Multicultural diversity is becoming increasingly important in society. In fact, over 75 per cent of Australians identify with an ancestry other than Australian. As a society, we can all gain from understanding one another better and learning to accept and embrace difference. That’s why it is crucial to embrace differences and develop cultural competence.
This course is ideal for everyone — from migrants and indigenous people to employers and employees. It is particularly relevant to those wanting to enhance their multicultural awareness, including counsellors, managers, business owners, migration and HR officers, and those in the teaching, police or military fields or in the healthcare sector.
Our Multicultural Awareness and Diversity course is an online professional development program which will develop your sensitivity to culture, diversity and multicultural societies and enhance your capacity to understand multicultural issues.
When studying multicultural diversity, you will gain an understanding of the origins and influence of prejudices and structural and institutional racism. You will learn how to work with culturally diverse clients, communicate across cultures, and overcome barriers to ensure successful multicultural relationships.
You will also discover the social, cultural and psychological influences on multicultural mental health issues, the stages of cultural shock, factors affecting grief and bereavement, and adjustment and treatment strategies for cultural distress.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a course on multicultural diversity include:
- Learning about cultural diversity, the elements of culture and how to define it
- Exploring subcultures, societal structures and processes
- Gaining an understanding of key areas of cultural diversity
- Studying values, social discourse and cultural behaviour
- Gaining insights into ideology
- Examining expectations
- Understanding problems with culture
- Learning about cultural self-awareness
- Exploring how to define the cultural self
- Studying environmental influences and the definitions of self
- Gaining insights into human nature and family or social groups
- Understanding psychological, socio economic and political influences
- Learning about personal autonomy
- Exploring the emphasis or minimisation of cultural diversity
- Studying code switching and physical environmental influences
- Gaining an understanding of racism and prejudice
- Studying ethnocentrism and in-groups or out-groups
- Gaining insights into prejudice — its functions, how we measure it, theoretical perspectives and how to reduce it
- Understanding stereotypes — its functions, the dangers of using them and how to change them
- Learning about racism and social, structural and institutional discrimination
- Exploring perception, cognitive dissonance and perpetual change and defence
- Studying how to develop cultural sensitivity
- Gaining insights into working with culturally different clients
- Examining the principles of communication and how to communicate across cultures
- Understanding how to communicate intimate information
- Learning about the culturally skilled worker
Why is Workplace Ethnic Diversity Important?
In the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 census, more than 75 per cent of Australians identified with an ancestry other than Australian. Around 45 per cent reported having at least one parent who was born overseas, and around 26 per cent of the population were born in another country. In summary, Australians speak over 200 languages, the most common of which (besides English) is Chinese followed by Arabic, Vietnamese, and Italian. But why is workplace ethnic diversity so important?
It’s good for individuals
Statistics have shown that diversity makes people happier — for people who belong to minority ethnic groups, and people for whom inclusion traditionally hasn’t been as hard to achieve. For example, in 2017, the Diversity Council of Australia reported that people in inclusive teams (including ethnically diverse teams) are nineteen times more likely to be very satisfied with their work compared to people in non-inclusive teams. They are also twice as likely to gain regular career development opportunities … and a pay rise!
It’s good for businesses
Cultural and ethnic diversity is also beneficial for businesses. According to a 2017 McKinsey report, companies in the top quartile for cultural and ethnic diversity on their executive teams were 33 per cent more likely to have industry-leading profitability.
It’s good for society
In Australia, migrants make an enormous contribution to Australia’s economy, collectively providing an estimated fiscal benefit of over 10 billion dollars in their first ten years of settlement.
Defining the Cultural Self
One of the key factors you will learn if you are studying multicultural awareness and diversity, is that everyone in a particular culture will not behave in the same way. Many factors contribute to variety within a culture, including:
- different situations
- individual human psychology
- differing human motivations
- socio-economical differences
Every culture also contains variations of perceptions, human personality, ways of thinking and feeling, different psychological attitudes and different kinds and levels of skill and so on.
From outside a culture, it’s often easy to what individuals have in common. However, from within, the people that are part of it are as varied as those within our own culture. As human beings, we tend to share some fundamental aspects of attitude and behaviour with other members of our culture, which are part of who we think we are. Some aspects of our cultural “self” to consider include:
- What we value in ourselves and others.
- How we interact with others.
- How we communicate our feelings.
- What support we offer or receive from others.
- Who we seek support from and to what degree.
- What we believe we should strive for or achieve.
- What kind of parent we become.
- In what way do we relate to family and those outside the family.
- How we define or perceive ourselves as human beings.
- In what regard we express individualism.
- How we relate to authority.
- What potential we possess.
- What possibilities we can perceive for personal or social growth.
- How we understand or define psychological distress.
Any or all of these aspects of cultural identity can be expressed in very different ways. Some aspects may not be expressed at all except through our perceptions of self, others and our world and our responses to them. These can be apparent in our judgements and opinions, what we say about ourselves, the stories we tell each other, our interactions with others and our status and expectations.
We may communicate our cultural identity and our cultural perceptions through what we say, to whom we say it and when, and through what we don’t say. We may also communicate them non-verbally through actions and gestures, our clothing, the arts, where we live, the kind of house we choose, and our uses of the surrounding space.
How to Map Your Workforce’s Cultural Diversity
When studying multicultural diversity, you’ll learn that mapping the cultural diversity of your workforce can achieve a number of things. And fundamentally, it will help you assess how well your organisation supports the customers, clients and markets it wants to serve.
The Diversity Council Australia’s Counting Culture guide outlines six guiding principles that will allow you to map culturally diversity in a way that is accurate, respectful, inclusive and suited to the multiculturalism of Australian businesses.
Principle #1 – Recognise peoples’ unique position
This principle applies directly to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. Diversity Council Australia (DCA) recommends organisations recognise their unique position by separating Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples from the broad category of “cultural diversity” when Counting Culture.
Principle #2 – Remember identity is key
This refers to how we see ourselves and how others see us. Counting Culture encourages organisations to adopt an identity-based definition of cultural diversity. This recognises the significant impact identity has on our experience of inclusion at work.
Principle #3 – Use multiple indicators
Cultural identity is made up of many aspects – for example, an employee may be born in Australia, have Lebanese ancestry, identify as Christian, and speak English, French and Arabic. All of these factors have relevance to their experience of inclusion at work.
Principle #4 – Simple is good, but not too simple
Simplifying cultural diversity is a good strategy but it should not be over-simplified. Organisations should go beyond simple “culturally diverse” statistics (for example, “Are you culturally diverse?”) to those that help a business generate valuable and rich workforce insights.
Principle #5 – Engage with intersectionality
Intersectionality refers to the way that multiple aspects of diversity, like sexual orientation, culture, age and gender identity, “intersect” and come together to form part of our identity and therefore employees’ experiences of inclusion at work.
Principle #6 – Use benchmarks
Comparing the breadth and degree of cultural assets in your organisation against those found in Australia’s general community, in key labour markets, in your industry or in your customer base will give you insights into how well your workforce reflects and can therefore attract, respond to and service this cultural diversity.
Gain insights into relating to and supporting those from multicultural backgrounds and feel confident to encourage and support diversity with our Multicultural Awareness and Diversity course.