What Are Some Examples Of Cultural Differences In The Workplace?


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Matthew Porter answered
Cultural differences in the workplace can occur, where individuals have different expectations and experiences of social interaction, work ethic and conversational language. Cultural differences can even extend to issues such as eating habits.
The most prominent cultural needs and requirements which need to be taken into account in a workplace are dress (for instance specific religious clothing), religious practice, cultural customs (such as the preparation of food and drink), social values (such as work ethic and social behavior), family obligations and non-verbal behavior (expectations of interaction between individuals).

Overcoming cultural differences within a multicultural working environment is crucial if businesses are going to maximize their potential. Sensitivity and awareness is normally the key to ensuring that different cultures can function smoothly and without friction.

The Kwintessential website ( advises the following steps that can be take to increase cultural awareness in the multicultural workplace:

• Build your cultural knowledge - try to learn more about the cultures and countries of your colleagues
• Treat people as individuals - do not rely on generalizations or stereotypes as these can be misleading and will not appeal to every single member of that particular culture
• Implement your cultural knowledge - be sympathetic to cultural differences and put your knowledge into action
• Avoid blame - be constructive when problems arise and think of resolving difficult situations with an awareness of the cultural mechanics of the situation
• Listen actively - pay attention to the words used by people and the context of the way that something is said
• Relay your knowledge - work with your colleagues to relay knowledge to one another and build up the skills set of your team

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