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Saturday, 2nd December 2023



 Unbelievable but true. An economist never says I believe everyone is greedy and selfish, but the advice assumes it, even if this is not true. An HR expert nevers says that the advice is based on a particular set of behavioural and 'cultural' assumptions about people, but they are made routinely.

When cultural diversity is understood and taken into account, models of human behaviour and performance change substantially. And the outcomes and predictions from these also differ. At Pepsico, Indra Nooyi has made a big push for sensitive ethnic marketing of products, with huge results. This is because she understands cultural difference and tries to be sensitive to it. Fortunately for her also, she has the power to make the difference. Modern leaders need to tune in to diverse models of leadership and be open to them.

Thus habits of work performance and productivity are influenced by culture. No organisation can afford to ignore understanding this. If people are the main ingredients of success, ask yourself why it is that organisations actively try to hide people's identities and suppress their differences. Even where they have significant cultural diversity and the related global diasporic connections, organisations routinely hire outside consultants to guide them about new initiatives rather than using their 'internal' intelligence.

Open your eyes to difference - even within the same culture, some people can be very different. Invest in understanding difference. Turn difference into opportunity. Make difference a source of fun and inspiration. Then, count your blessings.

Article added on 18th December 2009 at 5:12pm