Diversity in the face of globalization

Researchers from Canada and Morocco are working together to define globalization and to place it in the context of culture. They write in the Journal of Global Business Advancement how globalization is a self-contradictory phenomenon. Across academia where efforts are made to understand the nature of engagement and interaction in the global market with respect to cultural diversity, the negotiated exchanges of human capital, the allocation and distribution of financial resources, the fair exchange of goods and services, and the flow of shared information in a borderless world, there are controversies surrounding how culture affects globalization and vice versa.

Abderrahman Hassi of the School of Business Administration, Al Akhawayn University, in Ifrane, Morocco is working with Giovanna Storti of Employment and Social Development Canada, in National Capital Region, Canada to understand this interplay. Their research suggests that insightful and logical debate can arise with a clearer understanding of cultural diversity within organizations as their activities unfold on the world stage through globalization of modern economics.

Moreover, the team suggests that “nations that are part of cultural global exchanges on a regular basis do not lose sight of their cultural distinctiveness. They interpret cultural rudiments in ways that make them compatible and functional with their culture.” The worry always having been that globalization equates to loss of diversity through “homogenization” of different cultures, the Americanisation of language and pop music, for instance. “Standardization does not have to mean the taking on of all aspects of a Western way of life. Individuals in human societies instinctively rely on what is deeply rooted and entrenched within the core of their being in order to express their particular differences in respect to their customs, traditions, inventions and discoveries,” the team reports”. Indeed cultures, nations, organizations and individuals within those can grasp the benefits of globalization, but can, nevertheless, also cling to what makes them different culturally.

The team adds that, “Globalization by definition promotes the flow of cultural customs, practices and norms along with cross-border exchanges of goods and services, however, both individuals and organizations need to grasp the cultural implications of these flows to get the most out of interactions that occur with other cultures.” They conclude that “If we choose to follow a route based on standardized practices across cultures, organizations need to familiarize themselves about these practices and should adjust their plans accordingly to reflect and respect indigenous cultural particularities.” Of course, whether or not that happens remains to be seen. It might be that ultimately globalization means homogenization and not the preservation of diversity.

Hassi, A. and Storti, G. (2017) ‘Interplay between the convoluting forces of culture and globalisation‘, J. Global Business Advancement, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp.261-280.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.