Friday, September 30, 2011

Comprehending Diverse Cultures in the Workplace

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America’s social makeup and way of life is changing day by day with the arrival of new immigrants having distinct religious practices. An important aspect that requires responsible administrators to have knowledge of is the religious beliefs of fellow workers. For example, some religious communities commemorate or celebrate special days or occasions that have not been included in the employer’s calendar. Leaders, regardless of religious or social upbringing, are required to be familiar with the religious needs of those under our command. It is good to listen to the religious views of even low-paid factory workers. Often, we hear of reports in the media regarding clash between employers and employees concerning disagreement over prayer and meditation needs.

In the US, religious tolerance got out of hand after the devastating 9/11 attack that shook the way of thinking of the ordinary American citizen. Mistaken identity has led to the fatal death of innocent civilians and reports of worker complaints regarding discrimination at work abound. Culture of hate and intolerance has manifested itself deeply in America (UNC, 2010). According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948), every human being has the right to practice religion of choice without harassment from employer.

Administrators will need to study the various religious practices of those under their commands including their own so that they will be familiar with the many religious sects and their practices. Broadly speaking, leaders need to understand the major five religions of the world. Having knowledge of others’ beliefs is a tool to comprehending the needs of other fellow humans. One must not be surprised to see a fellow employee wearing a necklace made up of chicken bones, lion paws, shells, amulets, and other types of paraphernalia in the workplace. It will be unfair to challenge other people’s beliefs because it could result in legal ramifications and loss of own job. Understanding obligatory from supererogatory prayers will help remove misconceptions when determining allocation of prayer schedules.

Neal, L. S. & Corrigan, J. ((2010), Religious Intolerance in America, A Documentary, Retrieved from http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/browse/book_detail?title_id=1697

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a1
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