Decisions we make everyday are influenced in part by our core values. Our cultural background, individual bias, personal ethics, and past experiences help to form the basis of our value system. "We begin sharpening our values at a very early age. Our parents, teachers, friends, religious leaders, heroes and fictional idols teach us right from wrong" (Deblieux, 1995). These teachings help us to evaluate situations and form conclusions.
We are all individuals, but together we form a society. "Each society develops a different set of assumptions and norms under which to operate, and different professions, functions, and even genders within a society or organization can have different cultures themselves" (Raatikainen, 2002). This holds true for different generations within a society or organization as well.
As we bring our individualism together to form a group, we must recognize the differences within each member. We must overcome any prejudgments formed by past experiences. "We tend to prejudge others in our mind then merely reinforce these prejudices with information we gather. We need to train ourselves to reverse this process. Instead, we must gather the information that disproves our prejudice to overcome the self-fulfilling prophesy inherent in our prejudicial stereotypes. That is we must be ready to make a concerted effort to prove our prejudices and stereotypes are wrongs as a result of the information we gather about people" (Buhler, 1993).
Prejudgment, or bias, can alienate individual members of the group thus preventing active participation by all. Some members may feel reluctant to bring ideas to the table. Feelings of resentment towards other members can start to develop. Conflict may eventually arise. "It is important to take into account the entire person not just their cultural background. People from the same culture are individuals and unique. Stereotyping and prejudice causes us to lump everyone from a particular culture together. This fosters the we-they' syndrome that is so dangerous" (Buhler, 1993).
The establishment of ground rules, or basic principles, can help to minimize any negative impacts of creating a diverse workgroup. The formalizing of the corporate value system can prove to be difficult. Each person has his own idea, based upon his own experiences of what should be included in this collective value set. This means that everyone does not see things in the same light. What I consider to be the norm, may not be the same as what others perceive as the norm.
Our values system is what we rely on to make our decisions in life and business. This holds true in a group setting as well. But, what if our background was not the most ethical? Each person has a different view of what is considered ethical; and, there are varying degrees of what is considered ethical. We all can agree that robbing a bank is unethical. I am not sure we all can agree that taking home office...