Culture Impact Journal
June 2023 special:
CULTURE, DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Table of content
Editorial: Huib Wursten
This special of the Culture Impact Journal is about the influence of Culture on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D.E.I.) programs.
Tessa Sutton (USA) & Chris Cartwright (USA)
Connecting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongingness with Intercultural Competence
The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging space is brimming with stellar insights into how to find and root out systemic inequities. They are also often North American-centric and need clear evidence of the proposed changes being adopted more than on paper. For the deep changes we seek to take hold in our global organizations and society, we must consider the role individuals play in creating cultures of inclusion from a broader, more global perspective. In this chapter, we explore insights from an in-depth review of how organizations and individuals can learn to build inclusive organizations and simultaneously cultivate intercultural competencies.
Pia Kähärä (Finland) and Valeria Rodríguez Brondo (Uruquay)
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) paradox.: how can we respect cultural diversity and, at the same time, be in line with our DEI policies?
One of our Swedish clients, with a significant subsidiary in Russia, raised a question in a workshop about how to implement LGBTQ policy in the country when the national culture and law conflict with their diversity, equity, and inclusion policy. So, how to preach diversity, equity, and inclusion while understanding and respecting cultural differences? Are we facing a paradox? Are there ways to adapt the DEI concept to the local culture? This is the inspiration for the article that follows.
Prof. Mette Zølner, (Denmark)
Which insights can alternative perspectives on Diversity management give us?
Since the emergence of Diversity management (DM) in the US of the 1990s, these management practices have become widely spread, being present in numerous organizations and historical and societal contexts. With DM followed various kinds of training on how to enhance organizational diversity, inclusion and equity for traditionally marginalized groups. Yet, in recent years, the positive impact of such practices has been challenged, from within the US, both in political debates as well as by management scholars (i.e. Dobbin and Kalev, 2022).
In this line, the present paper proposes to examine whether interpretive and critical approaches to DM can further our comprehension of why DM fails and of how to enhance its success. Both critical and interpretive approaches point to the need for considering the cultural roots of diversity management as well as the cultural, societal and historical contexts in which DM is being applied. Also, both approaches emphasize that when diversity practices are being implemented, factors such as interests, conflicts and organizational culture can help comprehending failure and success, respectively. However, while the interpretive perspective adopts an emic view focusing on how organizational actors make sense of diversity practices within a particular situated context, the critical perspective espouses an etic view with a focus on power asymmetries.
Brigitte Opel (Germany, Netherlands)
Diversity Equity and Inclusion in an international setting.
As an intercultural consultant, I was always bewildered when people would reduce “diversity” to the balance of males and females in a group. Then I realized that also nationality or culture doesn’t cut it. There are so many different variations of diversity. There are those you can distinguish by visible factors: Gender, race, age, and abilities – unless you get fooled by your own misconceptions. Religion is more difficult; Ethnic can also be tricky if we label too quickly and don’t know the possible differences. And when it comes to variations by personality, the ice gets thin – as they say in the Netherlands. How do you ensure introverts feel invited to participate, just like the outspoken extroverts? Because that is what we’re concerned with: We need to get to the point that we not only recognize the differences and learn to address them, we should see through the differences and make sure they all feel assured that they belong, they feel empowered, they’re not just invited to dance, but their dancing is natural, appreciated: is “normal.”
We all want to get to that point. The business case, the benefit is no longer questioned: with empowered diverse teams, we achieve a better understanding of the market, more creative solutions, and more productive teams. Our strategies and objectives are typically quite ambitious: we want to tick all the boxes by the end of the year. In businesses, we strive to have well-balanced teams representing all those diversities and everything is going smoothly.
Elizabeth A. Tuleja, Ph.D., ACC (USA)
Inclusive Leadership. Finding solutions through cultural competence
The world is rife with unrest as societies throughout the world attempt to reset what people think about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Leaders of organizations strive to find the “right” program to “train” its people with grand hopes that a short seminar will make a lasting difference, only to find that people go back to their old habits. Unfortunately, many traditional programs do the opposite of bringing people together; rather, people can feel named, blamed, and shamed. This article approaches the DEI topic with a developmental approach at the individual level that encourages a person to delve deep into who they are and why they think, believe, and behave the way they do.
Cultural competence is presented as the foundation that supports diversity – the “who” that makes up the mix of differences – and inclusion – the “what” when people feel valued and engaged versus unappreciated and ignored. From this angle, cultural competence is the “how” that creates the capability or capacity to shift one’s cultural perspective and adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities.
This article also will explain this developmental process by examining a scientific assessment tool (IDI-Intercultural Development Inventory) that effectively helps individuals and groups identify and explore areas of cultural difference in order to navigate them more effectively. When one develops intercultural competence, one gains a more complex understanding of how to engage cultural diversity. This developmental process enables a person to grasp that people from other groups have different ways of making sense and responding to cultural differences. A significant result is that people begin to identify differences and establish accurate commonalities to produce a shared experience through the recognition of goals, needs, interests, and motivations.
While current challenges involving diversity, equity, and inclusion abound, it is possible to find solutions through developing intercultural competence and using it to impact one’s own circle of influence. It’s a powerful development process that yields results on a lasting level.
Fernando Lanzer (Brasil)
Managing DEI in Different Cultures
The evolution of the term Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is rather amusing, as it reflects the evolution of the concept in Anglophone culture. As the concept continues to change and evolve, we should consider replacing the word equity with the more accurate “equivalence.” This paper presents the reasoning behind this proposal and describes how DEI is practiced in different ways, depending on the core values of different cultures. Huib Wursten’s seven Mental Images of culture (1), based on Hofstede’s framework of Culture Dimensions (2), are used as taxonomic reference. The case is made for being aware that DEI is far from being a universal concept, and caution must be exercised when moving DEI practices from one culture to another without proper adaption. Importation without adaptation may (and often does) result in frustration.
Huib Wursten (Netherlands)
D.E.I. and Mental Images. The rules of the game.
Frequently, the discussions around D.E.I. are about recognition of the rights of previously excluded groups, mainly based on skin color, gender or/and sexual preference. The emphasis is then on their representation in the democratic process, the fight against biases and stereotyping and the reparation of past wrongdoings A question that is mostly avoided in this approach to diversity is: how different are these groups in their values and ways of thinking? This paper will show how country culture is a gravitational influence in shaping values and ways of thinking. It will be shown that seven culture profiles (Mental Images) can be distinguished with seven different “rules of the game” for policy making, including policies for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In coping with global challenges like energy, climate, poverty and immigration, the seven cultural profiles and the consequent rules of the game are important because we must understand the differences to bridge these. The slogan is: we are in it together! The seven culture profiles and rules of the game will be illustrated with the consequences for the D.E.I. approach. Because of the constraints posed by the length of a Journal paper, one country is chosen per Culture Profile as an example.
Paulo Finuras, PhD (Portugal)
Evolution and the fear of rejection – why is the need for inclusion a human universal?
The need for social acceptance has always been fundamental for individual survival. Although sometimes we have more egocentric behaviors, it seems to be part of our evolutionary design and our own genetic composition, the need to seek to follow and belong “to the group”, because belonging to one group not only provides a sense of identity, but also translates acceptance by the other. Looks like that’s how we evolved as a species. In this article I reflect a little on the importance of belonging to any group and the consequences of ostracization or rejection that our brain always treats as pain and suffering. And this, it seems, happens beyond cultural differences and not because of them. It has to do with our biology of social primates and has always been a means of survival that highlights the dimension of our social brain.
Chika Miyamori (Japan) Reiko Tashiro (Japan)
From Assimilation to Inclusion: The impact of national culture on D.E.I. in Japan
Colorado State University Professor Lynn Shore and her colleagues based the definition of inclusion on two fundamental questions:
- Does an individual feel they have a high sense of belonging as an insider within their workgroup?
- Does an individual feel their uniqueness has high value within their workgroup?
Professor Shore and her colleagues explain pseudo-inclusion or the balance between belonging and uniqueness in “Inclusion and Diversity in Work Groups: A Review and Model for Future Research” with four key features: exclusion, inclusion, assimilation, and differentiation. In their efforts for Diversity and inclusion, Japanese companies tend to focus on unity and being a member of the organization. They tend to lean toward “assimilation,” which leads to homogenization and loss of uniqueness.
This paper will focus on the difference between Assimilation and Inclusion and the impact of the national culture in the workplace in Japan.