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How Important Is It For Managers Today To Have A Good Understanding Of Cultural Diversity In The Workplace?

4084 words - 17 pages

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR MANAGERS TODAY TO HAVE A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE? (2500 WORDS)When most people use the word culture, they think of people from different national backgrounds. National culture certainly does exist and they do play an important role in shaping the way people communicate. But there are other dimensions of culture too. Within a nation, regional differences can put a powerful influence on communication. Race, age and ethnicity can also shape behaviour. Still other differences can create distinctive cultures: gender, sexual orientation, physical disabilities, religion and socioeconomic background are just a few. All of these factors lead ...view middle of the document...

Maximising and capitalising on workplace diversity has become an important issue for management today. Managing diversity emphasises managerial skills and attitudes to increase competitive advantage and successful organisations. Managers shall learn or develop an awareness of what diversity is, its benefits and how it is affecting the workplace. They shall be equipped with certain skills, knowledge and attitudes (that is additional to the common management skills, knowledge and attitude).Managers should have a deep understanding of cultural diversity in their workplace to bring them in one effective team.They should have tactics and skills to manage under them and create and maintain a peaceful atmosphere. This keeps errors in communication down and limits cultural misunderstandings on line of command.According to Bovee,Thill and Schatzman(2003), it is estimated that by 2010, minorities will account for 50 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics will make up about 24 percent; Africans Americans, 14 percent; Asian Americans, 8 percent; and Native Americans, 1 percent. Moreover, immigrants will account for half of all new U.S. workers. Thus for the managers managing this changing mix of ages, faces, values, and views will be a very difficult task. Employee behaviour can be affected by a diverse workforce who brings with a wide range of skills, traditions, backgrounds, experiences, outlooks, and attitudes towards work. Supervisors must be able to communicate with and motivate these diverse employees while fostering cooperation and harmony among them.Francesco and Gold (2005) said that if there are more members of diverse culture, the more harder it is to manage a virtual team. Cultural diversity, which will be increasingly common, and traditions need more leadership under conditions that reduce the ability to use direct leadership.The cultural diversity are utilising our country skills to the fullest and thus contribute to our overall growth and prosperity. The truth is that it didn't happen and thus the progress is still slow. While we are in the midst of the longest period of economic growth this country has ever seen, the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" continues to widen. These were the statements from Mullins (2006) point of view on cultural diversity.According to Devoe(1999), there are challenges to managing a diverse work population. Managing diversity is more than simply acknowledging differences in people. It involves recognizing the value of differences, fighting against discrimination, and promoting inclusiveness. Managers may also be challenged with losses in personnel and work productivity due to prejudice and discrimination and complaints and legal actions against the organization.Thus it's a most difficult task for managers to overcome.( contrast to the above statement Koonce(2001) said that there are effective managers who are aware that certain skills are necessary for creating a...


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