Culture difference in Business
Kirjoittanut: Aya Benhmida - tiimistä Crevio.
This essay covers cultural differences in business, including the Workplace and international work. First, the essay will discuss the Workplace’s cultural differences and how they show in the work environment. In addition, the essay covers a different type of business culture from the western and eastern countries. Finally, the essay also discusses the importance of cultural diversity in the Workplace and why it is essential. Furthermore, the essay aims to give a deeper understanding of how to work with people from different cultures and why companies need to have cultural diversity in their Workplace. Finally, the essay discusses all the befits a culturally diverse workplace can bring to the company.
Throughout the past few years, there has been increasing recognition that diversity of culture plays a significant role in the success of an organization from a leadership and performance perspective. However, there is a difference between having racial diversity embedded within the organization and having various cultural differences, and it is a common misunderstanding that many managers fail to recognize. In this sense, for a company to grow, it is the cultural differences that matter. (Mwangi 2017.) In short, race covers the physical aspects of the identity of individuals connected with their origin (however, the current study states that it has no biological validity (Britannica, 2023, as cited Benson, n.d.)). Ethnicity refers to identity constructed from shared experiences of a group, including ancestry, race, culture, language, religion and nationality, and it is not a biological concept. (Benson, n.d.)
The closest definition for cultural diversity can be found in Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries – “the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, religions, etc”. (Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, n.d.) Other examples of cultural differences that apply to the workplace may be among employees with an age gap, higher degrees of education and growing up in either small towns or large cities. Thus, although employees often have more in common than they have in contrast, these differences can sometimes overshadow the similarities. Moreover, even though dissimilarities can make the workplace more vibrant, they can also lead to a number of cultural conflicts.
Working with multiple cultures can be a challenging experience – especially if the organization is unaware of the cultural differences that coexist within their working environment. Eventually, this can lead to a culture clash. However, the effort to make it work in favour of the activities performed by an individual group is rewarding. Especially in this current climate, companies should be more sensitive when working with different cultures. A successful business must be able to interact with people from various economic and social backgrounds and cultures. When a company knows how to interact with different people successfully, it is a powerful asset for a company to have, as it can also bring significant innovations and ideas. Companies with diverse staff are highly appreciated in this current society as this promotes uniting different perspectives to solutions and situations and, therefore, can prevent unnecessary mistakes. Thus, since culture profoundly influences the way people act and perceive, understanding people’s culture is also the key to understanding the person itself.
It is possible to encounter barriers of spoken and body language, gestures, cultural values and norms when interacting with people from distinct cultures, and this often leads to forming misleading stereotypes. This chapter will focus on the different types of communication barriers companies might face while working in a diverse work environment.
Language is one of the most significant cultural barriers when working in a diverse work environment, and it is also an integral part of any culture. Often, when companies have people coming from different backgrounds, they each might have another native language that is separate from the language used in the working environment. Not being able to communicate effectively because of the communication barrier might cost a lot of conflict and misunderstanding in the work environment. Thus, employees who are unable to understand each other well often struggle with trusting one another and creating trust-based relationships. (Smith & Muscato, 2022.)
Body Languages and Gestures
Gestures help to convey a message without speaking and have an impact on communication. However, body language and used gestures are deeply connected to one’s culture, and they differ from culture to culture. Sometimes the same sign can have very separate meanings. Therefore, it becomes essential to understand and recognize the signs of body language and gestures that are relevant in specific cultures. For example, in some Middle Eastern countries, it is taboo for a woman to shake hands with a man. Hence it becomes crucial to be open and respect other cultures and not be offended by them. Not being aware of these cultural differences can be mistaken as a sign of disrespect or create misunderstandings. (Smith & Muscato, 2022.)
Values and Beliefs
Each culture has its taboos, and it is its way to differentiate the good from the bad. Values and cultural norms are one form of cultural barriers that one might have in their working environment. Therefore, being socially aware of different beliefs while working in a diverse workplace is essential. Likewise, respecting different values and beliefs is crucial to avoid conflict in the work environment. (Smith & Muscato, 2022.)
Stereotypes are a negative way of viewing or believing all people from a particular characteristic are the same, and having those in the company have the potential to create an environment of exclusion and misunderstanding. Stereotypes are common, but people do not view them as one, as boys should play with trucks and girls should play with dolls. Alternatively, the saying “boys will be boys.” Often, people might not even notice that they have beliefs that could be very harmful. If a company has a diverse work environment, it is important to make sure that team members are aware of how they perceive and react to a specific group of people, and avoid negative beliefs or judgments based on preconceived notions, as this can have a lasting and damaging effect both on organization and individual. Consequently, individuals can always work on changing their perceptions, and it allows them to create a safer and more positive working environment, enables learning, and cultivates eliminating harmful beliefs. (Smith & Muscato, 2022.)
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN WORK PLACES
Listed below are some of the most common forms of cultural difference in the workplace and what they do and how they can affect work environments.
People’s culture influence the way people think and behave. For some people, their cultures define their values and their perception of good and bad
Different generations have different views and values. They have different ways they view communication, work ethic, and leadership. For example, the younger generation might value the balance of work and mental health more than the older generations. If a job is causing anxiety, they are more likely to drop out. However, older generations are usually more loyal to their employers because they feel they can achieve nothing without hard work. Therefore, many young people are applying for jobs that are more mental health friendly and more diverse. The difference between generations can also be seen through their extensive understanding of social media and trends.
Beliefs have a strong effect on people’s values; which can also affect their work behaviour. Religion can also impact what people view as ethical, which might impact some of the Workplace’s decision-making.
Everyone has a different educational level that might affect how they perform at work. People with higher education might solve problems differently based on their knowledge. Some companies care about the education level of their employees.
Overcoming cultural barriers in the workplace
There are various ways to work through cultural barriers and take the most out of them when companies have diverse work environments. When a company successfully creates a safe and positive environment for different people, it can easily avoid cultural barriers. Furthermore, when a positive work environment surrounds people, people have better ideas and work better with their co-workers.
Having a mutual language at work
To avoid any language barrier having a mutual language everyone can communicate and work is essential. When everyone understands each other, a company can avoid miss communication and misunderstandings between their co-workers and employees. In addition, having a mutual language in workspaces creates a better atmosphere for the workers and helps them feel more welcomed and included in the workspace.
Adapting and accepting different cultures and communities
companies must constantly be able to adapt to their surroundings and the changes happening around them. They also need to learn how to adapt to their workplaces and people. A company should be able to respect people despite their differences because their differences and experience are the things that make them unique.
Companies can practice acceptance by learning about their employees’ culture and norms and try implementing them in a way that brings awareness to the culture. A great example is simply adding their country’s public holidays to the calendar. Doing this helps promote a positive reception of cultural diversity. (Corey. 2021)
IMPORTANCE OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN WORKPLACES
A company can benefit in many ways from having diversity in their workplace. Even though it has its challenges, the benefit of a diverse workspace is far greater than any of the challenges. Companies that have diversity in their work environment have a great brand image around that. It is an excellent image for the company. It attracts workers, and society is more interested in companies focusing on equality and equal opportunities.
Different people bring different ideas because they can see things from different perspectives. People experience life differently, and some problems may be easier for another person to see because they have experienced them. Problems can be easily solved just by looking through the lens of a different perspective. They also proved that companies with higher diversity rates have higher innovation and revenue. Teams with diversity also have higher creativity rates and productivity. Companies with more diversity have a more significant advantage in marketing. One of the reasons is that they have a broader perspective on things and have more insight which reduces racism, sexism, and homophobia. Many companies that do not have diversity in their Workplace have fewer insights on many topics. Companies with more diversity also face less discrimination in the workplace.
BUSINESS CULTURE: WESTERN AND EASTER COUNTRIES
The leader concepts
In western society, leaders tend to be as equal as all the employees, or they are usually a member of the team. While in the eastern world, there is a clear structure on who the organization’s boss is.
In western society, punctuality is very important. It is unprofessional to be late in some countries. In some countries, being right on time is not enough either. They expect people to be there at least 10 minutes before the meeting. In western countries, being late to an important meeting signifies disrespect. In eastern society, punctuality is flexible. It is acceptable for people with higher rank to be late, but not for regular people. This is what they call being fashionably late.
Talking about money
In the west, people are usually straightforward about money, and business transactions are just business. Most of the time, business deals are mainly based on their intrinsic value. On the other hand, Eastern society’s business transaction is mainly based on relationships.
People from the east their a network formed with family ties. In western society, it is not that significant where the network ties are coming from because business connections are usually only for business.
In most eastern societies, they tend to be more reserved and not show their emotions. In some eastern countries, they try to avoid conflict and interrogations. In western society, expressing emotions like frustration and anger is more acceptable.
Diversity is crucial in understanding that everyone is different and unique in different ways. Diversity has not always been appreciated, but as society grows, the importance of diversity becomes very clear. Bringing people from different races, religions, sexes, and nationalities brings many advantages to society, and it unites us more. For companies, having a diverse workplace in this current society brings many advantages because we are all connected easily through social media. This means that society is constantly exposed to diversity and different cultures. As a result, we can learn from each other and bring different perspectives to life. Companies must recognize the importance of a diverse work environment in this society, and statistics show that companies with more diverse Workplaces have better innovations and revenue than companies without diversity. This essay aims to highlight the importance of cultural diversity in business and why companies should strive for a more diverse work environment. It also explains that having a diverse work environment is about hiring diversity and learning how to adapt diversity to the work environment. A diverse workplace has challenges, but when executed well, it becomes a company’s most vital asset. As society becomes multicultural, more companies will become more diverse.
8 Examples of Cultural Differences in the Workplace – The Boffins Portal
Cultural Differences in the Workplace (psu.edu) updated December 7th, 2020, article read 14.11.2022
Deana Corey ,2021 how to handle cultural differences in the workplace. How to Handle Cultural Differences in the Workplace (universalclass.com) read 14.11.2022
Eliza Smith & Christopher Muscato 2022, cultural differences in communication Cultural Differences in Communication | Impact, Importance & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com blog updated September 18th 2022 read 14.11.2022
Evan Lua,2021. Eastern vs western business culture Eastern vs Western business culture – Learn Beyond You blog published October 25th, 2021
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