00004301 criticalessay culturediversity_charliechen-1


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00004301 criticalessay culturediversity_charliechen-1

  1. 1. SID: 00004301 Subject: 21875 Student Name: Charlie Chen Assessment: Critical Essay 1 A Critical Analysis of Culture Diversity Research and Study Relationship between culture diversity and team/group performance is a fascinating subject that has attracted hundreds of scholars and researchers since fifties. There are over hundreds of articles and reports aiming to explore the relationship between culture diversity and team/group performances. Culture “diversity is one of defining characteristic of modern society, yet there remains considerable debate over the benefits that it brings.” (Crisp & Turner 2011). With increasing globalization (labour intensive work outsourced from developed countries to developing countries) and constant migrations waves (people from less developed regions and countries migrating to developing and developed countries), culture diversity inevitably becomes an essential element which existed in many multinational organization and many western government organization. In some of the global organizations, the boundary of diversity from culture extended to marketing, production and services domains rather than just limited in human resource and talent management domain. Many diversity scholars do believe that culture diversity brings positive impact to group performance. (Plaut et al., 2011) believed that multiculturalism has positive consequences from psychological, educational and organizational overall performance perspectives. Furthermore some of global organizations such as IBM “identified workforce diversity as an area of strategic focus” (Thomas, 2004). However since many conflict results are found in the group culture diversity research as well as in literatures, Milliken and Martins appropriately described the diversity in workforce can be a double –edged sword (Giambatista and Bhappu, 2010) and it “can endanger social cohesion, resulting not only in poor intergroup relations but a range negative outcomes for individuals including stress, distress and marginalization”(Crisp and Turner, 2011). (Podsiadlowski et al., 2013) believed culture diversity can be viewed as either a threat or a benefit. Therefore in order to reduce the negative impact of culture diversity, some of scholars suggested to leverage modern communication technologies to reduce social categorization while enhancing group decision-making process(Podsiadlowski et al., 2013).
  2. 2. SID: 00004301 Subject: 21875 Student Name: Charlie Chen Assessment: Critical Essay 2 The objective of this article is to criticize current research and analysis methodologies in the field and explore some of the misconceptions as well as mission elements in culture diversity research and study. Define Culture Diversity “Cultural diversity is when differences in race, ethnicity, language, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation are represented within a community” < http://useconomy.about.com/od/suppl1/g/Cultural-Diversity.htm>. Edward Hall (1989) distinguish Cultures by measure their context. High context culture members relay heavily on range of social status (job title, education level, personal assets and personal or social relationship) when communicating with others and doing business with others. “Low context culture members focus on written and spoken word when communicating with others and interpreting their messages” (Buchanan et al. 2010, p. 221). Ely and Thomas (2001) stated that “diversity is a characteristic of groups of people and typically refers to demographic differences of one sort or another among group members” (Podsiadlowski, et al. 2013. P. 160). However I have observation regarding above definitions. In fact, the demarcation of eastern culture and western culture has been dramatically reduced by educations in Asia region such as Hong Kong, Singapore, China, India, Philippines and even Thailand where English has becoming second language and been taught in secondary school if not in primary school. In most of Asia countries, children grow up with Hollywood movies, popular western television programs and pop music. In last fifteen years widely spread Internet, social media (such as Facebook and twitter) as well as finance resources redistribution have reduced race, language, nationality differences to minimum. Sources of Diversity Ethnic diversity It consists with individual’s demography shapes, skills, knowledge, abilities, values, believes, attitudes, personality and cognitive/behavioural styles (Giambatista, & Bhappu, 2010, p.119). Openness diversity The element of this kind of diversity includes individual’s imaginativeness, perceptive, curious, creative and intelligent which descripted by Goldberg. Some
  3. 3. SID: 00004301 Subject: 21875 Student Name: Charlie Chen Assessment: Critical Essay 3 diversity researchers believe the “greater levels of openness within group should be associated with greater performance on creative tasks” (Giambatista, & Bhappu, 2010, p.119). Agreeableness diversity Individual’s kind, cooperative, trustful and helpful attributes are sources of agreeableness diversity. This kind of diversity has been “found to correlate with group process-related variables such as cohesion, conflict, communication and workload sharing” (Giambatista, & Bhappu, 2010, p.119). Quantitative Research of Culture Diversity There was a comprehensive quantitative research of culture diversity group performance conducted by Watson and his colleagues (1993). The objective of the research was 1) to address literally hundreds of previous studies fall far short of providing practical guidance for managing culture diversity group; 2) to seek answer of “what effect does a high degree of cultural diversity have on a group interaction and group problem solving over time” (Watson et al. 1993, P.591). Watson and his colleagues (1993) collected relative large amount of data (Time period: 17 weeks; participants: 172 upper-level undergraduates; category of multiple group: homogeneous and culture diversity; data analysis method: univariate F-tests). Furthermore these researchers carefully structured the multiple groups in order to ensure “the demographic characteristics other than ethnicity and nationality of the members of the culturally homogeneous and the culturally diverse groups ware similar” (Watson et al. 1993, p.593). The final result ware “there were no differences in process or over performance” (Watson et al. 1993, p.590) for both types of group by the end of research period. Inconclusive, Contradicted Quantitative Research Results Some of the research on culture diversity workgroups has its intention from a positivist point of view that group performance will be improved by the culture diversity. So far, many research results are mixed as to whether a diverse cultural composition of groups leads to better or worse group performance (Barinaga, 2011). In fact, when referring to paradoxical findings in group culture diversity literatures and research, Giambatista and Bhappu believe the “potential for diverse groups to
  4. 4. SID: 00004301 Subject: 21875 Student Name: Charlie Chen Assessment: Critical Essay 4 solve complex problems requiring increased creativity, multiple perspectives and variegated expertise which is offset by the fact that diverse groups often experience frustration and tension” (Giambatista & Bhappu, 2010, p. 116). Qualitative Approaches and It’s Weakness Podsiadlowski and his colleagues (2013) have performed unique qualitative research study (which they believe is the first study that both operationalizes diversity perspective and analyses the effects of different diversity perspectives in organizations).The first step of the research was conducting 29 in-depth interviews which helped them to collect significant data. Then Podsiadlowski and his colleagues developed a diversity subjective questionnaire in order to collect further data from diversity perspective. However, Podsiadlowski and his colleagues (2013) admitted that “both studies have several limitations”. The “studies have shown the effect of workgroup diversity are inconsistent, being both positive and negative” (Podsiadlowski, 2013, p.165) The supporters of culture diversity believe the diverted group performs better from creativity, innovation, and quality of decisions making perspective. The criticizers believe the culture diversity in workgroup is the source of disruption which reduced cohesiveness, caused more conflicts and misunderstandings, lower team member satisfaction and decreased cooperation (Podsiadlowski et al., 2013, p.165). For example, “cultural diversity in US workforce has sometimes been viewed as a dark cloud” Watson et al. 1993, p. 599). However in IBM, as Thomas (2004) discovered, the workforce diversity has been treated as a bridge to help company to attract more diverse customer globally. Discussion There were many stereotype hypothesis existed in cultural diversity research and many diversity researchers used group of students as research subjects. The culture diversity characteristics of students (even from different countries and culture background) are far less than older generation. The western culture has been widely spread into Asia and other regions (in last forty/fifty years) by communication technologies such as radio/Television broadcasting. We all know in last ten/fifteen years, Internet, social media (such as Facebook and twitter) has revolutionarily changed way people communicate. The borders of countries and even the borders of
  5. 5. SID: 00004301 Subject: 21875 Student Name: Charlie Chen Assessment: Critical Essay 5 regions disappearing. The culture difference of younger generation between western and eastern have been dramatically reduced. With insufficient subjects, the qualitative research have great difficulty to obtain data that can lead to consistence and convinced results. In the real world, working groups are surrounded by complicate external environment. Group performance is largely impacted by multiple physical and psychological environments. Using lack of social context student groups as research subject which practically filter out those external influences. Podsiadlowski and his colleagues pointed out that “effects of culture diversity on group performance have been limited to laboratory studies or experiments with graduate students and have not been replicated in organizational studies” (Podsiadlowski et al. 2013, p. 165). One of diversity researcher even believed that different culture no longer determine actions of people in the workplace rather than being taken in to account as an available resource for making sense of action. Furthermore, many research on diverse workgroups witnessed the confusion and general misunderstanding experienced by group members (Barinaga, 2007). Watson and his colleagues pointed out the vast majority of culture diversity research ware shot-term, therefore those research results cannot represented culture diversity group overall performance in the real world. Conclusion The impacts of culture diversity on groups and organization are complicated. In most of situation, culture diverse workforce was constantly influenced by dynamic surrounding environment. Therefore it is difficult to use static method to define and measure. My own reading of literatures and analysis those conflict opinions and quantitative and qualitative research results lead me to believe that the reason we have so many inconclusive and even conflict research results and opinions because schoolers ware not only using isolated environment and subjects (such as university students) but also using simplified analysis mechanisms to analyse results. The way for us to get out this contradicted loop in culture diversity research is to focus on how to constructively leverage the disruptive force of culture diversity (often been saw as negative impact of group performance) to achieve positive outcome.
  6. 6. SID: 00004301 Subject: 21875 Student Name: Charlie Chen Assessment: Critical Essay 6 In this article, I have attempted to explore some fundamental flaws in culture diversity research and study. My suggestion is diversity scholars must look at a big picture rather than just focus on comparing diversity group and homogeneous group performance. Former chairman and CEO of Sara Lee Corporation John Bryan believed “diversity is a strategic business imperative” (Plaut, et al. 2011, p. 338). In his mind the domain of diversity is far beyond of just human resources of the groups which most of diversity scholars is focused on. We should wider our data collection and develop new measurement mechanism in order to proper measure culture diversity correlation impact in marketing, production and services domains rather just measure its impact in HR domain and group performance of resolving theoretical problems. References Amadeo, K, ‘Culture Diversity’, About.com Guide <http://useconomy.about.com/od/suppl1/g/Cultural-Diversity.htm >. Buchanan, D., & Huczynski, A. [eds] 2010, Organizational Behaviour, Pearson Education Ltd. UK BARINAGA, E. 2007. 'Cultural diversity' at work: 'National culture' as a discourse organizing an international project group. Human Relations, 60, 315-340. CRISP, R. J. & TURNER, R. N. 2011. Cognitive adaptation to the experience of social and cultural diversity. Psychol Bull, 137, 242-66. GIAMBATISTA, R. C. & BHAPPU, A. D. 2010. Diversity’s harvest: Interactions of diversity sources and communication technology on creative group performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 111, 116-126. PLAUT, V. C., GARNETT, F. G., BUFFARDI, L. E. & SANCHEZ-BURKS, J. 2011. "What about me?" Perceptions of exclusion and whites' reactions to multiculturalism. J Pers Soc Psychol, 101, 337-53. PODSIADLOWSKI, A., GRÖSCHKE, D., KOGLER, M., SPRINGER, C. & VAN DER ZEE, K. 2013. Managing a culturally diverse workforce: Diversity perspectives in organizations. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37, 159-175. THOMAS, D. A. 2004. Diversity as Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 82, 98-109.