The Positive Side of Stereotypes Stereotypes usually occur when an individual is judged on the basis of the group to which it is perceived that person belongs to. Especially when it comes to work, sometimes, in order to interact effectively, you have to make assumption of what the person is likely to think and what are some of the behaviours that they can accept. (Wiesner, R and Millett, B, 2000) As such, only stereotypes help to do that. This also explains why the manager suggests that stereotyping is necessary during work. For example, if you are a manager and you need to meet someone from another culture whom you never met before.
Usually, the first thing that you will do is to gather information about the persons culture and develop a cultural profile. (Deresky, H, 2002)These profiles are often highly generalized. Then from the profile, this is where you will use stereotyping to make an assumption of the persons character and his believes. The Negative Side of Stereotypes Stereotypes are useful as they are quite accurate in some ways. It only becomes a problem when it turns out to be inaccurate; especially those inaccuracies are negative and hostile. A very good real life example will be me.
I have been working as an assistant under my manager for over a year in a Multinational Corporation (MNC). As this is my first time working, so I never thought that I will be dealing with people from different cultures. Then there is this project where I need to liaise with people from different countries to collect the documents from them. Of course, before I started liaising with them, I admitted that I did stereotype some people from specific cultures. For example, I always thought that Malaysians will be the easiest to work or communicate with as we have very similar culture backgrounds.
Much to my surprise, this does not apply to every one of them. Some of them are really nice whereas the others really make you want tore-arrange their faces. This is where stereotypes turn out to be inaccurate when you rely too much on them. However, it may be much worse if I have totally no idea of what the people from different cultures will behave or believe in. This can turn out to be them having negative stereotypes towards me, which I do not wish it to happen at all. Hence, I have to learn how to go about managing my stereotype towards people from different cultures. How to Manage Stereotypes.
As you can see, diversity has becomes a business issue nowadays. Many companies are not just hiring wider variety of different people but also creating an atmosphere in which diverse groups can flourish. This is to attract and retain a skilled workforce and at the same time to create awareness of the importance of diversity management. (Greenburg, J and A. Baron, R, 2003) As such, this has becomes a challenge for managers on how they should effectively manage different cultural diverse groups and at the same time creating a supportive environment for the women and minorities.
Usually, when different culturally diverse groups come together, they often bring preconceived stereotypes with them. This is where the manager has to step in so as to bring out the groups potential effectively. (L. Nelson, D and Campbell, J, 2005) Case studies have shown that there a number of specific guidelines that have been identified to effectively manage cultural diverse groups. Firstly, team members must recognize and prepare to deal with their differences. In doing so, they will become aware of their own stereotype, as well as others too.
Then they can use this information to better understand the real differences between them and hence, each of them will be able to contribute to the overall effectiveness of the team. Secondly, it will be the best that manager choose members of equal ability and task-related skills. In this case, it will minimise early judgement based on ethnic stereotypes. Lastly, all members must have equal power so that manager can distribute power accordingly to each persons ability to contribute to the task, not according to ethnicity. (M. Hodgetts, R and Luthans, F, 2003).
I believe if every manager follows the guidelines, people will not hold prejudicial attitude or have negative beliefs and feelings. What can be done to Minimize Stereotypes? As more and more companies are developing into a multicultural diversity. Hence, we have to try to minimize stereotyping or some of the people may result in having negative attitude against specific group. Recently, I manage to interview a Director from an US MNC. I asked her what she will do in order to minimize stereotyping, given that she has been working in the company for ten years.
Without any hesitation, she replied that she will challenge the people about their assumption and statements when they appear to be based on stereotypes. I totally agree with her statement. Of course, there are also other ways to reduce stereotyping such as self-reflection, check information from members of other identity in order to distinguish real differences from what you have assume of and request feedback from people that they have worked with before. (Cox Jr, T and L. Beale, R, 2002).
In doing so, you will be able to minimize the potential for stereotyping to become a barrier to the effective performance of work and responsibilities. Conclusions From my past experience at work, even till now, I learn that stereotype is necessary when working. However, it is still the best not to rely too much on them. Hence, I think that before everyone starts to stereotype each other. It will be the best that each and every one of us can think through whether this assumption that we are making, how reliable is the information.
Is it based on personal experience or learn it from television? Overall, people from different cultures will look at you not for what you say you are, but what you do and how you behave. 1010 words References: CoxJr, T and L. Beale, R 2002, Developing Competency to Manage Diversity: Reading, Cases and Activities, 1st Edition, Berrett-Koehler Publishing Deresky, H 2002, International Management: Managing across Borders and Cultures, 4th Edition, Prentice hall Greenburg, J and A. Baron, R 2003, Behaviour in Organisation, 8th Edition, Prentice Hall.
L. Nelson, D and Campbell, J 2005, Understanding Organisational Behaviour, 2nd Edition, Thomas Asian Edition McShane, S and Travaglione, T 2007, Organisational Behaviour on the Pacific Rim, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill M. Hodgetts, R and Luthans, F 2003, International Management: Culture, Strategy and Behaviour, 5th Edition, McGraw Hill Mullins, L 1996, Management and Organisational Behaviour, 4th Edition, Pitman Publishing Wiesner, R and Millett, B.