Cultural and Ethical Differences
Cultural Diversity in European Countries
Most of the countries in the world have constantly been affected by the diversity in culture, values and ethics. European countries being our case study, it is fascinating to note that the cultural diversity has affected the societal values at a great length. Prevalently, culture connotes to how the members of a society relate themselves to the past or their historical background. In addition, culture entails the identity or a sense of belonging. Furthermore, culture relates to the societal customs and beliefs. In the United States and U.K majority of the citizenry does express their culture through religion, Christianity. On the other hand, ethics tend to guide the entire society on what is right or what is perceived to be just. Ethics dictates that the society should behave in a particular way, due to this; we can resolve that ethics act as a guide of societal behaviour. On the other hand, values are what are perceived to be good or evil. Also, value is what a member of the society’s belief in. Worth noting is the fact that values affects the behaviour and attitude of members of a given society. A point to note is the fact that culture, ethics and values are different since the individuals come from different background. The cultural diversity constantly affects the values of employees at workplace either positively or negatively. It is for this reason that the management must come up with proper management skills to handle the cultural differences. Reportedly, most of the managers have raised their concern about the economic implications of cultural diversity (Ferrell et al, 2009). On the same note, ethical issues and ethical dilemmas is also a matter of concern in the business. The paper seeks to explain how the cultural diversity affects the values at the work place, it also highlights the economic implication of cultural diversity on a business. In addition, the paper addressed how ethical issues and ethical dilemmas can be solved.
As mentioned earlier, values and ethics majorly focus on what is right or what the society believe to be fair, just and moral. On the other hand, culture is based on the custom and belief of a society. The cultural difference arises when what is perceived to be good by a given society is perceived as a wrong by another society. Worth noting is the fact that the background, environment and the child upbringing play a crucial role in nurturing a person’s culture. Since a large number of individuals were brought up in different environments, with different background and dissimilar individual upbringing, this leads to the cultural diversity. For instance, a bribe is considered as a wrong in the United Stated and U.K, but the same bribe is viewed as something good in Romania, this is due to the cultural diversity. Interesting to note is the fact that each and every society has a custom and belief, what is believed to be right by a given society at the same time is perceived to be bad by another society. For instance, in the past United States viewed the act of slavery as just while African society believed that the act was a barbaric.
Cultural diversity has a significant economic implication in the business community; the diversity affects the business either positively or negatively. It is for this reason that the management must conjure more effective approaches on how to manage and handle the cultural diversity. To start with, the cultural diversity has brought employees with different experience and talent together. Prevalently, for a business to increase its production then it must harness the talent and experience of its employees (Davies, 1997). A point to note is the fact that, diversity and talents when consolidated can be used to develop new ideas and technology leading to competitive advantage and mass production. The cultural diversity provides the management with an opportunity to learn each and every employee, and to identify the employees’ capability, therefore, allocating the mentioned employees to areas in which they best fit. As such, leads to specialization which will further lead to excellent performance from each employee; this will guarantee the firm a competitive advantage as compared to other firms.
On the contrary, if the cultural diversity is not managed properly then the business can face adverse challenges. To start with, cultural diversity in significant business firms in both U.S and U.K has been a matter of concern due to the challenges that it present, the cultural diversity in most cases has lead to conflict and misunderstanding among employees. Conflicts arise when other employees feel they are more momentous than others, also, the conflict may arise when different employees differ in opinion whether an act is evil or right. As a matter of fact conflict has consequences to the firm has it leads to employees’ low performance and failure of a firm to attract and retain qualified and competent employees. As such, may lead to loss of profit or at worst lead to collapse of the business.
Similarly, the cultural conflict profoundly affects the individual’s values at work place. Notably, the cultural diversity can either affect the values of employees positively or negatively. Not to mention, the diversity enables the employees from different diversity to work and interact together, through interaction right values are acquired (Ferrell et al, 2009). In addition, the negative beliefs are dropped while positive beliefs are embraced and adopted. Consequently, a positive change of employee’s behaviour has been reported. On the other hand, cultural diversity has led to conflict among employees resulting into jealously, enmity and unhealthy tension among employees. Worst to mention is the fact employees of decorum have acquired wrong and unaccepted behaviour. It is for this reason that the management of various firms should come up with better policies that with protect employees from wrong values.
Prevalently, business community faces ethical issues in their operations. To start with, the pressure from customers to ensure the business produces safe products, fair prices, and proper disclosure. Similarly, the business also receives pressure from employees to provide safe and healthy environment, discrimination and sexual harassment. Also, the set laws expect the business not to engage in child labour and any unethical practises. On the same note, ethical dilemmas also affect the business decision making, the business is in a dilemma whether to engage in illegal activities or not, that is, whether to take bribes or not. The business must ensure all the decisions made must be in a line with the set ethical standards. The above mentioned issues have constantly the business.
The business must incorporate the ethical codes to guide the employees. In drafting the code, all ethical considerations should be taken into account. The rules, which emphasize on the accepted values must be incorporated in the code. A well drafted code will iron out all ethical issues and also solve the ethical dilemma. This will guide the management and employees to only practise what is ethically accepted (Davies, 1997). In the drafting of the ethical code, management must bring into board all the concerned parties; employees, management, stakeholders and customers. The parties will list all the emerging issues which continually affect them, and a proposal of the effective ethical practises which should be adopted.
From the above discussion, we can confidently conclude that the difference in background, environment and upbringing will give rise to cultural diversity; cultural diversity profoundly affects the operation of businesses either positively or negatively, due to this fact, the management must come up better strategies to handle the cultural diversity. On the same note, the management should set up ethical codes to solve the prevalent ethical issues and ethical dilemmas.
Davies, P. W. (1997). Current Issues In Business Ethics. New York: Routledge.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J. Errel, L. (2009). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making And Cases. USA: South-Western.