Human development is a mosaic of societies that shapes communities and organizations (McKnight, 2012). There is no one size fits all, and even the growing reality of globalization and interconnectedness that technology is bringing the global village, cultures remain distinctive and vastly diverse. Consultants today must be cautious on the global stage, and be aware of how to navigate cultural diversity effectively in order to be effective in serving all who live in the global village.
At its core, the practice of organizational development focuses on the improvement of individuals, relationships, and alignment among organizational components with the intention of enhancing organizational effectiveness and life quality for individuals (Jamieson et al., 2006). Organizational development at its core must be humanistic, optimistic, and democratic (Yaeger & Sorenson, 2008) valuing human development, fairness, openness, and choice (Burke 1997). This is why consultants must begin and end with the people they are serving, rather than using plug-and-play development systems. It is for this reason that organizational development must be value oriented, and be focused on growing morale managers and ethical organizations (Sorensen, 1993).
The challenge in a diverse global community is find common ground from which to launch value based organizational development. This is challenging for global consultants because values are unique to the culture, and culture dictates how the people define morality, and how they see and act out good and evil (Hofstede et al., 2004). What seems to be universal, however, is the need for people throughout the global village to be encouraged and valued, even to the point of being permitted to express their central qualities to meet their deeper needs (Sorensen et al., 2004). This frees consultants to develop people from anywhere by starting with encouragement, empowerment, and appreciation (McKnight, 2012).
How should consultants navigate personal value differences with other cultures?
Burke, W. W. (1997). The New Agenda for Organization Development. Organizational Dynamics, 26(1), 6–20.
Hofstede, G. H., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: software of the mind: intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival (3rd ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Jamieson, D. W., Auron, M., & Shechtman, D. (2010). Managing Use of Self for Masterful Professional Practice. OD Practitioner, 42(3), 4–11.
McKnight, L. L. (2012). Global Consulting: The Use of Self to Transfer OD Values into National Cultures. Organization Development Journal, 30(2), 67–77.
Sorensen, P. (1993). O.D. an odyssey: From dignity and meaning in the work place to global civic culture. Organization Development Journal, (iss. 11), pp. 39–41.
Sorensen, P. F., Head, T. C., Yaeger, T. F., & Cooperrider, D. (2004). Global and international organization development (4th ed.). Champaign, Ill.: Stipes Publishers.
Yaeger, T. F., & Sorensen, P. F. (2008). The Heritage, the Future, and the Role of Values in the Field of Organization Development. Herencia, Futuro Y Papel de Los Valores En El Campo Del Desarrollo Organizacional., (65), 119–137.