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Work in A Socially Diverse Environment. Elements of Cultural Diversity Dealing with Misunderstandings. Objectives. At the end of this training session, the participants:- Value customers and colleagues from different cultural groups and treat them with respect and sensitivity.

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work in a socially diverse environment

Work in A Socially Diverse Environment

Elements of Cultural Diversity

Dealing with Misunderstandings

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • At the end of this training session, the participants:-
  • Value customers and colleagues from different cultural groups and treat them with respect and sensitivity.
  • Take into consideration cultural differences in all verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Make attempts to overcome language barriers by communicating through the use of gestures, sign language, or simple words in English or the other person's language.
  • Multicultural awareness becomes interesting and challenging as the international market continues to expend.
  • A large portion of staff working in the hotels are foreign-born and come from various other countries and different culture and customs background.
  • Foreign-born staff can become additional proficiency and versatility in serving our international guests.
what is culture
What is Culture?


Culture can be defined as the framework for accepted modes of behavior among members of a particular society.

These members tend to share similar value systems, they have common attitudes and they perceive things in like ways.

what is cultural awareness
What is Cultural Awareness?
  • Realizing that not all people are the same..
  • They have;
  • Different ways of living.
  • Different values.
  • Different behaviors.
  • Different styles of communication.
  • Fundamentally different approaches to life
how important is culture to the way we live our lives
How Important is Culture to the way we live our lives?
  • Every Culture has its own way of doing things.
  • If we are honest most of us experience feelings of fear, confusion or even anger when we are faced with behavior we don’t understand especially if the behavior doesn’t face the rules of our culture.
  • We tend to automatically believe that our way is the right way and that is when misunderstandings and conflict occur.
cultural awareness
Cultural Awareness
  • Cultural Awareness is all about respecting and appreciating other peoples culture and background.
  • Cultural Awareness is all about ensuring that we can communicate with all people clearly and effectively.
principles of cultural awareness
Principles of Cultural Awareness
  • Understand
  • Respect
  • Communicate
why do we need to be culturally aware
Why do we need to be culturally aware?
  • To be able to meet the different needs and expectations of different customer groups.
  • To be able to work as a team with

co workers avoiding disputes and problems arising out of lack of awareness

  • Multiculturalism is simply a term which describes the cultural and ethnic diversity.
  • It is a policy for managing the consequences of cultural diversity in the interests of the individual and of society as a whole.
  • This multiculturalism policy impacts on hospitality industry.
  • Hospitality industry provide products, services and facilities to a wide and diverse cultural clientele.
cultural awareness12

Cultural Awareness - knowing about other ways of life other than your own will help you provide the best possible service to all the customers you encounter day by day.

It is recognising and appreciating the differences in customers and colleagues’ values and beliefs in such things :

        • Culture
        • Religion
        • Language

It is understanding:

  • The significance of cultural values and mores
  • Cultural diversity in the Australian population
  • Cultural diversity of local and international customers

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

international tourists

You will be dealing with International Tourists from lots of destinations:

  • Asia
    • Japan
    • Korea
    • China
  • New Zealand
  • America
  • Europe
  • Great Britain – the United Kingdom
  • Africa
  • Russia

So it is important you develop an awareness of their different cultural expectations

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

WHAT IS CULTURE?It is a way of life!

Culture is everything people make or do - the way they organize their society according to the ideas, beliefs and values they hold.

Manners Festivals/Celebrations

Social institutions Work Ethics

Customs Religions Beliefs

Beliefs Myths and legends

Rituals Values

Laws Concept of self

Ideas & Thoughts Morals

Language Accepted behavior

Art and Artifacts Family Structure

Interpersonal relationships


Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

elements of cultural diversity
Elements of Cultural Diversity
  • Language
    • Visitors of non-English speaking backgrounds need to have their requests listened to patiently and considerately as mis-pronunciations of certain words can cause embarrassment to them.
  • Communication
    • Communication should be the same for everyone – clear, concise and informative
  • Interpersonal relations
    • Customs both formal and informal require different conventions for greetings, farewell, showing respect
      • In German chewing gum is considered bad manners

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Dietary Requirements
    • These include when to serve certain food items, how to prepare food and food presentation
  • Religious Beliefs
    • You are not expected to know about all religions – however you need an awareness of their beliefs – dietary habits, etc
  • Festivals
    • Festivals have different impacts for people from different cultures
  • Different Work Ethics
    • Some cultures attach a high degree of importance and commitment to their work, while others see work as a necessity to provide for their families. Others see it as presenting career and advancement opportunities

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

some cultural variances you should be aware of include
Some cultural variances you should be aware of include:
  • Forms of address
  • Level of formality and informality
  • Verbal and non verbal clues
  • Appropriate non verbal behaviour
  • Food preferences
  • General service expectations
  • Work Ethics
  • Dress and appearance
  • Religious beliefs
  • Customer expectations
  • Touch and personal space

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

other factors in a socially diverse environment include
Other factors in a Socially Diverse environment include

You need to be aware of the principles of equal employment opportunity and anti discrimination legislation.

Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987 (Cth)

Anti Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)

They apply to issues of

  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Age
  • Sexual preference
  • Disabilities
  • Marital Status

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

advantages of working with members from different cultural backgrounds
Advantages of working with members from different cultural backgrounds
  • Cultural diversity enriches the group
  • Sharing new ideas is stimulating
  • Able to learn from other cultures
  • Our way of thinking is being challenged
  • Our team performance is improved
  • Team members are more tolerant of other and perform at higher levels
  • Team members feel they have a place in society/work environment

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Return a bow with a bow of the head - to show respect and
  • sensitivity
  • Avoid direct eye contact for extended periods
  • Japanese guests have a strong cultural tradition - including the ritual of bathing - where soaking rather than washing is the main purpose. Therefore provide rooms with baths rather than showers.
  • Are generally very formal - touching is not considered acceptable
  • Japanese guest like prompt, efficient service

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

They prefer twin bedded accommodation - with bath
  • When greeting a Japanese guest - use last name followed by SAN - egMr Suzuki would be addressed as Suzuki SAN
  • Avoid speaking loudly - this will not help understanding and may cause offence

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Americans are great questioners - they are by nature very inquisitive and can therefore be expected to ask lots of questions.
  • Americans are used to very attentive service - and they will give very detailed orders.
  • America is a vast country - with many varied people -

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

world religions







Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Based on the life of Jesus Christ - believe there is one God.
  • Most followers belong to either:



Eastern Orthodox

  • Sunday is a holy day of rest and main festivals are:

- Christmas - 25th Dec

- Lent - Period before Easter

- Easter - Death & Resurrection

of Jesus Christ

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Total way of life - spiritual and sociological
    • Can be Orthodox, Reform or Liberal, Conservative or Hasidic
  • Believe in one God - however don’t believe in resurrection of Jesus
  • Includes worship - ceremonies and festivals
  • Has strict dietary laws - permissible or kosher and prohibited foods

- Fish must have both scales & fins

- Shellfish are not permissible

- Four legged animals with cloven hooves that chew their cud are permissible - pork is not permitted

- Domestic birds can be eaten - but not birds of prey


Work in a Socially Diverse Environment


Meat and dairy products may not be cooked together

      • Cooking and eating utensils used for meat must not be used with dairy products
  • Saturday is the holy day of rest - beginning on sundown on Friday and ending at nightfall Saturday.
  • Major festivals include:

Passover - Festival of Spring

Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year - (Sept - Oct)

Yom Kippur - Holiest day of the year - (10th day of New Year) marked by 24 hours of abstinence from food and water

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment


Major World Religion bought to the world by the prophet Muhammad in 7th Century

Scriptures called Qu’ran or Koran and guides Muslims on all aspects of their life - spiritual, moral, social and economic

Denounces gambling and drinking of alcohol.

One of the largest and fastest growing religions

Many women in Islamic society will wear traditional veils and long flowing black gowns

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Strict dietary laws - can eat beef, lamb or mutton but this must be slaughtered according to prescribed rituals. Pork and pork by-products are forbidden as is any animal that scavenges (pigs, goats, dogs, various birds).
  • Adhere to teaching of Five Pillars of Islam

Profession of faith

Prayer - five times per day

Almsgiving - Giving to charity

Fasting - during Ramadan - no eating between dawn and sunset

Pilgrimage - every Muslim should go to Mecca if they have the means and are able

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Ancient religion - evolved gradually over thousands of years
  • Has many different sects holding diverse beliefs
  • Believe in reincarnation and have many deities or gods.
  • Hindus do not eat beef as the cow is a sacred animal
  • Usually vegetarians - and have no set day as a holy day.
  • Must avoid all physical, mental, emotional and moral hurt to any living creature
  • Worship is generally individual and personal but festivals are a communal activity

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Attempts to unite elements of Hinduism and Islam and is recognisable by the wearing of specific forms of dress – wearing of the Turban by males
  • The beliefs include
    • Reincarnation
    • Worship of God – who is described as a spirit
    • No images or artifacts should be used in worship
    • That all religions display elements of truth
    • The attainment of high moral standards

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Originated in India in fifth century BC
  • Evolved from Hinduism - into not so much a religion but a way of life
  • Religion without a God
  • Believe human beings are caught in the cycle of birth and deaths.
  • No distinction of caste, social class or ethnic origin
  • Five precepts are:

Kill no living thing

Don’t steal

Don’t commit adultery

Tell no lies

Don’t drink intoxicants or take drugs

  • Usually vegetarians and don’t drink alcohol

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

what could go wrong
What could go wrong?

Some examples of cultural misunderstandings include:

  • Late arrival to a private dinner in India is accepted and even expected
  • In the Philippines they do not like to say no – they will say yes so as not to offend. Therefore yes may mean I agree or maybe
  • In Chinese culture finishing all your food can be an insult to your host as it will be interpreted you are still hungry and they did not supply enough food
  • In other cultures this is seen as an insult not to finish the meal and could mean you have not enjoyed the meal

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

issues that can be causes of misunderstanding includes
Issues that can be causes of misunderstanding includes:
  • Poor communication styles
    • Lack of confidence in language skills
    • Use of colloquialisms and slang
    • Speaking too quickly or quietly
    • Not using active listening skills
    • Not asking enough open questions
    • The use of inappropriate body language
  • Intolerance
  • Poor observation
  • Pre-made prejudice and value judgments
  • Poor understanding of other cultures

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

  • Don’t ridicule the guest - show respect for the person’s feelings
  • If problems occur, don’t give excuses or reasons - it could only embarrass and upset the person more.
  • Learn from your mistakes - work out what went wrong and learn from it.
  • Study different cultures and religions to learn more - and find out what offends and why - things like colors and numbers.

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

communication techniques to use to avoid misunderstandings
Communication techniques to use to avoid misunderstandings
  • Are you using the appropriate greeting – are they performed correctly and with respect?
  • Do you use the correct verbal and non-verbal techniques – is it acceptable of not?
  • Have you analysed the possible language barriers? What could they be? How can you overcome them?
  • Providing signage with corresponding diagrams to assist
  • Using universally understood gestures – applause, stop
  • Be aware of:
    • Internal services including staff who speak the appropriate language
    • External services including interpreters and local cultural organisations

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

how you can help to resolve misunderstandings
How you can help to resolve misunderstandings?
  • Follow recognised complaint handling or problem solving procedure ensuring you:
  • Establish good customer service practices including:
    • Tolerance of peoples’ differing beliefs and values
    • Providing a prompt response to resolve misunderstandings
    • Use efficient communication in language that is understood by the parties involved

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

    • Display a friendly and courteous manner
    • Use positive gestures and body language
  • Report difficulties with cross cultural misunderstanding to
    • Human Resource Office
    • Supervisors
    • Departmental managers wherever appropriate

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

organisational strategies
Organisational Strategies
  • Staff training
  • Using staff cultural skills – language and greetings
  • Written communication and signs in different language where appropriate
  • Promotion of cultural celebrations
  • Flexibility
  • Focusing on the similarities not the differences
  • Adopting a variety of communication methods
  • Developing a knowledge of support agencies and location of cultural buildings
  • Offering flexibility in food service

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment

personal strategies
Personal Strategies
  • Individual strategies including:
    • Learning the basics of another language
    • Develop an understanding and tolerance of cultural diversity
    • Overcome prejudice and assumptions
    • Use non-verbal communication skills
    • Show interest in cultural events
    • Follow organisational procedures to ensure visitors are informed and feel relaxed
    • Actively seek to break down barriers
    • Adopt a professional attitude at all time

Work in a Socially Diverse Environment