How does cultural diversity impact organizational behavior?
I’ve already shared how businesses can stand to lose millions by ignoring cultural norms and values.
I’ve talked about how cultural sensitivity training IS the need of the hour.
And yet, there remain many questions waiting to be answered when it comes to diversity in the workplace.
Questions that often arise in conversations with fellow global citizens.
Does cultural diversity impact the behavior of the people in an organization?
Do people behave differently when they’re working in a cultural melting pot of sorts?
Short answer: Yes.
Organizational behavior refers to the interactions that people in an organization have with one another. These interactions can happen in a range of situations and scenarios, from working together in a team, to leading a group on a project, to networking socially after work.
In fact, one can go so far as to say that organizational behavior and culture are intertwined.
If your brand’s culture values fun, openness and transparency, employee behavior will reflect that.
If an organization’s culture lays emphasis on hierarchy and not pushing the envelope, it’s likely that you wouldn’t find a lot of innovation happening.
If a company’s culture doesn’t take into account its employees or customers in a particular geographic region, it runs the risk of hurting sentiments, losing business and even being considered insensitive or worse, ignorant.
The organizational behavior and cultural tones of a business play a huge role in determining the motivation and morale of employees.
Positive, constructive, inclusive and respectful organizational behavior will encourage and empower the growth of a business while enabling individuals to reach their potential as well.
Andrew Carnegie said it best when he said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It’s the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
I believe that cultural diversity and sensitivity are what make teamwork possible, which in turn allows ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.
In today’s world of rapidly shrinking geographical boundaries and virtual teams taking the place of physical ones, understanding and respecting cultural diversity plays an even more important role than it ever has.
It is when people work together with people from a cross-section of cultures and societies that we come to understand, learn, respect and value what others have to offer.
To sum up, I’d like to revisit a quote by Stephen Covey, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”
Apt, isn’t it?
Differences do make all the difference, pun intended.