Posted by tac_admin, October 16, 2013

How Does Cultural Diversity Affect Communications?

When it comes to cultural diversity, how you handle your communications with your team and your stakeholders can make all the difference in how well your work is received.

Culture could be defined as the shared characteristics of a group of people, including their language, values, beliefs, likes, and dislikes. This can include religion (or lack thereof), work ethic, and attitude toward business and money. Culture can also include regions of the country. Think of how different a picturesque Alabama city is from a small Wyoming town or from the hustle and bustle of New York City. The attitude is different, the speech is different, and the values are likely to be different.

How does this impact your work?

Everyone you encounter has a culture and has values and beliefs. Sometimes they will share them with you, but often they will not. If you are in a particular state or region, understanding the prevailing culture will help you appreciate how the people tend to think and believe. Each person is unique, of course, but knowing the culture can help you work with him or her more effectively.

In business analysis, you may find that a coworker of a particular culture values accuracy over speed. In that case, you would approach him with your findings broken down in a table. Another person may be more comfortable working with a collaborative group because working collectively toward a goal is how she grew up.

While you may not wish to ask, and you definitely don’t want to assume, if you’re able to ascertain which culture someone comes from, you may find clues about working habits.

Another area that culture affects is face-to-face communication. People of some cultures may come across as harsh and brutally honest while facing you, while others may be quieter and reluctant to look you in the eye.

Don’t take anything personally, but do educate yourself about cultural differences. The more you know about your teams and stakeholders on a personal level, the more easily you’ll be able to work with them. Invest in a book or two about cultural diversity, and you’ll not only be fascinated, but you’ll also learn how to work more effectively with your groups.

As in anything else, the more you know, the further you’ll go in business analysis.

How do you use cultural diversity in the workplace?


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