Chapter 2: Cultural Diversity Management in Malaysia: A Perspective of Communication Management
Zulhamri Abdullah Introduction This chapter addresses the importance of cultural diversity management to today’s corporations regardless of what type of business they are involved in. The concept of diversity is a unique one as it is crucial to address how cultural diversity impacts on business strategy in the global context and to what extent the organisation can manage cultural diversity in a multicultural environment. This topic remains a complex facet to understand but unlocking the potential of local cultures may reveal the distinctive identity for today’s corporations. In a turbulent business environment, every corporation must face big challenges in improving its business strategy. It is believed that aligning business strategy with cultural diversity is a great formula for winning businesses’ potential in a highly competitive business environment. According to Gardenswartz et al. (2003: 4), managing global diversity is one of the best business approaches to improving organisational goals by optimising total workforce potential with respect to their distinct local cultures in the different countries around the world. Before discussing the development of cultural diversity, we shall examine the background of Malaysia, geographically and historically, to better aid a fundamental understanding of diversity management in that country. Background Geographically, Malaysia is the world’s oldest rainforest country, covering a total area of 329,758 square kilometres in Southeast Asia, situated between the South China Sea and Indonesia (Anuar, 2000: 183; The World Factbook, 2002). Specifically, Malaysia is divided into two large areas: Peninsular Malaysia, or West Malaysia, and East Malaysia, comprising a...
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