Business is only successful if it can maintain healthy revenue and continue to grow. In order for business to grow, in most cases, it must be able to expand globally and survive. Though there are many aspects to be considered, planned for, and dealt with, consumer confidence and satisfaction, in the end, is key. Survival comes from utility, and to adequately satisfy the customer, you need to know what it is each one wants and expects. Being familiar with and understanding diversity in culture are essential to being knowledgeable of how to, and what will, provide maximum utility. The English language, though the worlds dominate business language, can possess barriers when cultural differences are unknown. An example of this is when Dr. Pepper launched an international advertising campaign, featuring its jingle slogan, “I’m a pepper, he’s a pepper, wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too?” In the United Kingdom, the term “pepper” is used to refer to a prostitute, and therefore, caused disastrous results from Dr. Pepper’s advertisement rather than profitable ones.
A gentleman once said, in reference to cross-cultural business, that he was “a hamburger kind of guy.” What did he mean by this statement? I think it would depend on if he meant it literally or figuratively. Literally, I would suspect he meant that not all cultures eat meat, or that some have cultural or religious beliefs that either forbid the killing and/or consumption of certain animals, or regard them as sacred. Figuratively, he may have been implying that “being a hamburger kind of guy” means that he is steadfast in his own beliefs, convinced these beliefs are the only ones, and no other beliefs in contradiction could possibly be right. This could be a fatal attitude to have for expanding to global markets. One should consider what the global expansions in their own country would be like if cultural practices and beliefs had not been learned and adapted to. In the figurative sense, if one is so close minded as to not consider the possibility of beliefs outside their own could be just as important to those who hold them, I would have no doubt they would struggle greatly with getting along in their midst. In the literal sense, just because he is a meat eater, doesn’t mean that he should not accept and respect those who are not.
Having a culturally diverse workforce can benefit consumers, work teams, and business organizations. However, cultural diversity can also cause divisiveness among various identity groups. Business communication should be aware of and sensitive to differences in the communication techniques of men and women. To promote harmony and communication in culturally diverse workplaces, many organizations develop diversity training programs. As an individual, you must understand and accept the value of differences. Don’t expect conformity, and do create a zero tolerance for bias and prejudice. Learn about your cultural self, make fewer assumptions, and seek common ground when disagreements arise.
I think it is important and beneficial if social responsibility and market forces play a part in encouraging organizations to strive to create a diverse workplace domestically and abroad. In doing this, cultures can be learned in day-to-day business and provide companies with valuable employees that are more prepared to move forward when global growth opportunities arise. Social responsibility goes to community and shows to what extent an organization is there for the community as it is for its own personal, monetary gain. Market force goes to the give and take of supply and demand which encourages growth both for the company and the economy of the country it has chosen to expand into. I believe that each of these being instrumental in supporting the creation and continued growth of a global expansion, would send a strong message that the organization was making a valid effort to learn about, accept, and cater to the many cultures within its community and beyond.
- Perspectives on Diversity and Culture (terrimatthews.wordpress.com)
- Benefits of Workplace Diversity (kanokpanflinn.wordpress.com)