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harmony

in the workplace
delivering
the diversity
dividend

Fact Sheet 1: Introduction to Harmony in the Workplace


Harmony in the Workplace is about working with 3. How do you maximise the value of cultural diversity
Australian businesses and organisations to create a in your workplace and evaluate its effectiveness?
culturally diverse and inclusive workforce.
What is cultural diversity?
What youll learn from the factsheets
While there are many definitions of culture, most have
The following series of factsheets will help leaders, the same core elements. Culture describes a system of
managers, employees and trainers to: values and meanings shared by a group, which shape
the behaviours expected in a particular situation and
Discuss the cultural diversity in your organisation how behaviour is interpreted1.
and maximise its value
Encourage positive cultural diversity management Groups with an identifiable culture can be large or
small. While culture generally refers to a large group
Remove myths surrounding cultural diversity
of people, within a group there can be sub-cultures
Discuss the legal parameters and frameworks that consisting of smaller groups with their own identities.
employers and staff must be aware of to create a Of course, unique cultures and sub-cultures
harmonious and inclusive workplace culture. can develop in any group sharing common
characteristics such as age, gender, sexual

harmony in the workplace


The factsheets highlight open and hidden racial and orientation, religion, education and so on.
religious discrimination that can affect the ability

Factsheet 1
Cultures of different groups often overlap
of an employee from a diverse background to gain and one person can have many different
employment and feel positive and connected in the cultural influences.
workplace.They
also show how Culture is therefore a relative and
your organisation contextual concept2. This is particularly true
can benefit from regarding assumptions made about culture
Australias culturally and stereotypes, which are formed by a
diverse workforce by generalised view of culture.
making full use of the
knowledge, experience
and diverse skills that For the purposes of these factsheets, cultural
workers of culturally diversity refers to differences between
and linguistically cultures which are associated with race,
diverse (CALD) ethnicity, national or geographical origin.
backgrounds will bring.

Three core questions support each factsheets content As mentioned, in the workplace, cultural diversity
and, as an employer, should be considered in relation to or cultural identity usually relate to ethnic or
your staff: national background/origin. Culture can also refer to
organisational culture, which put simply means the way
1. How do you recognise cultural diversity and the we do things here. Again, ethnic/national culture and
diversity among your employees? organisational culture overlap. Your challenge, as an
employer, is to ensure that your organisational culture
2. How do you talk about cultural diversity (if at all)? (and its sub-cultures) is inclusive of everyone, including
CALD people.

2013 Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA) | www.fecca.org.au | 02 6282 5755 | admin@fecca.org.au
harmony
harmony in the workplace
delivering
the diversity Factsheet 1
dividend
in the workplace

Terms often used to discuss culture and cultural relatively easy transition, many experience challenges in
diversity in the workplace include: adjusting to life in a new country.
Ethnicity
With these considerations in mind, our factsheets
Background present an overview of the key themes and issues
How one identifies themself regarding cultural diversity in Australian workplaces,
including tips and suggestions on how to enhance the
Cultural heritage
benefits of cultural diversity in your organisation.
Nationality
Country of birth/origin About the contributors

We would like to acknowledge the contributions made


Language dos and by participant organisations and the Harmony in the
donts regarding Workplace Project Steering Committee who provided
cultural diversity substantive insights and guided the development of
is covered in more resources. The Project Steering Committee included:
detail in Factsheet
6: Becoming Mr Pino Migliorino (FECCA Chair) - Project Steering
Confident and Committee Chair
Competent in Professor Santina Bertone (Swinburne University of
Talking about Technology)
Workplace
Ms Katriina Tahka (Diversity Council of Australia)
Diversity.
Ms Sandra Jeffery (Multicultural and Settlement
Policy Branch, DIAC)
Making it work:
Dr Loucas Nicolaou (FECCA CEO)
cultural awareness in Australia
Ms Tanya von Ahlefeldt (FECCA Policy Officer) -
Being culturally aware means recognising that Project Coordinator and Lead Author.
everyone has a cultural background influencing and
impacting how they interpret the world and perceive FECCA is grateful for the knowledge and guidance
others around them. So, being culturally aware or committed by the above people.
culturally competent doesnt mean being an expert
on every culture or having an answer to every cultural
question and issue. It means acknowledging that
different perspectives and experiences exist as a result
of everyones different cultural background and life
experiences, and that embracing this difference is
the key to exploring cultural issues effectively and
References
appropriately.
1
Peoples, J and Bailey, G. 2012. Humanity: An Introduction to
Being culturally aware and adaptable is everyones Cultural Anthropology, Ninth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
responsibility. Its also in everyones interest to gain 2
Hong, Y, Benet-Martinez, V, Chiu C, and Morris, M. 2003.
an understanding of how Australian immigration Boundaries of Cultural Influence: Constructive Activation as a
mechanisms work and how they impact on a persons Mechanism for Cultural Differences in Social Perception.
life experience. While some immigrants undergo a Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 34(4): 453-464.

FECCA would like to acknowledge the generous assistance and critical review of this series of factsheets provided by the
members of FECCAs Harmony in the Workplace Project Steering Committee. FECCA would also like to acknowledge the
contributions of participant organisations that provided substantial insights and feedback, which have formed the basis of the
themes and concepts we have explored.

This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) through the
Diversity and Social Cohesion Program. For more information, please visit www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/