Demographic Factors Research
University of Phoenix
Managing in a Cross-Cultural Environment
October 19, 2009
Organizations around the world are experiencing the effects of cultural and global diversity. Kellogg, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Arbor are four companies introduced in this paper. They have been researched in order to identify how each company is affected by demographic factors, how these factors are managed, and what systems are implemented to enhance the success of the business; thus, this paper illustrates the key course concepts and their application to the best practices of these companies. The dynamics and dimensions of diversity in an increasingly global business environment can challenge the demographic factors of most organizations. Basically, Kottak and Kozaitis (2003) declare, “In the 21st century, the overwhelming majority of the world's population, along with a large percentage of the populations of the United States and Canada, will be descendants of the non-Western groups” (Ch. 1, p. 29). In other words, organizations will need to learn how to manage the complexities of a diverse workforce. Among these complexities, organizations will encounter demographic factors such as age, race, education level, religion, political party preference, sexual orientation, and gender (Kottak & Kozaitis, 2003). Because of these diverse factors, organizations need to be prepared to recognize the individuals’ behavior that is influenced by culture, values, and beliefs. To illustrate, culture refers to people’s identity in their traditions, customs, and way of life (Kottak & Kozaitis, 2003). In fact, Kottak and Kozaitis (2003) declare that culture is all encompassing. In essence, it is important for organizations to know that individuals are influenced by popular culture as well. Therefore, individuals in a diverse workplace need to understand and respect each other’s differences. It is not enough to know that the workplace is composed of people with different views in life, values, and attitudes. Kottak and Kozaitis (2003) state that “Ethnic diversity may be associated with positive group interaction and coexistence or with conflict” (Ch. 5, p. 12). Knowing that diversity can be beneficial to the organization will help management integrate appropriate value systems within the company. However, in the event that conflict exists as a result of diversity, management would need to consider alternative best practices to address the organizational conflict. Given the complexities of a diverse workforce, organizations need to examine constantly alternative solutions to help them manage the demographic factors within the company. Kottak and Kozaitis (2003) declare that “Failure to achieve an accurate account and appreciation of a race-based group of people results in racism” (Ch. 6, p. 3). Certainly, organizations need to mitigate any potential and undesirable outcomes that can negatively affect the reputation and profitability of the business. To put it differently, “The great sociopolitical paradox of the contemporary world is that both integration and disintegration are increasing” (Kottak & Kozaitis, 2003, Ch. 3, p. 5). In addition, globalization is contributing to the workforce diversity around the world, and organizations are continually being challenged to learn new ways to manage these changes. Organizations are not only challenged with internal changes but also with external forces such as economic and political factors. The importance of understanding the presence and influence of diversity that affect the contemporary American culture can prove enormously beneficial for any organization. In effect, organizations need to learn how to effectively manage the effects of demographic factors involving their planning and decision making in motivating and rewarding individuals (Kottak & Kozaitis, 2003). Consider for...