Culture plays an essential part of the society. Culture is depended on the perception of the individuals as well as the way a person is brought up. Though culture is an essential part of the society, cultural differences is often observed among the people. Culture includes the language, food, dress as well as customs and rituals.
This essay includes different types of cultural differences in the workplaces and the recommendations of overcoming it.
Cultural differences might be monochronic as well as polychronic. Monochronic culture refers to the culture that prefers to do one thing at a time (Dinnie 2015). Polychronic culture refers to the culture that does multiple things at a time. For example, the office of a manager is polychromic in nature. This is because the manager is involved in a lot of work at a time and ensures the cultural unity among diversity in the office. In places such as US, people tend to live in a monochromic culture. In case of people living in Africa and Middle East, they have a polychronic culture (Koopmann-Holm and Tsai 2014). In my workplace, I have experienced a lot cultural difference. My workplace is a polychromic workplace and hence multitasking is a common practice. However, there is a huge difference in culture among these two types of people. A monochronic businessman or employee fails to realize the urgency of tasks among the people living in the polychromic culture. In my workplace, during US and African or Middle Eastern client visits, a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation takes place due to the cultural differences. The problem due to cultural difference is faced because in US, handshakes are usually short, firm and confident, whereas in Africa, a longer and limb handshake is in the culture. These differences in culture might lead to misinterpretations. In such cases, we often end up in creating misunderstandings among the clients. In case of any business meet among the delegates of US and Africa, the differences in the handshakes might lead to cultural conflicts (Lee et al. 2013). The US clients tend to get offended due to the way the Middle Eastern clients shake hands. In order to avoid the misunderstandings and misinterpretations across culture, clarity in communication has to be maintained. Polychromic culture is often misunderstood by people of monochromic culture. Monochromic cultural people, finds attending phone calls in the middle of a meeting, as an uncultured behavior. Since my workplace is a polychromic one, hence attending phone calls while a meeting is going on and multitasking is usually done. However, some of the clients belonging to the monochromic culture finds it offending. The differences in culture are then communicated among the clients of different culture. However, for people belonging to polychromic culture, such multitasking activities are normal. Among the various times when difference in culture was efficiently managed by us, once the differences in culture resulted in cultural conflict. The clients from various countries had met and some of them were so offended that they decided to walk off. We had to make the offended clients understand that it was not meant to insult them, it was simply differences in culture. In spite of making them understand, they were not ready to understand, and as a result, they decided to cancel an important deal.
Cultural differences could be high context or low context (Moran, Abramson and Moran 2014). A low context culture refers to people or the society in which people have many connections but these connections are short termed (Matzler et al. 2016). However, in case of high context culture, people have close connections for a very long period of time, but those connections are few. In my workplace, low context culture is maintained. We communicate more and explicitly. In order to convey any information, written and explicit communication is given more priority in my workplace, hence people coming from a high context culture finds it difficult to adapt (Minkov et al. 2013). In this type of culture, the boundaries are quite strong among who is accepted as belonging and who is an outsider. People belonging to low context culture are mainly rule oriented (Moran et al. 2014). In this culture, the separation is done by time and by the activities among the people. Since my workplace belongs to low context culture, hence the knowledge among the people is transferred more by formal and verbal communication. The decisions taken in my workplace is task centered and dependent on the activities that needs to be focused (Champoux 2016).
Another cultural difference is individualism and collectivism. In case of individualist culture, self determination, self motivation as well as individualism is respected and given more importance. On the other hand, the collectivist culture is focused on working in groups and identifies the strengths and weaknesses as a group (Rallapalli and Montgomery 2015). In case of my workplace, collectivism is given more importance than individualism. Once, I had met an employee, who was a believer of the individualism culture. He focused on his own strengths and development ignoring the need to the team. Hence, working with him was difficult. This is also followed in my workplace, and hence no form of discrimination is encouraged. A hierarchical culture represents various levels based on the designations and the people are ranked according to their roles and responsibilities. Intercultural communication needs to be encouraged such that the differences in culture could be well perceived and understood (Neuliep 2014). The other form of cultural difference is Egalitarianism. It a type of cultural difference that focuses only with the social difference among the people in a particular company (Lyness and Judiesch 2014). In this type of doctrine all humans are equal irrespective of social status and develop the fundamental growth.
Egalitarianism can mainly be divided into three broad groups: Legal, social and Religious. It states that every individual working in a company is totally free to express as per to the equality as a person.
Social Egalitarianism deals only with the economic status of an individual in a work place (Swaab and Galinsky2015). For example social ownership is characterized by the economy for the surplus product that is produced by the industry that can acquires the population for opposing the class of private owners by granting the autonomy that is increased and equality of the gender is also focused with the relationship they share.
The other part of Egalitarianism deals mainly with one of the very important aspect in the world. Religious and Spiritual caste system were into existence since ancient times. In many cases in a work place it could be seen as the cultural difference between the religious statuses of the people. This type of cultural differences needs to overcome in any type work places. My workplace follows the egalitarianism culture. This type of cultural workplace supports the work of the individuals efficiently. A workplace free from any social, religious or legal boundaries enhances the productivity of the work. My colleagues belong from different cultural, social backgrounds. We work altogether without having any discrimination among us.
Egalitarianism companies rejects all sort of cultural difference and the employees enjoys their freedom to access all types of benefits and the organizational status provided by the workplace. This type of companies rejects the executive type of the model as it deals with the direct authority of the managers, who have his higher authority as well (Lyness and Judiesch 2014).
The Hierarchical culture is a type of culture that is mainly followed by in most of the work places. In this type of cultural difference the higher authorities are being treated in appropriate ways that the people working in the lower status (Evans 2016). People in the lower status are always being given orders, and can be blamed easily. They suffer this hierarchical cultural feels insulted always due to the lack of the politeness of the higher positioned people. My workplace belongs from Hierarchical culture, though my higher authority supports egalitarianism as well. Higher officer, managers follows us up with the work that too free from any social or religious beliefs. Every employees are taken care as a sole identity but not specific according to their cultural or social ethics.
The societies tend to focuses mainly on to the hierarchical cultures. It deals and focus with the ages and the biasness of the genders as well. In addition to the age issue, gender biasness also takes into consideration as the society still follows as a male dominating one, leading to the woman domination (Evans 2016). My workplace being too supportive towards egalitarianism, it still has hierarchical culture. My boss operates and guides us keeping the cultural, ethical and social values of the employees.
The other form of cultural difference leads to the Collectivism and the Individualism in the work place. Collectivism encourages the team work and producing any part of the work collectively by cooperating each other. In this type of cultural difference, every member of the team values freedom, face challenges altogether as a team.
Individualism in a workplace where competition between the colleagues also takes place on the ground of innovative and maintaining excellence in the responsibilities that is allotted to the individuals (Evans 2016). My workplace always focuses in the team work facility. Without working in the team, many work left out to be undone. Team work facilitates working potential in the team, rather performing individually. Being supportive to the collectivism, we are considered as a team in my work place. In this process, we as a team is more successful than performing solo.
It can be concluded that it is possible to blend all types of the cultural differences in a particular workplace. If few cultural differences can be merged, then a super facility workplace can be achieved with all the facilities and the supports along with the proper salary and the job satisfaction of the employees.
It can be recommended that the working environment must be polychronic in low context culture along with the collectivism with hierarchical and focusing with the egalitarianism. A strategy that could propose to manage the culture of the workplace in a better way and to mitigate the differences is to have corporate meetings frequently, where the differences in culture are discussed and highlighted. Group activities could also be incorporated.
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