The workplace is becoming increasingly culturally diverse as a result of globalization that is accelerating demographic changes in labor markets across the world. Globalization has accelerated advancement in communication and transportation technologies that have enabled the movement of labor two markets where it is needed. As a result, migrants in search of better education and employment opportunity have contributed to the heterogenization of traditionally homogeneous workplaces. The United States is particularly affected by this trend as evidenced by changing cultural demographics in the workplace. The changing cultural demographics in the workplace promote creativity and innovation by bringing different cultural perspectives to the workplace. However, failure to embrace cultural diversity may undermine organizational and employee performance through the compactization of cultural differences.
Cultural Diversity Issues in Miami, FL.
Fig technologies established a service call center in Miami, Florida to take advantage of a culturally diverse workforce of locals and university graduates from nearby institutions. The motivation of establishing a call center in Miami, Florida was informed by evidence that a culturally diverse workforce brings different perspectives that stimulate creativity and innovation in the workplace. People from different cultures perceive different organizational issues uniquely, thus employees from different social-cultural backgrounds bring different perspectives to the problem-solving process of addressing unmet consumer needs (Katz & Miller, 2016). However, cultural differences can also affect organizational performance by undermining interpersonal relationships among the employees in the workforce as evidenced by issues at the Miami office.
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The company allows employees to participate in friendly rivalries with regard to professional sports and local college teams. The objective is to encourage cultural awareness by providing opportunities for employees to interact with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Organizing tournaments with local college teams as well as participating in professional sports provide opportunities for the employees of the company to interact with people from different cultures. In Florida, however, there have been reports that the rivalries are undermining cultural cohesion in the workplace. There have been complaints that the rivalries have gone to the extremes.
Hostilities between the team members have occasionally erupted as a result of harassment and discrimination based on cultural stereotypes. Culturally identifiable differences have been the source of extreme stereotyping leading to conflict on and off the field. Popular stereotypes attributed to different cultures have led to conflicts between team members. In one instance, a football match with a local college team was abandoned after one of the employees made a culturally inappropriate gesture towards the opponent. After scoring a penalty against the opposing team, the player mocked the Muslim players in the opposing team by comical performing “Takbir”. The Muslim players were not amused because “Takbir” is only performed by Muslims during prayer. Immediately, conflict erupted between the company’s team and the local college team as the Muslim players in the latter team felt offended. The match had to be forfeited even though it had not been concluded.
Contingent software developers in the Miami office from South Africa and Brazil have been unable to get people excited about Futbol instead of football. It has been a challenge trying to introduce a sport that is not popular with Americans. The majority of Americans are least interested in Futbol because American football is the most popular sport (Kirby & Richard, 2000). Besides basketball, American football is synonymous with the American culture as it is played by both the young and the old owing to the popularity of the American Football League. In contrast, Futbol is considered a lesser sport to American football because very few people in America are enthusiastic about it.
Cultural Diversity Issues at Kansas, Missouri
The Kansas office also engages in friendly rivalries with regard to professional sports and local college teams, contingent software developers from Brazil and South Africa have struggled to get people interested in Futbol instead of football. The challenge is attributed to how Americans perceive both styles of sports. Futbol is not popular in American Society owing to the dominance of the American football that is played at all levels of competition from the local tournaments in the National League. Therefore, the lack of interest in Futbol is a result of the popularity of American football (Bell, 2012). Besides challenges getting of employees from the Kansas office to participate in Futbol tournaments, a few individuals have begun hanging out together during breaks to discuss their relationships with same-sex partners, multiple partners as well as some encounters of homosexual and heterosexual relationships together. The trend has resulted in a petition calling for these types of discussions to be banned. The issue has raised concern among the employees because a person’s sexual orientation is not a matter of discussion in the workplace. Discussing sexual orientations in the workplace presents opportunities for stereotyping that undermine interpersonal relationships among the employees. Individuals that present sexual orientations considered out of the ordinary may face discrimination and harassment from the rest of the employees.
Cultural diversity issues undermining employees’ performance in the Miami and Kansas City offices can be addressed through the provision of cultural diversity training. The objective of the cultural training program will be to sensitize the employees about the varied perceptions that cultural inclinations infer on different issues that may undermine interpersonal relationships among the employees (Shen, Chanda, D’Netto, & Monga, 2009). The cultural training program should be rolled out in both offices to create awareness about the benefits and drawbacks of embracing cultural diversity in the workplace. Of great importance is to highlight the importance of embracing cultural diversity in the workplace to create a harmonious working environment where employees from different cultural backgrounds feel welcome and respected.
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The Cultural training program should also be accompanied by measures to prohibit discrimination and harassment of employees from different cultural backgrounds. While education is essential to create awareness as well as promote company-wide recognition of cultural diversity in the workplace, it is essential to establish a system of penalizing employees who discriminate against others on the basis of their cultural backgrounds (Katz & Miller, 2016). The first offense should attract cautionary reproach as a warning to the offender while repeat offense should necessitate suspension or fine. Suspending rogue employees is essential to signal the senior management’s disapproval of the employee’s actions and behavior in the workplace. The suspension period will provide an opportunity for the employee to reflect on their actions as well as receive appropriate guidance and training to avoid a repeat of the same. Fines may be deemed essential in cases where there are damages incurred by the defendant or victim. In case an employee’s harassment or discrimination behavior persists, terminating employment is the best option.
Bell, M. P. (2012). Diversity in organizations. Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Katz, J. H., & Miller, F. A. (2016). Defining Diversity and Adapting Inclusion Strategies on a Global Scale. OD Practitioner, 48(3), 42-47.
Kirby, S. L., & Richard, O. C. (2000). Impact of Marketing Work-place Diversity on Employee Job Involvement and Organizational Commitment. The Journal of Social Psychology, 140(3), 367-377.
Shen, J., Chanda, A., D’Netto, B., & Monga, M. (2009). Managing diversity through human resource management: An international perspective and conceptual framework. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 20(2), 235-251.