Challenges & Benefits
Challenges of Diversity
• Communication Barriers
• Resistance to Change
• Socio-cultural Factors
• Education, age, and gender
• Personality and Background
• Ineffective communication of key objectives results
in confusion, lack of teamwork and low morale.
• Age, gender and culture influence the messages sent
• Barriers to communication are factors that block or
significantly destroy successful communication.
• Communication barriers may be temporary and can be
• Awareness and recognition are the first steps in
formulating ways to overcome the barriers.
Common Communication Barriers
• Virtual Work: isolates team members from socialization
and face to face interaction, creating a lack of clarity.
• Emotions: can leave some people unable to verbally
express themselves clearly and coherently.
• Gender: can be associated to the different styles
between men and women on how they explain things.
• Culture: expresses the values and patterns of behavior
which can be very confusing, making it difficult to
Resistance to Change
• Refusing to accept new policies
• Why change something that works
• We’ve always done it this way
• Scared of failure and not being able to learn/adapt to
• Not wanting to spend time and effort changing
• Not understanding what is expected (the fear of the
Education, Age, and Gender
•How one was raised, will give them certain beliefs at a young age. Their believes may be a slightly different than those that we were brought up to believe.
•In any form, our behavior was established, regardless of your background. Rules and behavior that one models is what they
were taught. Beliefs may be different, making it difficult to understand the reason why you may have offended someone, if
you are not familiar with their background.
•Beginning to understand and learn about the background of the people you work with will create a united team and making a
strong and productive team. Learning about ones background,
you will begin to develop a perception of others and you will begin to be sensitive to the perspectives of others.
Education, Age & Gender
One of the challenges faced in today’s diverse world is the level of education. Different education levels can impact effective
communication. Complex words and explanations may not be
understood by a person less educated, or not educated in a certain field. Imagine a doctor explaining that you have a broken leg in medical terms!
Age is another challenge in today’s workplace. People may not be used to communicating with different age groups . Older people may use old phrases/words to explain things not understood by a younger audience. Younger people may also use words too modern and not understood by an older generation.
Gender can affect communication as men and women often think about things differently. In Islamic culture especially, when a female and male communicate, certain traditions are followed, such as lack of eye contact and shaking hands, affecting perception and
Personality clashes can effect communication. If you do not
like a person or the way they present themselves, you may
not listen to what they have to say, or believe what they have to say. However, if you like a person’s personality and agree with what they are saying, you may be more likely to listen, respect what they have to say and take-in what they are
A person’s personality can affect communication for example if someone has a bossy and strong personality, they may
disregard others. This may create a negative atmosphere and
people may not listen to...
References: • Terrill Lyknis, Shelley Wiedemeier, Vincent
Williams, Melanie Gill & Sheri Keefer
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