The world today is a global village.
Technological advancements have brought people across the world closer. People from different nations with different cultural backgrounds are interacting and working closely together in organisations. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative that there’s understanding of the different cultural diversities of employees in the organisations and proper structuring of policies and procedures that promotes diversity within the organisation.Culture refers to the characteristics of a particular group of people, which encompasses language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. Culture maybe generic culture which means culture shared by all humans or it may be local culture which means the culture shared by a particular social group. The levels at which culture can work are a) national level which are the values of the people of a nation. They are largely unconscious and acquired during childhood, b) organisational level which reflects the beliefs and values of a particular organisation, c) occupational level which refers to the values and beliefs specific to a particular occupation and d) gender level which refers to the value system that delineates the way males and females act and behave.
Hofstede, a socialist, described 4 ways which can help in understanding culture. They are a) individualism vs collectivism which means some cultures focus on individuals whereas some focus on groups, b) power distance wherein it is believed that organisational culture should be distributed unequally, c) uncertainty avoidance which refers to a social group’s tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty, and d) masculinity vs feminism wherein a masculine society has traits that are considered as male, such as strength, dominance, assertiveness, and egotism. Feminine society is traditionally thought of as having conventional traits, such as being supportive, caring, and relationship oriented. Since, people with different cultural backgrounds work together in organisations, there is ample scope for conflicts. Thus, there has to be a proper understanding of the various conflicts that may arise in an organisation due to the multicultural backgrounds of employees. Moreover, there is a need for cross-cultural management which means managing the employees in an organisation in a way that they embrace the differences in cultures of employees and client populations across the world. There is also a growing need for cultural intelligence which refers to an individual’s ability to exhibit behaviours which are in sync with the value system and beliefs of others within a culturally diverse organisation.
Culture has a huge impact on the way managers run an organisation. In the article, a model of culture is presented wherein aspects like time-focus, time-orientation, power,competitiveness, activity, space, communication and structure are taken into account.Nowadays, organisations have branches in different nations. So employees are exposed to different cultures which lead to barriers in communication. However, if an organisation is to survive these fiercely competitive times, it has to equip its employees with the aptitude to adapt to such differences.