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Cultural Diversity in Organizations - Article Example

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This article "Cultural Diversity in Organizations" focuses on diversity that can refer to lifestyle, tenure, position within the organization, age, sexual preference, functional specialty, or geographic location. Managing diversity is a skill today’s leader needs and that it will have a significant impact on the organization’s performance…
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Cultural Diversity in Organizations
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Download file to see previous pages He states that the goal of managing diversity is "maximizing the ability of all employees to contribute to organizational goals and to achieve their full potential unhindered by group identities, such as gender, race, nationality, age and departmental affiliation" (p 11). Cox also believes that diverse work teams are more creative and innovative and they consider more and better alternatives in decision making. Although Thomas believes that organizations should move beyond race and gender issues when considering diversity, racial/ethnic diversity is an important element of building a diverse organization.
Globalization -- through the increased mobility of people, economic liberalization, new communication technologies, and industry consolidation -- is highlighting the importance of cultural diversity within and between states. In 1999, in addition to its ongoing work and building on the foundation of its "Our Creative Diversity" (1995) and Stockholm Action Plan (1998), UNESCO held a number of events to further explore key cultural diversity issues: a symposium on pluralism (January 1999), a conference on cultural diversity and trade (June 1999), and a Round Table of Ministers of Culture "Culture and Creativity in a Globalised World" in November 2000. The G-7, in their summit declaration on Principles for an Information Society in Brussels in 1995, recognized the importance of preserving linguistic and cultural diversity in new and emerging technologies. Since its inception in 1949, the Council of Europe has developed its cultural activities around defending and extending a plurality of cultural identities. In 1998, the OAS approved the Inter-American Program of Culture, designed to support the efforts being undertaken by member states and foster cooperation between them in the areas of cultural diversity, dissemination and protection of cultural heritage, human resource training, creativity incentives, and promotion of cultural tourism. The U.S. government recognizes that culture and cultural differences have a major impact on foreign policy - from issues ranging from trade to ethnicity to gender. Recent discussions about cultural diversity in the Administration reveal a recognition that the U.S.'s status as an international cultural powerhouse gives it the potential to overpower other national cultures.
One of the few exceptions to the generalization of cultural diversity involves the proscription of turbans in a workforce that uses helmets as part of their normal work (Sherwood v. Brown, 1980) unwarranted. In 1992 and 1994 the CEO of the oldest French multinational, Saint-Gobain, emphasized that the strategy of a multinational is deeply influenced by the nationality of its main shareholders. For him, in their relationship with their customers and to their workforce, multinationals can learn from national differences but also can try to transcend them, and the trend is towards more convergence. A good example of this promising path is given by the changes achieved in the early 1990s by Renault's automobile plant in Slovenia, whose workers dramatically increased both productivity and quality. One must judge between those corporations that deliberately tried to build a genuine language and culture (e.g., IBM). ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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