Cultural diversity can be defined as “differences in race, ethnicity, language, nationality, or religion among various groups within a community, organization, or nation”. (Definitions)
The world has become a global village in this era of science and technology. If we look around us, we will see that our society is very diverse. Social and cultural diversity brings together the talent and resources of many people for the benefit of all. Unfortunately, social and cultural diversity amongst us has formed the basis of bigotry, awe and even violence.
However, people fear social and cultural diversity because they are accustomed to their own cultures and traditions, and they are not accepting other’s because they do not feel comfortable.
Nobody can deny the statement that social and cultural diversity has both good and bad impacts on human beings in every aspect of the life. Psychologically speaking, teachers, sportsmen, managers, and all other persons and professionals who belong to different fields agree on the fact that social and cultural diversity has strong effects on performance.
“With growing concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in health and the need for health care systems to accommodate increasingly diverse patient populations, cultural competence has become more and more a matter of national concern and attention”. (Cultural Competency CME Portal)
In this paper, the good and bad effects of cultural and social diversity on a society will be identified. In our modern world, diversity plays a tremendous role. It has been classified with many contexts like politics, ecological context, business context, radio and telecommunication, and so on. However, in the human context, diversity talks about beliefs, opinions, languages, socio-economic backgrounds, sexuality, neurology, physical features, cultures, and gender identity.
Advantages of Social and Cultural Diversity
After globalization, it has become necessary to support cultural diversity for the prevention of conflicts. According to the UN, social and cultural diversities can play a vital role in solving conflicts amongst different nations and communities. It is important to accept cultural diversity as an ecological resource.
People residing in a highly diversified region enjoy a considerable amount of protection against the stoppage of food production systems. Larger regional divisions are safeguarded against economic and ecological upsets. Another positive aspect of cultural diversity is that it prevents rural people from migrating towards urban areas since people can enjoy a variety of cultures even in rural regions.
People’s culture makes them visualize the world in a variety of ways. These viewpoints are crucial for creative ideas. Hence, one can say that a socially and culturally diverse workforce can lead to success in the research and development sector. People should not acknowledge social and cultural diversity as a problem. Instead, they should start taking advantage of this diversity.
To meet global aims and objectives, corporations should comprehend and employ the skills of a culturally diverse workforce. It is a fact that social and cultural diversity offers a key advantage to businesses in the global marketplace. A wider variety of perspectives provides a continuum of talents, which can enhance many characteristics of process and product research.
Cultural diversity helps when organizations market their products on an international scale. A culturally diverse workforce can understand the individual natures of global clients in a better way. Moreover, such a workforce will comprise of employees who have the ability to speak multiple languages along with appropriate accents.
Similarly, diversity on a domestic scale is useful too as this helps a corporation in its operations inside rural areas where specific cultures have deep roots. People living in rural areas feel more comfortable when they interact with someone who understands and respects their culture. In these circumstances, it is extremely beneficial for a corporation to have a socially and culturally diverse workforce.
Disadvantages of Social and Cultural Diversity
Historically speaking, diversity in a society and culture has been used as a pretext for violence and conflict. People consider differences in religions, languages, cultural identities, and social values as valid reasons to see a group or an individual as an enemy.
The existence of minority and majority values within a particular social and cultural society is a greater risk, which not only promotes conflicts but also results in social and cultural inferiority complexes in comparison to the majority groups.
Different languages are spoken in different cultures. In this sense, social and cultural diversity has negative effects. For instance, in America, most of the Latin Americans do not speak English because of language diversity although English is the national language in America.
Latin and Hispanic children in the US suffer from lack of higher education since all the good colleges and universities provide education in English. Therefore, Hispanics and Latins are constrained to study in English Language.
When businessmen visit other countries they sometimes experience cultural and social shocks, stress, and strain in unfamiliar surroundings in which they find themselves. This also influences their mental, emotional and physical well-being. In their discomfort, they feel that they are out of place and have not fully comprehended the social customs and cultures of that particular region.
During this transitional experience, they have to adapt to the circumstances and modify their behavior. During this process, they go through a positive learning curve to eventually adjust themselves to the situations they find themselves in. However, if they are unable to adapt to the circumstances, negativity can set in, which can lead to helplessness, frustration, and anger.