Article Image. Cultural Diversity and Performance Orientation

Cultural Diversity and Performance Orientation

Childhood memories often speak of a way of life, customs, and a social script. It also speaks of attitudes towards performance. These differ amongst communities and organisations.
According to Peter Northouse (2016) in Leadership Theory & Practice, performance orientation “describes the extent to which a society or an organisation encourages and rewards group members for improved performance and excellence.”

The benefits of understanding cultural orientation towards performance

1.  In the connected world and heterogeneous societies that we live in, knowledge about cultural diversity descriptors helps goal orientated societal and organisational leaders to be more effective and efficient.
2.  Leaders can support their team members better. Team members who are super driven will sometimes have to be reminded to take things slower but the slow-paced employees have to be reminded that business time is often equal to money!
3.  The orientation towards performance of societies and organisations explain their economic results.

What are the results of a low performance orientation?

Low productivity results in low business activity and therefor, a low income for societies. These societies are characterized by citizens with various unmet needs, low standards of living, and suffering from poverty related crime and societal unrest. Living in these circumstances are often described in negative terms.
However, activities in dire societal circumstances that are accompanied by a sense of love, healing, and collaborative care, can be remembered in adulthood as “nice” or “lekker” – to use a typical Afrikaans word. Examples of these can be found in sewing, cooking, teaching, dancing, and storytelling but also in sport, agriculture, and manufacturing related activities. Economic value can be derived from these activities when they are marketed as business products to specific markets. Adding nice memories to branding catches the attention of customers from all cultural groups!

Can struggling societies and organisations be transformed? Yes. When sound ethical and visionary leadership emerge from within a change for the better starts, capital investments and economic productivity follow. Productivity escalates further when individuals and teams are rewarded for their productive effort. People are motivated to perform when they are allowed to allocate their time to activities that they enjoy and excel at doing.

The truth is that doing nothing, gets rewarded with nothing good.

What can business women do to help increase productivity orientation?

1. Set the right example by doing good deeds, exercising sound management, and encouraging others to develop their full potential;
2. Address your own issues. We are all a product of our circumstances but to stay a victim is a choice;
3. Expand your knowledge on socio- and economic and political issues in order to make sound policy contributions and capital investments that will benefit all members of societies and organisations;
4. Partake in the development of products and services that speak to the heart of customers;
5. Reward what makes local nice or “lekker” in your organisation or community!

Author: Dr. Santie von Below

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