Chapter 10 tells about diversity, and this is a very important subject for it is impossible to avoid diversity in modern world. All of us have to deal with diversity every day: at work, at home, in the streets, and everywhere we go. We got accustomed to it and we rarely bother to think it over. At home, we have to face diversity in terms of sex, age, background, etc. Yet, we often expect others to act according to our own ideas of how to act. Johnson and Johnson (2009) remind us about the importance of diversity which can have either positive or negative effects depending on how we treat it. I believe diversity to be a positive factor. Of course, it can cause problems in case egocentric approach prevails. Still, its positive potential outweighs its negatives. Communication with people of other cultures or of different backgrounds always broadens the mind – of course, if it is open for communication and not overtaken by stereotypes. People of different mindset can bring new ideas, new concepts, and new viewpoints and make us see the things from the new perspectives. It is true for family life – from my wife I get to know that there are different views on many things, which men see differently from women. It is not the less true for groups and organizations. Group members of different backgrounds often see the same things very differently, and it helps to find an innovative and creative approach.
However, diversity requires special treatment. I find the following statement to be very important: “Your ability to communicate with credibility to diverse peers is closely linked to your use of language” (Johnson & Johnson, 2009, p.464). It is particularly true especially when dealing with non-native speakers or people from other cultures. Non-native speakers may not understand idiomatic expressions, and it is better to use plain language. Communication patterns are different in different cultures, and what is considered friendliness in the USA may be interpreted as undue familiarity in some cultures. Therefore, it is better to be as plain and explicit as possible in order not to allow ambiguity and miscommunication.
Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, F. P. (2009). Joining together: Group theory and group skills. 10th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
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