There is little doubt that globalisation has changed the face of business. Traditionally, people working across cultures were either business travellers going to different countries or expatriates living in countries that were not their own. Today, the implication goes far beyond. People working across cultures are often local workforce, living in their own country and interacting virtually with people from other countries – countries they may have never visited nor had any exposure to.
Another aspect of globalization is a growing millennial workforce with multicultural backgrounds. Children with mixed parentage, second-generation immigrants or those who have studied and lived in foreign countries most of their lives. They bring yet another cultural perspective to the workplace.
In other words, diversity of the workforce has become an important aspect that needs serious consideration. As economic borders come down, cultural barriers go up, thus presenting new challenges and opportunities for the workforce in any country. These cultural differences are often a source of misunderstanding, frustration, and even derailment.
As coaches, we often work with clients to overcome these challenges, such as managing multicultural teams, stakeholders and business partners. Or understanding how to work and live with cultures that are different, if not diametrically opposite from what they are familiar with. At the same time, coaches may not be aware of how their own cultural perspectives when working with clients or living in foreign countries or both. Integrating the crucial cultural dimension into coaching helps address some of the complex challenges precipitated by our turbulent, interconnected and global environment.
Leveraging the seminal research of Prof Geert Hofstede, an internationally acclaimed thought leader and pioneer in cross-cultural research,
By understanding the cultural preferences of the individual in comparison with up to 5 selected country cultures, coaches help clients to embrace cultural diversity as a process and deepen their cross-cultural skills by understanding and adapting their intercultural behaviours. Key outcomes of the Hofstede Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ (CWQ) include:
- Greater awareness and understanding of Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions to better understand cultural differences
- Anticipating, analysing and reconciling cultural differences.
While cultural differences can become a roadblock to success when understood and used constructively these differences help release higher potential in individuals enabling greater and sustainable success. The need to embrace cultural diversity in coaching serves as an advantage that will be the key to staying adaptable and relevant. CW coaches help clients develop cross-cultural awareness and develop strategies to maximise opportunities from diversity and discover creative solutions that address complex multidimensional perspectives.
Culture in the Workplace™ (CW) offers a holistic cross-culture tool, Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire™ (CWQ) that applies Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions. (CWQ) provides respondents with insights about themselves and a better understanding of how their cultural preferences, as well as the cultural preferences of others, impact working relationships.
*Culture in the Workplace™ (CW) is one of only 2 companies worldwide endorsed by Professor Hofstede and approved to represent his research. According to Professor Hofstede, "This [approval] is due to their professionalism and deep understanding of my work.” CW is a line of business of ODE Consulting® and specializes in global cross-culture training, coaching and consulting. We focus on bridging the cross-cultural divide within organizations and teams across internal and national borders to bring about ONE TEAM. CW together with our International Partner’s Network aims to support organizations across the globe to address their cross-cultural business challenges and to deliver a return on investment.
Co-Author: Denise Pang, Principal Coach, ODE Consulting®
Co-Author: Dr Kavita Sethi, Principal Consultant, ODE Consulting®