Diversity dilemma – ethnic culture

Philip Patston shares part three of a four part series on the diversity dilemmas that New Zealanders face in 2015.

Growing awareness of cultural diversity has become commonplace in workplaces around New Zealand.

cultural-diversity-500x360But here’s the dilemma: Culture is changing constantly, particularly among generations, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Learning what is culturally appropriate in one context may or may not be relevant in another.

The inquiry here is how to create the space for culture to emerge fluidly and comfortably by decaying expectations about what is the right and wrong way to do things. It’s about generously allowing people to get things wrong and politely explaining why. And being prepared to authentically apologise when a mistake is realised.

An event I attended on Saturday night was a wonderful example of allowing space for culture to emerge. There was occasion for the whanau of an award participant to respond in honour of her achievement. This was signalled to the organisers, but nothing else needed to be known. The karanga and waiata blended beautifully with the rest of the proceedings.

The challenge is to let go of control and decrease our investment in social outcomes.

The question is, in what other ways can we let cultural diversity emerge, adapt and evolve?


This blog was originally posted on http://www.philippatston.com.  It has been reposted on DPSN with permission.

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