Understanding the Multicultural Workforce: Challenges, Issues and Differences

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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…show more content…
Aghazadeh Seyed-Mahmoud points out in his article that people of different ethnic backgrounds aquire different values, norms, and attitudes. Cultural differences determine the observed differences in work attitudes relative to the "white" employees. One area of cultural differences is the contrast between individualism and collectivism (2004). Collectivists emphasize the needs of the group, social norms, shared beliefs, and cooperation with group members. In general, Asians and Hispanics for example have roots in nations with collectivist traditions, while Anglos have roots in the European tradition of individualism (Bauer and Erdogan 2010). The extent of people's cultural beliefs of individualism or collectivism has been used to predict the effectiveness of many management practices. An organization's culture determines the ability of members from other groups to perform within the organization. Individuals from minority groups face challenges everyday dealing with prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping. Prejudice is defined by Seyed-Mahmoud as "an adverse opinion or judgment formed beforehand or without full knowledge or complete examination of the facts; a preconceived idea or bias" (2004). Prejudice can be both positive and negative. To discriminate is "to make a clear differentiation and act on the basis of prejudice" (Seyed-Mahmoud, 2004).
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