Organizations around the world has been realizing the cultural diversity within organization is not a negative aspect, rather can facilitate organizational stalk for glory (Papers4you.com, 2006). However it is not an easy task to manage employees with different cultural backgrounds. Nevertheless there are many policy guidelines that can make task easy.
On a broader perspective, cultural diversity can be manage through communicating (creating awareness among all employees about diverse values of peers through communication), cultivating ( facilitating acknowledgement, support and encouragement of any employee' success by all other workers), and capitalizing (linking diversity to every business process and strategy such as succession planning, reengineering, employee development, performance management and review, and reward systems) strategies ( Cascio, 1995).
There are many different innovative ways that organizations have adopted to manage diversity. For instance Tabra Incorporation, a small manufacturer of jewellery and accessories in California comprised of modest workforce is composition of Third World immigrants from Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Laos, Mexico, Thailand, Tibet Vietnam and other nations. To acknowledge importance of their cultural association, at least 10-12 different flags are always hanged from the ceiling of its main production facility which represents the countries of origin of the employees. The owner's view point is 'I would like for this to be a little United Nations everybody getting along and appreciating each other's culture instead of just tolerating it'. (Bhatia & Chaudary, 2003)
If cultural diversity can be managed effectively, there is a potential to use diverse workforce for organizational benefits. Cox and Balke (1991) asserts that multi-culturism is directly linked to organizational success as
Effectively managed multi culture companies have cost effective competitive edge
It helps in promoting minority friendly reputation among prospective employees
Diverse cultural corporations help to get better customers which has a variety of people
Diverse group of employees are perceived to be more creative and efficient in problem solving as compared to homogenous group
Ability to manage cultural diversity increases adaptability and flexibility of an organization to environmental changes.
Many organizational examples can be taken in this regard. In Australia, for instance, Hotel Nikko in Sydney has unique edge that staff members in direct guest contact areas speak a total of 34 different languages. Similarly Qantas Flight Catering has sixty-six nationalities on staff, with various overseas-born chefs. So dedicated diverse 'ethnic' kitchens gave Qantas a huge competitive edge that offers food based on customer's ethnic taste and requirements. Moreover Don's Smallgoods through literacy, language and cultural trainings increased cross-cultural communication and increased profits while lowering costs at the same time. Similarly The Cheesecake Factory had put special effort to understand Japanese quality and packaging culture as Asian employees assist management to understand Asian tastes so that they can target exports to Asia (Nankervis et al, 2002)
Hence the discussion suggests that it is imperative to realize that cultural diversity should be taken as a tool for better organizational progress rather than a managerial problem and if effectively managed, it can be a key to gain competitive edge and success
Bhatia, S., K., & Chaudary, P., ( 2003),'Managing Cultural Diversity in Globalization- Key to Business Success of Global Managers- Insights and Strategies', New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publication Pvt Ltd
Cascio, W., F., (1995), 'Managing Human Resources' International Edition, US: McGraw Hill.
Cox, T. H., & Balke, S., (1991), 'Managing Cultural Diversity: Implications for Organizational Competitiveness' Academy of Management Executive, Vol 5, Issue 3, August 1991
Nankervis, A. Compton, R., & Baird, M., (2002) 'Strategic Human Resource Management'. 4th Edition. Victoria: Nelson Australia Pty Limited
Papers For You (2006) "P/HR/188. Views on diversity management", Available from Papers4you.com [19/06/2006]Managing Cultural Diversity - A Key to Organizational Success