Leadership Across Cultures|
Managing Workforce Diversity|
Table of Contents
Culture in its many forms and approaches is a very popular subject researched by many authors. The definition of culture from Geert Hofstede, the most cited social scientist according to Powell (2006) comes as "the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of humans from another". (1982) He mentions that these differences exist in nations, geographic regions, generations, genders, social classes and many more. As Hofstede simply puts it, "the unwritten rules of the social game". (2013) It has also been described in a less scientific language as "something to do with the people and unique quality and style of organization", (Kilmann et al. 1985) and "the way we do things around here". (Deal & Kennedy, 1982) Other sources provide hundreds of various definitions. Lee and Yu (2004) argue that the number of definitions is so broad because of the versatile approaches and frameworks in which culture is researched. The 3 main social sciences - psychology, anthropology and sociology have different views on the issue. However, the researchers tend to agree that culture cannot be defined using one universal definition. Groeschl and Doherty(2000) quote Tayeb (1994), who argues that "culture is too fundamental to be solved through tighter definition". Greater implication for the managerial tasks, however, comes from the cultural diversity. Cox (1993) defines diversity as “representation, in one social system, of people with distinctly different group affiliations of cultural significance”. Factors differentiating these people include cultural background, race, education, age, physical and cognitive ability among other. (Seymen, 2006) These criteria indicate that difference is significant not only at the level of national or ethnic customization but also at an internal, individual level. In the modern globalized world, people of various backgrounds inevitably meet, work in teams, arrange business deals, receive and provide service to each other and live together in the same environment. In such conditions, individuals and especially companies, poorly prepared to the variety of values, beliefs and attitudes towards same issues will find themselves at a disadvantage. This report will outline the issues of managing cultural diversity, their importance in hospitality industry as well as benefits and disadvantages. Further, the importance of diversity recruitment will be discussed along with contemporary theories and strategies used to gain competitive advantage. As the topic is very broad, The main issues and in recruitment policies will be briefly outlined followed by a focused discussion on selecting and recruiting employees and managers for international assignments (IA). Discussion
Two interconnected activities have been identified that can grant companies a competitive advantage in terms of cultural difference: 1) having a diverse workforce and 2) managing the workforce diversity. (Aghazadeh, 2004) Aghazadeh discusses the forecasted changes in demographics and argues that having diverse workforce and being prepared to the demographic changes will also be ready to the change in market demands, giving it a competitive advantage. (2004) By doing so companies will have an inner source of information what the customer base expects an on dealing with the community. A diverse workforce also brings with it an obvious benefit of the language skills. According to White (1999, p.477), having a diverse workforce benefits companies in 5 ways: * Easier attraction and retaining of the human talent.
* Ability to understand and penetrate wider and enhanced markets. * Higher creativity and innovation
* Better problem solving ability