Intercultural Communication in the Workplace - Cultural Diversity

Essay by CarissaReyUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2007

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"If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essentials differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear" (Rodenberry, n.d., ¶ 9).

Many situations occur in intercultural workplaces that rely upon good communication. The method of communication can cause conflicts among coworkers. Understanding differences among coworkers of various cultures is a key element to success in the workplace.

One workplace scenario concerns religious beliefs. Ron and Greg had an important project due by noon Saturday. By Friday afternoon, the majority of the project was complete. Ron and Greg estimated several more hours of work were necessary. Ron's religious beliefs, from an Arab culture, did not allow him to work that Friday evening to Saturday evening. Greg finished the assignment himself and listed only his name on the project.

This scenario concerns Ron and Greg as the principle players, but the organization suffers. When Greg completed the project without Ron's input, Ron's knowledge was not used. Valuable information is missing when only one team member contributes to a project. The company assigned both to the project because each had special expertise to contribute.

The conflict is that Ron's religious beliefs did not allow him to work this particular Friday evening to Saturday evening. When Ron could not work on the project to meet the Saturday noon deadline, Greg took it upon himself to finish. Greg, a Catholic-American, had a different view concerning working Friday night and into the weekend. According to Surowiecki (2005), as reported in The New Yorker, today Americans work more hours than any other culture. One reason is that Americans are more productivity-based. More productivity equates to more wealth. Greg's Catholic-American culture did...