Challenges & Benefits
of
Cultural Diversity
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Challenges of Diversity
• Communication Barriers
• Resistance to Change
• Socio-cultural Factors
• Education, age, and gender
• Personality and Background
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Communication Barriers
• Ineffective communication of key objectives
results in confusion, lack of teamwork and low
morale.
• Age, gender and culture influence the messages sent
and received.
• Barriers to communication are factors that block or
significantly destroy successful communication.
• Communication barriers may be temporary and can
be overcome.
• Awareness and recognition are the first steps in
formulating ways to overcome the barriers.
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Common Communication Barriers
• Virtual Work: isolates team members from socialization
and face to face interaction, creating a lack of clarity.
• Emotions: can leave some people unable to verbally
express themselves clearly and coherently.
• Gender: can be associated to the different styles
between men and women on how they explain things.
• Culture: expresses the values and patterns of behavior
which can be very confusing, making it difficult to
communicate.
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Communication Barriers
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Resistance to Change
• Refusing to accept new policies
• Why change something that works
• We’ve always done it this way
• Scared of failure and not being able to learn/adapt to
new things
• Not wanting to spend time and effort changing
• Not understanding what is expected (the fear of the
unknown)
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Sociocultural Factors
• Race
• Ethnicity
• Culture
• Religion
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Education, Age, and Gender
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Sociocultural Factors
•How one was raised, will give them certain beliefs at a young
age. Their believes may be a slightly different than those that
we were brought up to believe.
•In any form, our behavior was established, regardless of your
background. Rules and behavior that one models is what they
were taught. Beliefs may be different, making it difficult to
understand the reason why you may have offended someone, if
you are not familiar with their background.
•Beginning to understand and learn about the background of the
people you work with will create a united team and making a
strong and productive team. Learning about ones background,
you will begin to develop a perception of others and you will
begin to be sensitive to the perspectives of others.
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Education, Age & Gender
One of the challenges faced in today’s diverse world is the level of
education. Different education levels can impact effective
communication. Complex words and explanations may not be
understood by a person less educated, or not educated in a certain
field. Imagine a doctor explaining that you have a broken leg in
medical terms!
Age is another challenge in today’s workplace. People may not be
used to communicating with different age groups . Older people may
use old phrases/words to explain things not understood by a younger
audience. Younger people may also use words too modern and not
understood by an older generation.
Gender can affect communication as men and women often think
about things differently. In Islamic culture especially, when a female
and male communicate, certain traditions are followed, such as lack
of eye contact and shaking hands, affecting perception and
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communication.
Personality
Personality clashes can effect communication. If you do not
like a person or the way they present themselves, you may
not listen to what they have to say, or believe what they have
to say. However, if you like a person’s personality and agree
with what they are saying, you may be more likely to listen,
respect what they have to say and take-in what they are
saying.
A person’s personality can affect communication for example
if someone has a bossy and strong personality, they may
disregard others. This may create a negative atmosphere and
people may not listen to you. However if someone is more
relaxed, open-minded and creates a relaxing environment,
the audience may take more in and listen more.
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Advantages of Diversity
• Increased Adaptability
• Broader service range
• Variety of Viewpoints
• More effective execution
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Advantages of Diversity
1. Increased Adaptability:
Organizations employing a diverse workforce
can supply a greater variety of solutions to
problems in service. Sourcing, and allocation
of resources. Employees from diverse
backgrounds bring individual talents and
experiences in suggesting ideas that are
flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets
and customer demands.
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Advantages of Diversity
2. Broader Service Range :
A diverse collection of skills and experiences
(e.g. languages, cultural understanding)
allows a company to provide
products/service to customers worldwide.
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Advantages of Diversity
3. Variety of Viewpoints:
A diverse workforce that feels comfortable
communicating varying points of view
provides a larger pool of ideas and
experiences. The organization can draw
from that pool to meet business strategy
needs and the needs of customers more
effectively.
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Advantages of Diversity
4. More Effective Execution:
Companies that encourage diversity in the
workplace inspire all their employees to
perform to their highest ability. Companywide strategies can then be executed;
resulting in higher productivity, profit, and
return on investment.
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Advantages of Diversity
An organization’s success and competitiveness depends on
its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits.
When organizations actively assess their handling of
workplace diversity issues, develop and implement
diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported.
Conflicts from diversity can be productive when people
strive to understand one another, opening up new
business opportunities and markets, by widening its
customer base and by being able to better address
specific consumer’s needs in our multicultural society.
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References
• Terrill Lyknis, Shelley Wiedemeier, Vincent
Williams, Melanie Gill & Sheri Keefer
• www.multiculturaladvantage.com
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Challenges & Benefits of Cultural Diversity