Managing Cultural Diversity: Theories
Friday and Friday theory
Developed by a scholar Dr. Phil, this theory states and argues that creation took place on a Friday and that is when the world was started. Some critics argue that the world was started on Tuesday, but the majorities, who are Christians, believe that it started on a Sunday. The theory does on to state that the world will end on a Friday because it took God the Supreme Being seven days to create the earth. This theory has been misleading according to many critics and has consequently been banned from being taught especially in basic elementary schools (De Bono, Van Der Heijden & Jones, 2008).
However, many hospitality stakeholders have not let go of the theory especially in societies that have a strong opinion towards the theory, and these hospitality establishments use it as a marketing tool for their products, whereby they offer special products on Fridays about the theory. This is especially common with hotels in mid-Australia and Indonesia, where the theory still has a strong hold (Gardenswartz & Rowe, 1998). Many workers who believe in this theory especially in the Far East have problems working on Fridays, as they believe that it was the day that creation took place and it is the same day that it will end.
U Curve theory
This is yet another theory developed by Lysgaard and it is used to explain the cross-cultural relationship between employees in a given establishment and the expatriate members of that host community. The u-curve theory consists of a honeymoon stage where the new employee is happy and excited about the new working environment, a culture shock stage which is the least productive of stages followed by attempts to improve the condition, the adjustment stage where the workers adjust to the host community’s culture and the mastery level, where the workers have fully adjusted to the new working environments just as they were at their home environments (Tanke, 2000). These four stages prove that there is a transition from the time a worker joins a new working environment to the time he gets adapted to the new working conditions of the place. Familiarity with the place makes the person more relaxed, raises his expectations about the place and this makes them more productive. After the adjustment stage, comes the mastery stage whereby the worker becomes as productive as he was in his native country (Reisinger, 2009).
In the hospitality industry, this has been evident in cases where a worker gets posted to a new working condition with new cultures. It is always wise to give such a worker ample time to readjust to the new working conditions and environment, because pressuring the person will increase stress levels, making him even less productive.
Culture shock is the feeling of foreignness and it is experienced on three levels which form a triangle; the emotional level, the thinking level, and the social level (Mor Barak, 2010). Emotional cultural shock is where a person in a new environment finds a way of life different from the usual, consequently triggering his emotional well-being. This slowly triggers the thinking and way of reasoning out of the person, because he wanted to feel appreciated in the new environment (Nowak, 2010). This slowly graduates into social wellbeing when the person starts feeling appreciated and has a place in that society.
Cultural shock in the hospitality industry may especially occur when one goes to work in a different part of the world only to find a different way of life for example the kind of foods the people eat, the way they talk, their different gestures which have different meanings, etc (Kirton and Greene, 2004).
De Bono S., Beatrice Heijden V. and Jones S. (2008). Managing cultural diversity. London: Meyer & Meyer Verlag.
Gardenswartz L. and Rowe A. (1998). Managing diversity: a complete desk reference and planning guide. McGraw-Hill Professional.
Kirton G. and Greene, A. M. (2004). The dynamics of managing diversity. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Mor Barak, M. E. (2010). Managing diversity: toward a globally inclusive workplace. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Nowak C. (2010). Managing diversity. Norderstedt: GRIN Verlag.
Reisinger Y. (2009). International tourism: cultures and behavior. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Tanke, M. L. (2000). Human resources management for the hospitality industry. Albany, NY: Cengage Learning.