Chapter 1: Diversity Across Cultures

Diversity management is growing steadily as the Internet and global communications have made
many environments multicultural settings. Awareness and appreciation of diversity varies according to
cultural milieu. What is effective in one culture can be counterproductive in another. Understanding
diversity parameters and developing effectiveness with them can help individuals and organizations
create strategies that support culturally appropriate diversity and enhance productivity.
Yukl (2010) described the need of managers to be effective leaders in different cultures as a
“difficult but important responsibility” in this century. This importance has also been recognized by the
emergence of cross-cultural research known as holo-cultural studies (Kinzer & Gillies, 2009). Our
research-based knowledge of cross-cultural effects is still limited. In a comprehensive review of “Crosscultural
and Global Issues in Organizational Psychology,” Erez (2011) noted the issues of cross-cultural
influences in organizations are underrepresented in research literature. Today, managers are often part
of multinational organizations (MNOs) and integrated in virtual and face-to-face multicultural teams
(MCTs). These roles require managers to develop shared meaning systems that overcome geographic and
cultural differences. Erez identified three important perspectives considered in cross-cultural studies; the
multilevel model of culture (Hofstede, 1980, 2001, Mooij & Hofstede, 2010), the cross-cultural
comparisons of the dimensions describing two or more cultures (House et al., 2004; Schwartz, 1992,
1994), and the broad global and multicultural focus on social entities and multigovernmental
organizations (Brunsson & Jacobsson, 2000; Drori, 2006; M. Erez & Drori, 2009; Meyer, 2002). In the
conclusion to Erez’s chapter, the author proposed,
. . . that cultures are converging at the global level but maintaining their uniqueness at the national
and local levels. Underneath the surface of globalization, there is high variance in cultural values,
histories, political regimes, religions, and external physical and climatic conditions that
differentiate among cultures and require different patterns of cultural adaptation. Therefore,
people are likely to live in more than one cultural sphere, and to do this they are likely to use more
than one language, more than one code of behaviors, and more than one social identity. (p. 841)
This chapter will explore co-cultural diversity in terms of continental specifics with contributions
from residents in South Africa, India, Germany, Mexico, and The United States. Key variables explored
will be historical perspectives, commitment to the organization, perceptions of fairness and respect, and
frustrations in the work environment. Understanding of, respect for and positive incorporation of ideas
from diverse cultures around the world while remaining flexible in approach and oriented toward people
can support improved workplace and social dynamics.
This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Book Chapter
Authors: 
K. A. Conrad
H. van Niekerk
S. Karmarkar
S. Beier
F.J. R. Avila
F.J. R. Avila
V. Nxedhlana
D. Jenkins
Year of Publication: 
2017
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
Diversity and Inclusion in the Global Workplace: Aligning Initiatives with Strategic Business Goals
Edition: 
First
Section: 
Chapter 1
Pages: 
11-34
Date Published: 
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Place Published: 
London, UK
Publication Language: 
English
Editors: 
Carlos Tasso Eira de Aquino, PhD
Robert W. Robertson, PhD
Boyer's Domain: 

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