The hospitality and tourism industry desperately relies on the feelings and attitudes of its customer base. This industry was created to make people feel good in order that they spend large sums of money on the hotel or tourist activity. Therefore, it is of an extreme importance that an empathetic and understanding culture is built in the required areas. Tourism industry professionals such as hotel managers need to be aware of the many different cultures that are rampant throughout Australia and the rest of the world. The globe is shrinking and the world is getting smaller.
The Australian Government has pronounced a multicultural policy to help safeguard against some potential costly mistakes when dealing with people of scattered origins. The purpose of this essay is to review this policy and investigate its relevance to the hospitality industry. Furthermore, this essay will also address the three dimensions of Australian multiculturalism to help define and guide the argument. Included in this discussion, will be a review of the strengths and weaknesses of how best hotel managers can handle these types of situations. Finally, this essay will conclude by discussing the special skills and traits a manager of a multicultural workplace needs to have.
The Government Policy
According to this policy, " Multiculturalism is in Australia's national interest and speaks to fairness and inclusion. It enhances respect and support for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. It is about Australia's shared experience and the composition of neighbourhoods. It acknowledges the benefits and potential that cultural diversity brings." The way we treat others and is a direct reflection on the way we feel about ourselves and our national pride. It is important to embrace our differences and diverse looks to join into something bigger than ourselves and become a unified nation under the guide of the government that can lead us to bigger and better things while ensuring justice, fairness and a sense of humility to the process.
Koleth (2010) recently suggested that "Multiculturalism has been a contested policy and concept since its introduction in Australia in the 1970s. While maintaining some core principles, in the three decades since its introduction, federal multicultural policy statements have evolved in response to changing government priorities and responses to the challenges facing Australian society. While Australian multicultural policy has its roots in government responses to the post-settlement issues facing migrants, through the 1980s and 1990s policy was articulated more broadly as an element of Australia's nation building narratives. Today all Australian States and Territories have active policies and programs dealing with multiculturalism.
The policy is essentially supported by four main principles. Each principle is dedicated to ensuring that one branch of this policy is accurately covered and maintains a sense of balance and fairness for the document. The first principle states "The Australian Government
celebrates and values the benefits of cultural diversity for all Australians, within the broader aims of national unity, community harmony and maintenance of our democratic values." This idealistic statement demonstrates that the Government truly cares about how the differences may have significant effects on the general peace of the nation. Participation in citizenship is not like anything else, and everyone regardless of what they look like, smell like or sound like is entitled to this right.
The next principle of this policy states "The Australian Government is committed to a just, inclusive and socially cohesive society where everyone can participate in the opportunities that Australia offers and where government services are responsive to the needs of Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds." Once again the policy reiterates what is most important; justice and fairness.
The third principle of this policy states: "The Australian Government welcomes the economic, trade and investment benefits which arise from our successful multicultural nation." This principle begins to hint that there is a special reward for those who are committed to these principles. Economic advantages are a very good benefit of multiculturalism and should be celebrated despite the conflict of interests that may arise. It is very tempting for government agencies to use race and culture for a political tool and this should not happen.
The fourth principle of the policy suggested; " The Australian Government will act to promote understanding and acceptance while responding to expressions of intolerance and discrimination with strength, and where necessary, with the force of the law." In this principle the government resorts to justified coercion if these rules are not obeyed. The intimidation factor that is included in this principle should scare and intimidate those who are leery of buying into mass compliance of this very important and necessary regulation. People can be hurt if they are not judged in the proper perspective. It is up to all of us in Australia to ensure that people's feelings are not hurt. We essentially have no choice in our born or given culture. Because of this, many people are confused and sensitive to this fact, so much so, that they desperately need protection from those wishing to use discrimination and race to make any determinations.
The Three Dimensions
The National Agenda for A Multicultural Australia produced a framework to understand its intentions. They set up a system containing of three dimensions. The Commonwealth Government has identified three dimensions of multicultural policy.
• cultural identity: the right of all Australians, within carefully defined limits, to express and share their individual cultural heritage, including their language and religion;
• social justice: the right of all Australians to equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth; and • economic efficiency: the need to maintain, develop and utilize effectively the skills and talents of all Australians, regardless of background.
Cultural identity is every person's right. This important dimension must be maintained in order for this policy to have any real or significant effect. Social justice is also important because the wrongs of the world need to be attended to. There is no better referee in this world than the Australian policy on multiculturalism to address this problem. The economic condition of everyone plays a vital role on their contribution to citizenship and culture itself. These three dimensions create the space necessary for both the government and the people to have a relative understanding of both positive and negative aspects of multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism in the Hospitality Industry
Perhaps no other industry can benefit as much as the hospitality industry from a good understanding of multiculturalism. The hospitality industry's very purpose is to make people feel comfortable and free. Without some base line knowledge of different cultures and customs, hospitality industry businesses such as hotels and inns are certain to fall short of the demands of the customer. People are expecting top notch service and understanding with their leisure and it is important for customers to know this.
More importantly multiculturalism must be respected within the workforce itself. Discrimination cannot be tolerated at any level. Diversity becomes the most important aspect of any organization once it is understood how to make this practice become competitively advantageous. The Australian Human Rights Commission produced a compelling argument regarding this issue. Providing a discrimination-free workplace raises a number of challenges for employers and employees. It may require changing workplace cultures and confronting unacceptable practices. Such practices may range from harassment and bullying to more subtle behaviour that undermines and excludes people from certain racial or ethnic groups, people with disability and women. Re-thinking how business is done to accommodate the reasonable needs of workers with family responsibilities and workers with disability .Developing policies to protect workers from all forms of discrimination and harassment. Ensuring that discrimination and harassment policies are enforced, that staff are properly trained in those polices and that complaints are dealt with appropriately.
Leadership within the hotel industry must be constantly improving on their managerial skills and techniques. Incorporating reasonable facts regarding multiculturalism is a good start but must by infused with other managerial skills to have any real effect. Managing a diverse workforce requires some good people skills and a great amount of empathy and understanding in order for one to be successful. Taking the other's view into consideration can help the manager in tough situations.
A hotel general manager must be a people person with the interpersonal skills to keep guests and employees happy. The general manager helps to greet and register guests and handle their problems. He has to approach guest concerns with patience, tact and understanding, even in stressful situations. He also has to motivate employees to do their jobs well, which requires leadership talent and a knack for understanding problems and resolving conflicts. A hotel general manager must know how to listen well.
Hotel general managers are professional troubleshooters. They must be able to think of creative and practical solutions to problems in a fast-paced environment. They need the capacity to reason by applying common sense to complete their duties. Hotel managers must know math to interpret financial information.…