Understanding the Multicultural Workforce: Challenges, Issues and Differences

In: Business and Management

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Understanding the Multicultural Workforce:
Challenges, Issues and Differences

Michael Widdowson

Organizational Behavior

November 25, 2012
Understanding the Multicultural Workforce:
Challenges, Issues and Differences
Multicultural workforces are becoming more prevalent in today's business environment. Businesses that make effective use of the talents of the workforce and value the differences that are present within it will certainly prosper under these conditions. Those employers who realize that diversity relates directly to the bottom line will continue to be successful. Companies must learn to lead, not simply manage their workers. Business will need to go beyond the needs and objectives of affirmative action and look at issues of non-natives and minorities.
The challenges of a multicultural workforce
In a multicultural workforce there are many obstacles that exist from the company's viewpoint as well as the employee's perspective. Foreign-born and minority employees face an abundance of obstacles in their day-to-day lives. By far, the biggest challenge is the language barrier. However, there are many other areas of concern including economic issues, assertiveness issues, expectations, cultural biases, feelings of isolation, family values, lifestyles, and communication to name a few.
An article written by Teresa R. Hammond and Brian H. Kleiner explains several of these fore mentioned obstacles. For example, people from many cultures have been brought up to believe that speaking up expressing one's views would be extremely rude and ill-bred, particularly in a business situation. However, in the American culture it is exactly what is necessary to get ahead (1992). Another example illustrated by Hammond and Kleiner is how language can be a barrier. In many cultures it is taught that to tell someone no is very discourteous, and instead will nod and…...

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