Culturally Diverse Learners: April 12 - 30, 2010

Welcome to our April seminar!

Re: Welcome to our April seminar!

by Asif Devji -
Number of replies: 0
Hi Bronwyn,

In terms of expanding notions of 'cultural diversity' to include differing organizational cultures -- one of the projects I'm currently working on is a community of practice bringing together employees in a single transnational organization working (i)from 'headquarters' (in the U.S.) and (ii)from 'the regions' -- seven 'developing' countries (can we say that these terms are now starting to become outdated?).

While language and professional norms are common across the board -- they are all practitioners in the same field working on the same project -- the geographical and local organizational disparity (and hierarchies) tend to breed mistrust which severely inhibit collaboration.

One of my challenges is finding facilitation styles and online activities that can:

- open up these otherwise undiscussable issues (political correctness and all that) for discussion
- sensitize the members to the common value of sharing (which includes asking for help) over hoarding
- develop a sense of trust in the information being contributed by all

This is a huge challenge, as I'm swimming against the stream of each of their local organizational cultures -- which I can only influence indirectly via my work with the members themselves.

I can certainly see myself tweaking some of the group-work strategies presented in the videos and testing them out in this context.

I also think that the dynamic I've presented above exists in one form or another in most organizations with central vs. satellite locations -- with little or no 'diversity' existing among members other than the diversity of local organizational (as opposed to ethnic) cultures.