Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

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Cultural Diversity in the Armenian Community

Abstract

The cultural context for the Armenian person is the result of upholding and defending a way of life and values that have been maintained for centuries, for perhaps two thousand years. For that reason, although Armenians living in the United States today come from a variety of countries of origin, and may to some extent speak different dialects or even different languages, yet they have many cultural similarities due to centuries of commonality. The cultural similarities among the Armenians can be seen mainly in three different areas: Spirituality, historicity, and family.

Spirituality refers to the perspective of that which is valued in life, and that which must to be upheld and defended under any and all circumstances, regardless of the social environment and surrounding conditions.

Historicity refers to that which has been traditionally done, the ‘Armenian way of life,' – both that which is important and perhaps not as important. Whereas spirituality may refer more to ‘content,' the important values in life, historicity refers more to the living ‘process,' how the important values in life are attained.

Family on the other hand is the everyday living environment within which spirituality and historicity are applied and lived out. ‘Family' in the Armenian community refers to more than the family of origin or the nuclear family. Instead, it includes both of these along with all of the extended family and even the small surrounding community. These family ties are much more important and influential in the decision making process than would initially appear, therefore, they must be acknowledged and understood. All Armenians may not uphold the same spirituality, historicity, and family values, however, they would still approach life's decisions based on these cultural categories.

The Armenians living in the United States, especially those who live in large communities tend to discover opposing trends between the culture in which they were brought up, and those of the dominant culture in which they have to live, work, interface, and survive.

Working at the Berjikian Law Firm

Vicken Berjikian established the Berjikian law firm in 1983, as a criminal defense and personal injury firm. In the past 17 years the Berjikian Law firm has grown to become established and well known in the Armenian community. The Berjikian law firm is a culturally diverse place to work, Mr. Berjikian, the owner has employed not only family members but also in the past, he has employed attorneys who have came in every shape and culture. At Berjikian law firm the atmosphere is homely, and the employees are made to feel that they are family. In the Armenian community ‘family' refers to more than the biological family. Instead, it includes the people in the workplace. An example of this is when the Armenian community, voted The Berjikian Law firm as the number one attorney office in Glendale when the Glendale Newspress published the best of 2000 readers' choice on April 26 of this year.

Jack a member of our group, has been employed as a paralegal at the firm since December 96. Jack's younger sister is the receptionist. The other paralegal is the owner's sister-in-law who has been with the firm for over 13 years. Orly Talmor a Jewish civil attorney, has been with the firm for over eight years. Orly met her present husband Marc Goldberg while both working at the law firm. Erik Rutkowski a Polish criminal workers comp and personal injury attorney, joined the family team last year.

Employee cross-cultural communication

Some employees at the law firm, understand that cross-cultural communication includes the ability to successfully form, foster, and improve relationships with members of a culture different from their own. It is based on knowledge of many factors, such as the other culture's values, perceptions, manners, social structure, and decision-making...
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