managing cultural diversity

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    14-Nov-2014

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MANAGING CULTURAL DIVERSITYINTRODUCTION : As well as the more obvious cultural differences that exist between people, such as language, dress and traditions, there are also significant variations in the way societies organize themselves, in their shared conception of morality, and in the ways they interact with their environment. It is debatable whether these differences are merely incidental artifacts arising from patterns of human migration or whether they represent an evolutionary trait that is key to our success as a species. By analogy with biodiversity, which is thought to be essential to the longterm survival of life on earth, it can be argued that cultural diversity may be vital for the long-term survival of humanity; and that the conservation of indigenous cultures may be as important to humankind as the conservation of species and ecosystems is to life in general. This argument is rejected by some people, on several grounds. Firstly, like most evolutionary accounts of human nature, the importance of cultural diversity for survival may be an un-testable hypothesis, which can neither be proved nor disproved. Secondly, it can be argued that it is unethical deliberately to conserve "less developed" societies, because this will deny people within those societies the benefits of technological and medical advances enjoyed by those of us in the "developed" world. Finally, there are some people, particularly those with strong religious beliefs, who maintain that it is in the best interests of individuals and of humanity as a whole that we all adhere to the single model for society that they deem to be correct. For example, fundamentalist evangelist missionary organisations such as the New Tribes Mission actively work to reduce cultural diversity by seeking out remote tribal societies, converting them to their own faith, and inducing them to remodel their society after its principles. Cultural diversity is tricky to quantify, but a good indication is thought to be a count of the number of languages spoken in a region or in the world as a whole. By this measure, there are signs that we may be going through a period of precipitous decline in the world's cultural diversity. Research carried out in the 1990s by David Crystal (Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor) suggested that at that time, on average, one language was falling into disuse every two weeks. He calculated that if that rate of language death were to continue, then by the year 2100 more than 90% of the languages currently spoken in the world will have gone extinct. year 2100 more than 90% of the languages currently spoken in the world will have gone extinct. EMERGENCE OF THE TOPIC: The topic of diversity has raised significant attention over the past decade (Marx 1999; Kandola et al. 1998; Connerley 2005). Changes in the demographic composition of the workforce in the direction of increasing representation of minority groups mirrored by changes in other parts of the world have created the need to understand how ethnically and culturally diverse individuals respond to managerial practices (Warner et al. 2002). Human beings come in all shapes and sizes, colours and forms, but we do not seek to be different, rather we seek to be with our own kind. We are a visually oriented species so perhaps it is somewhat natural that we tend to notice differences. We describe ourselves as Christian, Jew, Democratic, or even as a Manchester football fan. These categories do not refer to natural biological attributes or necessarily to a particular geographical region, but they have an enormous impact on our behaviour. (Denton 1997) The hospitality industry is an international and global industry, many companies and organisations are working international and their employees are from many different countries. The hospitality industry is becoming increasingly

`internationalized. Indeed, we can say it is `globalised, where a common global experience is taking place.

Waters (1995, cited in Francesco and Gold, 2005, p.2) defines globalisation as `a social process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural arrangements recede and in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding. Guttal (2007) goes further and stated: `The term `globalisation is widely used to describe a variety of economic, cultural, social, and political changes that have shaped the world over the past 50-odd years, from the much celebrated revolution in information technology to the diminishing of national and geo-political boundaries in an ever-expanding, transnational movement of goods, services, and capital. Due to this globalisation we are faced with a diversity of our workforce. But is it a problem to work with people from other countries and other cultures.

2. Managing Diversity vs. Equal Opportunities In its traditional form, equal opportunities has been described as rights based, liberal , rooted in legal compliance, based upon equality through `sameness and merit with a focus on non discrimination, and geared towards increasing the proportion of women and other under represented groups in senior roles in organisations (Kirton and Green, 2000) Diversity should be seen as merely a replacement for the old equal opportunities policy: it must be a corporate value, an integral part of the business strategy, a formal business objective (Harisis and Kleiner 1993 quoted in Fisher 2001) Arguably the most fundamental development in approaches to workplace equality in the past 20 years has been the introduction of `diversity management as second major approach in addition to `equal opportunities. (Cornelius 2002)

REVIEW OF LITERATURE:There are so many articles written on the given topic. These articles tell us about the importance of management of cultural diversity.This paper seeks to explore cultural diversity issues pertaining to employers in the hospitality sector of Northern Ireland. The study centred on the question What opportunities and challenges does a culturally diverse workforce create for hoteliers in Northern Ireland?. Information gained from the in-depth interviews showed evidence that integrating cultural diversity into an organisation is not an easy process, but must be part of a long-term strategy to be effective. It has been identified that many of the international workers work in urban and rural hospitality establishments of Northern Ireland. In 2002-2003, work permit holders from 66 different countries came to Northern Ireland, in addition to nationals from EEA countries (Jarman, 2004, p. 59). In the majority of cases international staff were viewed as loyal, committed, and always willing to work hard being employed mostly by word-of mouth and being referred by family and friends. It was found that many of the employers tended to assume that the international workers were only capable of low-skilled work, offering positions mainly in back-of-house in departments such as the kitchen and housekeeping. As a result, the skills of many migrant workers may be underused in the labour market. This highlights the need for employers to recognise the talents of migrant workers, improved innovation could be based on the concept that differences will provide new and different ideas for the workplace. In the majority of the establishments, the positive potential of international employees, for example their language capabilities and their cultural identities remain untapped. There is a perception that international workers are temporary and may not be included in the normal career development or promotion opportunities. There is a need to recognise that international workers are a growing category of employees in Northern Ireland and they can be seen as a necessary factor to overcome the labour shortages reported in the hospitality industry. There remains a danger that international staff is considered as a quick fix to solve the skills shortages in the industry. There are some but not major issues relating to harassment and racism and these could be overcome if appropriate human resource policies and procedures are in place and communicated to all staff (national and international) in order to deal with cultural diversity. There is a need to train the domestic workforce as to why the firm is hiring from abroad and what to expect (Paton, 2004; Filte Ireland, 2005). Therefore, the role of multi-cultural training for all employees is important. Finally, comments from the employers support for the need for better integration and socialisation of international workers with their local colleagues and indeed the wider community. Some good practices have been identified in the form of free and subsidised accommodation and a planned football tournament with the local community. More staff integration activities such as social events (hill walking, shopping trips) involving the wider community are more likely to help international workers to settle in quickly and feel more comfortable in their new environment.

It is difficult to predict how the numerical picture with respect to international employees in Northern Ireland's hospitality sector will evolve. The arrival of new international workers to Northern Ireland will depend on a range of factors including continued active recruitment for shortages in the industry, government migration policies, the accession of further countries to the EU, the initiatives of recruitment agencies and the economic conditions in the countries of origin of international workers. This paper points to the need for further and more detailed analysis of the role of multicultural training in assuring business benefits associated with diversity. Ultimately, this paper demonstrates some of the opportunities and challenges which hospitality and tourism employers in Northern Ireland faces with respect to the management of cultural diversity. There is a need for the hospitality sec

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