Luciara Nardon, Associate Professor of International Business, is the author of a new book that guides employees and managers in today’s multicultural workforce. Drawing from her extensive research in the area, Working in a Multicultural World provides a framework for understanding intercultural interactions and developing the skills for successful intercultural situations.
“Given the increasingly multicultural nature of our workplaces, our work performance often depends on our ability to successfully interact with people from other cultures,” says Luciara.
“Whether we are negotiating with international partners, serving a diverse customer base, managing a multicultural team, or simply working in a multicultural environment, most of us are faced with intercultural situations on a regular basis.”
She explains that intercultural interactions can create workplace synergies and benefit organizations and individuals alike in many ways.
For organizations, research suggests that a diverse workforce is beneficial because employees have access to diverse knowledge and perspectives.
“Multicultural teams are often more creative in developing ideas and solutions, often more knowledgeable about global markets, and more effective in dealing with international customers and employees when compared with culturally homogeneous teams,” says Luciara.
Individuals also receive many benefits from intercultural interactions.
“When we interact with people from other cultures, we can learn more about the world around us and more importantly, learn more about ourselves,” adds Luciara. “
By being exposed to other points of view, we can better understand why we think the way we do, better understand our own behavior, and perhaps changes for the better.”
However, these benefits do not come without challenges. Luciara advises that despite the benefits of interactions with people who have difference values, beliefs and assumptions, this same diversity also increases opportunities for conflict, disagreements and misunderstandings. Developing the skills to work in a multicultural world will help maximize the benefits of diversity.
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