Practical Applications

After a self-examination on the impact of culture in your life, it is important to analyze your personal impact within the organization. How do your attitudes and behaviors impact others? Do you have assumptions about other diverse groups that impact successful interaction and communication? In what ways can you continue to learn about your own culture and the culture of others around you?

Cultures vary widely on a number of variables. For example, there are differences in who has more importance: the individual or the group. There are also differences in how power imbalances affect interpersonal dealings. This can be directly applied to organizations and performance management. Some cultures support individual performance and therefore reward personal achievements. Other cultures place more emphasis on group accomplishments by viewing (and rewarding) the group as a whole rather than individual team members.

Knowledge about people from different cultures is crucial, but try to avoid stereotyping. Common knowledge about cultures is important, but not all people from the same culture are identical. Keep in mind there are always intra-cultural and individual differences. Over-generalizing about cultural norms is an unwise practice.