In this paper we argue that cultural diversity can be advantageous or detrimental for organizations depending on organization members' communication. We introduce three forms of communication explored by W Barnett Pearce, each of which differs in deeply held assumptions. The forms ultimately relate to different ways of being human. We consider the ways that two of the forms, ethnocentric and modernistic, can lead to problems in decision-making and creativity in diverse organizations. We then present cosmopolitan communication, discussing how the form can lead to positive outcomes in diverse organizations, why it works well, and how change agents can encourage communication that draws on this form. We overview the implications of cosmopolitan communication for organizational-level diversity changes and for learning organizations. Given the exploratory nature of the pairing between managing diversity and these three communication forms, extensive suggestions for future research are made.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)