With globalization and multinational corporations, the issue of multi-culturalism has become very significant. Multi-culturalism may be defined as the view that there are many different cultural backgrounds and factors that are important in organizations, and that people from different backgrounds can coexist and flourish within an organization. Multi-culturalism refers the presence of many different cultural backgrounds within an organization. Diversity means coexistence of people from different cultural backgrounds.
As labour force is becoming more global, cultural diversity and its management has acquired greater significance. An international enterprise has to be sensitive to and adjust to multiple cultures. Some key cultural aspects, basic to business management are as follows :
- Attitudes towards work and achievement.
- Attitudes towards the future.
- Pattern of decision- making
- Attitudes towards authority.
- Responsibility towards family.
- Expression of disagreement.
Language barrier is an example of cultural diversity. For example, making a circle with the finger and thumb to signify “OK” can cause trouble in Japan as it means that you are asking for a bride.
Multi-culturalism or cultural diversity is illustrated in the fig. 3.1
- Power Distance: It means the extent to which employees accept the authority of managers. In high power distance cultures workers follow order as a matter of course. Managers make decisions because they are the managers, and no one questions their right to do so. In low power distance cultures, workers do not accept managerial power structure. Therefore, decision-making is decentralized.
- Uncertainty Avoidance: It implies the extent to which workers avoid or accept feelings of uncertainty. People with high uncertainty-avoidance feel threatened by ambiguous situations.
- Individualism: Individualism means the philosophy by which people think of themselves first as individuals and give priority to their own best interests. On the other hand, collectivism is based on her idea that the interest of the group of society should be given priority over that of the individual.
- Masculinity: It refers to the extent to which the dominant values in a culture are success, money, and things. A masculine worker is aggressive, assertive, and materialistic. On the other hand. Femininity (the opposite of masculinity) refers to nurturing. Concern for others. and concern for the quality of life.