Gender, Generational and Office Culture

Topics: Management, Generation Y, Organization Pages: 11 (3221 words) Published: August 26, 2012
Gender, Generational Differences and Culture are all interpersonal communication factors in organisations where strategy needs to be in place to enhance greater social awareness, understanding and sensitivity in the diversity of office culture. Today's workforce is diverse not only with respect to gender, racio-ethnicity, culture and work styles, but also with respect to age. While there are bound to be unique challenges in the workplace with different generations working together, there are also unique opportunities (Kapoor, Solomon, 2011 p.318).

The Company being analysed is a privately owned, independent producer and event management organisation that produces a world music festival held annually in February/March each year in Sydney. The festival is classed as a cultural event and provides a direct benefit to the state through the expenditure of the visitors for the event, in addition to its contribution to the community’s cultural fabric.

The Company is identified as a simple structure, being a dynamic environment with no techno-structure, few support staff and a loose division of labour and a middle line hierarchy. It is organic in its growth and the power over all important decisions tends to be centralized in the hands of the Director (Mintzberg, 1980). The Company has a base of 8 permanent employees who report to one director, yet in the months between November to March up to 25 casuals are employed in the office who are managed by the 8 core staff and a further 150 casuals are employed on the weekend of the festival. For the remaining months of April to October the company retracts back to the base of the 8 core staff. Departments are expanded and then minimised introducing constant change and divisional power imbalances on an annual basis.

This reflective essay will discuss the interpersonal diversity of Gender, Generational profiles and Culture of the 8 core staff and how they interact with each other. In such a small and constantly changing environment, the ability to communicate well and forge interpersonal relationships is particularly important because an empowered workforce expects managers who can communicate well, rather than rely on exerting the power of their position (Bolton & Bolton 1996, p.5). The research method used is from working among the subjects listening and learning from the communication issues arising within the organisation (Pepper, 1995. p.47).

Improved communication practices and awareness of diversity can lower the incidents of stress and staff turnover and improve employee performance resulting in a more engaged and happy team of employees (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione, 2009). Recommendations for introducing a communication structure in the organisation are provided at the end of this essay and include introducing strategy on diversity management, along with recognising the individual and organisations strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

The gender diversity in the Company’s office staff consists of 3 men and 5 women where gender based differences are often cited in relation to communication styles. Historically, organisations have been overwhelmingly male and white (Tubbs, 2010,p.27), yet the office is continually dominated by women, however the festivals weekend casual production staff is predominantly male. Pepper (1995) writes that men and women use different conversational styles, which can lead to misunderstanding. In the annual planning of each festival there are disagreements in communication which is often a misunderstanding in their style, and not in what they are trying to achieve.

Research indicates that men more often than women engage in behaviours that get them recognized by those in power. If women wish to succeed, they are almost forced to change their linguistic style to a more command oriented form in order to be perceived as strong, decisive and in control. However, this can lead to...
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