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Understanding Culture Diversity in the Workplace

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Understanding Culture Diversity in the Workplace Diversity in the workplace refers to the variety of differences in people in the work environment. It is very important to understand cultural, ethnic, and gender differences by managers and professionals in a business setting these days. Majority of firms and companies have come to realize that staffs from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds as well as different gender bring a great deal of valuable perspectives in any business environment. The importance of understanding cultural, ethnic and gender differences by managers and professionals in a business setting is essential to make the work environment comfortable. In every culture, there are basic standards of thinking, and acting and these cultural differences strongly influence workplace values and communication. What one considers acceptable and natural in the workplace for one person may be unacceptable for another person. Diversity in the workplace can be beneficial as well as challenging. Respecting individuals and their differences can increase productivity. It could also reduce lawsuits, increase opportunities and the business’s image (Esty, 1995). On the other hand, some negative behaviors in the workplace may include prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination, which should never be a practice by management for hiring, retention, and termination practices. Negative behaviors can be barriers to organizational diversity because it can harm working relationships and damage morale and work productivity (Esty, 1995).

Businesses can benefit from a diverse body employee in the work environment. Diversity in the workplace helps in bringing fresh ideas, perspectives, and views to the workplace. In today’s increasingly global workplace environment, the ability to effectively communicate with people of different cultures and backgrounds is an essential skill. (Roosevelt, 2001) In a diverse workplace, people learn these skills naturally because of normal day-to-day interaction and corporate teamwork. It is very important that all people, especially managers, understand cultural, ethnic, and gender differences to have a successful business due to the fact that diversity will probably be even more important in the future due to the increasing differences in our population.
There are many benefits to having a diverse workplace. People of different cultures working together to solve a problem gives a potential for a great deal of creativity. Other cultures and genders can offer insightful alternatives that one might not have considered. Employing people with various language skills is obviously a huge plus in today’s global economy and diverse workers often have this proficiency in communicating in their various languages. Studies have also shown that interaction with diverse groups of people helps to reduce workplace discrimination. Sharing of ideas, cultural traditions, and alternate ways of solving problems all help employees to become more tolerant of one another and abandon their pre-conceived notions and stereotypes that may exists. (Roosevelt, 2001). “The challenge for us is to find ways to bridge the gap between groups. To do so, we have to develop certain skills and abilities. The first is to examine our own views of others, be they part of the minority or the majority group, a different social class, or a different gender.” (Bell, 2012).

While performing the ball and sock experiment, I stepped outside of my comfort zone to see what it was like in someone else’s shoes. I used my right hand to perform daily tasks such as brushing my teeth, combing my hair, and eating because I am left handed. It was not an easy task a first, but I eventually adjusted. I guess this is an easy adjustment for me because we live in a society of predominately right-handed people. Living in a right handed world I often find myself adjusting. I have gotten so good at adjusting to a right-handed society that I use my right hand naturally to perform a variety of everyday task. Therefore, performing some task proved very challenging to me while others seemed natural because of the society in which we live. I live everyday experiencing the injustice of assuming every one should all be the same. As I grew up I had teacher early in life try to make me perform task like writing with my right hand. Back when I was a child, society considered left handed as abnormal. Society as a whole has evolves since those days and now there are items that make left-handed life easier.

References
Bell, M. P. (2012). Diversity in organizations. (2nd ed.). Ohio: South-Western Pub.
Esty, Katherine, Richard Griffin, and Marci Schorr-Hirsh (1995). Workplace Diversity. A Managers Guide to Solving Problems and Turning Diversity into a Competitive Advantage. Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation.
Roosevelt Thomas, R. Jr. (2001). Elements of a successful “diversity” process. The American Institute for Managing Diversity. Retrieved Septemper 4, 2013 from http://www.aimd.org/articles/elements.html…...

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