When one mentions the word culture in the context of a business organization, it can be viewed in many different ways. It might speak to the general atmosphere, the values and behaviors of the people that work there. It could also be in reference to the diversity in terms of language and preferences. And what is more common today, due to the internationalization of business, is the interaction of colleagues who live in other countries. All of this leads to quite a melting pot that is placing new strains on organizations as they try to figure out how best to lead, manage and motivate within this plethora of what appears as diverse cultures.
One thought is that perhaps the simple answer lies somewhere within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. When he proposed this he was viewing it from the perspective of all of mankind – one culture. Let’s look at Maslow’s theory as it might pertain to the modern multi cultural organization and see if there might be a fit.
Adequately compensate people for what they do and provide all employees with appropriate facilities to perform at an optimum level.
Provide both a physically and psychologically safe environment where there is no tolerance for aggressive or bullying behavior.
Love / Belonging
Create a sense of community where people feel a belonging as well as being supported and coached in what they do.
Operate within an environment of mutual respect built on confidence and recognition of achievement. Intrinsic motivation prevails to help people to perform at their best.
Allow people to be creative and encourage growth so that there are always opportunities for improvement.
However you spin it, it would appear that Maslow’s Theory stands the test of time. If these fundamentals can be consistently applied in the workplace a more uniform, acceptable and beneficial culture will prevail. This is more than a moral compass; it’s a recipe for business success.