I have recently read an article dated June 12, 2012, titled Understanding Cultural Difference at Workplaces. It was written by Jung Bong-soo.
With a global connection in the workplace becoming more and more prevalent, it is vital that we at least consider some of the differences between cultures and how they impact us. Then, we must each consider how the differences need to be addressed for ourselves and the roles we maintain. Not all roles require the same consideration be given. With our worlds becoming more diverse and more interconnected, we need make ourselves more aware of the differences. As a medical assistant, global touches may be more limited. The writer of this blog currently works for an international non-profit organization. Understanding differences in cultures is quite important to have.
Three points which were brought to light as important were:
· In Western cultures roles more than age within organizations are more respected. In other cultures, it is more about age or other more personal factors.
· Language differences have a greater effect on relationships both personally and in the workplace.
· How an individual receives communication is as important as how it is sent.
This writer works in a position where his manager is 14 years his junior. In other cultures, this could be difficult to handle when considering respect issues. Problems could arise in the older person giving the appropriate respect to their boss. Difficulties may also be seen in the younger not being able to give direction to the older employee. In the Western culture this is not as big of an issue any longer. We consider younger people to give new perspective and ideas and older people to give experience and historical value to the situation.
In our Western culture we give much credence to being honest with others and we do not necessarily consider politeness or respect. It seems, in many work places, day to day is more about getting the job done at all cost. Accomplishing work tasks are completing direct orders as opposed to requests. Our military environment is a prime example. We have, however, masked the orders in the civilian workplace by improving our ability to say “please” and “thank you” when making a request of an employee.
We also need to consider slang and fad statements which might be fun to use and work well within our culture can be very offensive in others. They could make the receiver of the message feel threatened or insulted. We must always consider others in our communication.
This writer has found these three points to be important considerations not only because of the global connection but because of the diverse connection between our cultures within our local physical environments. Whether we communicate well in another language verbally, or not, it is important to understand that many of the foreign cultures show a different respect than in the Western culture. Western culture tends to say be honest and forthright, regardless of how blunt we have to be or what the relationship is.
It is important to be aware of the cultures we touch, however, each job should give understanding regarding whether cultural research is necessary. In my current role, it is minimal but necessary.