Dealing with multicultural issues

Changing people’s deep-seated attitudes can be difficult; the best way is often to change the behaviour rather than the attitude.  There will be no chance of success unless you show your commitment to accepting cultural diversity; others will then be able to mirror your understanding.

The following are a number of strategies an organisation can use to resolve differences whilst taking into account cultural considerations:

  • Educate people as to what is appropriate and acceptable behaviour.
  • Support the introduction of policies, procedures and practices to accept and encourage cultural diversity.
  • Assess the organisational culture to see if it is contributing to conflict.
  • Take any complaints seriously and keep records of incidents.
  • Make investigations independent of the people involved in the conflict.
  • Informal resolution procedures and mediation can be effective.
  • Speak to all the people involved in cultural conflict, even if they are supervisors.
  • Workplace codes of conduct/grievance procedures may be helpful.
  • The process followed to resolve conflict must be seen to be fair.
  • Be patient.  It is unlikely the problem will be fixed quickly, especially if it is entrenched in the organisational culture.

Audio: Be realistic

Text version: Be realistic

‘We, as community services, disability services and youth workers, need to be ever mindful of our own prejudices and be prepared to look “square in the face” at our own deep seated attitudes towards multiculturalism so that our interactions are as clean as possible.

This means being honest with ourselves and others and being prepared to refer onto others in situations where we honestly believe we will not be able to offer our best in the situation.’

Last modified: Thursday, 3 November 2016, 3:56 PM