Everyone is unique; cultural diversity is one of the unique characteristics of human beings. In many cases, this diversity has been the source of acrimony, conflict and discrimination. This is mainly from deliberate or unintended failure to appreciate the cultural differences of the other person; if this situation is present in the workplace, then it is obvious that the efficiency of work will be severely affected (Spickard, 1999; Feagin, 1999).
This course has two purposes; the first is to aid the scholars in understanding the uniquely human characteristic of culture and its diversity. A great emphasis will be placed on the experiences of a person (both internal and external) for example the environment of development and some events in life; and how this determines how a person is viewed. The second purpose is to induce each of the scholars to explore his/her own cultural identity and the effect that this has on the relationships in the workplace.
The major objective of this course is to enable a good appreciation of the part that cultural orientation in the evolution of both the individual and the society. In addition to this, a better understanding of how cultural difference issues influence the workplace environment. Socialization is explored as an extension of culture and the different routes that the process might take in different people.
At the end of the course, the scholars should be able to define clearly their individual cultural identities and what they mean in terms of values, priorities and personal goals and motivations. They also have to identify the assumptions that they have regarding their own cultural background and that of others.
The scholar should be able to identify key aspects of his/her culture including religion, socioeconomic stratification, gender roles and sexual orientation; they also should compare these aspects with those of cultures other than their own. The scholar should be able to view the different aspects of today’s life in the new light of diverse culture including the impact of some of the negative aspects like discrimination; and relate these to how they might affect relationships in the workplace (Feagin, 1999; Herdt, 1989).
An aspect of self-reflection is also present; the scholar should be able to apply his/her own personal bias for or against an individual or other culture. This way the scholar will be more analytical in the future before applying a certain assumption or attitude towards a person of a different culture (Ong, 1996).
The course will basically improve the cultural sensitivity of the scholars. The world is getting more integrated in terms of cultural diversity. It is only safe to assume that the possibility to meet a person from a completely new culture is increasing (Lieberson, 1991; Ong, 1996). The course will make the people better prepared for these future encounters.
Topic 1; Introduction [2hrs]
- Introduction to the course, instructors and evaluation methods
- History of cultural relations
- The society today; cultural issues in the current society
Topic 2; Components of Cultural identity [2hrs]
- Socio-economic status
- The role of gender in culture
Topic 3; Comparison between the various components of cultural identity [1hr]
Topic 4; Role of specific components in the workplace [2hrs]
- Race in the workplace
- Religion in the workplace
- Gender in the workplace
- Sexual orientation
Topic 5; Conclusion [1hr]
- Evaluation of the benefits of the course to the participants
- Evaluation of understanding of the course
- Opportunity to ask questions and discuss pertinent issues.
- Feagin, J. (1999). The Continuing Significance of Race: Antiblack Discrimination in Public Places: In C. Ellison and W. Martin (Eds.) Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States (pp. 9-17). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishing Company
- Herdt, G. (1989). Introduction: Gay & Lesbian Youth, Emergent Identities, and Cultural Scenes at Home and Abroad. Journal of Homosexuality, 17(1/2/3/4), 1-42.
- Lieberson, S. (1991): A New Ethnic Group in the United States: In N.R.Yetman (Ed.), Majority and Minority: The Dynamics of Race and Ethnicity in American Life (5th Edition): Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, 444 – 456.
- Ong Hing, B. (1996). Reframing the Immigration Debate: An Overview: In B.Ong Hing and Lee (Eds.), Reframing the Immigration Debate (pp. 8-30). LEAP Asian American Public Policy Institute and UCLA Asian American Studies Center, LA
- Spickard, P. and Fong, R. (1999): Pacific Islander Americans and Multi-ethnicity: A Vision of America’s Future? In C. Ellison and W. Martin (Eds.) Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States: Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Company, 486-493.