Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Understanding And Leveraging Diversity And Cultural Differences Essay

The morning of democracy in the early 90s in South Africa heralded the transmutation docket cardinal to the edifice of a merely and just post-apartheid province, and as Jammine ( 2009 ) observes it is safe to state that the construct of transmutation has become the cardinal mention point that provides the impulse for the rebuilding of the South African province from its apartheid ruins.

Government had passed assorted Torahs to excite the variegation of the labour force ( Employment Equity Report, 2001 ). Likewise, the South African labor market has progressively integrated antecedently disadvantaged groups at all degrees of the administration though harmonizing to Duweke ( 2004 ) it is a slow and backbreaking undertaking to convey just procedures into para within an administration as a consequence of opposition and what she calls “ new racism ”.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Increasing globalization in the 90s

The democratization of South Africa coincided with increasing globalization. Globalization counts up to the challenge of diverseness direction as South African administrations scramble for the advantages brought approximately by the gap up of the economic boundary lines. For case, due to the addition in trade between South Africans and Chinese, it has become indispensable for South African administrations to understand Chinese concern dialogue manners and behaviors every bit good as determiners of cross-cultural dialogues ( Horwitz, Hemmant, & A ; Rademeyer, 2008 ). South African companies do non merely have to postulate with the many civilizations across national boundaries but besides within their administrations ( Nkosi, 2007 & A ; Nyama, 2009 ).

Workforce Diversity in South Africa

Pull offing South Africa ‘s extremely diverse work force and incorporating the antecedently disadvantaged groups at all degrees of the company is non ever easy. More and more black endowment is job-hopping as a direct consequence of civilization clang, smothering corporate civilizations and hostile environments ( Ngobeni cited in Zulu & A ; Parumasur, 2009 ).

To democratize the workplace the South African authorities came with statute law such as the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 and the Promotion of Equality, Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act 5 of 2000 and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 ( Employment Equity Report, 2001 ).

Though these Torahs are clear in their purposes to promote equality in the workplace, concern is still dawdling behind in diverseness direction, and employees do non believe that their companies have done plenty to use and advance antecedently disadvantaged groups as envisaged in labour statute law bespeaking a serious demand for directors to walk the talk ( Zulu & A ; Parumasur, 2009 )

The Case for Workforce Diversity

Marginalizing the bulk from cardinal sectors of the economic system, organizational control and direction is both unfair and unsustainable. Likewise, adult females account for 52 % of the population, yet merely 7 % of South African managers are female, 3 % of chairs of boards are female, and 2 % of CEOs are female. ( Commission for Employment Equity Report, 2010 ). Levin and Matis ( 2007 ) describe a glooming image in the United States. Duweke ( 2004 ) believes the execution of employment equity is the key to trun this state of affairs about.

Massive companies are losing out from the concern and organizational qualities and the invention of adult females and Africans ( Zulu & A ; Parumasur, 2009 ; & A ; Davidson, 2009 ). Levin and Matis ( 2007:60 ) edifice a concern instance for the inclusion of adult females list the undermentioned grounds: adult females constitute the largest section of the progressively diverse US labor pool ; Women are a extremely educated group from which corporate America will necessitate to enroll and develop future leading ; adult females have had a taking border function in transforming the American workplace ; the lessons companies learn from pull offing gender diverseness will function them good in developing enterprises to pull off other signifiers of diverseness ; and adult females continue to be the primary purchasers of consumer merchandises.

Furthermore, a more diverse work force is likely to take advantage of the fact that at that place seems to be important differences in how different racial groups perceive merchandise and service value and quality ( Terblanche & A ; Boshoff, 2010:6 ).

Despite more and more South African companies get downing to see the value of a gender equality and societal justness 16 old ages into the state ‘s democracy has done nil to alter the position quo. White work forces still monopolize top direction places, and “ are recruited, trained and promoted more ” than any other group ( Employment Equality Commission Report, 2010 ).

Conceptual Model

2.1. Culture

Social anthropologists see civilization as the qualities of any specific human group that are passed from one coevals to another ( Kotter & A ; Heskett, 1992 ) chiefly as a response to the inevitable vicissitudes of societal life that galvanise societal solidarity ( Hofstede,1983 ).

Segall, Dasen, Berry, and Pootinga ( 1999 ) define civilization as one ‘s learnt behavior that is passed on from coevals to coevals via mechanism of socialization such as parents, mass media, and the school system.

From the above definitions it appears as if civilization has to make with the group ‘s belief system, cognition construction, and the manner of making things as relayed from coevals to the following through both socialization and as a response to external menaces.

2.2. National Culture

McSweeney ( 2002:89 ) get down his review of Hofstede ‘s legendary National Culture Model with the rhetorical inquiry: Do states hold civilizations? Hofstede and Peterson ( 2000:401 ) believe states have a civilization and farther define the dimensions that define such a civilization:

Power Distance – the extent to which the less powerful members of organisations and establishments ( like the household ) expect and accept that power is distributed unevenly.

Uncertainty Avoidance – intolerance for uncertainness and ambiguity.

Individualism versus Collectivism – the extent to which persons are integrated into groups

Masculinity versus Femininity – assertiveness and fight versus modestness and lovingness.

Although McSweeney ( 2002 ) finds Hofstede ‘s Model of National Culture as deeply debatable, Schein ( 1985 ) and Pettigrew ( 1979 ; 1990 ) had earlier confirmed the being of a national civilization observing that it is influenced by the followers: dominant faith, political system, economic development, societal factors, category construction, and instruction systems. These factors will, in bend, act upon how concern people across civilizations conduct concern ( see table 2 below ).

2.3. Organizational Culture

Every concern has its manner of making things or, competently, its civilization. There are many definitions of organizational civilization and this essay will utilize Schein ‘s ( 1985:9 ) definition: “ form of basic premises… that have worked good plenty to be considered valuable and, hence, to be taught to new members as the right manner to comprehend, believe and experience in relation to those jobs ”. This definition sees organizational civilization as something that the administration “ possesses ” and must be passed on to new members through mechanisms such as preparation, organizational narratives, rites, fables, and symbols ( Schein, 1985 ).

Notwithstanding Schein ‘s description, new and old members besides bring to the administration their values and beliefs that can be shared by members of the administration ( Tsosa, 2008 ). Harmonizing to Tsosa ( 2008 ) the dominant civilization is frequently the stumbling block for concern scheme, alteration, and invention, as it is chiefly used to inform employees of what is expected in footings of wagess and countenances ( Wilkins, 1983:35 ).

The power of organisational civilization as a beginning of positive energy and synergism every bit good as organizational operation is recognized. Pettigrew ( 1990 ) argues that organizational civilization leads to, amongst others, coherency and consistency ; and in an earlier survey he observed that administrations use civilization to legalize authorization ( Pettigrew, 1979 ). However, Morrison, Brown and Smit ( 2008:34 ) differ albeit somewhat: “ If the civilization of the organisation is excessively bureaucratic, hierarchal, and internally-focused, for case, undertaking direction will barely bring forth the consequences organisations hope for. ” Table 1 below gives the dimensions of organizational civilization within the context of pull offing undertakings.

Table 1: Dimensions of the organisational civilization


Orientation that is supportive of undertaking direction

Organizational way

Presence of longer-term strategic way that is shared across the organisation.

Competitiveness orientation

Focus on the market and external environment as opposed to an internal, product-focused orientation.

Decision doing principle

Fact-based, rational as opposed to functioning personal political involvements.

Cross-functional integrating

Well-integrated, comfy with teamwork as opposed to a departmental ( working in silos ) focal point.

Communication doctrine

Open and transparent in all waies, information is freely available.

Locus of decision-making

Well-decentralized and delegated as opposed to extremely centralized.

Peoples direction manner

Participative, supportive ( leader-oriented ) as opposed to a directing, bid and control manner ( manager-oriented ).


Flexible, advanced, and unfastened to alter as opposed to rigid, bureaucratic and immune to alter.

Doctrine about people

Theory Y ( warm personal ambiance ) as opposed to Theory X ( coercive, task merely atmosphere ).

Personal competence

Oriented towards specialized preparation and personal excellence.

Procedure and systems support

Oriented towards supplying standardisation and support through strong procedures and


Performance direction

Oriented towards a proactive, performance-driven civilization as opposed to a reactive or laissez faire attack to undertakings and ends.

Adapted from Morrison, Brown and Smit ( 2006:43 )

There is a organic structure of grounds proposing that these cultural dimensions act as both a beacon for employees in administrations and an input in an administration fiscal public presentation ( Tsosa, 2008 & A ; Nkosi, 2007 ). Davidson ( 2009 ), analyzing a South Africa investing bank, reports a lukewarm relationship between the fiscal public presentation and organizational civilization.

2.4. Culture and inter-group kineticss

Samochowieca and Florackb ( 2010 ) study a strong correlativity between intergroup contact and anxiousness and uncertainness that implies that the solution to intercultural and diversity direction is anxiety-reduction steps. Collie, Liu, Podsiadlowski and Sara Kindon ( 2010:147 ) advocator participatory action research ( PAR ) processes that “ dispute societal inequalities and support people sitting outside seats of power to seek societal alteration to turn to issues impacting their lives ”.

Table 2: Intercultural Negotiations Manners


Objective, efficient and competitory negotiants

Prefer informality, reason and elaborate contracts


Emphasis on harmoniousness, cooperation, conformity, and long-run concern position

Latin Americans

More outgoing and emotional ; Little or no commixture of concern with pleasance ; The comparative humbleness of work ; Recognition of societal and cultural differentiations, regard accorded the “ Patron ” ; Titles & A ; protocol of import

Western Europeans

Low context Europeans emphasize objectiveness in concern traffics, concentrating on contracts. “ field speaking ”, and efficiency ; Medium context states put more accent on relationships, trust, less on attorneies ; Key facets: like processs, rubrics ; negotiate many points at the same time ; legal contracts portion of relationship ; looser negotiating positions

Eastern Europeans

Cautious, tough, and disciplined negotiants ; Focus on general understandings ; Relationships built on after-hours socialization ; Still cautious about western net income motivations ( though altering )

Middle Easterners

Religion ( Islam ) is overriding ; societal relationships are all important ; Avoid struggle state of affairss ; Many societal formalities and courtesies ; familial nobility are ‘men of regard ‘

Adapted from Samochowieca and Florackb ( 2010 ) ; Palmer & A ; Varner ( 2007 ) and Horwitz, Hemmant, & A ; Rademeyer ( 2008 ).


Harmonizing to Fouche, De Jager and Crafford ( 2004:7 ) diverseness is “ race, gender, age, linguistic communication, physical features, disablement, sexual orientation, economic position, parental position, instruction, geographic beginning, profession, life style, faith, place in a company hierarchy, and any other differences

Benefits of Workforce Diversity

Typically the end behind concern scheme is to capture new engineerings, addition market portion, derive a competitory advantage, and finally optimise net incomes. Nyama ( 2009 ) reported that cultural diverseness, as influenced by faith, race, gender, instruction, upbringing, and linguistic communication, has a positive consequence on the working relationship of assorted groups. Roberge and Van Dick ( 2010 ) note that the squad members ‘ greater assortment of positions improves creativeness and invention.

Roberge and Van Dick ( 2010:300 ) farther warn that diverseness, if ill managed, is likely to cut down intra-group coherence taking to tensenesss and bickers which, in bend, can take down employee satisfaction, citizenship behaviors and increase turnover. Che Rose, Kumar, Abdullah and Yeng Ling ( 2008:54 ) reveal that “ companies that know how to develop their civilizations in an effectual manner most likely have the benefit of promotion in productiveness and the quality of work life among the employees ”.

Internationalization and Global Diversity

Global diverseness in the workplace is a mix of people accomplishments and civilizations that enable a scope of point of views to dispute traditional thought ( Palmer & A ; Varner, 2007 ). Though the composing of corporate boards of transnational giants has non kept up with the increased focal point on planetary operations in the USA, they are get downing to value diverseness ( Palmer & A ; Varner, 2007 ).

Section Bacillus: Personal Contemplation

Do you believe there are much cultural differences in your immediate work environment? Confirm your reply by supplying illustrations.

My organisation is the Hospital Association of South Africa ( HASA ), an industry association which represents the corporate involvements of the bulk of private infirmary groups and independently-owned private infirmaries in the Republic of South Africa ( www.hasa.co.za ).

As a representative of the industry it is imperative that HASA is diverse. Lack of diverseness remains the Achilles heel of the association, however. HASA ‘s Board of Directors is drawn from the industry where inkinesss and adult females are still under-represented. The Board of Directors of 17 members has merely one adult female and four black males. The Hasa office comprise of a Chief Executive ( white male ), two executive officers ( one white adult females and one black male ) and the decision makers are adult females ( one black and two Whites ).

What kinds of challenges/problems exist with being exposed to cultural differences?

Most of the challenges that emanate as a direct consequence of cultural interaction are chiefly related to communicating particularly on a personal degree. Factors like context including little talk and gags are by and large culture-specific. More frequently one may be accused of being distant and humourless as a consequence of non happening something that a colleague thinks funny. This may do anxiousness and uncertainness that may smother relationships beyond working.

Is it more of import to pay attending to cultural differences or similarities? Motivate your response. What are the similarities and differences?

It is indispensable to understand the niceties that come with cultural diverseness. Paying attending to cultural differences allows one non merely to appreciate the “ other ” civilization but besides to understand and work good with others. Culture is synergistic and influences how we relate to others. It helps one to listen better to what “ others ” are stating, read between the lines, which may promote common trust amongst co-workers. In bend, paying more attending to other ‘s cultural differences may open one ‘s eyes to the many similarities between civilizations. For case, there are many similarities that relate effectual communicating, similar ends or involvements, or comparable ways of seeing the universe.

I find that personal duty cuts across civilizations. Nonverbal communicating tends to be similar as compared to the obvious speech patterns in verbal communicating. The major differences between the male and female staff are that the latter tend to value work-family balance more than the former. Males are likely to go forth the workplace manner after strike harding off clip as compared to the female staff. Again male staff are likely to widen their working relationships beyond the confines of the office.

Africans may happen oculus contact uncomfortable which is contrary to the corporate civilization based on the dominant western civilization. In western civilizations non keeping oculus contact may be interpreted as a mark of low ego regard or dishonesty. African civilizations see this as a mark of regard.

Do you do any specific attempts to happen out more about the different civilizations in your organisation? Please supply some illustrations that are organisation particular.

Of class, I am ever on the sentinel for more ways to appeal to our Directors and members, and this can merely be achieved by being culturally sensitive. For case, I guarantee that when the office organizes events all civilizations are accommodated. For case, some civilizations find it uncomfortable to run into on a Friday afternoon.

I find that other civilizations prefer an luxuriant manner of demoing fondness such as caressing and caressing. For me a simple manus shingle will make. Well, though Africans may prefer an elaborate and lingering handshaking, the English and Afrikaans handshake is fliting.

Depending in upbringing co-workers normally has different gustatory sensations when it comes to athleticss and amusement. I make an attempt to understand this from their position that means besides sing the same eating house, for case. During or after hours we try to jump eating house. A co-worker has a pick to take a eating house ( or amusement ) for the remainder of the staff. This helps us larn about all the different civilizations in the state and what makes each other tick.

Hofstede ‘s ( 2005 ) Dimensions within my administration

Individualism vs. Collectivism – I believe in corporate leading and solidarity more than my white co-workers. They tend to value more single duty and wages.

Power distance – most Africans in our association antipathy ranks and rubrics as compared to our white co-workers

Masculinity vs. muliebrity – though I value competition it is low-level to the squad. I found my co-workers, though chiefly female, to exhibit more masculine values.

Uncertainty – state of affairs with clear regulations is preferred to a more equivocal one by about all the civilizations. We are more tolerant of hazard.

Do you seek to accommodate your communicating to people from different civilizations? Supply some illustrations.

An attack that is culturally-sensitive agencies appreciating other people ‘s ways of communication, and using these apprehensions in order to heighten relationships across civilizations. Most of my co-workers are anticipating me to embrace and had to accommodate.

In your interaction with other civilizations have your of all time questioned your ain cultural individuality. Confirm your reply with some illustrations.

Not at all. I believe being culturally-sensitive does non intend oppugning who you are but happening ways of suiting the “ other ”. I take it upon myself to educate my co-workers about the niceties that define my cultural individuality and they do similarly.

Section C: The New Path

Strategic Management

Business scheme is influenced by the civilization of the administration and directors should hold an first-class apprehension of both the organizational civilization ( Tsosa, 2008 ) and cross-national civilizations ( Palmer & A ; Varner, 2007 ) to guarantee that their administrations function optimally. In today ‘s planetary economic system directors need to hold an informed apprehension of different civilizations. Despite the civilization of consumerism that is of import in understanding your clients and clients, each civilization has its ain linguistic communication, boundaries, and challenges and understanding these helps the company to appeal to a broader audience.

Again, understanding civilizations beyond your immediate boundary lines is the accelerator to international concern. Exposing staff across all degrees of the administration to different cultural forms and relationships between culturally distinguishable groups will bode good for both concern and workplace harmoniousness.


The cultural boundaries and challenges determine how members of a civilization pattern economic activities, organise colonies every bit good as set uping wagess and penalty systems. Departments and administrations must establish preparation classs organized around issues of cultural diverseness and sensitiveness such as integrating and cultural diffusion and how this influences organizational public presentation.

As Palmer and Varner ( 2007 ) suggested such preparation plan must enable a scope of point of views to dispute traditional thought. This will cut down the job-hopping of the endowment that comes from the less dominant civilizations. PAR has been found to let interaction and cut down anxiousness and uncertainness amongst groups ( Collie, Liu, Podsiadlowski and Sara Kindon, 2010 ).

Human resources must, foremost, obtain the support of all members of the administration before establishing the diverseness preparation. The preparation will non give the coveted consequences if some employees do n’t see it as portion of alteration direction ( Cavaleros, Van Vuuren and Visser, 2002 ). Employees are likely to encompass a diverseness direction programme if it is seen as driven in a democratic mode and with the echt support of top direction possibly in some signifier of a diverseness workplace forum ( Fouche, de Jager, & A ; Crafford, 2004 ; Zulu & A ; Parumasur, 2009 ).

Employment Equity Measures

The biggest challenge blighting my administration is the deficiency of diverseness ( particularly adult females ) within our Board of Directors despite an express purpose that value authorization of the antecedently disadvantaged. Duweke ( 2004 ) believes a plan that value employment equity is a stimulation for gender diverseness. Marginalizing the bulk of South Africans such as adult female from cardinal sectors of the economic system is both unfair and unsustainable, and so the administration must get down to take active stairss to alter the position quo.

Experts in administration behavior must assist invent a human resource scheme that is geared to pull and retain the endowments of inkinesss and adult females. Administration psychologists must look into the organizational kineticss that ostracise these groups and fix programs to cover with them. Harmonizing to Lewis-Enright, Crafford and Crous ( 2009 ) an employment equity programme must demo great possible for exposing issues in a non-confrontational mode, promoting a participative attack to solution-seeking, appreciating the current context and puting bold aims for the hereafter.

A new organizational civilization

To accomplish its long-run ends the association, as it deals with assorted stakeholders including the authorities and the populace, must accommodate or die. There is a strong demand to appeal to all South Africans to capitalise on the new chances brought approximately by the emerging black in-between category and adult females ‘s increasing purchasing power.

Organizational civilization is likely to reflect hierarchal power and scheme every bit good as what is of import for the administration ( Tsosa, 2008 ) but what is of import for the administration alterations with the caprices that come with the altering national civilization ( Holfstede, 2001 ). As espoused by Farrer, ( 2004 ) the new civilization should be designed to associate diverseness to organizational public presentation.

Adopt a culturally-sensitive communicating scheme

Every civilization is reflected in communicating, and there is a demand to look into a manner of communicating that is sensitive to all stakeholders of the association. Unlike in other sectors, it is difficult to disassociate cultural diverseness ( or deficiency ) from the health care specific challenges such as the belief that health care costs are high already because those at the top ( read white capitalist ) are non sensitive to the demands of the hapless ( read inkinesss ).

It will be interesting to larn how hospital proprietors negotiate this riddle as users of health care installations are likely, though falsely, to construe high monetary values in a racial manner. Left unresolved, this paradox will animate critics of private wellness. But a culturally-sensitive communicating scheme is likely to breed a more inclusive image therefore protecting the concern involvements of the association. Including cultural diverseness consciousness in all organisational communications, both formal and informal and in executive addresss and communiques will take to a positive image for an administration ( Vallario, 2006 ).

Future developments

As a consequence of both authorities statute law and the King III the following decennary will see a figure of alterations in the field of diverseness direction. Despite the compulsory publication of workplace transmutation figures, companies will hold to associate diverseness and concern scheme as there will be increased stockholder battle on issues of diverseness and sustainability.


In decision administrations need to see the marginalising of the bulk of South Africans from cardinal sectors of the economic system non merely as both unfair and unsustainable but besides as unsustainable. As it is companies are non profiting from the concern virtuousnesss of adult females and Africans. Establishing programs to nurture the strengths of different persons in the workplace are indispensable to an administration ‘s possible, scheme and fiscal public presentation. Fortunately, more and more South African companies are get downing to see the value of diverseness in the workplace.

The industry must mind Roberge and Van Dick ( 2010:300 ) warning and implement diverseness direction right and for the right grounds to avoid tensenesss and bickers which, in bend, can take down employee satisfaction, citizenship behaviors and increase turnover. The right manner is to guarantee preparation and PAR to raise consciousness on cultural diverseness.


I'm Simon!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out