An organization can accurately identify the elements of its own culture by first examining what is learned. According to Hofstede, Hofstede, and Minkov (2010), culture consists of mental programs learned throughout life or a given amount of time. Whatever employees learn from the minute they enter the organization creates a mental program or a culture that will influence their behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and actions for the entirety of their stay with the company. Organizations can also pinpoint elements of their culture by analyzing what is shared amongst employees.
This is because the culture is a shared experience. Employees who have similar beliefs, traditions, rituals, backgrounds, gender or age, are more likely to band together, resulting in smaller subcultures. These subcultures espouse the larger organizational culture (Saylor Academy, 2012).
Culture is also dynamic, and there are numerous factors at play in this dynamism that organizations should look at when identifying elements of their culture (Saylor Academy, 2012). These factors include nationality, power and authority, gender, age, emotion, religion, time, body language, tones used, and what words are being said, and how they are being said in everyday conversations within the company.
Furthermore, culture is systemic, which means that the patterns of behavior exhibited by employees and the organization emanate from deeply rooted structural systems. A delve into these structural systems and patterns will provide a clear picture of an organization’s culture (Saylor Academy, 2012). Finally, culture is symbolic, and the verbal and nonverbal symbols within the organization point to the various elements that make up the culture of an organization (Saylor Academy, 2012).
One of the best ways to promote cultural awareness in an organization is to provide employees with training in different cultures, and cultural practices (DeakinCo, 2017). These classes need to be designed in a way that allows employees to gain skills on how to deal with working with different cultures from across the world. Culture training should encompass communication, marketing, business etiquette, and negotiation. Another key-way of promoting cultural awareness in the business setting is by observing and celebrating traditional holidays, food diversity, as well as cultural festivals. Doing this enables employees the opportunity to indulge in different cultures, helping them appreciate and embrace cultural diversity (DeakinCo, 2017).
In addition, the company should provide opportunities whereby employees get to observe and listen to Foreign customers as well as colleagues (DeakinCo, 2017). This will greatly help in improving the cultural mindfulness of employees, otherwise known as cultural metacognition (IESE Business School, 2015).
Cultural awareness is critical to organizational success for several reasons, one of which is to help the company make more insightful, and considerate decisions acceptable to all stakeholders involved especially in business settings that have diverse cultures (Commisceo, 2018). This helps to foster cooperation and support amongst all involved, which are key ingredients in organizational culture. Cultural awareness also helps in avoiding conflict within the organization, as well as between the organization and foreign clients (Ahmed, 2019). This is because, with cultural awareness, all parties involved can communicate clearly, which helps to avoid misunderstandings and alleviate potential sources of conflict. Work gets done much more effectively as a result.
A multi-cultural perspective in every element of the business can also assist in avoiding situations that can have a negative impact on the company’s reputation. Cultural awareness helps ensure that every activity the business undertakes does not offend any culture and that its reputation remains safe regardless of the cultural environment (Frankel, 2015). The obligation of a global organization to improve the cultural sensitivity of employees. Yes, a global organization in the 21st century is mandated to improve the cultural sensitivity of employees. This is because cultural sensitivity in the workplace helps employees improve their productivity, encourages them to fully engage in the workplace, helps reduce communication barriers, strengthens cooperation amongst employees, and helps reduce alienation, and helps alleviate conflict (Ahmed, 2019).
If the company chooses not to improve the cultural sensitivity of employees, it stands to lose in many ways. For starters, employees will be unable to work properly with each other leading to reduced productivity, and conflict. Employees might feel dissatisfied working in a company where there is cultural sensitivity forcing them to leave, leading to lower retention rates for the company.
Finally, the company stands to lose customers, and business opportunities if its employees’ cultural insensitivities offend the customer or a potential partner. This loss of business can have detrimental effects on the company’s bottom line, as well as a global reputation, and future market share.
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