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Managing cultural issue in hospitality

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Concepts of Managing Cultural Diversity

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Introduction

Modern day workplaces have evolved significantly as they have now become more and more culturally diversified. This phenomenon has gained substantial popularity in the recent times. One of the main reasons behind it is that countries such as UK have now become multi-cultural (Chhokar, Brodbeck and House, 2013). This means that, people from different countries and cultural backgrounds are living in UK as permanent residents of the nation. Due to this, aspect of managing human resources in a proper manner has become a difficult task. Hospitality organizations such as Marriott need to pay a lot of attention towards managing this cultural diversity in a proper and effective manner because if any mistake is made in this regard, then it can prove dangerous for the firm. Present report sheds light on different theories and concepts of managing cultural diversity. Additionally, it also discusses about strategies through which diversification can be managed to gain competitive advantage.

Task 1

LO 1 Evaluating theories and concepts to manage cultural diversity at workplace

'Diversity' is essentially a very broad topic and entails in giving considerations to a variety of topics. For companies especially the ones operating in hospitality industry, it is of utmost importance that cultural diversity at workplace is managed in a proper manner otherwise it could serious negative ramification for the enterprise (Festing and Maletzky, 2011). This concept basically is related to employing people belonging to different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, etc. Since UK is a multi-cultural country, therefore taking steps for managing such diversity a proper manner is crucial for companies operating in the nation. Therefore authorities at Marriott need to consider theories and approaches which are developed by various past authors and experts on the topic of 'managing cultural diversity' (Gefen and et. al, 2005).

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One such theory is Social Identity Theory. It was developed by Henry Tajfel and John Turner during 70s and 80s. By it is considered to be a highly effective theory for managing cultural diversity at workplace. It is the portion of an individuals' self-concept, i.e. how they perceive themselves. It can be much described as a concept which predicts certain intergroup behaviours on basis of status of an individual and also their perception of self (Hogg, 2006). According to this theory, in order to present one in front of different people, individuals tend to enhance the status of group which they belong. This means that if cultural diversity is to be managed in a proper and in an effective manner, then authorities at Marriott can employ people belonging to different cultural backgrounds at a 'higher ground' (McLeod, 2008). This means that attention and importance must be given to people so that they get a positive feeling and they may develop same image of the company. This way they can be motivated to perform different tasks and duties as per organizational standards and remain loyal as well as committed to the workplace. Through social identity theory, hotel can effectively manage diversity and also ensure that employees give maximum contribution towards attainment of corporation  goals and objectives (Pellegrini, Scandura and Jayaraman, 2010). Main aspect of this theory is that an individual would try to point out negatives of those who do not belong to their group in order to enhance their self image. On the basis of this theory it can be said that, there could be large number of issues in managing cultural diversity which could be faced by management at Marriott. 'Stereotyping' is a very common phenomenon of this theory. Hotel would have to pay attention towards aspects such as differences between groups and similarities between the groups. Through this approach, thorough understanding of this theory would help in managing cultural diversity at workplace in an efficient and effective manner (Mazur, 2010). According to authors of this theory, there are three mental processes which are involved in the social identity theory. They are – categorization, social identification and comparison.

In the first stage of this process, management at Marriott is required to categorize its employees in different categories on the basis of their cultural backgrounds. Categorization can be done on various aspects such as race, religion, ethnicity, etc. Therefore, it can be said that terms such as 'black', 'white', 'British', 'Muslim', etc. would have to be used. Undertaking this stage will help in realizing the extent of cultural diversity so that measures can be taken so as to manage the same and a positive working environment can be maintained at the workplace (Stahl and et. al, 2010). By categorizing people into different groups on basis of cultures which they belong to, management at Marriott would be able to understand their view points and perceptions towards the society in general as well as the organization. Through such an approach, the authorities at hotel would get much better and effective opportunity to take a step in managing cultural diversity at workplace.

Next stage of the process is social identification (Thomas and Peterson, 2014). Herein management of the hotel would need to identify individuals on basis of categories that they are part of. For instance, if an employee is categorized as 'black', then the management can assume their working style on the basis of category they belong to. Having such information would enable the authorities to improve approaches they use to manage workforce cultural diversity and thus ensure that a positive working environment is developed in the company. Whilst next, third and last stage according to the theory is social comparison (Gupta and Fernandez, 2009). Here, the management can compare different groups which they have developed in the previous stage, amongst one another. Objective of this step is to identify and understand ways in which people from different groups and social categories react in presence of various other groups as well. This way, thorough information can be obtained about ways in which cultural diversity can be managed effectively in the company (Ofori and Toor, 2009).

Another theory which can explain the concept of managing cultural diversity is Micro-culture. It refers to specialised sub-groups which consist of their own language, ethos, rules and regulations. Through the help of this theory, management at Marriott would get an idea how different cultural groups function and ways that they can use so as to manage such diversity and ensure that operations of the firm do not get negatively influenced by it (Foldy, 2003). On this basis, it can be said that by using this theory of managing cultural diversity, authorities at the cited hotel would get extensive information about different groups and various other aspects or features related to them. In this sense, it can be said that Micro-culture theory of managing workplace diversity would help the company to ensure that workplace environment does not get negatively affected by it; thus aid the firm to prolong its very existence in the market (Tung, 2008). Through such an approach, management at the hotel would be able to motivate employees and make them dedicated towards workplace, enabling them to contribute towards organizational goals and objectives.

From the above analysis, it can be said that managing cultural diversity at workplace is of paramount importance for companies such as Marriott Hotels. This is because, if the firm does not pay proper attention then it can prove to be dangerous for the organization and put its existence in risk in the long run future (Pauleen, Rooney and Holden, 2010). Therefore, the management at Marriott needs to develop steps and measures through which it can manage diversity in a proper and effective manner because if any mistake happens in this regard, then the company would have to pay heavily which can be in terms of fine, or negative impact on brand image. There are several ways in which diversity at workplace can be managed in an efficient and effective manner, but the management needs to pay attention to ensuring that they have thorough and extensive knowledge about such methods. For instance, they need to thoroughly understand the social identity theory, as this matter is very sensitive (Henderson, 2005). In this context, tools and methods such as meetings and regular workshops or training sessions can be very useful. Herein, the authorities would be required to provide information and knowledge to HR executives and managers on best ways as how they can manage diversity and also ensure that workplace environment is not negatively affected.

LO 2 Strategy to utilise workforce diversity in order to gain competitive advantage

For business organizations it is of utmost importance to take steps so as to manage cultural diversity at workplace in an efficient and effective manner (Moran, Harris and Moran, 2011). It is crucial, because of reason that it would enable the organization to meet its goals and objectives, along with fulfilling demands of the customers by providing them with high quality products and/or services. By paying attention to it and managing it in a proper manner, hotel can attain competitive edge over its rival firms and thus prolong its existence in the market. But managing cultural diversity is a very complicated task and requires use of different tools and techniques (Jonsson and Holmgren, 2013). Over the years various such techniques and methods have been developed so as to manage this diversity in a proper manner. Some of them are as follows:

  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • Communication
  • Relocation
  • Team building

On this basis, it can be said that the management at Marriott would be required to use methods such as providing training and mentoring to the HR employees as well as managers of the company about best ways to manage diversity at workplace. This way the hotel can perform in an effective manner be it the HR executives, managers, or the employees themselves will be able to give their best performance and maximum contribution to company's aim and targets (Shachaf, 2008). One of the best ways to manage diversity at workplace in Marriott is that management of the hotel can provide training and development sessions. Herein the focus would be on imparting knowledge to managers and others about the necessity and best approach to manage diversity. Sensitivity training can also be very useful in this regard. Through this technique, the hotel can be sure that employees from diverse backgrounds get ample opportunities to grow, as well as they are managed in such a manner that they develop a positive image of the firm and remain committed and dedicated towards the workplace (Ochieng and Price, 2010). Approach of providing training and development to managers and other such high level staff members would help in ensuring that they are fully committed to towards the firm and are also able to perform to their full potential. In managing cultural diversity at workplace, it is very important that every staff member respects various cultures that may be present in the firm. This is crucial in managing cultural diversity in the company. By imparting proper training and development sessions, authorities of the hotel can provide knowledge to the employees about working culture of the hotel and make them follow various policies and regulations in this context (Caligiuri and Tarique, 2012). If employees share mutual respect, then there are much better chances that they would work effectively in team based settings and with cohesion to achieve common goals and objectives. Therefore, it with unity among themselves, employees can share various roles and responsibilities that eventually would prove to be of great use for the firm. In various past studies on the said topic and also opinions of many industry experts state that in hospitality organizations, it is crucial for employees to work as a team, as a unit, because only then a company can attain its goals and objectives, through which it can attain competitive advantage. There are various other ways as well through which training and development sessions can prove to be helpful in managing cultural workplace diversity in the Marriott Hotel (Bassett‐Jones, 2005). It is related with making employees more responsible and developing a trust worthy environment amongst them. This way people belonging to different racial and ethnic backgrounds can work in cohesion with one another that would enable them to contribute to company's goals and objectives.

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Another strategy which can be utilised by management at Marriott Hotel in order to manage cultural diversity at workplace is to communicate. It is of unprecedented importance for an organization, regardless of industry that they it may be a part of. This method is crucial for hospitality industry to manage cultural diversity. It can become a very useful and effective method through which the same can be managed in an efficient and effective manner (French, 2010). Therefore, it can be said that management at the cited hotel to a great extent can manage diversity by way of organizing and conducting regular meetings. It would enable managers of the firm as well as other leaders to communicate with one another and share their idea(s) of managing diversity and ensuring that the firm does not get negatively affected by the same. Holding meetings on a regular basis would help the management at hotel to ensure that the management and the employees share positive relationship amongst them which would help in managing cultural diversity in an effective manner (Chen and et. al, 2010). Furthermore, different ideas and concepts to manage the same can also be discussed at such meetings. This way, diversity can be managed in an efficient and effective manner and also ensure that negative working environment is not developed. In addition to it, use of this technique would help in motivating employees along with ensuring that all staff members to share a positive relationship with one another. Therefore, it may not be wrong to say that communicating through regular meetings would help in managing cultural diversity at workplace in an efficient and effective manner (Moran, Abramson and Moran, 2014).

Team building exercises can also be very helpful in managing such diversity. This is because it would help employees belonging to different cultural backgrounds to interact with one another. For Marriott hotel to attain competitive edge over its rival organizations, it would be very important to develop effective team functioning environment. On various past occasions it has been noted that, team based working has helped companies to operate in an effective manner and ensure that organizational goals and objectives are attained with great ease and comfort (Hudea, 2014). Therefore, by conducting different team building exercises, the cited hotel can ensure that employees share positive relations with one another. This way, the issue of cultural diversity can be managed easily. Building such teams will lead to development of communication and thus relationship among the employees who may belong to different cultures and religious backgrounds. Through this approach, management at Marriott can be sure that these staff members would share mutual respect for one another (Chhokar, Brodbeck and House, 2013). One of the major benefits of using this technique is that it will ensure that, employees are able to work with each other in complete harmony and unison towards a common goal or objective. There are much better chances for the firm to attain its goals and objectives, along with obtaining competitive edge over its rival organizations. Since the hospitality industry is highly competitive in nature, human resources are the key for a firm to attain success and gain lead over other organizations in the industry. Therefore, team building exercises will help Marriott hotel management to improve overall performance of the employees, as well as relationship which they share with one another (Stahl and et. al, 2010). Through this strategy, hostility among people from different cultural backgrounds can be reduced sharply; and human resource can be more dedicated towards the organization by enabling them to work with one another.

Conclusion

Countries such as UK nowadays are known as multi-cultural nations which mean that people from diverse backgrounds are residents of the realm. Since these individuals share different beliefs, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to manage such diversity in a proper and effective manner. During the present study it was observed that, there are many theories that management at Marriott Hotel can use so as to manage this issue in an effective manner, such as Social Identity Theory, which consists of three different stages. Further, different strategies to manage this issue were also discussed in the report. It consisted of likes of regular meetings, team building exercises, etc.

References

  • Bassett‐Jones, N., 2005. The paradox of diversity management, creativity and innovation. Creativity and innovation management. 14(2).pp. 169-175.
  • Caligiuri, P. and Tarique, I., 2012. Dynamic cross-cultural competencies and global leadership effectiveness. Journal of World Business. 47(4).pp. 612-622.
  • Chen, G. and et. al., 2010. When does cross-cultural motivation enhance expatriate effectiveness? A multilevel investigation of the moderating roles of subsidiary support and cultural distance. Academy of Management Journal. 53(5).pp. 1110-1130.
  • Chhokar, J. S., Brodbeck, F. C. and House, R. J., 2013. Culture and leadership across the world: The GLOBE book of in-depth studies of 25 societies. Routledge.
  • Festing, M. and Maletzky, M., 2011. Cross-cultural leadership adjustment—A multilevel framework based on the theory of structuration. Human resource management review. 21(3).pp. 186-200.
  • French, R., 2010. Cross-cultural management in work organisations. CIPD Publications.
  • Gefen, D. and et. al., 2005. Cultural diversity and trust in IT adoption. Journal of Global Information Management. 13(1).pp. 54-78.
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