Culture is the complex of concepts including customs, laws, morals, beliefs, etc. assimilated by a person as a member of society. The overall picture of social diversity is formed according to these factors. One of the manifestations of the dimensions of cultural diversity is behavior in the workplace since there are quite many methods of managing human resources based on the consideration of various characteristics, as well as the levels of behavior determined by such characteristics as sex, origin, etc. Cultural diversity is a phenomenon that is typical for a modern society, and a competent approach to the consideration of all the features mentioned above can be rather an effective mechanism of applying this phenomenon in the workplace.
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Dimensions of Cultural Diversity
The dimensions of cultural diversity are so significant that it is quite difficult to draw certain boundaries and limit this area to several concepts. There are different approaches to studying this field of sociology, and each of them has its unique peculiarities. According to Harvey and Allard (2015), there are primary and secondary dimensions of cultural diversity. Thus, primary dimensions include such criteria as race, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, and mental abilities (Harvey & Allard, 2015). Secondary dimensions are such factors as social class, religion, appearance, and language (Harvey & Allard, 2015).
Therefore, when studying the cultural characteristics of different countries, it is essential to take into account all the criteria in order to make a competent analysis and at the same time not to be mistaken with the conclusions. Moreover, all these factors are quite unstable variables since society does not stand still, and new areas that combine different evaluation criteria are constantly appearing.
Personal Cultural Features
My personal cultural traits are also special to rank me in a particular group and to indicate some similarities or, on the contrary, the difference from other people. My ethnicity is Hispanic, to be more precise – the Cuban. My cultural background partially overlaps with what is typical for my native nation. Even though I speak English, my nationality binds me to my compatriots in a certain way and partially separates me from many of those who live nearby according to the principle of origin.
Members of my social circle have quite much in common. For example, we have similar ideas about religion and medical practices. Also, in addition to the fact that we speak the same language, we have approximately the same ideas about the structure of the world and all that has a direct relationship to our way of life. Despite the differences in appearance and sex, members of my social circle understand one another quite well since they have a similar level of mental abilities, which also significantly brings all of us together. Therefore, people from the same social class, as it becomes clear, have many more similarities than differences regarding the issues of cultural diversity.
Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion
Both diversity and inclusion are quite important social phenomena that largely determine the direction of society and the general state of a particular social class or people’s group development. Although these concepts are often considered together, they have some differences, and sometimes they are essential enough. According to Lee and Kramer (2016), a diversity strategy has a certain impact on the national culture and at the same time is one of the criteria for assessing the level of organizational culture.
However, diversity should not be confused with inclusion. As Lee and Kramer (2016) remark, a particular degree of inclusion emphasizes no less high level of national culture development than diversity. The compliance with this phenomenon means that all the members of the society, without exception, have the same rights and opportunities and are equally respected. In case this principle is observed, society is progressive and modern, and no prejudices violate a measured way of life.
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Workplace Diversity Training and Its Importance
For employees to perform their duties effectively, it is essential that their organizational culture level is high enough for successful interaction among themselves and understanding of the set tasks. According to the survey conducted by Trax, Brunow, and Suedekum (2015), cultural diversity is a very important phenomenon in any enterprise as it positively affects overall productivity. According to the authors, the size of different groups does not play any role, and the main criterion is fractionalization into different nationalities (Trax et al., 2015). Therefore, the management should pay more attention to such factors of assessing work as cultural diversity to ensure higher productivity and a favorable microclimate in the team.
Also, there are other similar opinions. For example, Downey, Werff, Thomas, and Plaut (2015) claim that diversity is inextricably linked to inclusion in production, and employees feel more trust in one another if they know that they are fully involved in all production processes. It confirms the fact that diversity cannot exist separately from inclusion, and it is possible to achieve the highest results only through the successful implementation of both these concepts in the production process.
Personal Experience with Workplace Culture
My experience with culture in the workplace cannot be called too large since I have not spent much time at work yet. Nevertheless, based on certain situations, I can conclude that quite many people are aware of cultural diversity today. The leadership often resorts to the help of employees with different social and ethnic backgrounds to make the team as diverse as possible. Perhaps, it is because the shortage of labor is observed in enterprises, and managers want to strengthen their production lines. However, according to personal experience, the main goal of the management is still to maximize the diversity of the team for achieving better results.
Also, when remembering inclusion levels, I can notice that sometimes they could have been deeper. Especially it concerns the conventions of work organization. For example, access to trade unions was not open to all employees. Another case was that only people of the same sex could make decisions concerning production prospects. Despite these shortcomings, the overall impression is positive, and the trend towards a change in production policy in favor of enhancing cultural diversity and inclusion is certainly correct.
Thus, cultural diversity is a phenomenon that is typical for a modern society, and its application in the workplace is a rather successful mechanism of achieving good productivity. The concept of diversity is inextricably linked with inclusion because these two factors significantly influence the teamwork and determine the degree of any company’s success. Personal experience allows saying that the management has become more interested in meeting the conditions of diversity since this approach to work organization brings significant production results.
Downey, S. N., Werff, L., Thomas, K. M., & Plaut, V. C. (2015). The role of diversity practices and inclusion in promoting trust and employee engagement. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(1), 35-44.
Harvey, C. P., & Allard, M. J. (2015). Understanding and managing diversity: Readings, cases, and exercises (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.
Lee, Y., & Kramer, A. (2016). The role of purposeful diversity and inclusion strategy (PDIS) and cultural tightness/looseness in the relationship between national culture and organizational culture. Human Resource Management Review, 26(3), 198-208.
Trax, M., Brunow, S., & Suedekum, J. (2015). Cultural diversity and plant-level productivity. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 53, 85-96.