How shall we all work together?: Achieving diversity and equity in work settings
There is probably no more serious challenge to social stability in the contemporary world than the management of inter- cultural relations within culturally plural societies. Intercul- tural contact is a major experience for all contemporary peoples in their daily lives, whether in their social or their work situations. At times, these contacts may be challenging; understanding them through research can contribute to enhancing mutual acceptance among cultural groups. This positive outcome is a goal that citizens and policy-makers in most culturally diverse societies are now seeking. Successful management of these relationships depends on many factors, including the historical, political, eco- nomic, religious and psychological features of the individuals and groups that are interacting. Answers to this fundamental issue are relevant not only to societies as a whole, but also to their constituent institutions, including work organisations. The core question is “How shall we all live and work together?” when we engage those of other cultures.
In this paper, I begin by presenting some core concepts and frameworks to guide a search for answers. These frame- works are then illustrated by their use in two types of organisations: the military and universities. These organisa- tions differ from those in the private sector, but readers may wish to bridge these ideas to their own organisational situa- tions. Third, I provide an overview of a research project (Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies: MIRIPS). This project proposes and evaluates three core psychological hypotheses of intercultural relations namely, multicultural- ism, contact and integration. The project was carried out in 17 culturally plural societies. The main goal of the project is to evaluate these three hypotheses across societies in order to identify some basic psychological principles that underlie successful intercultural relations. The overall goal of the present paper is to employ these ideas and ﬁndings as a basis to propose policies and programmes that may improve the quality of intercultural relationships in societies, ethnocul- tural groups and organisations globally