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What is cultural diversity?


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What is cultural diversity?

1.1. Lead-in

Consider the following questions:

  1. How would you define cultural diversity?
  2. What separates members of multinational teams?
  3. What unites members of multinational teams?
  4. What are the “disadvantages” of diversity?
  5. What are the “advantages” of diversity?


A diverse organisation is one which values difference. It is one which recognises that people with different backgrounds, skills, attitudes and experiences bring fresh ideas and perceptions. Diverse organisations encourage and harness these differences to make their services relevant and approachable. A diverse organisation draws upon the widest possible range of views and experiences, so it can listen to, and meet, the changing needs of its users, staff, volunteers, partners and supporters.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Developments (CIPD) describes managing diversity as:

'Managing diversity is based on the concept that people should be valued as individuals for reasons related to business interests, as well as for moral and social reasons. It recognises that people from different backgrounds can bring fresh ideas and perceptions which can make the way work is done more efficient and products and services better.

Managing diversity successfully will help organisations to nurture creativity and innovation and thereby to tap hidden capacity for growth and improved competitiveness'.

(Managing diversity - a CIPD position paper, 1996)

The CIPD explains that the effective management of diversity can help 'counteract prejudice against a wide range of personal differences, for example: academic or vocational qualification, accent, age, caring responsibilities, ethnic origin, gender, learning difficulties, marital status, physical and mental abilities, political affiliation, previous mental illness, religion, sexual orientation, spent or irrelevant convictions and trade union or non-trade union membership'.


1.3. Vocabulary development

1.3.1. Match the following words and phrases from the text with their right definitions:

  1. trade union
  1. origin, set of values defining a person
  1. vocational
  1. guide, set in order, curb, stop
  1. affiliation
  1. available, easily accessible
  1. prejudice
  1. champion, advocate, one who stands by somebody or something
  1. counteract
  1. nourish, support, foster, sustain
  1. nurture
  1. retort, retaliate, strike back
  1. supporter
  1. preconceived idea
  1. approachable
  1. sense of belonging
  1. harness
  1. occupational
  1. background
  1. organisation for the defence of labour rights

1.3.2. Fill in the blanks in the following sentences using a suitable word derived from the word given at the end of each sentence:

1. A knowledge of cultural difference is to any definition of cultural interaction.


2. Sometimes cultural traits may suffer changes beyond .


3. A(n) traveller will fail to do justice to cultural difference.


4. A visitor to your country should be offered plenty of in exploring local culture.


5. You might find a lot of locals while travelling in foreign countries.


6. Nationalists would like their country’s traditions to be .


7. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose when you are faced with a huge of tourist attractions.


8. I wouldn’t like to sound , but you should get more involved in the mores of your host country.


9. I am neither moral, nor immoral. My is often a mystery to my friends.


10. Her at Heathrow airport made her miss her connecting flight.


1.3.3. Fill in the blanks in the following sentences with the required preposition.

I am sorry to say that you are a candidate a suitable background for this job involving talking foreigners.

  1. My approach dealing cultural difference is a most successful one.
  2. My experience draws my travels the world.
  3. What is prejudice based and how could you steer clear it?
  4. My job is related handling a wide range tourist services.
  5. He is a background not entirely suited his job description.
  6. He finally succeeded setting things straight.
  7. Her capacity hard work in PR is overwhelming.
  8. His prejudice other nationals boils down xenophobia.
  9. My affiliation this political party will be an extremely short duration.

1.4. Language focus: The tense system: Past Perfect

1.4.1. The tense system: Past Perfect

Form: had + Past Participle: I went to work after I had finished my lunch. Had I finished…? Yes, I had. No, I hadn’t.

It indicates:

a past, completed action that takes place before another past action: He gave me the book when he had finished reading it.

An action finished before a certain moment in the past: I had written the paper by ten o’ clock.

The Past Perfect is not compulsory when after and before establish the sequence of the actions.

1.4.2. Use the Past Perfect where necessary.

  1. The two parties (reach) an agreement when the member of our group made the suggestion, so he had to accept it.
  2. The Parliament (pass) this law a very long time ago.
  3. By the time I called the office the secretary (leave).
  4. When we wanted to complain about the PR officer being rude, the manager (fire) him.
  5. Discrimination (be) a current practice in the company long before she brought up the issue.
  6. They changed their policy after a group of unsatisfied clients (sue) the company.
  7. When they arrived the conference (begin) and they did not want to disturb the participants, so they left.
  8. The chairman opened the session after everybody (consult) the agenda.
  9. We wanted to help them but by the time we got there they (finish) writing the recommendations.
  10. When she decided to accept the offer it was too late. Someone else (hire) as an assistant manager.

Writing Comment on the following statement: Cultural diversity makes teamwork almost impossible because of culture clashes.

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