Table of Contents
Executive Summary …………………………………………….2
Cultural Conflict …………………………………………….4
Beliefs and Norms ……………………………………………5
Effects on Customers ……………………………………………..7
Recommendations ………………………………………….… 8
Diversity at the work place is an issue that has continually raised concerns among people from different cultures. In Australia, the case is no different especially for the hotel and tourism industry. Cultural diversity is an issue that needs to be addressed and for this industry as it serves people from different places. In addition, employees are from different cultural backgrounds. This creates a need for the managers of hotels to approach the issue of cultural diversity with care and use it to the advantage of the hotel. Conflict regarding cultural diversity is a common phenomenon in the industry. The need for a means of resolving the issues that occur is imminent. In order to achieve the desired results, a hotel that serves the international market should employ people who are conversant with clients from different places. The importance of educating employees on how to avoid stereotyping and discrimination is important. A manager should always focus on treating all employees and customers with respect.
Australia is a culturally diverse country including people from different cultural backgrounds. The people of Australia are originally diverse but the increased inflow of people from other countries has increased cultural diversity in the country. The tourism industry in the country is known to be one of the fastest growing and greatest providers to the economy. In this point, the hotel industry has been growing regularly over the years with the operation of large hotels that provide the international market. Cultural conflict is common in workplaces where the large number of customers and workforce are from different backgrounds. The purpose of this paper is to understand the issues that affect the hotel industry regarding cultural diversity. This will be done from a hotel manager’s experiences with issues of cultural differences, stereotyping and discrimination. The experiences of the work team are important in this paper because they bring into view the different problems people face in relation to their cultural background. In addition, the experiences of customers will also be used to show how managers deal with cultural differences at the workplace.
Globalisation in the world has improved the market for goods and services, making it easier for different people to access services from foreign markets. The Australian tourism industry serves a large number of customers, most of whom are foreign. This creates the need to employ people who have the skills and ability to serve a multicultural client base (Goot & Watson, 2005). An organization cannot afford to ignore the cultural differences that exist in the modern world. Cultural differences may exist in different structures. Firstly, people communicate in different languages depending on their cultural background. The aboriginal people of Australia are our focuses since there have been numerous cases of discrimination against them. At the work place, such differences may arise causing unnecessary conflict. In the hotel industry, there are some languages that can be termed as common and the workers have to learn these languages. Secondly, there are differences in terms of dressing among people of different cultures. Some people wear certain clothes as a sign of their beliefs and they may have symbolic meaning depending on their culture. Cultural differences also be real in type of traditions that are practiced in each culture (Lashley, Lynch & Morrison, 2006). Different cultures support certain norms and beliefs, which define people’s behaviour. In a culturally diverse workplace, which in this case is a hotel, conflict is set to happen frequently.
As the hotel industry continues to grow in Australia, there is need to deal with cultural conflict that results from cultural diversity. One of the major differences that happen due to cultural diversity is difference in communication styles. The different people living in Australia use different languages. Although English is the national language, it is quite different from the English that is spoken in other countries. In addition, there are original languages that are spoken by the aborigines all over the country. This creates an intercultural barrier to communication. As for the workforce, it is an important requirement to be easy in the English language (Kayat, 2002). This has been creating a barrier to employment for people from other countries who cannot speak English. Communication is important in the hotel industry since there is constant contact with the customers. A workforce that is multicultural has to accept the difficulty to communication that be among them and create means of dealing with such issues. On the other hand, each culture has its own body language and signs that are used in communication. For example, a customer may increase their hand to signal for a waiter while the person being called may read it to mean something else. This is a great barrier to communication and the hotel workers have to understand the different signs used by people of different cultures. Moreover, the different areas in a hotel are organized and employees from different departments have to work together all the time. Stereotyping in the hotel industry has created an increase in intercultural conflict at the workplace. People often have different views about people from certain cultures creating differences of opinions. For example, there are people who view aboriginal Australians as useless in their work. This kind of stereotyping makes other people have a negative attitude to the aboriginal people. It is important to educate people on the importance of valuing other people and using the cultural differences positively (Huxley, 2007). In addition, stereotyping can cause competition between workers, which often leads to inefficiency in service to customers. The workers in a hotel have to accept and understand their differences in order to work efficiently.
Beliefs and Norms
Another cause that raises conflict in a multicultural workplace is beliefs and norms. A person’s background has a great impact on how they behave and approach different issues. In the hotel industry, such differences may cause great conflicts in the working environment. For example, a person may have been brought in a way that they take every task as a challenge. This may result in a constant need to show his skills in the areas where he is skilled. Work mates may view this as a sign of competition and may treat him in negative way. It is important for managers to identify such a situation and deal with it efficiently before it gets out of hand. In addition, in every society, there are norms that define right and wrong in every society. In a multicultural working environment, these differences may result in conflict (Devine, Baum & Hearns, 2009). For example, there are certain modes of dressing that are not acceptable in certain cultures. On the other hand, the mode may be perfectly correct in other cultures. An employee who sees another employee wearing such clothes may form an attitude towards that person creating tension between them. Moreover, such attitudes may extend to customers who come from a different cultural background.
Discrimination has also become an area of concern in the Australian hotel industry. Cultural differences have led to intolerance of some people by others. Hiring practices in the hotel industry have sometimes come under heavy study, due to issues of discrimination. As the industry serves diverse people, it is a theory that employers should hire a diverse workforce. However, cases of discrimination in the hotel industry have been reported raising concerns about the issue of equal employment opportunities (Dunn, 2003). Firstly, there is discrimination against people from certain races who have lesser chances of employment than others do. For example, the local Australian people have filed complaints of discrimination against them in hiring of employees. Secondly, people are discriminated upon based on their religion. Muslims in Australia have reported cases of discrimination against them based on their cultural and religious background. They are left without employment opportunities in the hotel industry, based on their way of dressing which is a cultural issue for them. In addition, they also face more strict and rough interviews as compared to other people, creating a feeling of unfairness in the process of hiring. Immigrants from other countries also face discrimination when applying for employment in the hotel and tourism industry.
While working, the sub-groups discussed above also face discrimination from generation who have negative attitudes towards them. This may be in figure of discriminatory remarks or actions. Employees are known to answer differently when faced with discrimination, with some going to great measures. There are cases of people quitting their jobs due to the level of discrimination in the work place (Reisinger & Turner, 2003). On the other hand, customers also discriminate upon certain workers and may choose people from certain cultural links to serve them. This shames the value of diversity and equality that the Australian government tries to instil in all its citizens.
Effects on Customers
Cultural diversity in the Australian tourism industry does not only affect the workforce but also customers. Hotels are a basic part of tourism and their success signifies success in the whole industry. It involves catering, lodging, guiding, and entertainment among others. The impact of cultural diversity in this industry is strongly felt because clients and workers interact directly (Ismail & Turner, 2008). Cultural diversity has a great impact on host-guest relationships in the hotel setting. Based on the similarity-attraction suggestion, people prefer working with people who possess similar individuality including their cultural background. This attraction towards people of similar backgrounds is what creates prejudices. Customers in a hotel may choose to be served by certain people, a person who has tried to serve a customer and they refuse always feels not enough for the job. This also applies to workers who prefer to serve customers from a similar background. This affects the relationship between customers and workers negatively.
Customers and workers’ experiences with people may also affect the business relationship among people of different cultures. This is coined together with stereotyping whereby, a customer may have received poor services from people of a certain cultural background and he or she forms an opinion that all workers from that culture provide poor services. This also applies to workers who do not want to serve particular customers due to their cultural backgrounds. People should not use one experience to judge a whole culture because this degrades the working environment.
As a hotel manager facing the above challenges, it is important to form an efficient strategy to deal with these issues. Cultural differences should be used for the benefit of the company as opposed to causing conflict among the workforce and customers. Firstly, the management should conduct diversity training for its employees whereby employees can understand the importance of diversity in the hotel. These training sessions should incorporate employees from all departments in order to ensure the integration of the techniques learnt in the running of the hotel (Reisinger & Turner, 2003). The hotel management should also take measures to put together diversity into all its processes. For example, the company should hire employees from different backgrounds to achieve a competitive edge over its competitors. A workforce that comprises of people from different cultural backgrounds can be able to serve a variety of customers. In addition, the different languages that a multicultural workforce brings, is an added advantage. The different people also give different ideas that can be used in the organisation to satisfy the diverse customer needs.
It is important for the management to find ways in which to use cultural differences to the advantage of the organization. By hiring a workforce that is culturally diverse, a hotel is able to satisfy the needs of the customers in an effective way. Australian hotels target both the domestic and the international market. This creates the need to address customer needs, which are varied in many ways. The management has to create discussions that attend to these issues such that conflict does not occur. Effective intercultural communication processes result in efficiency in the running of a hotel. It is the responsibility of mangers to ensure that the workforce understands cultural differences, and that they do not figure opinions based on cultural relationship. The management must show loyalty to the addition of cultural diversity into every aspect of the hotel. For example, the food served must reflect the different cultures represented by the workers and customers. Such a hotel will be more acceptable to customers and will have successfully used cultural differences to its advantage.
In conclusion, understanding cultural differences in the tourism and hotel industry is fundamental to the success of the industry. Tourists make important decisions based on cultural differences that happen during their meets with hotel staff. They may value or bring down a travel destination based on the relationship they form with hotel employees. It is important for every hotel manager to understand the cultural needs of his clients and address them through the workforce. In addition, the employees should be confident to accept and understand different people and their cultural connections. Guests are the most important part of a hotel and any signs of stereotyping, discrimination may lead to great losses, and the hotel may face expensive charges that degrade the standing of the organisation. Finally, cultural diversity must be used for the benefit of organisations at all times, because it creates a harmonious working environment for both the employees and clients.
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