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Plan ( EHRC, 2009 ) stated that good employment and training guidelines
used in the recruitment and management of employees should be fair and
offer equal opportunity. In this respect the “Medici Effect” ( Mask, 2007 )is
a metaphor for deliberately bringing diverse cultures together. The purpose
of this idea is to create more productivity through the intersection of differ-
ent ideas, experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs. This is only possible when
intercultural differences are clearly understood and intercultural communi-
cation is effectively taking place. Mask (2007) and others state that the
purpose of intercultural and diversity seminars and programs is to:
￿ Break down cultural barriers;
￿ Help people accept and understand the value of diversity;
￿ Help people better understand their own cultural heritage;
￿ Help people view issues
from different perspectives and different
cultures;
￿ Encourage people to venture beyond familiar networks and develop
better relationships;
￿ Generate high levels of understanding and acceptance of differences;
￿ Improve communication;
￿ Formulate new ideas.
Cox and Blake (1991) and Robinson and Dechant (1997) described
how business management establishes a relationship between board diver-
sity and how that contributes financial value to a business. Robinson and
Dechant (1997) summarize how board diversity affects a firm's long-term
and short-term financial value, saying that it:
￿ Helps provide a better understanding of the marketplace when demo-
graphic projections indicate that a company's potential customers are
more diverse and increases the supplier's ability to penetrate those markets;
￿ Increases creativity and innovation—attitudes and beliefs tend to vary
with demographic variables such as age, race, and gender;
￿ Contributes to more-effective problem-solving—the varieties of
perspectives that emerge allow decision makers to evaluate more alterna-
tives and more carefully explore the consequences of these alternatives;
￿ Enhances the effectiveness of corporate leadership by taking a broader
view of problem solving—having diversity at the top of an organiza-
tion provides for a better understanding of the complexities of the
environment and allows for better decision making;
￿ Promotes more-effective global relationships in an international envi-
ronment. Ethno-cultural diversity allows for corporate leaders to be
more sensitive to non-American culture.
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