“I believe in the essential unity of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one person gains spiritually, the whole world gains, and that if one person falls, the whole world falls to that extent.”
– Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
It is almost inevitable for us all, that at some point of time in our lives we meet people from a different background, culture or from another country altogether. I speak for most people when I say this that those were some of the most interesting conversations or experiences with some of the most interesting people we have met in our lifetime. In some cases those people have directly influenced our way of thinking and our personalities, they might have even helped as us grow as human beings and the way we look at the things present all around us.
Now lets try and look at this from an academic point of view. Geert Hofstede, who is a world renowned social psychologist, has created a framework to help us better understand diversity. This framework is called Hofstede’s 5 cultural dimensions.
This framework is very well structured and helps us easily understand the different dimensions into which all our cultural differences fit into. If we were to look at power distance, this dimension can be explained as the degree to which people are comfortable with influencing others, Masculinity-Feminity is explained as a masculine society has different rules for men and women, this is less so in feminine societies. Individualistic/Collective, this dimension talks about the needs and wants of the individual vs the needs and wants of the group/organization. Time orientation tells us about short term planning for goals, perseverance values and long term planning of goals. Uncertainty avoidance can be explained as how willing people are to change from an environment where they know everything and are comfortable with vs changing to a completely new one.
As for my chosen industry which is E-commerce, I would like to point out that as of today Yahoo has the most diverse team of employees, with almost half the company being migrant working professionals from mostly Asia. The company’s diverse work environment has proven to be one of the contributing factors towards the company’s overall success with its ability to appeal to the masses with its offered products and services. That being said they can work towards employing more women.
I speak for my self, when I say that when I given the task of managing multi-cultural team for the first time, it had to be one of the most difficult situations in my life I have had to deal with, thats because at first I thought that we had nothing in common and hows’s this going to work. At first I tried to get the team to do things my way as that’s what I knew best and as I slowly began to find out that my way wasn’t going to work, as it was only a one way channel of communication, I was able to quickly identify my mistake. So I decided that It was better if we first get to know each other and break the barriers to effective communication. As we were introducing ourselves, I was able to identify each team members strengths, weaknesses and most importantly what motivated them to do work in an efficient manner. As per what I had learnt from our little introduction session, I was able to communicate better with my colleagues, as I was hearing what they had to say as well as give them my thoughts on it as well. This lead to me being able to assign the right job roles to them and have the entire group be more productive. Another positive outcome was that I was now able to look at any situation from multiple perspectives.
Pinterest. (2016). Hofstede. [online] Available at: https://www.pinterest.com/arno007/hofstede/ [Accessed 22 Jun. 2016].
Geert-hofstede.com. (2016). Dimensions – Geert Hofstede. [online] Available at: https://geert-hofstede.com/national-culture.html [Accessed 22 Jun. 2016].
Levy, K. (2016). Yahoo’s Diversity Numbers Are Just As Terrible As The Rest Of The Tech Industry’s. [online] Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-workplace-diversity-numbers-2014-6?IR=T [Accessed 22 Jun. 2016].