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The issue of diversity at the workplace has gained significant attention in the recent past. Continued changes in workforce demographic composition whereby minority groups are continually becoming more and more represented due to changes in various parts of the globe, has highlighted the importance of how cultural and ethnic diversity can be incorporated into the managerial practices of the organization. Human beings have different attributes away from race, color, and size that are biological; however, they also have diverse behaviors that are dependent on social and cultural orientation. With globalization, people have found it easier to seek employment, live, go for holiday, and to seek education in any part of the world. But interestingly, they never leave behind their cultural and social traits such as religion, way of dressing, eating habits, among others. Irrespective of the geographical location, these attributes have significant impact on individual behavior and that is what brings out the difference in behavior between people of different cultural backgrounds.
Hotels have a daunting task of ensuring that different cultures are accommodated within their workforce. Not only do they need to be sensitive to the cultural diversities of their customers, but they also need to be sensitive in their recruitment and training of staff in order to reflect on their service provision. It is only when this is achieved that hotels can be able to gain a competitive edge over the rest. The hotel sector is known to bring together people from all corners of our globe with diverse cultures. This is achieved through blending of amenities to suit the different tastes and needs of culturally different customers and by hiring some of the best talents across the globe to offer the necessary services to their customers. This is critical for success especially in large international chains. To successfully compete, these chains would be forced to focus more on the globalization trends and to incorporate the many requirements of global village in various aspects of their operations such as food, amenities, general services, recruitment policies, and training .Never before has cultural diversity been a key determinant of how international hotel chains operate than it is currently; thanks to globalization of labor and services. Globalization is increasingly forcing these chains to either shape up or shape out of the industry. For instance, Dubai city offers a unique business environment that has virtually all cultures of this planet. The city over the past decades has one of the most preferred destinations in the world and offers great prospects for players in hospitality industry to expand their businesses and profit from the numerous opportunities that Dubai offers.
Like many international hotels, the Hilton Dubai has a workforce that is culturally diverse. The hotel itself is located in a predominantly Arab country. It is paramount for the company to consider cultural diversity among its employees so as to fulfill the requirements of the customers that it serves.Dubai is one of the cities found in the United Arab Emirates and one of the youngest countries in the world. The city itself is cosmopolitan due to its high levels of expatriate migration, and a center for booming business. In this respect, managers in organizations operating within the city have to be careful on how they go about addressing the different cultures of their employees. This is because the employees themselves are likely to have varying cultural differences and needs and any mismanagement of these cultures would reflect the quality of service and consequently, customer satisfaction. The Dubai Hilton employs people from all walks of life who come to the city as immigrant workers. Its rich cultural diversity has enhanced its productivity and creativity.
Multi-cultural employees normally bring a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, values, styles and beliefs within an organization. These differences must be treated as assets by managers, if they want to gain from their employees. One industry that can make major gains from cultural diversity is the hospitality industry, like the one, under which Dubai Hilton operates. Evidence shows that cultural diversity, when it is addressed appropriately, has the ability to influence productivity and thus fulfill most of the needs of the customers and serve the objectives of the organization.
2.0 Aims and Objectives
The aim of this research study is to find out how the Hilton Hotel in Dubai improves their employee cultural diversity to meet the needs of their customers. This study is relevant since the hotel operates within a highly multi-cultural setting and its workforce is therefore culturally diverse. The objectives of this research paper are:
To recognize some of the cultures embraced by Hilton Hotel in Dubai
To identify those cross cultural practices that is used by organizations in order to fulfill the requirements of their target markets
To identify how Dubai Hilton is handling its cultural diverse workforce so as to meet the needs of its customers
To find out the relationship between customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction
3.0 Literature Review
Diversity is primarily assumed to be the differences among individuals. The dimensions herein include gender, age, and race issues. In many occasions, these basic issues would come to the forefront each time people are discussing on workforce diversity. However, this leaves out a number of secondary dimensions that are equally weighty in management of cultural diversity within a workforce. These include issues related to ethnic customs, communication style, relationship status, religious beliefs, and appearance in general. According to, these differences can also qualify to be categorized as cultural diversity. The hospitality industry has long been dependent on culturally diverse workforce, so as to succeed (Christensen-Hughes, 1992). As globalization continue to define how hotel sector operates, the hospitality industry has a number of issues to deal with, in ensuring that they are strategically placed in the business. This literature review will look at some of the current practices in the hospitality industry in relation to cultural diversity, opportunities presented by culturally diverse workforce, and challenges associated with cultural diversity.
3.1 Cultural Diversity and Current Practices in the Hospitality Industry
With the increased expansion of globalization, corporations are coming to be aware that their competition is not confined within the domestic market, but spans into the global arena. According to Lim & Noriega, transnational corporations are currently controlling more than 50 per cent of the global assets. Thus, globalization has become a trend within the hospitality industry. Like other multinational corporations, expansion of hotel chains in the international market has never and will never stop. Stanley notes that this expansion has been remarkably witnessed in Asia where Hilton Hotels Corp leads other international hotel chains that are cashing in on business boom witnessed in the region over the past decades. But even as competition is stiff for these emerging markets, these chains ought to know that competition for the best workforce would put them on an edge higher over the rest. However, the outlook of the workforce would not only need to reflect the global nature of the current international workforce, but also be necessary to efficiently manage the diverse culture within the workforce and this would reflect customer service and business success. With the rapid globalization, changes in labor structures of workforces in the international corporations will highly emerge. Managing cultural diversity must therefore be a priority of managers and employers hoping to compete successfully in the international market. This may include provision of language education in order to overcome communication barriers among the employees at the workplace as well as between the employees and the customers.
3.2 Benefits and Opportunities of Diverse Cultures
Cultural diversity can impact organizations both positively and negatively. However, Day notes that if these differences are managed efficiently, then they would not be seen as impediment but as benefits and opportunities that can be explored by the organization. The benefits and opportunities presented by cultural differences include but not limited to competitiveness and knowledge transfer, innovation, increased attraction to minority customers, reduced labor cost, and attraction and retention of best talent. Efficient management of cultural diversity may also provide the organization with an opportunity to diversify its supply base by entering into a partnership with businesses owned by minorities’ thus improving quality and cutting the cost of production. In addition, diversity management also helps corporations to develop a good corporate image in the communities they exist, a factor that can help the corporation sell its products and services effectively.
3.3 Cultural Diversity Challenges
Apart from the numerous benefits presented by diverse cultures in a workforce, the hospitality industry is still faced by a number of challenges. These challenges are associated with communication, discrimination, and training issues. For instance, language is an essential constituent of cultural identity and thus plays a big role in how people of different cultural groups interact. In the light of these, different languages as well as cultural identities can be an impediment to effective communication among staff and even between employees and customers. Lacking knowledge in a different language can lead to miscommunication as well as misunderstanding. Due to different cultural backgrounds, Dubai Hilton Hotel has played a huge role in tackling challenges that may occur due to conflicts and ineffective communication among people with diverse backgrounds. Communication gaps may also be as a result of differences in cultural background, which may slow down communication and understanding of each other, especially in a situation where unspoken cues of one’s culture means a different thing to someone else’s culture.
Discrimination has been a great issue that players in the hospitality industry still struggle to overcome not only among the employees within the workforce but also the way the employees relate with the customers. It is almost natural that people would be quick to point out difference between “us and them” and consequently choose to relate more with their own. History tells us that some of the most vicious battles ever witnessed on planet earth were instigated by cultural and social difference. It therefore follows that more often than not, people are wired to identify enemies on basis of their cultural differences.
Culture enables individuals to identify and consolidate their sense of belonging or community; however in most cases cultures are not easily transformed. Since people are always inclined to identify with and to protect their identities, conflicts can easily break out in a multicultural work environment. In today’s multicultural workplaces, it is almost hard to rule out that, discrimination issues arise due to cultural differences among employees. Hearns, Devine, & Baum, note that direct and indirect discrimination is a common feature in corporations with culturally diverse workforce. Discrimination can occur among employees as well as between employers and their employees, for instance, when an employer refuses to provide career development for employees from minority cultures. The consequences of any form of discrimination, if not managed, would spill over to how employees treat customers especially those from other cultures.
Hospitality industry, like other corporations with culturally diverse workforce, faces challenges associated with diversity training. Diversity training helps the corporation to build up respect and increase employee sensitivity to cultural differences among themselves and those of the customers. According to Lim & Noriega, unless corporations train and develop diverse workforce, issues related to cultural ethnocentrism and discrimination would not go away. Diversity training is central to improving employees’ awareness of cultural differences among themselves as well as in creating a culturally-enriched workplace in a corporation. The training should also equip the employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle customers and people from different cultural backgrounds. However, the challenge faced by a number of players in the hospitality industry is on how to develop training courses that would sufficiently prepare the employees to deal with all manner of cultural differences encountered daily at the workplace. Lim & Noriega, however, advice that top managers need to provide much support with regards to diversity training, if its success will be experienced in the hospitality industry.
In providing answers to the questions of this study, this research will adopt exploratory research design based on informal discussions with the management, employees, customers, as well as competitors of Dubai Hilton Hotel. It is expected that this research methodology will provide the necessary answers for the question: “How does Hilton hotel in Dubai improve cultural diversity to meet their customers’ needs?” .Since it not possible to hypothesize the question under investigation, exploratory study will be appropriate in revealing the underlying issues regarding Dubai Hilton Hotel’s management of cultural diversity in recruitment and training of its employees. According to Schutt, exploratory research design, aims at providing answers on how individuals get along in a particular setting under investigation, how their perceived actions reflect their success or failure, and how to find out issues that concern them.
In other words, exploratory research design will help us to unearth an underlying theory from our data and not from any predisposed hypothesis. Since we do not have a clearly defined problem or hypothesis in this research, it is important that we collect preliminary data that would be useful in defining problems as well as in suggesting an appropriate hypothesis. It is against this background that this study will adopt exploratory research design. In addition, since it is impossible to generalize the results of this study to other international hotel chains around the world, exploratory study is quite appropriate in carrying out a more comprehensive study of how the Dubai Hilton hotel deals with cultural diversity issues among its employees.
The research technique that will be used will largely involve informal interview whereby the management, customers, and employees of the hotel will be asked certain questions regarding their perception of how the hotel deals with cultural diversity issues. For instance, employees of the hotel will be asked to describe how they treat Arab, White, and Black customers visiting their hotels. Customers will be required to give a description of the nature of services they receive that they think are sensitive to their cultural diversities. The management of the hotel on the other hand will be required to provide their recruitment procedures, the cultural composition of their employees, as well as training programs related to cultural diversity management. In addition, this study will use semi-structured questions that will guide, and give direction and provide answers relating to the research question. This study is expected to generate qualitative data as the answers will be in textual form.
According to Babbie, there are no clear rules that direct how qualitative data should be analyzed. Since our data is expected to be largely in textual form, statistical procedures and analyses will not be applicable. Therefore, the analysis of our qualitative data will largely depend on the researcher’s own interpretation of text in line with the subjects. However, due to the complexity of exploratory study, it is important that interview and data analysis is carried out by experienced researcher.
5.0 Reliability and Validity
Exploratory research was chosen as the most appropriate method of collecting data since the researcher does not have the benefit of peering into the problem of the study. This research technique therefore, helps us to open up the study and to find out the problem, thus, acquire a room for further research based on known problem. According to Schutt, this technique is quite reliable in clarifying the questions of the research that ultimately guide the whole study project. Most importantly, the use of exploratory research is based on the notion that it would precede a more intensive and formal research study. In essence therefore, the method that will be employed in this the method that will be used in this study will provide insights and information that the researcher would need in preparing for more intensive research that would generate data that can be generalized to a larger population. Because we do not know whether or not Hilton hotel in Dubai has comprehensive cultural diversity management programs, we may not tell whether it has better services or not. It is against this backdrop that an exploratory study will be used to open up the gaps in the hotel’s management of cultural diversity. Additionally, an exploratory study will enable us to draw a conclusion reflecting Dubai Hilton’s Hotel cultural diversity and reveal customer perceptions of the hotel’s programs against their own precedence’s.
6.0 Ethical Concerns
In order to improve reliability and validity, a number of ethical issues will be observed to protect participants in this study. First, this study will seek approval from the relevant ethics committee and authorities of the university as well as those from United Arabs Emirates. After which the study will commence. However, the ethical issues that may arise during the study may concern confidentiality of the participants who may not feel free to disclose certain information about the management of the Hotel, for fear of being abused by their employers. The study will emphasize all conditions pertaining to privacy and confidentiality of data and participants during and even after the conclusion of the study. In addition, the study will ensure that participants are not coerced to participate but will be encouraged to participate voluntarily. Informed consent will be sought before commencing the interview process. The informed consent will be in written form and will detail all the aspects of the study including the nature of the study, the duration of the interview, and the importance of the study.