Ethical Implications of Cultural Abuse

Ethical Implications of Cultural Abuse

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Argosy University Online

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Cultural Abuse in the Workplace


Cultural abuse in an organization is as a result of failure to embrace diversity which is an important contributor to organizational success. A diverse workforce is vital since it provides different solutions to underlying organizational problems (Thomas, 2010). Since culture influences the words and actions of leaders and managers, failing to embrace diversity can have a negative influence on the employees from a different culture than that of the leader or manager. Employees who feel discriminated can be less productive as compared to employees who feel appreciated in their work despite the differences in culture (Thomas, 2010). Due to this reason, it is therefore crucial for organizations to conduct diversity training on leaders, managers and employees.

The Importance of Diversity training.

Diversity training is one of the key components in ensuring that there is unity in the workplace. In a united workplace, employees are motivated and have a higher satisfaction rate for the job. Motivation and high satisfaction of employees translates to a more productive workforce hence the organization gains more from its workers (Chen, 2011). There is a need for organizations, therefore, to involve employees of all hierarchies in the diversity training.

Diversity training is important since it guides organizational leadership in setting the workplace conduct standards. These standards are applied to ensure that all workers embrace diversity in problem solving, communication and conflict management. A leadership which embraces diversity subscribes to transparency and accountability (Thomas, 2010). Since effective communication is highly beneficial the organizational leadership, diversity training makes it possible for leaders as well as other employee understand cross-cultural communication aspects such as dos and don’ts which make it possible to establish long-lasting relationships at the workplace (Chen, 2011).

Ethical implications of cultural abuse of Leaders/Managers

Cultural abuse of a leader in a corporation is an unethical practice. Abuse of culture in a diverse workplace create disunity among the employees since relationships deteriorate. If a leader or a manager abuses culture in the workplace there will be a high possibility that some employees will hate him or her (Katerina et al. 2012). When employees operate under a manager they are not in terms with or do not like; they may feel unmotivated hence low productivity. In this case, it is the organization that will suffer from the actions of the leader since they directly affect employee productivity leading to loses. For example, if the marketing manager in a soft drink production company which has a diverse workforce compels employees to partake certain promotional practices which may be against their culture, this can lead to enmity in the marketing department. As a result, the affected employees may feel discriminated hence unmotivated and will not execute their roles to the required level (Thomas, 2010). Poor performance by these employees means that the marketing team will not reach the set targets hence negatively affecting the sales of the company leading to loses.

Another reason why cultural abuse of leaders is unethical is the fact that it hinders effective communication which is vital an organization. Failure to embrace diversified communication skills may deliver an unintended message among employees of different cultures (Romannenko, 2012). For instance, a leader or a manager may say something which seems funny to him or her in a meeting to maintain the connection with the employees he/she leads yet this may mean an insult to the culture of some employees. For example, using words such as “Nigger” to address an African-American employee. To the manager or leader, this may be on a light note, but the African-American employee can consider this as a racial stereotype hence an abuse of culture by the leader.

Generally, cultural abuse of leaders in organizations cannot be justified since the consequences are mostly negative to the organization. Organizations should, therefore, invest in diversity training for all employees (Katerina et al. 2012). Strict operational standards and conduct evaluation departments should, therefore, be set to handle leaders who abuse culture in the workplace.

How Diversity Hinders/Aids Cultural abuse

Diversity training is an important aspect of addressing cultural abuse in the workplace. Individuals are able to appreciate employees from different cultures and their importance to the organization (Romannenko, 2012). Appreciation of diversity creates a conducive working environment where each employee feels like a part of the organization. There is a unity which emanates from the sense of satisfaction, motivation and appreciation of the contributions of each employee regardless of their culture. A workforce that is satisfied, united and motivated is a productive workforce. In such an organization it, therefore, becomes easier to implement changes and new approaches to cope with competition in the market (Katerina et al. 2012). Such progress offers equal benefits to all parties; the employees, their leaders as well as the organizational stakeholders since the major purpose of business which is to generate profits is easily accomplished. A workforce that lacks diversity training is prone to cultural abuse by leaders or fellow employees. Lack of training on diversity, therefore, aids cultural abuse.


Cultural abuse is one of the key organizational challenges where there is a diverse workforce. The challenges of cultural abuse can be significantly addressed through training the leaders, managers and employees on diversity. Cultural abuse is unethical since its consequences are negative to all parties involved; the employees as well as the organization.


Chen, S. (2011). Diversity Management: Theoretical Perspectives and Practical Approaches. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Katerina, B., Karen A., J., & Chester S., S. (2012). Reviewing Diversity Training: Where We Have Been and Where We Should Go. Academy Of Management Learning & Education, (2), 207. doi:10.5465/amle.2008.0090

Romanenko, A. (2012). Cultural Diversity Management in Organizations: The Role of Psychological Variables in Diversity Initiatives. Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag.

Thomas, R. R. (2010). World Class Diversity Management: A Strategic Approach. San Francisco, Calif: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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