Diversity and Cross-Cultural Differences in Workplaces
Different people have different mental structures due to the diverse type of personality and cultural background. The study of psychology has enabled people to know about the mental functioning of others making it easier individuals and groups to understand one another. Since people must interact in the day-to-day activities, there is need to harmonize this differences and create an environment where every member feel a sense of belonging. Psychological counseling plays an important role in preparing individuals to be more appreciative the cultural and personality difference existing between people.
Psychology counseling is a field of psychology focusing on the personal and interpersonal working and on the emotional, social and health related issues of individuals and groups of people. This paper addresses issues arising from interaction of people with differences culture and behaviors. It also focuses on criminal investigation process in the psychological perspective.
Key words: psychopathology, personality, behavioral therapy, individualistic, diversity
Diversity and Cross-Cultural Differences in Workplaces
Every individual is characterized by a unique pattern of thoughts, behaviors and feeling that contribute to individual’s psychological structure.
Despite the fact that each individual is unique in personality resulting in diversity in peoples’ way of lives, people have always found themselves in crowds- be it in schools, places of worship, or any other social, political or economic gathering. Leininger and McFarland (2006) writes that the need to coexist in harmony compels persons to sometimes subordinate individual goals so that they can accomplish the goals of a group.
Those individuals who are not mentally ready to accept the cultural and personality diversity between different people often find it hard to coexist with others.
Psychopathology has enabled counseling psychologist to understand the various aspects of one’s mental structure including genetic and biological issues. Psychologists are able to identify people who undergo atypical or disordered development from those with normal or typical development. It is paramount for coworkers to be aware of their colleagues’ mental structure so as to engage in the right way with them. This is crucial for the creation and maintenance of a healthy and productive working environment that is composed of persons with diverse personalities. In such a set up where workplace colleagues have to cope with different personality traits, one may find it hard to maintain a stable mental behavior and physical emotions and may suffer from maladjustment in case one is in a new environment. Counseling psychologists help such persons to alleviate distress and improve their wellbeing (Woolfe & Dryden, 1996). They also provide patients with assessment and treatment of psychological issues.
Through behavioral analysis, one is able to systematically analyze another person’s or one’s own behavior so as to know cause of certain behaviors and consequently improve social interaction. Bad behaviors can be corrected or good behaviors adopted or through behavioral therapy. This is a method that is used bypsychotherapists and psychiatrists to treat mood disorders an anxiety usually caused by variables such as; social phobia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder. According to Lesilie (2008), behavioral treatment techniques include;Role playing, discussing about coping mechanisms, breathing and relaxation method, activities to promote focus, modifications to anger, pain or fear, social skills training, positive reinforcement.
These methods focus on individuals shaping their behavior to cope with the environment. When individuals with behavioral disorders try to change their behaviors to suit that required in the workplaces, they often find themselves struggling to relate with the others and this leads to seclusion and isolation. On the other hand behavioral therapy should focus aiding individuals acquire control over their own behavior and blending it with the requirements of the workplace. This is important because one manipulates the environmentand learns to control their own behavior without compromising their personality which is vital for maximum productivity. With one’s own personality, the reception of stimuli and the response is not affected and therefore there are no negative consequences influencing the next occasion in the brain (Lesilie, 2008).
Persons who find it hard to conform to workplace ethics due to cultural mismatches should set standards for assessing their own performance and progress in behavioral therapy. Techniques such as self-management, self-control and self-regulation are used to monitor one’s progress (Woolfe & Dryden, 1996). Behavioral modification procedures are not procedures to punish those people with different behaviors but they are techniques to eliminate non-conforming working behaviors and also facilitate cross-cultural understanding. The make the workplace to feel better and builds a sense of satisfactory. For psychologists to offer the relevant advice to a person suffering from mental disorder, they must first find out the patients’ personality and understand how they think, feel, relate, influence and get influenced by others.
For applied social psychologists to attend to a patient they must try to adopt the personality of the patient so that they can employ the best techniques to treat a patient without affecting the patients personality. In this perspective the psychologist is able to develop development strategies that are aimed at improving the important aspects, programs and policies for the patient to have a positive recovery. Psychologists should aim at eliminating the negative attitude that a patient may have towards colleagues or the workplace. This is aimed at improving intercultural understanding and to offer a neutral platform where no culture is viewed as less or more important than the other. With cross-cultural understanding people will tend to be more committed to working together improving productivity.
Nevertheless, cultural competence is healthy for the growth of an organization that comprises of people from diverse cultures (Leininger & McFarland, 2006). This should not be overshadowed by the tendency to express cultural superiority over others but should demonstrate the ability to effectively engage in cross-cultural dialogues without intimidating or negating another person’s culture. This requires one to appreciate social psychology and be in a position to balance between positive and negative criticism on another person’s culture. Since not all people are equipped with the understanding of social psychology, training on cultural competence should be conducted to avoid such problem from arising. Some cultures are individualistic while others are communists and this play a big role in defining how coworkers exist. This necessitates the need for effective cross-cultural team-building and training.
As colleagues engage in affairs of the workplaces, each and every one of them is entitled to a certain opinion which one would like to support. If such a situation gets tense, certain body changes occur such as breathing rates and emotional changes if certain people are intimidating others for decisions to go their way. Such a phenomenon may result in one becoming uncontrollable or violent. Biological psychology is concerned with balancingwhat the mind is processing and the effects it has on the body. It analyses how ones behaviors and thoughts are affected by the brain and neurotransmitters. Various neurotransmitters have different effects on the body. For instance, neurotransmitter dopamine is responsible for movement and learning. Varying quantities of excess or too little of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the body results in disorders such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease respectively. (Woolfe & Dryden, 1996).The comprehensive nature of bio-psychology encompasses diversity and cross-cultural aspects of an organization. A bio-psychologist will reconcile individuals or groups of people that are not in agreement resulting in abnormal behaviors. When addressing such a conflict a bio-psychologist figures out in which area of bio-psychology the problem is. The following are the main areas of bio-psychology; sensation and perception, emotion, learning and memory, motivated behavior and control of movement (Woolfe & Dryden, 1996). Through these areas, bio-psychological problems and concerns are addressed.
Another area of psychology is the forensic psychology – an area that deals with the relationship between psychology and law. When a crime occurs, a criminal investigative process takes place in order to determine the offender, motive and to allow the right punishment if any to be given to the offender. The investigation involves investigative psychologist who explores the relationships between the offender and the nature of the crime that has been committed. The investigation process has the following major areas; investigating the crime, gathering evidence, use of technology, search and seizure, arresting and charging the offender who may also undergo detention and interrogation (Simon, 2012). Throughout this process forensic psychologists are involved as they help to establish a connection between an offender and the crimes committed. Essentially the forensic psychologist offers the following services during investigation process: evaluating the risks of reoffending by the offender, child custody evaluation, recommending the length of the sentence to be handed to the offender, competence evaluation and testimony as an expert witness.
Simon (2012) says that throughout this period from crime commission to when the sentence is passed, a forensic psychologist will engage with the suspected offended in an attempt to get insight on the motive behind the offence. In some cases, the offender may be suffering from a mental disorder and it is the duty of the psychologist to psychological expertise to provide analysis and recommendations in the criminal case. In addition a psychiatrics’ examination is required to determine whether the offender/suspect suffers from a mental illness an opinion that is taken to be of very high value by the court since it might require the court to charge the offender as a mentally challenged person and this also influences the type of prison the offender is to serve the sentence. In conclusion psychological is an aspects great and delicate influence on the diversity and cross cultural differences existing in workplaces. Coworkers should work towards enhancing intercultural understanding and acceptance.
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Lesilie, C.J. (2008). Principles of Behavioral Analysis. Hove, UA: Psychology pr.Simon ,D. (2012). In Doubt. The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process. Cambridge, CB:
Havard University Press.Woolfe, A, & Dryden, W. (1996). Handbook of Counseling Psychology. Oxfordshire, OS:
Carfax International Publishers.
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