There are many decisions made in the cross-cultural workplace, that are seen to be grossly unfair. And they often are.
Most workplace systems and rules and regulations, are based on the historical cultures, beliefs and traditions of the people who founded the organisation. And they expect their new diverse team members to adjust to them.
Times have changed, people are different and so too are the beliefs and traditions.
It may be that the common, often more Western, rules do not fit the critical needs of your team. This will cause resentment and conflict.
This impacts holidays, funerals, weddings, prayers, ceremonies, family structures, celebrations, relationships, time and meetings.
For example, in the more Western cultures it is believed that each person can only have one mother or father. In many Indian, and African families, all of the father’s brothers also are seen as actual fathers. One often hears of Big Daddy, or Small Daddy. Their wives, will be Big Mummy, or Small Mummy.
The older of these “parents” (and even brothers) have to perform very specific and critical roles, when it comes to weddings, funerals, prayers and functions.
All of them are seen as fathers and mothers. Should any of them pass away it is imperative that the family members attend the funeral.
This will definitely cause a lot of confusion, in the workplace. “How can your father die twice, in one year?” Is heard quite often.
Get to know your people, get to know their needs, adjust your regulations and build a united workforce.
(Or call us should you need diversity training!)
Brian V Moore
+27 79 643 4457
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