Sample Critical Thinking On Cultural Diversity Training Course
Global organizations are characterized by immense diversity when it comes to their workforce. These organizations are spread in many countries around the world, and the common practice is for them to tap most of their employees from all parts of the world so as to bring out an aspect of internationalism. The immense cultural diversity in global organizations has a great influence on how the organization operates.
Cultural diversity can hinder the progress of the organization or can be the launching pad necessary to propel the organization’s growth and development. This is because people who subscribe to different cultural practices and beliefs will interact differently or react differently to certain phenomena.
Managing cultural diversity in global organizations requires tact so as to make the diversity beneficial for the organization. Cultural diversity training may the beginning point of managing diversity that is prevalent in global organizations. Many organizations have continued to spend huge amounts of money on diversity training so as to reap the supposed benefits of a workforce that is culturally diverse. There is a tendency for cultural diversity training to either fail or achieve outcomes that fall short of desired outcomes (Chavez and Weisinger, 2008).
The focus in cultural diversity training should be on creating culturally inclusive organizations where all employees regardless of their cultural backgrounds are accommodated in the organization. In developing a cultural diversity training course, the various cultural backgrounds of the employees, the legal implications, and the ethical perspective of the course should be taken into account.
Cultural diversity training can primarily be used to facilitate a change of behavior among employees (Combs, 2002). This is geared towards integrating numerous cultures within a single organization. Many employees who hail from diverse cultural backgrounds are expected to work cohesively and deliver on the objectives of the organization. A culture of a people influences elements such as work ethics, male and female relationships, how people relate with their seniors, and how people perceive particular roles (Johnson et al., 2006). All these have an influence on how employees in an organization work or relate resulting in a mixed performance of an organization.
Many diversity training initiatives fail because the major focus is usually on how to manage the present diversity. However, to ensure the success of cultural diversity training it is crucial that the focus is on availing opportunities for the accommodation of all strands of diversity present in the organization. Such an approach can be termed as “managing for diversity” training (Cox and Blake, 1991). By focusing on ensuring all strands of diversity within a global organization are accommodated, the organization will be able to capitalize on the various perspectives a diverse workforce presents.
Employees in an organization will exhibit different behaviors due to the cultural socialization that has been imparted to them. Their behavior is an interplay between behavioral, personal, and environmental factors that are present in many cultures (Bandura, 2004). The human behaviors have an influence on how employees integrate in a global organization and how they deliver on their tasks or relate with their fellow employees.
Culture influences behaviors, and it is thus important that culture diversity training is focused on ensuring that employees adopt behaviors that enhance their performance and enable them to relate easily with other people in a global organization. The starting point for such training would be teaching people to be efficacious. Self-efficacy is the belief in a person that they possess the ability to work at something they embark on and accomplish it successfully. The promotion of self-efficacy in employees is important in enabling them have faith in their abilities and avoid any cultural practices that may be responsible for sustaining beliefs of inadequacy in them.
In many cultures, women were perceived to be inferior thus inadequate to take up technical and leadership roles (Combs, 2002). There is a potential of this cultural belief to be sustained in workplaces, and this can have devastating outcomes especially for the global organizations. Therefore, training a culturally diverse workforce to be efficacious is the beginning point towards instituting self-believability in employees.
Creating a cultural diversity training course can be a daunting task because of the legal implications that can accompany it. Cultural practices and beliefs are emotive issues which must be approached with immense tact. People who hail from secretive societies may not be willing to share information about their cultural practices openly with people from other parts of the world.
Moreover, misrepresentation of a culture of a people can result in legal battles especially with people who may feel offended by the poor and inaccurate representation of their culture. To be conversant with the culture of a particular people requires first-hand interaction with people deemed to be cultural custodians of the community in question. These are primary sources that can competently and authoritatively provide information on the cultural practices and beliefs of a particular community. Gathering cultural information of a particular community using secondary sources or hearsay can result in misrepresentation of the cultural practices and beliefs of a people (Combs, 2002). Such misrepresentation is a sure way to stoke legal fires due to people getting offended by the misrepresentation of their culture. Therefore, the course created should ensure that misrepresentation of information on cultures is something that is absent from the course to avoid legal battles from offended parties.
Additionally, a course that discusses culture may jolt people to believe that their culture is being altered and put on a transformation path. Many people will not feel comfortable with alteration and transformation of their culture. Generally, culture defines how people behave, their beliefs, and how they conduct their lives (Johnson et al., 2006). In addition, culture is not learned by way of training but inherited from one generation to the next. Creating a course to discuss the cultures of people is like documenting the cultural information and teaching the same to people. In this supposed documentation, important information about a particular culture of a people can be altered. This possible alteration can jolt those who take pride in this culture to be offended and institute legal action against. Navigating the task of creating a course that discusses cultures of people requires deep research in these cultures so as to steer clear of misrepresentation.
There are several laws and regulations to consider when creating a training course that discusses culture. The first is one is the absolute respect of a people’s culture (Jackson et al., 2003). The course should aim at integrating all cultures represented in the organization without subjugation of others and uplifting others. All people present in the global organization are crucial for the growth and development of the organization. Therefore, it is important that all the cultures they represent are put on a similar pedestal and given equal attention and focus. Uplifting some cultures over others or painting some cultures in a good light while others in a bad light is similar to cultural bias (Chavez and Weisinger, 2008). A training course that discusses culture must afford equal attention and importance to all cultures and in doing this it will promote respect of all cultures. Moreover, the course should acknowledge the sources of cultural information it is discussing. Cultural information is subject to copyright rules, and it cannot be spread with acknowledging the source. It is more acceptable if the cultural information being discussed is gotten from primary sources to avoid claims of copyright infringement. To enhance the authenticity of the cultural information to be discussed in the course, acknowledgment of its source is necessary.
When it comes to cultural diversity discussions, the demographic diversity has immense influence. Demographics includes age, gender, race, and ethnicity of the people who form the audience of the discussion (Chavez and Weisinger, 2008) Considering a global organization has employees who emanate from diverse cultural and even racial backgrounds, demographic elements have an immense influence on the discussion. These demographic elements affect how the discussion is conducted and the participation of the employees. First, people will feel disconnected from the cultural discussion because they may not be conversant or familiar with the cultures being discussed. This will make the discussion one sided with minimal participation on the part of the audience that is unfamiliar with the information being discussed. Second, lack of interest among some of the employees may cause the discussion to fail to achieve its anticipated goals. Such a group of employees may feel that there is no benefit in knowing about the cultures of other people. They would aspire to know more about their own cultures and ignore information on other cultures as useless or carrying less importance. Such disinterest affects the cultural diversity discussion.
Additionally, demographic diversity may be an important factor in propagating cultural diversity discussion. The extensive diversity in age, gender, race and ethnicity may lead create interest among the employees in wanting to know about the cultures of fellow employees. These are employees in forming cohesive teams with fellow employees and hence will be interested in the cultural practices and beliefs that influence their behaviors hence their interaction. Such interest will lead to a long discussion that will lead to an immense revelation about the cultural practices. In addition, demographic diversity also encompasses the element of gender. In cultures, there are ways in which men and women are expected to behave and which roles they are expected to take up. The perceptions of both men and women in various cultures are bound to crop up in this discussion. The discussion on cultural diversity may present an opportunity for groups that feel aggrieved with their cultural practices to air their discontent with their cultures. Such an occurrence will be useful in extracting information about cultural practices and beliefs that affect performance in the workplace or delivery in particular roles within the organization.
Additionally, the conducting of the cultural training is subject to several ethical considerations. From the onset, a culture of a people is an emotive issue because it defines the people in term of their practices, beliefs, clothing, and the foodstuffs they partake. The discussion of their culture must be conducted with the observance of best ethical practices (Jackson et al., 2003). First, the privacy of particular aspects of their culture should be taken into account. There are some ethnic groups that are extremely secretive and do not like information about their cultures being put in public. Such a practice will necessitate that private information about certain ethnic groups remain private and is not part of the discussion. Any attempt to make it public will be going against the preservation of privacy and will hence be unethical. Secondly, belittling of cultural practices of a people is unethical and unwarranted. It is unethical to make fun, mock, and disrespect of particular cultural practices or beliefs is unethical. No person or organization has the moral authority to mock the cultures of other people but can only influence its abandonment if they deem it ridiculous. It is ethical to respect the cultures of other people. Ensuring an ethical discussion of cultural diversity involves maintaining privacy and respect of the particular cultures.
For a global organization, the subsidiaries are spread out in many parts of the world, and each subsidiary operates in areas with entirely distinct cultures from the rest. Against this backdrop, cultural diversity training cannot be standardized for all locations (Johnson et al., 2006). Any cultural diversity training should reflect the cultures present in the location. Most times, the employees of the subsidiary emanate from the ethnic groups living in the region where the subsidiary is located. Therefore, cultural diversity training should be focused on bonding cultures of employees who come from the particular region. Standardizing training for all locations in a global organization will be counteractive since it will be exceedingly broad-based instead of being region specific. Training in a global setting requires media that can be very informative and engaging (Cox and Blake, 1991). The media that is best suited to conduct cultural diversity training will be audio-visual media such as radio and television. Structured discussions about particular elements of several cultures can be recorded and aired on radio.
Moreover, creating of videos that talk about cultures of particular ethnic groups and airing them on the radio will also be effective in disseminating cultural information and hence ensure cohesiveness among employees. These two media have the advantage of reaching many people, and the incorporation of video and sound help the employees to assimilate information about other cultures. The audio-visual media is effective in ensuring the exposure of ethnic groups to other people.
The cultural diversity training should be implemented when it is very necessary. This may be when cultural cohesion is required to enhance the execution of tasks in the organization and promote teamwork. Moreover, some background research should be conducted to gauge how the training will be received by the employees before implementing it. Such background information will be useful in deciphering whether such training is necessary and the impact of culture on the performance of the employees. Additionally, such training can be preceded with a cultural fair or extravaganza that is focused on celebrating the various cultures represented within the organization. This can be a three-day event imploring employees to come forth and celebrate their cultures with fellow employees. The success of such an event will point to the success of the training.
Creating a cultural diversity course and training can only be successful if all important elements are included. These elements include considering the legal and ethical implications of such training before implementation. In addition, demographic diversity elements such as race, age, ethnicity, and gender affect cultural diversity discussions and should be given consideration when conducting such training. The training should also be region-specific so as to be relevant to employees in a particular subsidiary of the organization. Additionally, audio-visual media is the best-suited media to use in conducting cultural diversity training.
Bandura, A. (2004). Swimming against the mainstream: early years from chilly tributary to transformative mainstream. Behavior Research and therapy, 42, 613–630.
Chavez, C. I., & Weisinger, J. Y. (2008). Beyond diversity training: A social infusion for cultural inclusion. Human Resource Management, 47(2), 331-350.
Combs, G. M. (2002). Meeting the leadership challenge of a diverse and pluralistic workplace: Implications of self-efficacy for diversity training. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 8(4), 1-16.
Cox, T. H., & Blake, S. (1991). Managing cultural diversity: Implications for organizational competitiveness. The Executive, 45-56.
Jackson, S. E., Joshi, A., & Erhardt, N. L. (2003). Recent research on team and organizational diversity: SWOT analysis and implications. Journal of management, 29(6), 801-830.
Johnson, J. P., Lenartowicz, T., & Apud, S. (2006). Cross-cultural competence in international business: Toward a definition and a model. Journal of International Business Studies, 37(4), 525-543.
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