Nowadays, people believe that cultural diversity is good and a monoculture is bad. Nevertheless, movies often show successful monocultures (eg, Margin Call, Trading Places, Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street). In the 1983 comedy Trading Places, there is even a bet between two very rich white men that applying diversity will/will not make a difference in their trading firm’s results.
In a 2019 blog post, the Hult International Business School gives an overview of the 13 benefits and challenges of cultural diversity in the workplace. Their overview seems balanced and fair. Apart from benefit #4, the rather theoretical benefits do not seem to outweigh the more practical and realistic challenges.
To some extent, cultural diversity seems to match the micro-macro conundrum (see yesterday’s blog): it may benefit on a micro level (ie, #4) but poses many challenges at a macro level.
In 2014, a field hockey coach told me his formula for success: Output = (Talent x Discipline) / Ego. Please see my blogs of 2014 and 2018. Despite the validity of his formula, I added another component: positive thinking. Hence, Output = ( Talent x Discipline x Positive thinking) / Ego. On a micro level, both formulas explain increased output (eg, benefit #4).
In my view, these same two formulas also explain failure at a macro level. Cultural diversity may boost the aggregate talent of a team. However, cultural diversity does not enhance the three other components at the level of an organisation or a society: discipline, positive thinking and egos. The opposite seems more likely, including a drop in output.
In other words, cultural diversity takes away team spirit. Cultural diversity often contributes to identity politics (eg, culture, religion, skin colour, sexuality) within an organisation or society. Identity politics undermines the power (eg, output) of an organisation or a society. At a macro level, identity and power are each other’s opposites.
There are several contemporary examples of a repression of identity politics in favour of national power and prestige: the indigenous peoples in Canada, the muslim Uyghur minority in China, the gypsies in Europe, Crimean tatars by Russia, and native Americans in USA.
The worst example of the challenges of cultural diversity, and the related surge in identity politics, is the rise of Islamic terrorism in Europe. The European migrant crisis of 2015 onwards also caused a (German) crime wave due to a lack of proactive integration (eg, culture, language, work). This may be another example of a mismatch between Needs, Wants & Beliefs (see last Wednesday’s blog).
Devil Don’t Care (2019) by Di-rect
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise