Organizations nowadays are mainly multi-cultural in nature because multiculturalism exerts great influence on organizational behavior. It is therefore, a challenge for today's managers to grasp the different aspects of multiculturalism by making their corporate – culture more in tune with the issues of multiculturalism in order to remain in the ever competitive global market. This paper examined the strategies for managing multiculturalism that will lead to the success of organization.
Keywords: Culture, Multiculturalism, Organization and Competitive Advantage
The recent business trend of globalization and increasing ethnic and gender diversity are turning managers' attentions to the management of cultural differences. This work emphasizes the reasons why organizations should value diversity to ensure organizational success. This has become pertinent because organizations that fail to make appropriate changes by using and keeping employees from different backgrounds can expect to suffer a significant competitive disadvantage compared to those who do so. Managing multiculturalism has become a reality that organizations cannot shy away from. It reviews the importance and strategies on how managing cultural diversity can ensure the success of all organization. The paper also addresses cost , attraction of human resources, marketing success, creativity and innovation, problem solving quality and organizational flexibility as six dimensions of business performance which can directly impact on the management of cultural diversity . it offers suggestions for managing multiculturalism that will lead to organizational success.
This is a complex mixture of assumption behaviour, stories, myths, metaphors and other ideas that fit together to define what it means to be a member of particular society (Stoner, 2005) in Abdulkarim and Ebajemito (2010). Cultural is a collective belief, values, traditions, understanding and assumptions obtainable in a society. (Loosemore, 2020 in Bamgbade, Jimoh and Kuroshi, 2014). It is generally viewed as the way of life of a people.
This is the view of the work place that there are many different cultural backgrounds and factors that are important in organizations and that people from different backgrounds can co-exist and flourish within organization (Stoner, 2005) in Abdulkarim and Ebajemito (2010).
This refers to a set of important understandings, such as norms, values, attitudes and beliefs shared by organizational members (Stoner, 2005). in Abdulkarim and Ebajemito (2010).
Review of Literature
Cox (1991) in Stoner (2005) opined that increase in diversity present challenges to business leaders who must maximize its opportunities while minimizing cost to accomplish objectives. Thus, organization must be transformed from monolithic or plural organization to multi-cultural model.
Bride (1992) in Vashihtha and Garge (2017). Viewed that global managers create efficiency by creating a uniform approach across the national and cultural boundaries; they must not only be able to manage cultural diversity, they must also be able to create effective micro cultures of unified action worldwide.
White (1999) in Abdulkarim and Ebajemito (2010) asserted that the challenges posed by an increasing diverse workforce may require the creation of new paradigms of management and organizational behaviour.
Monica (2010) stated that intercultural management is not only a marginal area, but it has been gaining more and more significance for international as well as purely national companies, if they want to succeed in the demanding competitive environment.
Sharma (2011) opined that companies that diversify the workforce will have a distinct competitive advantage over those that do not. Further, it is clear that the greatest benefit of workforce diversity will be experienced not by the companies that have learnt to employ people because of them.
According to Rama Rao (2008), most organizations have realized that diversity exists and that the culture of any organization must pay attention to the needs of a set of their corporate culture more in tune with the issue of multiculturalism.
Gardenswats & Rove (2009) argued that traditional approach of managing workforce is not sufficient. It lacks diversity management plan, thus, this managerial approach is not adequate for multi-cultural organizations whose target is to attain highest possible productivity peak. Furthermore, it is imperative that managers understand the cultural set-up of their workforce if organizational objectives are to be achieved.
Seymen (2006) argued that team can be controlled at the social identity perspective level. When groups are formed , there are group that governs the activities of members of the group where as the defaulter is penalized.
Nigeria is a large country comprising of over 250 ethnic groups of different languages (population census, 2006). The three dominant tribes are the Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo. The Hausa/Fulanis occupied the Northern part of the country. The Yorubas are in the West while the Igbos are the East. All these dominant tribes contain many minority tribes. Besides, it is a nation of religious diversity. This diversity has posed a lot of challenges to the management of organization in Nigeria. The fact that businesses does not exist in a vacuum but in a micro environment of forces among which is the socio-cultural makes it pertinent for manages of business organization in Nigeria to embrace multiculturalism.
Reasons why Nigeria Firms Need to Embrace Multiculturalism
According to Cox in Rama Rao (2008), managing diversity and multiculturalism is crucial to organizational success. Managing cultural diversity can improve organizational performance.
- Cost: Organization that does a poor job in managing multicultural issues are bond to incur higher costs. On the other hand, organizations where women and minorities leave, the organization gets no return on the investment it has made in them. More so, multicultural issues are not well managed; there is tendency that people will not be as comfortable as they will spend much of their issues instead of their jobs.
- Creativity: Nigerian forms need to embrace multiculturalism because it encourages and support creativity thinking in the work place thereby helping organizations to challenges out-of –date norms. With creature thinking they are sure to have competitive advantages over others they have not embraced it.
- Problem Solving: Multiculturalism will ensure that the organization benefits from a broader and richer based on experience found in diverse groups thereby allowing for enhanced problem solving. Improving problem solving is naturally related to performance.
- System Flexibility: Firms that embrace multiculturalism in Nigeria are sure to benefit from that diversity. There will be increased cognitive flexibility of bi-ormulti-lingual minorities and greater tolerance the gender components.
- Resources Acquisition: Companies that develop best reputations for managing cultural diversity especially those favourable to women and ethnic minorities will win competitions for best staff. This edge in the long run will become increasingly important.
Marketing; Organizations that manage multicultural issues well, have an insight into cultural sensitivity that members will root in other countries bring to the marketing efforts. Since markets are diverse and cultural issues have effect on the buying decisions of customers. Most successful organizations today have a variety of people from different cultural backgrounds that are involved.
Strategies for Managing Multiculturalism Organizations in Nigeria
- The key to up the advantage of multiculturalism in organizations is by avoiding pitfalls and creating an organization in which members of all socio-cultural background contribute and achieve their full potentials (Vashishtha & Garge, 2017).
- The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) must create and show commitment. The need diversity training to address myths, stereotypes and real cultural differences as well as organizational barriers that prevents the full contributions of employees.
- Multiculturalism should be made as part of organization's strategic objective. Diversity goal must be linked to business objectives. If it is made a super ordinate goal, the organizations would be able to religiously work toward its achievement.
- Managers must be held accountable for meeting diversity goals. Performance evaluation of managers should be tied to how far they are able to manage a diversified workforce.
- Managers should open channels for efficient communication so that employees can ventilate their ideas, grievances, input and advice.
- Empowering of all employee to use their full potentials. There is need for them to celebrate diversity rather than tolerating a cultural climate that allows differences.
An organization that cultivates the habit of attracting, retraining and motivating people from different cultural background is on the road to having a competitive edge over others. Even though managing multiculturalism is a broad and complex tablet it is the way to go in ensuring organizational success. It entails a shift from efficient mindsets to one with higher human relationship goals. The end is team creativity and innovation.
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