Embracing Cultural Diversity
What is culture? What is cultural diversity? Why is it important to be open-minded when it comes to culture? How does acceptance of others and their different cultures improve the work place environment?
Judith N Martin and Thomas K. Nakayama in the their book ‘Intercultural Communication in Contexts’ define culture as the learned patterns of behavior and attitudes shared by a group of people. Cultural diversity can be defined as the existence of a variety of cultural groups within a society.
In my opinion embracing cultural diversity in the work space is absolutely important. To be able to do this one needs to be open minded and accepting of other cultures. In a country like Kenya where we have more than 40 tribes the chances of having to interact with someone outside of your culture is extremely high. It is crucial for employees to establish working relationships and for them to be able to get along for there to be a healthy work place environment. This in turn will lead to more efficiency as most communication barriers will be by-passed.
Career choices that my field of study (International Studies) will provide, it is highly likely that I will end up interacting with different cultures both nationally and internationally. Listening is a skill that will be important in helping me establish healthy relationships with my work mates. How so? Listening to my colleagues will help me to understand them better and this can give me an idea about their culture. I can also share details about my culture which will also help them to understand me better and this id important because it can also encourage them to share more about themselves. Being open minded, in this context, would mean taking a non-judgmental approach to cultures that are different to your own regardless to whether you agree or disagree with their practices.
In conclusion, I believe that our backgrounds and cultures shape us as individuals and influences how we perceive and react to situations that we encounter, therefore being able to understand and co-exist with different cultures is a huge benefit in life and in the work environment as this will allow one to form better bonds in the workplace.
1.Nakayama, J.N. (2010). Intercultural Communication In Contexts, fifth edition.