Cultural Insensitivity And Its Impact In The Workplace

Judging people without understanding or being aware of one’s culture is known as cultural insensitivity. When an individual is not aware of the cultural differences and the similarities in the culture of the people, it can create an impact. 

Every individual needs to understand that people belong to different cultures, have different values, behaviors and act differently. Cultural insensitivity refers to not owing to this fact and dismissing other cultures.

Cultural insensitivity refuses to help people become empathetic to other cultures rather than being judgmental. These activities destroy a diverse country like America, where people of different religions, regions, and ethnicities live together. Between 1980 and 2020, the white working-age population will have decreased from 83 percent to 63 percent of the overall population, while minority employees will have doubled.

Why is Cultural Sensitivity Important?

In today’s modern era, the culture is changing rapidly and the scope of cultural sensitivity is shrinking. Compared to last year, the change in culture has accelerated even more this year. It is affecting not only the youth but also children. Advertisement coming in social media or TV is also believed to be one of the reasons behind the fading of culture. 

We should go from cultural insensitivity to cultural sensitivity. Cultural awareness and sensitivity help to overcome one’s personal ethnocentrism, primarily by learning about other cultures and the various methods and expectations of ethical, religious, and social perspectives in various fields to body language and other nonverbal communication.

How can it be different? Cultural sensitivity is just one dimension of cultural competence and is influenced by ethnicism and other factors related to culture. The consequences of developing cultural sensitivity are positive: Communication is improved, leading to more effective interactions between people concerned, and better outcomes or interventions for the client or client. 

Cultural Insensitivity can Affect Individuals in the Following Ways

  • It leads to the evil of ethnocentrism (believing oneself as a superior culture). For example: Cultural insensitivity validates that a person from Mexican ethnicity should not be intimidated in other parts of the US. This should not happen to people from other parts of the country.
  • Insensitive cultural perspectives can harm creativity and innovation in an individual. 
  • It mistreats in creating a trusting environment for the local people and expatriates. 
  • For example: A person from the southern USA will not have a better acceptance in New York if he is unaware of New York etiquette and language. When it comes to career prospects, 67 percent of job seekers believe workplace diversity to be essential, and more than half of existing employees wish their company to do more to promote diversity.
  • It hinders one from understanding the subtle differences of cross-cultural communication and thus also saves one from getting into problems or misunderstandings.

Cultural Insensitivity can Affect Organizations in the Following Ways

  • As new markets expand, cultural insensitivity can’t help with high-quality, targeted marketing. 
  • It can’t also help in making a profit by providing specific products to the needs of the people during their cultural festivals. 
  • Cultural insensitivity can hamper an inclusive environment in organizations with a diverse workforce.
  • It can also diminish the prestige of an organization.

Around 70% of diversified businesses are better equipped to take advantage of new opportunities. With a larger number of marketplaces, you may expect considerably better results and make far more money. Eye contact is recognized and regarded as a sign of concentration, honesty, trust, and respect for what the other says in the United States and other European nations such as Spain, France, and Germany. The reverse is true in several Latin American, Asian, and African civilizations. Direct eye contact might be construed as combative.

Impact of Cultural Insensitivity in Workplace

Cultural insensitivity can have an adverse impact on the workplace atmosphere. Employees will feel alienated from others. This will, in turn, affect the output of the work. When an organization doesn’t encourage employees to work with each other in harmony, they feel isolated, especially amongst people belonging to a minority group.

Employees tend to have a working drive to prove themselves superior over each other and provoke competition which isn’t healthy. Mocking co-workers and hurting the integrity of an individual are also commonly seen in such organizations. This often leads to the employees feeling depressed and lonely. Anxiety is also a common parameter. It is mostly seen amongst the weaker section or the culture, which is in the minority in the organization.

In the end, such factors will affect the overall output of their work, bringing down the value of the company. On the other hand, this can be avoided while maintaining and promoting cultural sensitivity, where employees are made to work with each other as a team and have each other’s back. This helps to maintain a positive work culture.

Why is Cultural Sensitivity Training Important?

When individuals make favorable or negative judgments about others based on stereotypes or prior beliefs, this is known as unintentional or subconscious bias. While everyone has implicit biases, they can cause issues and lead to unjust choices once they manifest in the job. Individuals can learn why prejudice arises, detect prevalent workplace prejudices, and control their personal biases and reduce their impact on workplace activities and relations via training.

  • Training helps professionals consider things and better grasp how they apply in regular conversation, actions, and choices through training. 
  • Diversity and sensitivity training may also express a company’s aims and objectives for workplace behavior.
  • Employees’ ideas regarding diversity and inclusion are challenged, and a multidimensional perspective is encouraged. It encompasses age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, talent, veteran, and diversity of thought, opinions, and communication styles, among other characteristics, in addition to race and gender. 
  • Employees can study topics and better understand how they operate in normal interactions, engagements, and conclusions through training. Diversity and sensitivity training can also express a company’s aims and expectations for workplace behavior. 

Everybody’s involvement and voice are required for long-term success in diversity and inclusion. Shifting from knowledge to action requires speaking out, making statements, growing awareness, and investigating incidences of discrimination, bullying, prejudice, cultural appropriation, and other misbehavior.

Employees who are culturally aware of their co-worker’s background, tend to be more productive, have fewer potential barriers, and are more engaged in their workplace environment. Inquire regarding their cultures if they really are willing to share it with you. When a company focuses on assisting employees in becoming more culturally sensitive, it teaches employees how and where to learn about multiple viewpoints from each other.

Employees are able to serve one another their clients as a result of this knowledge. Honoring other cultural festivals, sharing cuisine from other ethnicities, and recognizing literature and art from across the world are all examples of culturally acceptable and equitable organizational culture.

Hiring culturally diverse staff members and employees can help organizations attract and keep world-class talent, focus on improving team dynamics, and help marginalized or marginalized individuals and organizations communicate more effectively. This helps in accessing the potential of a diverse, fair and equal, and inclusive working environment.

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