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To what extent are organisations socially constructed phenomena - Essay Example

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To what extent are organisations socially constructed phenomena
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To what extent are organisations socially constructed phenomena

To understand cultural diversity in organisations, it would be helpful to understand its roots at a sociological level. Cultural diversity at the workplace is a direct result of ‘multiculturalism’ in the society. A multicultural society simply denotes a society in which there exist several cultures (Watson, 2000). Culture is defined as, “A pattern of shared assumptions a group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you think, perceive, and feel in relation to those problems” (Schein, 2003). So, a multicultural society has in it different groups, which have learned different ways of thinking, perceiving, and tackling problems that exist in the society. Each group taken individually is a society on its own, with its own individual culture. When all these individual societies are brought under one single core society, the culture of such a society becomes the core culture, with the individual cultures as its subcultures (Watson, 2002). ...
A general view of cultural differences is that they affect intercultural encounters, usually by leading to misunderstanding or conflict, at both the individual and group levels (Larkey, 1996). Larkey explains that at the individual level, as different values, beliefs or worldviews are manifested in communication behaviours and as culture creates differing expectations and differing styles or patterns of speech, interpersonal misunderstanding and conflict can arise. At the group level, inter-group processes can be triggered by, for instance, an individual’s non-verbal behaviour or ways of speaking which stereotypically represent a group (1996). It then becomes the responsibility of the leadership of the core society to introduce a culture and/or change its existing core culture to accommodate the various differences brought in by the subcultures in an integrated manner, where these differences are acknowledged and valued (Lachman et al, 1994). When the above sociological aspects of culture are compared to a business organisation, the organisation is the core society, and its culture, the core culture. We all refer to this as organisational culture. Analogically speaking, the organisational (core) culture should be designed in such a way that the employees of the company share a basic set of values and assumptions, which tie them to that particular organisation. But, on the individual or group levels, each employee has his/her own cultural norms and practices beyond those they share with other members of the company, which can be safely termed as the subcultures within the organisation (Bate, 1995). While different cultural traits offer different identities to different employees, there are usually certain traits shared by all the employees, which give them a ... Read More
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