke College, 2000). The two cultures tend to clash during communication since the individualistic culture which focuses on attitude sees the individuals pick on small aspects during communication and are less likely to take a joke. Further, they may always feel displaced in the company of collectivists who tend to have a lot in common and may keep on referring and talking to what only is familiar with them. Collectivist like in the case of India who operates business as a family may keep on talking or referring to family matters making the individual who does not belong to the family feel out of place. These differences greatly hamper good communication as the collectivists cannot take the pride of the individualists and may even resort to giving negative comments to demoralize him while the individualistic may pick on self appraisals that the collectivists don’t like while negatively commenting on the collective group such as “I hate Indians or Christians”. This difference in culture especially between managers and workers may result to affected communication with dishonesty and lack of transparency further resulting into mistrust during communication thus total death to communication. Jacob Lauring of the Arhus University in Denmark, major obstacles to business success is lack of innovative organizational culture of common ground that every employee expects to adopt once hired. Social defragmentation is a professional negligence that brings about animosity within diverse cultured groups when working together; consensus about resources within various departments is important especially if some sections are common with a given ethnicity. Cultural diversity training programs that can create awareness about the identification of identity structures established in the organization in order to effect change that can bring about fluent and free flow of information. Stereotypical personalities that are common in high power individualistic cultures can be turned around by imparting collectivism and team working with deep involvement of all subordinates in decision making and problem solving committees as a way of promoting corporate integration in order to create common ground for effecting organizational strategy (Moon, 1997, 16). 

Conclusively group identity closes communication between diverse communities and the way diverse ethnic employees think about their identity within a company has to be at the finger tips of the management in order to establish the true indicators of corporate identity in accordance with set objectives and missions. Remarkable, corporate have to adopt local cultures that promote coherence with appropriate tolerance that can overcome ethnic animosity that is easily perpetuated by discrimination.

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