I believe that culture, which is characterized by gender, race, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds, plays a critical role in determining and influencing human interactions, behaviors, and expectations in the society. I was born and raised in a small in Northern New Jersey. My younger brother and I had to complement my single mother’s income from several blue-collar jobs by completing different chores and taking up summer jobs as early as at 14 years old. Therefore, I am a descendant of a working culture whose members take pride in fulfilling their material needs through hard work and self-sacrifices, which are the core of the American way of life. Accordingly, family and work are the core tenets of my culture, as demonstrated by the individual and collective efforts of the community to satisfy their desires through genuine dedication and determination.
Integrity, hard work, integrity, and innovation are the core cultural values, and they represent a culture of growth and reward for contributions. In this case, society rewarded good intentions, maximum efforts, and a genuine desire to succeed rather than merely glorifying success. Therefore, family and community members are not judged by their material possession, academic achievements, or social standing in the society. Instead, winners and losers are determined based on their commitment to the cultural beliefs and norms, which are the honesty and integrity of their income-searching efforts. Consequently, my personal and professional behaviors and decisions are significantly influenced by cultural norms, values, and beliefs. For instance, I learned to judge people by their personalities, as opposed to reputation and material possession.
My ability to treat people fairly and equally, as advocated by my cultural values and norms, has been vital in my development of purposeful personal and professional networks. Coming from a society with a majority of low-income earners, I have learned that a person’s greatness lies in their hard work and integrity, and not the material possession and popularity at their workplace or in the society. Accordingly, I have always strived to provide equal and fair opportunities to job applicants and junior staff members whenever I have worked to promote merit-based employment and promotion opportunities. Besides, I do not let other people’s perceptions of an employee or leader compromise my rational judgment of their character and personality.
A case example of the influence of the cultural beliefs, values, and norms on my behaviors and decision-making is when I resisted a group resolution to frustrate a management directive based on unfounded claims by my workplace colleagues. In my early days at the company, I worked on a team comprised mostly of people from different racial backgrounds. During my first few weeks on the team, I witnessed a fierce confrontation between the manager and employees. In this case, the manager attempted to implement new rules, which were resisted by the team members. The employees planned to frustrate the manager and the initiative by falsely accusing the manager of racial discrimination. After extensive consideration, I anonymously informed the company’s ethnic line of the evil plan against the manager. Ultimately, my actions averted a severe organizational conflict, as well as informed the organization’s decision to introduce training on diversity and inclusion for all employees.
My cultural background has always influenced my workplace presentation as a bold and straightforward employee. As an outsider in the Southern American community, I believe in asking and responding to questions fearlessly and objectively, which occasionally conflicts with the norms of my current workplace in Atlanta. Moreover, I have also learned the value of building relationships with customers, workmates, and contractors before business engagements, which is a crucial part of Southern culture. Eventually, social connections and professional associations have become instrumental in my efforts to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
My workplace cultures, beliefs, and values are significantly similar to my culture because they focus on promoting productivity and harmony between people. For instance, my current organization prioritizes integrity, discipline, and accountability as the core corporate values, which are equally emphasized in my native community. Besides, my employer stresses the need for respect and balancing the organization’s vision and execution, similar to the hard work and respect advocated by my culture. However, the two cultures deviate in their approach to task execution. Whereas teamwork is the core strategy of task completion at my workplace, my community emphasizes personal efforts as the precursor of community success.
On numerous occasions, I have been perceived as individualistic and rude because of my unique cultural norms and practices. In this case, culture, values, and beliefs could be understood through misinterpretation of verbal and non-verbal communications, stereotyping, and exaggerating or ignoring people’s emotions and opinions. For instance, people may assume that I am antisocial because I rarely establish social relationships with customers and colleagues at work.
The company may improve its organizational culture by embracing transparency as a core value for all employees. In this case, transparency would increase commitment and productivity by ensuring high employee engagement (Owino and Kibera 2). Moreover, a transparent workforce facilitates early identification and resolution of workplace disputes.
Managers should also inspire and embrace employee autonomy to improve organizational culture. Micromanagement of employees creates an ineffective, inefficient, and uninspired workforce, which increases dissatisfaction and conflicts among employees (Owino and Kibera 3). Therefore, freedom of expression encourages creativity, innovation, and accountability.
The company should encourage giving and soliciting regular feedback from employees as part of the culture-enhancing efforts. Proper dissemination of information empowers the employees to make correct decisions during task execution. On the other hand, uninformed workers may become disgruntled and demotivated by evaluation results and staff promotions because of a lack of transparency in company operations.
Owino Joseph, and Kibera, Francis. “Organizational Culture and Performance: Evidence From Microfinance Institutions in Kenya.” SAGE Open, Jan. 2019, pp. 1 –11. doi:10.1177/2158244019835934.