Management and Communication in Multicultural Organisations in Latvia Vaira Avota Academic advisor: Mg.psych. Vineta Silkāne Vidzeme University College Faculty of Social Sciences Study program Communication and Public Relations Bachelor thesis Valmiera 2009
Until year 2013 and continuously - significant decrease of human resources (Informatīvais ziņojums par prognozēm darbaspēka pieprasījuma un piedāvājuma atbilstībai vidējā termiņā, 15.04.2008:44)
Increased number of work permits for foreigners in Latvia
2008 – 2913, 2007 – 3113, 2006 – 1058 (Statistics of State Employement Agency)
Attitude from society and government
Immigration as “very negative” and “rather negative” is described by 69.8% Latvians (Kaktiņš, 2005)
“ Multiculturalism – against the concept of national state” (Diena, 02.02.2008.)
Weak im m igration legslation environment
“ Learning to welcome. The integration of immigrants in Latvia an Poland ” ( Providus, 2008)
Only active immigration policies in Latvia will equal the emigration (Raita Karnīte)
Diversity management in Latvia’s multicultural organizations Diversity within society
Purpose of the research and research questions T o query the management and communication of multicultural organisations in Latvia within their work with diverse workforce , possible problems and solutions What are the management and communication processes within multicultural organisations in Latvia and how the actual practice and experience correlates with the guidelines of diversity management ?
Theoretical insight I Diversity management incorporates organizational policies to „ embrace and leverage all employee differences to benefit the organization ” (Jayne, Dipboye, 2004:410). Business strategy, not only issue of human resources! Multicultural organization in terms of this research is defined as organization based in one country but employs people that come from other countries. Diversity - „a mixture of people with different group identities within the same social system” (Nkomo, Cox, 1996:338) Diversity management competency : „ Awareness and knowledge of how age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status are crucial to an informed professional understanding of human behavior and clinical skills necessary to work effectively and ethically with culturally diverse individuals, groups, and communities” (Hansen, Pepitone-Arreola-Rockwell, Greene, 2000:652-653)
Theoretical insight II Diversity management aproaches : equal opportunity, affirmative action, employment equity, human rights and non-discrimination (Wilson, 2004:12) Advantages of diversity management : opportunities for growth, flexibility and adaptation in the marketplace for both the employee and the organization, increased organizational performance, use in public relations and organizational image, attracting and retaining the best talent, positive organizational climate, expanded diverse customer base, improved team work and communication. Diversity capital advantage refers to an organization’s superior composition of different demographic groups that can ensure the organization outperform its competitors in terms of the availability of a variety of knowledge, skills and perspectives. Diversity process advantage consists of superior problem solving and superior social integration and communication processes deriving from different demographic groups that can help an organization to execute operations more quickly, efficiently and effectively, and thus outperform its competitors. (Yang, 2005:4)
In Latvia creation of multicultural organizations started from international collaboration in terms of international partnership, initiative from foreign founders of the organization, as well as participation in world market. Afterwards as next step has been implemented inclusion of foreign employees.
Unlike than in world examples where the different environment has made the diversity an everyday issue characterising the society, in Latvian organizations diversity of employees is more organized purposefully, managing the diversity since the beginning. Implementation of diversity is correlated with organizational development and growth, increased work quality, effectiveness and professionality, use of languages and gaining broadened view.
Managers do not perceive culture as the most important element that influences management and communication processes in a multicultural environment , because Latvia do not have conflicting cultural characteristics, the collaboration is mainly between similar cultures, the number of foreign employees is not dominant and culture is more observed in social life, outside workplace.
The most significant issue in collaboration between Latvian and foreign employees is achieving the professional goals . However, adaptation is needed because of different point of views, but this is not perceived as cultural difference but diversity as a concept – the individual characteristics of employee and organisational characteristics (the position, sphere, corporate culture and organisational values).
The m ost common obstacles within work of multicultural organization are starting the work relations (bureaucracy, higher level of salary), lack of local knowledge (language barrier, facts of local environment) and interpersonal communication (collaboration with colleagues, adaptation to the social environment).
The manager has the most significant role in diversity management. His or her responsibility is to monitor the processes within organization and strategically deal with the diversity management.
To be successful in multicultural organisation one needs certain awareness, skills and knowledge. Three main factors here are involvement of the manager, the recruitment of employees and personal skills.
A support system would significantly decrease the problems within multicultural workforce management and communication. Facilitating the communication, exchange of information, education and encouragement for independent studies on diversity issues, practical support and broadening the scope.
Multicultural organizations in Latvia as the most relevant advantages mention the diversity capital advantage that facilitates the growth of the organization and increases the performance. Social gains are notic e able but not the primary.
Creation of multicultural organizations and development of international collaboration is not only more and more current world trend but also future perspective in Latvia that still needs to be noticed and used.
Simultaneously with initiatives and diversity management in organizations, there is a significant need for discussions within society and in government level to find solutions for existing problems with intolerance and bureaucoracy. To comprehend and implement ethnical diversity as an opportunity for growth of national economy of Latvia , expanding export and facilitating foreign investments. To notice and take advantage of available potential.
A necessity for a support system implementation within multicultural organizations focusing on diversity management as a part of common business strategy of whole organization. Support is needed for all stakeholders – both local and foreign employees .