A while back I promised this post…so here it is 🙂
Along with the benefits of diversity, there are also some challenges. This list is not about being a downer, but simply increasing our awareness of these issues so we can be prepared and hopefully find good solutions.
– language barriers
– communication: more than just the language, this refers to how our body language can be received, different meanings of words/sayings and tone of voice
– tension from different decision making styles (slow vs fast, hierarchical vs collaborative etc)
– tension from different understandings of hygiene (seriously – I think almost every country I’ve been to have different ways of using the toilet and what is appropriate bathroom behaviour – very important to be aware of this!)
– tension from different understandings of fairness (e.g. do I give each person an equal piece of cake, or do I ask them what size they want?)
– the feeling of losing one’s identity
– culture shock
Like I said, it’s not meant to discourage us from living in diverse environments. This is just a quick list of some of the challenges we face when building collaborative bridges. But if we work on them together, it is possible to come up with some creative solutions and overcome them.