Increasing globalisation in the workplace has led to a grown trend of having a culturally diverse workplace. Cultural diversity does not only come from groups of different race and ethnicity but also groups of a different nationality, religion, and sexual orientation working together as a community. Embracing diversity will affect the workplace community in numerous ways, both positively and negatively.
Based on Harrison et al.’s study, culturally diverse workplaces might increase the tendency of interpersonal conflicts due to the differences in opinions, thoughts, beliefs, norms, customs, trends, etc. The diversity might also result in decreased development of unity.
Harrison et al. explained that when culturally-diverse workers work together in a group, the differences of opinions would be varied. Whilst a deep-level of similarity in a group is good, the dissimilarity effect is negative. Employees might have reasons to indulge in conflict with one another over serious to trivial matters.
There is no doubt that dissimilarity effects will not only affect employee collaboration but also could lead to lost productivity and development of negative emotions among employees. This is detrimental to the organisation because when a conflict between internal workers arises, with no proper solution, the effect will be felt by other employees that are directly or indirectly related to the conflict.
On the contrary, if HR managers and leaders could manage the similarity and minimise the effect of dissimilarity of culturally diverse workers, the result would be much advantages for employers.
Al-Jenaibi’s study found that employees coming from different cultures have different experiences and this can be beneficial by providing an organisation with a vast knowledge base. As an example, culturally-diverse employees help overcome cultural differences through shared experiences when working together in a team.
Another positive result of a cultural diversity workplace is when the business expands abroad. Many modern companies have global expansion on their corporate agendas. Culturally-diverse employees could give employers insight on how to achieve goals or face obstacles in the targeted country. Culturally diverse workers can also be useful for an organisation in terms of foreign assignments and shifting to brick-and-mortar offices to the online marketplace. Diversity helps in the expansion of an organisation’s perspective, approach, strategic tactics, launch of a new product, development of a marketing plan, creation of a new idea, design of a new operation, and assessment of emerging trends.
Read also: Tips for Managing Cultural Diversity at Work