Giving Voice to Diversity: An Interactive Approach to Conflict Management and Decision-Making in Culturally Diverse Work Environments
Broome, Benjamin J.
Kristjansdottir, Erla S.
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While there is much evidence to show that diversity of viewpoints and perspectives allows for more creative problem solving and decision-making, there is also a great deal of research to indicate that cultural diversity presents one of the foremost challenges to organizations. This paper describes a process called "Interactive Management" (IM) and its application with employees of a large multinational technology company. IM was used in a set of workshops to help groups identify and structure barriers to effective communication in culturally diverse work environments. Methodologies were employed that gave voice to the wide variety of perspectives among the participants while simultaneously helping them structure the complexity of the issues they were discussing. Based on results from these workshops, there is evidence that IM can play a valuable role in managing issues associated with diversity in the workplace setting.