Cultural diversity defines various ways through which different cultures interact with one another while pursuing similar objectives (Henderson, 1994). This equally refers to various characteristics that differentiate one culture from another and they may include ethnicity, physical appearance, and languages spoken. Cultural diversity aims at enabling various cultures to interact while appreciating and respecting each other’s differences. Due to the expansion of organizations into various countries, it has become unavoidable for people from different countries to work together (Marlene, 1996). Although there are numerous challenges that face organizations that embrace cultural diversity, there also exist numerous benefits that organizations embracing cultural diversity attain.
Managing a multicultural team operating at Macy’s store in Zurich
Macy’s Inc is a United States multinational company that deals with a variety of clothing brands that include Calvin Klein. It intends to open a new store in Zurich, Switzerland where it will employ people who have different descents including Americans, Italians, Germans, and Swiss. For this team to work efficiently, it is important to come up with effective management strategies to enhance teamwork (Norma, 1997). The team will thus need to go through a cultural diversity training session before opening the store so as to enable them to embrace and respect each other’s cultural differences. This team will equally need a mentor that will help them integrate their talents as they continue working at the store to promote the overall performance of the entire company. The team may however experience various cultural problems that may require the intervention of the team leader to ensure that work at the store runs smoothly (Henderson, 1994).
Difficulty in communication is one of the major problems that this team might face while trying to ensure that the store runs efficiently. As this team shares different verbal and non-verbal communication cues, members might face certain communication challenges while trying to communicate with one another and this may derail the rapid growth of the store. This may equally prevent the smooth flow of information as different individuals may interpret different messages differently (Marlene, 1996). This may ultimately hinder the healthy interaction of the team and the integration of talents towards promoting the profitability of the store. To overcome this problem, the team leader should ensure that the team attends training that will ensure that all members obtain basic skills that can help to minimize communication problems.
Discrimination is equally another problem that may face this team as certain members may view themselves as important and superior to others. This may act as a hindrance for the team to concentrate their efforts towards achieving cordial relationships that may increase productivity within the Macy’s store (Norma, 1997). This may as well lower self-esteem among discriminated members thereby demotivating them while eventually leading to poor performances. To overcome this challenge, the company may need to teach its team members to treat one another with respect and impose a fine on any member that is found discriminating against another. This company should equally formulate a policy that would ensure that all team members undergo training that would enhance cultural understanding among the entire team (Henderson, 1994).
Conflicts are bound to occur in the store as team members differ in many aspects that include social status and ethnicity. Team members that have a different understanding of various issues are likely to have diverse opinions on those issues leading to conflicts. Conflicts may as well intensify following significant differences that various team members have on conflict resolution methods (Marlene, 1996). Such differences in conflict resolution methods may aggravate minor conflicts to complex situations that will ultimately disrupt store operations. To counter this problem, the store manager will need to facilitate a bonding session that will enable team members to propose collective conflict resolution techniques. The store will equally hire bi-lingual employees that will aid various employees to solve their differences as they understand people of different languages (Norma, 1997).
The increased financial cost is another major problem that this store may incur as it trains its staff on how to cope with cultural diversity. Further cost can as well be incurred while hiring competent trainers that can effectively train the company’s staff on various ways of understanding how to interact with staff and people from other cultures (Henderson, 1994). To overcome the financial challenge the company will need to formulate a strategic plan that will ensure that the training budget is manageable. The company will also ensure that it carries out training in a very efficient way that will enable it to get the value of its money.
Team-building problems may equally occur at the store as some members of this team view working as a team as unbearable (Norma, 1997). Americans for instance are renowned for their preference to work as individuals and therefore it may take time for them to get used to working as a team with other people. This may therefore hamper the rapid growth of the store as different team members get accustomed to working together. This company may thus be required to invest in team-building sessions that would enable various team members to embrace the team spirit. They may equally need to formulate various duties in a way that they are only accomplished by teams rather than individual employees (Marlene, 1996).
Cultural diversity refers to different characteristics that different cultures have including language, social status, and ethnicity. This enables organizations having various operations in other countries to tap talents from people of different cultures thereby increasing their talent pool. Although Macy’s store will benefit from employing people from different nationalities by tapping their talents, it will face numerous challenges that include discrimination among employees, communication problems, increased financial costs, team-building challenges, and numerous conflicts.
Henderson, G. (1994). Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Issues and Strategies, Westport, CT: Praeger Publisher.
Marlene, F. (1996). Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: The State of the Field, The Journal of Communication, 33(4): 45-61.
Norma, R. (1997). Cultural Diversity Programs to Prepare for WorkForce 2000: What’s Gone Wrong?, Public Personal Management, 26(1): 100-113.