In simple terms, a norm is a rule that guides behavior among members of a group or society. Cultural norms are essentially social facts, i.e. things that exist in a culture independent of individuals, and that shape our behavior and thoughts. Similarly, professional norms also exist. Industries and organizations typically have existing expectations about what’s ‘normal’ in a workplace environment and measures for meeting these expectations. Lets get to it, The Clash Between Cultural Norms and Professional Norms .
Some work environments are more rigid while there are those that are more relaxed and allow employees more freedom with their cultural affiliations. However, no matter the industry or organization, both cultural norms and professional norms tend to clash often. Fortunately, there are strategies to align them.
The Clash Between Cultural Norms and Professional Norms
The conflict of cultural norms and professional norms is never ideal. This clash in a workplace environment is disruptive and leads to various issues, including a loss of productivity. It has a way of playing with the morale and psyche of staff. Managing such conflict is the key to creating a more harmonious work setting and even using multiculturalism to garner more ideas.
Regardless of the industry, it is common to have a lot of cases of unresolved cultural and professional norm conflicts mainly because there are people from different cultures in every sector. These unresolved conflicts result in tension and miscommunication between employees and some of the emotional reactions might have severe consequences. After all, there are a lot of different behaviors in organizations that make the work environment unproductive.
Why Does the Conflict Occur?
It’s a natural occurrence in most cases. We all have a tendency to take our thinking and beliefs subconsciously into the workplace. Our human nature is all about understanding different situations and reacting to them the way we feel appropriate. Sometimes when we fail to completely understand things, from language and communication styles, to basic cultural tendencies. We tend to just react emotionally instead of rationally and when people in a professional environment don’t understand certain processes and begin reacting emotionally, a certain pattern is created that leads to conflicts.
For instance, different individuals from different cultures use their own styles of communications. You may be the type of person who gets straight to the point. However, your colleague might take longer to say what needed to be said and take a more circular approach due to a different interpretation of respect and leadership. There are several factors that contribute to the clash of cultural norms and professional norms at work. These may include educational background, age, gender bias, racial or ethnic background, and more.
The Importance of Understanding Different Cultural Norms
Creating a diverse team is one effective way to prevent the clash of cultural and professional norms. Many organizations do this. Having a diverse team ensures long-term success in managing such conflict to a large extent. In addition to common sense, scientific studies have also revealed the fact that individuals with different personalities and points of view increases the creativity of a team in completing their tasks.
When managing a diverse team, understanding different cultural norms is important. It gives you insights into what could be responsible for certain behaviors and habits that employees exhibit at work. Understanding this concept arms supervisors and managers with better insights into the best ways to motivate the staff and prevent the cultural and professional norm clash. It also gives the staff a sense of belonging particularly when they see someone who supports their culture and understands them better. This creates a better work environment and leads to more efficiency and productivity at work.
How to Align Cultural Norms and Professional Norms
Once you have identified the differences between cultural and professional norms in the workplace, you can take steps to be proactive about minimizing their overall impact. Following are some approaches that will help you in this regard:
Learn About Your Staff
While maintaining respectful boundaries, take steps to learn about the unique experiences that each member of your staff brings to the workplace. Learn about their background as it will allow you to research their cultural norms and how they can potentially clash with professional norms of the workplace and then prepare to align them. Be a globally minded citizen!
Organize Diversity Training
Requiring the staff to attend diversity training will allow you to create a more understanding environment and equip workers with the strategies they need to balance cultural and professional norms. This would also proactively approach any possible clashes that may occur between two ways of thinking or culturally biased mannerisms.
The Clash Between Cultural Norms and Professional Norms
In conclusion, the clash between cultural norms and professional norms seems inevitable. Especially without understanding, the differences between both norms provide much fodder for conflict. Learning about the root cause of the potential clash and taking steps to minimize its impact can help you ensure more efficiency and productivity at work. In the end, it is quite clear the mission or goal is important. However, forgetting that people is the way to reach that goal is only asking for trouble. I hope this helps! Till next time!-The Black Sheep