Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation
Working in a diverse environment will inevitably lead to the necessity to reconcile differences in the approaches to communication that people belonging to different social groups have. These include specifics of interactions accepted within groups of particular gender, ethnicity, age, and culture. No matter how inclusive a workplace environment might be, the approaches toward communication that staff members will use will differ depending on their age, gender, and culture. The specified phenomenon is inevitable due to social norms that most people accept as part and parcel of their culture.
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Theories and Principles/Abstract Conceptualization
The theoretical tenets that can be used to handle personal differences between staff members, such as their gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and other characteristics, are numerous and require a careful analysis of the workplace atmosphere. Although the importance of increased diversity within a workplace team has been stressed extensively over past decades, it still remains obvious that people tend to form groups in the workplace based on common characteristics (Welbourne, Rolf, & Schlachter, 2017). Therefore, the tenets of the Social Identity Theory were scrutinized.
Social Identity Theory
The observed trend can be explained when viewed through the lens of the Social Identity Theory (SIT). According to the SIT framework, people prefer to determine their self-concept through belonging to a particular social group (Welbourne et al., 2017). Based on the SIT theoretical framework, staff members will inevitably display the propensity toward forming teams based on shared interests and beliefs. While the observed trend should not be discouraged, it will also be critical to introduce employees to the concept of diverse communication and experience-sharing through cross-cultural collaboration. My personal experience allows me to conclude that the integration of the SIT framework leads to a better understanding of the communication-related needs of diverse staff members.
The specified step will require employees to come out of their comfort zone (Welbourne et al., 2017). Therefore, as a manager, one should consider deploying the strategies that will encourage staff members to gain the required skills. The SIT theory proved that the focus on employees’ behaviors as the direct effect of the group influence helps shape communication to improve the employees’ performance.
Testing and Application/Active Experimentation
Applying the theories mentioned above has contributed to an improvement in the management of quality and production processes at the Bridgestone Aiken Plant. In addition, with the incorporation of the communication principles mentioned above, opportunities for improving relationships within a team were discovered. For instance, creating smaller teams within an existing one and encouraging participants to share their experiences was utilized as the method of managing the problem associated with the lack of common characteristics between team members. The proposed technique aligns with the general principles of the communication theories mentioned above.
One could argue that the process of transitioning from a single-culture perspective to a diverse philosophy should have occurred at a more rapid pace in the context of the Bridgestone Aiken Plant. Indeed, the integration of the diversity-oriented strategies could have been implemented in a more expeditious manner to spur the production processes and introduce the necessary changes to the corporate setting. However, it should also be borne in mind that the proposed communication techniques should not be seen as separate notions but, instead, have to be regarded as intrinsic constituents of a more general, all-embracive, and ubiquitous corporate philosophy. Aimed at changing the employees’ perception of communication and the role that innovative tools play in it, the identified changes had to be connected to corporate values such as workplace integrity, continuous learning, and stakeholder satisfaction. Thus, the staff members required time to accept the communication techniques aimed at embracing their differences and reconciling with them.
Welbourne, T. M., Rolf, S., & Schlachter, S. (2017). The case for employee resource groups: A review and social identity theory-based research agenda. Personnel Review, 46(8), 1816-1834.
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