Increasing diversity is a complex concept to handle because it entails deep-seated people’s beliefs systems and biases. A diverse culture cannot be well enhanced without requiring leaders to take time, plan, and encourage workers to have the willingness to accommodate other people’s perspectives. Normally, leadership qualities and models can be adopted to steer an organization into a culturally sensitive practice.
Examples of such models include exchange, transformational, authentic, and situational leadership theories. Today, organizations are operating in a hyper-connected universe where cultural boundaries are becoming blurred due to the adoption of resources and core competencies. For instance, firms have learned that to improve skills and boost the workforce’s productivity, adopting talents from different settings is helpful, which means difficulties in maintaining borders. Therefore, leaders or managers need to understand and embrace the differences for multiple benefits.
The overall objective of this report includes;
- To identify and examine the benefits of leadership and management training on cultural awareness
- To determine the ethical dimensions to consider during training on cultural awareness
- To present the advantages and disadvantages of developing cultural awareness in leaders and managers in relation to performance
Leadership and management training on cultural awareness will help create more effective teams
Usually, managing relationships between workers, seniors, or subordinates can be a daunting task, yet teams bond with attributes they share. Most teams are brought together by traditions, language, history, media, or shared culture. Thus, when a person enters a new culture, they find it hard to work with new people. Social norms can differ vastly, raising potential risks of accidental disrespects, miscommunications, and erosion of loyalty or trust.
As a result, the business is likely to suffer staff attrition and experience loss. Leaders and managers would benefit from training to understand the constituent elements that keep team members together, regardless of their cultural differences. Educating seniors poses the privilege of enhanced intellectual capacity that would alleviate negatives perceptions by enlightening workers on the correct way to associate as a group (Ramsey et al., 2017, p. 463). Although there is an awareness of why cultural knowledge is crucial in this benefit, steps or approaches of the program are not inferred.
Organizational team can become more competitive with training
Unlike the first benefit, which focuses on the personal level, training leadership and management on cultural awareness also poses significant benefits from an organizational standpoint. The ability to listen to customers is crucial, and seniors need to be aware that diversity is not about workforce cohesion. If an organization fails to gauge well the drivers of customers to the market, it can be challenging to create value. The cultural awareness programs to leaders and managers would tackle a disconnection between clients and the organization. The knowledge gained would help to develop or market products and services for specific cultures. Also, enlightenment gives a cutting edge to respond first and effectively to feedback, give customers quality services, and earn their loyalty.
Training will support more robust relationships between seniors and business partners
Again, at a personal level, improving knowledge about cultures promotes a relationship between leaders or managers and partners from various cultural settings. A business partnership is based on trust and mutual understanding, even when there are no language barriers. Still, cultural gaps can exist between international affiliates and firms, and a poor understanding of people’s background can affect communication in the same way employees can be affected.
However, there are far more significant consequences when a lack of awareness of culture affects investors since negotiations, loss of contracts and potential access to the market can be impeded. An intercultural training approach eliminates miscommunication risks, and by undertaking the program, executives will become more enlightened about business partners (Ramsey et al., 2017, p. 463). More so, employees would spend less time guessing cultural norms and enjoy working in an organization whose leadership acknowledges other people’s background.
Ethical dimensions to consider during training on cultural awareness
Cultural competence and awareness of the moral underpinnings by leaders or managers is crucial in an organization. While embarking on cultural awareness training, it will be paramount to consider ethical dimensions that help stimulate organizational behaviors. Both employees and seniors should perceive some vital factors in their daily work for a more improved corporate ethical culture. Examples of ethical dimensions to consider while promoting cultural awareness include openness, clarity, transparency, and privacy. Being transparent implies that a person witnesses and acknowledges the impacts of actions on others. Staff would, therefore, act per the set principles when they are integrated into different cultures. During interactions with other cultures, individuals must maintain a level of privacy while presenting ideas or views to develop consensus.
Developing cultural awareness in management or leadership is setting help to inspire creativity and innovation
Cultural diversity is crucial to maintain a balanced working business. In global enterprises whose function involves dealing and affiliating with partners, being recognizant of people’s background is vital for successful collaboration. People interact more when they feel appreciated and involved in a conversation, and this cannot be attained without first recognizing each group’s values. According to Fujimoto and Härtel (2017, p. 1124), culture influences the way people perceive the world, and various viewpoints can be raised, ranging from personal to professional experience. For instance, foreign workers can produce new ideas to inspire colleagues to view the working environment and the entire world differently. Diversity of thoughts yields creativity and steers innovations through helping or problem-solving process. Enlightening an organization’s seniors is a way to unlock multiple personalities, voices, and nations, who will, in turn, offer a platform for workers to exchange ideas.
Developing cultural awareness in managers or leaders makes a business more competitive
Training cultural awareness to organizational leaders and managers is an opportunity to reach knowledge and insights about new markets. Once seniors know all the aspects of cultures, it will be easy to interact with people outside the business and seek views on the market’s nature. For example, it is easy to know consumers’ preferences for products and determine new approaches to earn a competitive edge (Fujimoto and Härtel, 2017, p. 1123). Equally, a multicultural workforce provides an organization vital edge when planning to expand into other regions. Products or services need to be adopted to succeed overseas, and this is made possible by recognizing local customs, regulations, and competitive landscapes. The more an organization’s leadership or management is equipped with cultural knowledge, the more potential to connect with native skills or local practices.
Developing cultural awareness in management or leadership is advantageous to attract and retain talent pools
Diversity is a factor when it comes to hiring and job retention. According to Fujimoto and Härtel (2017, p. 1124), studies show that employees through surveys point to cultural competency as key to job offers. Employees acknowledge that an organization that considers the workforce from various backgrounds values people’s input and treats them well. In a highly competitive job market environment, proving that an organization invests in fostering multiculturalism and inclusion is an added benefit to standing out to excellent candidates. Leaders and managers have to make diversity an essential part of the hiring process to boost potential workers’ talent pool.
By developing cultural awareness in management or leadership, an organization has the potential to offer a range of products and services
Diversity learning links well to organizational performance because businesses can produce the best once they know their preferences. Understanding of customers’ interests and choices is broadened by cultural awareness training approach. Furthermore, drawing from culturally diverse talents sources, organizations reap the benefit of hiring professionals with exceptional skills that are often not easy to access locally. Global-based companies add service range by leveraging expertise brought from international workfare. A wide range of technical know-how and diverse offering of commodities can help compete effectively or adapt to new market environments. Given the current situation of uncertain global business settings, only agile and adaptable entities can thrive.
A potential challenge to encounter when developing cultural awareness is overcoming biases or prejudices
Cultures are a composition of values, norms, traditions, and practices that vary from one person to another. Being culturally sensitive means acknowledging other people’s differences, and when working together, individuals must respect exhibited backgrounds, including accepting.
However, it may not necessarily mean that one must conform to another culture by emulating foreign traditions and abandoning theirs. Cultural awareness is realizing how people are different in terms of behaviors, languages, and customs. In the learning process, leaders and managers may likely encounter conflicting values with their own, creating prejudice or biases (Madsen and Andrade, 2018, p. 62). It can be a difficult situation to overcome, and when not well monitored, the potential discrimination instances are likely to occur within the workplace. Consequently, organizational performance will get affected when seniors hurt the morale of diverse employees through implicit bias.
Developing cultural awareness in leaders and managers would result in confusion in working styles across teams
The first thing leaders and managers will learn from the training are that integrating a diverse workforce in the organization has potential benefits of improved skills. However, most likely potential conflicts on working styles will not be noticed, brought by individuals from different backgrounds. Furthermore, it will take time for individuals to learn about each other, and this delay will likely harm organizational performance through reduced team efforts, based on the group development model. Approaches to teamwork and collaboration may vary notably, while some cultures value collective consensus and others focus on individualism, based on Hofstede’s theory (Kristjánsdóttir et al., 2017, p. 3). Indirectly, diversity training presents challenges to leadership and management regarding difficulties with team dynamics and formation.
Developing cultural competence in leadership and management starts with the understating that individuals’ differences can unlock employees’ capabilities. Training programs on cultural awareness inform leaders and managers of the role of diversity and give insights on various ways to have an inclusive working environment. To work with individuals of other cultures requires a personal understanding of preferences and interests to counter issues such as biases. The report reveals that cultural education for organization seniors is commonplace in various sectors, popularity spawning from competencies, humility, and intelligence. However, the approach to being culturally sensitive can induce unintended outcomes, as noted above in the disadvantages section.
Fujimoto, Y. and Härtel, C.E. (2017) ‘Organizational diversity learning framework: going beyond diversity training programs’, Personnel Review, 46(6), pp. 1120-1141. Web.
Kristjánsdóttir, H. et al. (2017) ‘Hofstede national culture and international trade’, Applied Economics, 49(57), pp. 5792-5801. Web.
Madsen, S.R. and Andrade, M.S. (2018) ‘Unconscious gender bias: implications for women’s leadership development’, Journal of Leadership Studies, 12(1), pp. 62-67. Web.
Ramsey, J. R. et al. (2017) ‘Developing global transformational leaders’, Journal of World Business, 52(4), pp. 461-473. Web.