• Global diversity refers to the range of
differences that describe the composition of a
group of two or more people in a cross-cultural
and multi-national context. A company
believes that focusing on global diversity will
allow it to adopt more inclusive practices
around the world.
3. • Global diversity is about understanding the differences that
exist within and between different countries as well as
understanding one’s own environment (Gundling &
Zanchettin, 2007). In recent years, globalization has made
diversity an important issue in many MNCs. In particular,
diversity is becoming a norm for influencing organizational
outcomes, such as increased global knowledge, high
performance, innovation, and employee engagement
• The literature points toward two main issues that
organizations face in terms of managing diversity globally. The
first issue relates to a thorough knowledge about how each
country differs socially, legally, and politically (Mor
Barak, 2014). The second issue that organizations face is being
able to understand cultural diversity of employees and the top
management team (Scott & Byrd, 2012).
4. • Scott and Byrd (2012) suggested that organizations that develop
cultural competence and facilitate smooth coordination and
transition across employees, and business units are likely to be more
successful than those that neglect these issues. Gundling and
Zanchettin (2007) noted that dealing with these issues in a global
context requires an integrated effort and coordination from the
senior management teams.
• Many firms prefer diverse teams because they often perform better
than homogenous teams (Sippola & Smale, 2007). Particularly for
complex tasks, heterogeneous teams are thought to outperform
homogeneous ones (Benet-Martinez & Hong, 2014). For instance,
Motorola managed to beat its competition by producing the world’s
most efficient, high-quality cellular phones, which were produced by
heterogeneous teams (Aswathappa, 2007). Moreover, diversity
enhances organizational flexibility as it encourages the firm to
challenging old assumptions and becoming more adaptable to new
ideas (Nelson & Quick, 2013).
5. • Even though diverse teams bring a wide range of
organizational benefits, these teams also face number of
issues (Sutton, 2014).
• Firstly, it is necessary to attract global team leaders with the
crucial skills needed to manage cultural diversity: such as
cultural agility, global mind-set, and cultural intelligence
(Collings, Wood, & Caligiuri, 2015). This issue has significant
implications in terms of finding suitable candidates and
initiating appropriate training programs (Collings et al., 2015).
• Secondly, cultural diversity makes functioning of work teams
(face-to-face and virtual) more challenging because team
members need to learn the value of divergent perspectives
while acting in similar ways to enhance group effectiveness
(Bhagat, Triandis, & McDevitt, 2012).
7. A multicultural workforce is one in which a wide
range of cultural differences exist among the
employees in the organization. While a number of
major and minor traits are used to describe
cultural differences, the most common traits used
to identify the level of multiculturalism evident in
a given workforce often boils down to "age, sex,
ethnicity, physical ability, race and sexual
orientation, according to the "Encyclopedia of
8. MULTICULTURAL BASICS
• In general, a multicultural workforce is one in which
employees are heterogeneous, many dissimilar in certain
traits. Practically speaking, any workforce with two or more
employees has some level of multiculturalism based on the
basic assumption that no two people are exactly the same.
Companies vary in level of multiculturalism. Those that have
easily detectible and wide-ranging cultural differences within
their workforces are more often described as multicultural
companies or workforces.
9. MULTICULTURAL VS.
• Over time, a subtle but important transition has taken place in
the way workforces are described related to employee
differences. More often, early 21st-century organizations are
described as diverse when employees are heterogeneous.
Diversity is become increasingly used to depict the importance
of managing diverse workers versus simply recognizing their
existing. Diversity management is a well-recognized process of
proactively and strategically managing the unique needs of a
diverse workplace with multicultural traits.
10. MULTICULTURAL BENEFITS
• People with differences have natural barriers in
communication and relationships. "Opposites attract" is a
popular relationship adage, but people with differences also
tend to find more conflict in communication than people with
shared backgrounds and life paradigms. However, diversity
management can draw out strong benefits of a multicultural
workforce, including a broader and deeper pool of ideas and
creative development, stronger connections to a global
marketplace and better ability to adapt to marketplace
• The globalization of business continues to challenge our ability
to operate effectively across countries and cultures, which is
why a global mindset is an essential professional trait.
Professionals with a global mindset leverage all that they know
about their culture and the cultures of other people to react to
situations in the most productive ways, all without losing sight
of who they are.
• Even those with significant international experience benefit
from taking time to refresh and train their brains to be more
global. The following five-step cycle can help you develop a
global mindset and improve the quality of your cross-cultural
interactions. What it comes down to is the recognition that we
all need to be more open and flexible, balanced with a strong
vision of what works and doesn’t work for us on a personal
13. Recognize your own cultural
values and biases
• The cycle begins with discovering and analyzing your own
values and biases, which are rooted in a variety of cultural
influences that span your life. You might complete a cultural
values assessment to not only get to know yourself but also
see how you compare to other cultures across various
dimensions like communication style and hierarchy. This step
is particularly helpful if you are about to begin a global project
or take a business trip to a new country or even when you’re
interacting with diverse colleagues in your own office.
Developing a strong self-awareness has shown to foster a non-
judgmental perspective on differences, which is critical to
developing a global mindset.
14. Get to know your personality
traits, especially curiosity.
There are five specific traits that affect your ability to interact effectively with
3. Social dexterity
4. Emotional awareness
Ask yourself how open you are to different ways of managing a team. Are you flexible
enough to attempt a different feedback style? How easy is it for you to strike up a
conversation with people from foreign countries?
While these traits are all important, curiosity is critical, because we can all find easy
ways to be more curious, and curiosity is what leads us to ask questions, which lead
to the insights we need to understand the idiosyncrasies of global work. If you’re not
naturally curious, you can train yourself to engage in “curiosity conversations” to
learn more about the people around you. A simple chat on the differences between
what’s familiar in your part of the world and in their part of the world can go a long
way toward integrating and ironing out any salient differences. People are usually
willing to talk about their society’s norms at large, if not their own personal habits.
15. Learnabout the workplaceand business
expectationsof relevant countries and
• The third step transfers your attention away from yourself to
learn about the typical workplace habits, expectations and
best practices in other countries and cultures. (It’s important
to note that cultural norms are not stereotypes but high-level
tendencies.) While you can’t know everything about every
culture, you can certainly access on-demand insights on how
to do business effectively from a variety of online resources
and digital learning platforms.
• Can you schedule meetings during lunch time in Mexico? Do
you know when the weekend is in Saudi Arabia? How should
you establish credibility during a meeting with a potential
client in Japan? You can also widen your base by seeking work
that will expose you to countries or markets important to your
role and career.
16. Build strong intercultural
• Just like when learning to speak a second language, it’s helpful to
immerse yourself with people from other parts of the world to
develop a global mindset. These relationships facilitate valuable
learning about what works and what doesn’t. The ability to form
relationships across cultures is not a given, but the more positive
intercultural relationships you develop, the more comfort you’ll have
with diverse work styles and the less you’ll resort to stereotyping.
How often do you approach people from different cultures when at
networking or social events?
• To build your intercultural or global network, it helps to find cultural
mentors or coaches who can give you feedback on what to do better.
You can also use intercultural learning platforms to gain country-
specific insights into appropriate and effective trust-building
activities so that you don’t unknowingly stifle your efforts with the
17. Develop strategies to adjust
and flex your style
• What has made you successful in a domestic or local context likely won’t
help you reach the same level of success on a global scale, which is why
learning to adapt your style is often the hardest part of mastering a
global mindset. This step involves expanding your repertoire of business
behaviors by learning to behave in ways that may be unusual to you but
highly effective when interacting with others.
• For example, imagine how much relationship-building time you need to
factor into your schedule when your new peer from India makes a
business trip to visit you. Is a lunch or two enough, or do you need to
extend an invite to show them around town on the weekend? If it feels
excessive or inappropriate to you, it may be a good sign that you’re
going beyond your personal comfort zone, that you’re flexing your style
and that it may indeed be the right thing to do.
• In any case, one of the benefits of developing strong relationships with
colleagues from different cultures is that you can test your approach
and ask them for feedback on how your style would be received in their
part of the world. Discussing cultural differences with your global
colleagues is a great way to build trust and develop personal strategies
for success at the same time.