Managers Need To Understand Culture In Today’s Workforce


Many managers in today’s corporate America require a deep appreciation for other cultures and practices. This is becoming the case due to the increasing number of people from different ethnicities that are becoming the changing labor force and consumer market. A commitment to lifelong learning and how to achieve world standards within a multicultural workforce is needed.

Life long learning includes managing day-to-day operations with an awareness of their own personal and cultural background and the backgrounds of others. The experiences of managers, as well as those of their workers and customers, should be respected. Focusing on cultural values and beliefs are important because they are a great influence on how a person’s identity is formed. This identity leads to the type of manager the person becomes. If you can’t appreciate your own culture as well as the culture of others, how can you relate to the workers you supervise?

Techniques for a multicultural competent manager:

  • Self-awareness. Be able to understand yourself and how you relate to others.
  • Awareness of one’s own culture. How does your culture affect the way you relate to people?
  • Awareness of other cultures. Being familiar with other cultures and customs will give you a broader perspective as to why people react certain ways to different situations.
  • Awareness of racism and sexism. As a manager, you will need to be all over this point to avoid legal issues in the job setting.
  • Awareness of individual differences. Each person will bring a different experience to the table. Use that as an asset as opposed to a challenge.

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6 thoughts on “Managers Need To Understand Culture In Today’s Workforce

  1. Poor managers also have to look for the differences in some international cultures, when they have foreign workers…
    Did you know that in Bulgaria the negative head motion means “yes”? So if you are traveling there and offer a candy to a friend’s kid, be aware that the kid WANTS the candy despite his/her “no” head motion!

  2. I agree with you with! That is why my wife and I wrote and published a book entitled: “The Book of Cultural Added Values of Prefixed Americans” by Jacqueline B. Dickens and Floyd Dickens, Jr. The book helps managers move beyond Valuing Diversity and use Cultural Added Value to get more output from their work force.

  3. Explain to me why managers need to adapt to other cultures vs. their employees adapting to their managers’ culture? Can managers in America bring law suits against their employees because they were “misunderstood” over a cultural difference? They probably can, but in today’s judicial environment, wouldn’t win. Which is probably the genesis of this article.
    The advice of this article will hinder the advancement and assimillation of foreign born workers instead of helping their prospective managers prepare them for advancement.
    My neighbors are from Nepal, one is a Wall street analyst, the other a scientist. The analyst was featured in a Forbes Magazine article for his prowess and insight. The scientist, accepted into a prestigious post graduate program. Do you think they reached those levels of success because managers in their previous jobs tried to understand them from a cultural perspective or because my neighbors worked hard to assimillate into their environment?
    My neighbors still keep their cultural identity and customs, I am often invited to join in their celebrations – which are wonderful – but outside the home they adapt to the American way of life and business- and they appreciate the opportunities afforded them in this country. My scientist friend speaks fondly of a mentor – a white American retired military man turned professor – who had a profound influence on her during her undergraduate career.
    Likewise, if I were to do business in a foreign country, I would prepare myself by learning at least the basics of that country’s business customs. If I were to be offended along the way because I wasn’t prepared – so be it.
    Let’s get real. Help our foreign born friends in business succeed and not hinder them by bowing to the alter of “cultural differences”.

  4. I used to work for a guy who had a poster on his wall that said; Teamwork When everyone does it my way.
    I think it was hung on the wall as a joke because all those corporate posters were just coming into vogue. You know the ones, with a beutiful picture framed in black with some corporate-speak slogan in white letters.

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