Leading the Way through Cultural Generational Differences in the Workplace

Headlines RSS Feed

Cultural Differences
Cultural differences routinely create a divergent convergence. An individual’s upbringing, customs and norms make up one’s cultural characteristics and individual perspective. These views typically occur naturally within one’s own country or region. However, cultural differences can produce major controversies on a more global scale.
“One of the biggest divergent convergences is with the East and West coming together in the same workplace,” explained Dr. Robin Roberts, Assistant Professor for the College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide. “These two areas have a completely different mindset, yet are now working together.”
Business practices in China and the United States exemplify these contrasting ways of thinking. Workers in China often put the group ahead of their personal desires, while U.S. employees celebrate individualism. Additionally, communication between workers and management tends to be more accessible in the U.S. In China, workers are less likely to challenge, disagree or communicate directly with management. While neither mentality is right or wrong, leading a team of workers with these varying views can be a challenge.
“Regardless of the differences between cultures … once an individual adopts a leadership mode, they absolutely believe this is the mode in which all the world operates,” explained Dr. Roberts.
Generation Gaps
Technology is the largest contributor to generational differences within the workplace.
“Currently, there is an entire generation that does not know anything other than technology,” shared Dr. Roberts.
These “digital natives” grew up with daily access to the internet, mobile phones and computers. Generations prior to the digital age are considered “digital immigrants” and have had to acclimate to this new technology. These immigrant generations have learned new lingo and have even shifted the way they think.
“There are now anxiety disorders that were not present in human society before technology,” explained Dr. Roberts. “Technology has changed our flight or fight …

Read More