Social & Cultural Awareness in the Workplace
Cultural awareness means being sensitivity to others’ culture and practices, how to appropriately approach them so as to communicate effectively. The nature of the typical work place has changed. Now work places are filled with color and people from all over the world.
The multi-cultural differences then bring up the cultural differences in communication style, perception of time and many other differences in culture. It is therefore important to be culturally and socially aware. A person’s culture will affect how the person acts and behaves. Unless people are aware of these differences between them problems will continue and intensity.
Cultural awareness is important because
- It allows members to find the best way to leverage their differences when things are going wrong.
- It allows to respect other peoples beliefs reducing issues such as personal offence being taken
- It prevents companies from selling products that are culturally unacceptable to countries
- Allows companies to use culturally acceptable language to sell and market their products like an Irish beverage that tried to sell in German without realizing that mist in German means manure.
- Failure to recognize differences in culture and language can lead to employees feeling alienated especially in case of materials not translated into their language.
- Prevents behavioral misinterpretation especially among employees
Recognizing culture however is not an easy thing since culture to us is not on the conscious and we have learnt to act a certain way from our unconscious.
Our culture, our values and our experiences lead us to behave a certain way. It would be wrong to assume we all behave the same way and find out that we are all different. At work it is safer to assume difference until similarity is proven to avoid in appropriateness.