Managing Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

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  • 0:04 Cultural Diversity
  • 0:40 Managing a Diverse Workforce
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

In this video, we will define the term 'cultural diversity.' In addition, we will explore methods by which supervisors can utilize hands-on strategies that welcome and encourage diversity in the workplace.

Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity is a term that we've certainly gotten used to hearing over the last several years. At its most basic, cultural diversity refers to the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society. Typically, when we think of a cultural group, our first thought is that of an ethnic group such as Indian, Caucasian, or African American; however, cultures come in many forms. Examples of different cultural groups can be middle class groups, Republicans, bisexuals, millennials, or basically any group that has its own distinct culture.

Managing a Diverse Workforce

Knowing that there are many different cultural groups out there, it stands to reason that there is quite a diverse cultural representation in most workplaces. Because of this, it is imperative that supervisors know how to manage a culturally diverse workforce. Let's discuss several strategies for doing just that.

1. Understanding Discrimination

Anyone who supervises employees, whether that number is 2 or 2,000, needs to understand modern discrimination laws as well as what the penalties are for violating them. In addition, that knowledge should be shared with everyone in the group on a yearly basis. This can prevent workers from making poor decisions based on age, gender, race, religion, or color.

2. Being in Touch with One's Preconceptions

Leaders must be able to identify their own misconceptions and biases about those whose cultures differ from theirs before they can make sound decisions for and about those people, and in doing so, they should encourage their employees to do the same. This may not always be comfortable, but it's necessary.

3. Investing in Diversity Training

Companies should invest in diversity training to reinforce policies and to encourage appropriate behavior among workers. Just as the United States has been called the Great Melting Pot, many companies are also melting pots, albeit on a much smaller scale, and it's important that everyone know and understand how to respect each others' differences.

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