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Importance of Understanding Cultural Diversity Essay

Cultural and Ethnic diversity continues to impact day to day life making diversity in the workplace more common. Diversity refers to the qualities that are different from our own and can include race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, background and much more. Not only does diversity involve how people identify themselves, but how they perceive others as well, which, in turn, can affect their interactions in a culturally diverse work environment. Accepting and understanding the differences of any culture, and embracing diversity can reduce conflict and help team building in the workplace. “Different voices of a diverse workforce are respected and heard (Bell, 2007, p.5).”

Recognizing and understanding cultural differences in the workplace is just the beginning. Subordinate groups opinions that have developed over time may cause defensive and cautious behaviors and attempting to bridge the gap between dominant and subordinate groups could provide better communication. Managers and supervisors need to strive for a deeper knowledge and understanding of cultural differences. By establishing relationships at work with individuals different from yourself, you can begin to learn the knowledge that culture may have to offer your organization.

Prejudice and prejudgment also need to be addressed including the misconceptions based on cultural values or stereotypes. For example, it may be thought that men work harder at their jobs and are more committed than women, or that younger employees have no motivation to work, or even that a Jamaican employee is lazy because of his/her laid back culture. A manager can become a role model for all employees to embrace cultural diversity in the work place by confronting these prejudgments. “Managing diversity is a comprehensive managerial process for developing an environment that works for all employees (Bell, 2007, p8).”

The majority of nursing homes have come to realize that employees from various ethnic and cultural back-grounds, as well as those of different gender can bring a completely different perspective. It is becoming more important to have an understanding of different cultural backgrounds since there are more and more patients being cared for in this country with very different cultural backgrounds. At the same time it is essential that the nursing unit is running smoothly and that patient care is the highest priority. Misunderstandings regarding culture or ethnic background can impact the patient’s care and his/her perception of treatment.

There has to be a balance of different cultures, ethnicities and genders so it is important to keep in mind the importance of making the units as diverse as possible when hiring healthcare staff. In order for employees to feel comfortable in the workplace and achieve satisfaction, education and teaching on culture and diversity is essential. Thanks to the increasing education among nursing staff on cultural diversity, changes are being seen in the nursing profession.

The lefty for a day was quite a challenge. Trying to cook dinner, writing, doing homework was all very difficult and I was unable to use the scissors I had since they are specifically made for being right handed. This experience gave me more of an understanding of what it must be like for those of different cultures to adapt in new surroundings and a new appreciation for the challenges faced by those that do not fit into what society considers to be normal.


Bell, M. (40). Diversity in Organizations (2nd ed). Retrieved from http://devry.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781285700878/pages/70644609

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