The importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace continues to grow, making cultural competence a priority. Professionals will lead the way using cross-cultural psychology, which is critical for fostering positive interactions throughout a diverse workplace.
Inclusive and collaborative work environments create the conditions for success. Many employers are acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to build better relationships in a culturally diverse workplace. Cross-cultural psychology is a tool that will help them.
What is Cross-Cultural Psychology?
Cross-cultural psychology was recently developed as a study of the various factors that influence behavior and personality.
Culture includes the behavioral patterns, mannerisms, values, and customs that are shared and passed on by people. By studying the characteristics of particular groups of people, managers and leaders can view individual team members broadly. They do so with an understanding of how culture influences a person’s behavior, sometimes delving into the intricacies of how this happens and why.
A cross-cultural approach also compares how different cognitive styles, perceptions, expressions, and psychological attributes relate to cultural contexts. Broad factors, such as individualism and collectivism, are also examined for how they influence peoples’ individuality vs their roles in a larger group.
Cross-cultural psychology is important because it incorporates research that offers insights into the psychological characteristics that vary across cultures and the reasons for these variations.
Benefits of a Cross-Cultural Lens
Leaders and managers benefit from applying cross-cultural psychology principles that may help them:
- create a structure for success—set up the conditions that are conducive for achievement;
- strengthen personal bonds;
- understand the cross-cultural characteristics of their teams;
- set clear norms that will work for all and make them clear;
- address conflicts immediately so it does not grow into something more difficult to manage.
Understanding the cultural environments that employees come from could help people work together better, according to an article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
People have many different expectations about teamwork. Communication styles vary across cultures, as well as the way they socialize and conduct business. Intercultural teams are susceptible to friction based on various perceptions. This is why cultural competency is critical to managing the diverse needs of employees. Being familiar and respectful of cultural and social norms has become essential to managing people.
Creating Psychologically Safe Workplaces
Psychological safety is important for a productive work environment. It is also a critical part of high-performing teams. Each team member offers something unique. Their differences should be acknowledged to ensure everyone receives the support they need to succeed. Valuing diversity leads to psychological safety, creating a positive and open-minded work environment.
Furthermore, the need to build cultural competency with the help of psychology has created several career possibilities for individuals educated in psychology and professional counseling. These opportunities exist in traditional psychology settings, as well as in business, education, health care, and public safety. Carlow University’s MA in Psychology offers courses such as Social & Cultural Foundations, which explores the social and cultural contexts of relationships and issues that surface in a multicultural society and strategies for working with diverse populations.