Multiculturalism and Globalization in the Republic of Fiji
In an increasingly global society, multiculturalism is becoming important for businesses and individuals that want to advance. There is an increasing need to understand and relate to others, and people who are unable or unwilling to do so are finding that they are being left behind in business. They are also finding their growth stunted financially and culturally, because they do not permit themselves to be open to other people and to continue to learn what they can from people who are different from them. While that is unfortunate, how significant multiculturalism is in the life of a particular person can depend greatly on where that person lives and the culture that he or she is exposed to on a daily basis. Some people need to be more multicultural than others, just based on where they reside.
More cities and countries are becoming melting pots for people from all over the world, and that is both good and bad when it comes to how society changes and how the business climate adjusts to everything that is taking place around it (Scarr, 1984). In Fiji, there are several issues to consider when it comes to globalization and multiculturalism. Because it is an island, it is more secluded and less multicultural than other areas, and that would be expected. There is nothing unique or surprising in the idea that a country that has been relatively isolated would have less to do with the majority of society than a country that is large and that borders one or more other countries.
However, the lack of current multiculturalism in Fiji is slowly changing because the Internet and e-commerce have propelled even small, secluded areas into the spotlight. When there are companies that are looking to do business with other companies, the location of those companies is not as important as it used to be in the past. Being able to work with others online has cancelled the need to be able to work face-to-face or even over the phone. With that in mind, a company that is located in Fiji would have the same chance to perform well online as a company that is located in a much larger, more developed, and more culturally diverse away. Tourists looking for great getaways are also more likely to explore distant lands and smaller countries, because they have a higher chance of having heard about them and doing their research to learn whether they would like to visit.
That is good news for commerce and industry, but it is not necessarily good news for the people who live in areas like Fiji. Often, these people want their culture and traditions to remain largely untouched by outside influences like companies that are moving into their part of the globe and by tourists who are coming to see what they have to offer and bringing their cultures and traditions with them (Scarr, 1984). Companies, on the other hand, will go where they can make money and expand their operations more easily (Waterhouse, 1998). If they find that they can do that in Fiji less expensively than in other countries, then they will be likely to go to that country because it is convenient for them. Tourists will go because many of the islands that make up Fiji are very beautiful, and they are something a global traveler would want to see in his or her travels (Scarr, 1984). The fact that he or she brings culture and traditions along is simply part of being human.
How multicultural is Fiji, actually? Its isolation lowers the amount of influence other cultures have on it on a continual basis (Waterhouse, 1998). In the past, though, Fiji was settled and developed by the indigenous people and also by people who came in from other areas (Derrick, 1957). These explorers taught the people of Fiji many things, and because of that they also taught them some issues that related to culture and tradition. Fiji was not much of a melting pot, but over time there were changes that took place and adaptations that appeared through learning more about other cultures. The indigenous people saw the value in some of the traditions that were carried out by others, and they made them their own (Waterhouse, 1998). Almost every country has a degree of multiculturalism somewhere in its past, but people tend to think of multiculturalism as being only about the present and how much change is taking place today.
When it comes to globalization from a business standpoint, it is about making a profit. That does not mean there is no consideration for employees or customers, but it does mean that the majority of the focus of any business is going to be on how to make money. Without profit, a company cannot remain in business. As the world has changed, being able to succeed in business and make money has also required companies to understand and embrace different cultures. If a company wants to sell to a particular group or culture or ethnicity, that company will have to learn enough about that group to make sales possible. Because there are many ways to learn more about the world than ever before, companies that want to do business with Fiji will be able to do so more easily and comfortably than they could in the past.
Just as companies research where they wish to set up shop, who they wish to sell to, and how they can best focus on their target market, tourists look for the kinds of places that will give them what they want in a vacation. If they wish to explore Fiji, they should research it carefully and make certain they know enough about the culture to be comfortable while they are in the country. Many people do not give a second thought to how different another country may be from their own. They arrive in a new place and suddenly realize that they are not sure what food they will like, if they should be drinking the water, or how to talk to the owner of the hotel because he does not speak the same language. Because society is so much more global, people travel more - but before they leave home they have the opportunity to make sure they are well-prepared for the trip.
Part of the reason that multiculturalism and globalization are a concern in Fiji is its size (Waterhouse, 1998). A small, island nation is generally not something a person would expect to have a large number of businesses or be open to tourists of all kinds coming through its doors. It contains a high number of native people, and there are political problems between various groups on the different islands that add to the tension (Routledge, 1985). There are different ethnicities there, as well as different nationalities, but the majority of people who live on any of Fiji's islands were born there and are directly descended from people who were born there (Routledge, 1985). Often, the people who live in Fiji have a long ancestry that can be traced to one or more of the islands (Derrick, 1957). Because of that, they are more close-knit than the residents of many other countries and they have held onto their traditions more closely, as well (Waterhouse, 1998).
There is not as much multiculturalism in Fiji or other island nations as would be found elsewhere, where more people would be inclined to cross borders or migrate to other nearby areas (Waterhouse, 1998). Crossing a border is difficult and more expensive when that border is the ocean. Unfortunately for those who want to visit Fiji, it is not as easy to get there as it is to just take a drive. However, there are so many flights all over the world each day that people can get to Fiji much more quickly than they used to. That has contributed to the larger number of tourists that have been seen in Fiji in recent years (Scarr, 1984). There is speculation that will eventually make the island nation more multicultural, but the primary visitors are from New Zealand and surrounding areas, so there is no real reason to expect that Fiji will change quickly or significantly from the way it is currently.
Given the isolated nature of Fiji, many businesses do not give it a second thought. However, it is always possible for companies to move their operations there, or for people who already live there to start up businesses and branch out on a global scale (Waterhouse, 1998). When that takes place, it is important for these companies to learn about the culture in which they will be selling their goods and services. The more they know, the better off they will be when it comes to interacting with their customers. Some tourists, however, actually seek out Fiji because of its isolated nature (Waterhouse, 1998). If they are looking for…