This is quite a good question, which, for me, has two completely different answers.
In my initial interpretation of this, I believe that what is really important in a multicultural organization is “cultural awareness” and “cultural respect”. The truth of the matter is that we are living in a globalised world, which is exciting and positive, but also produces some negatives too. So the real question is how do we really keep hold of the positive aspects of a rapidly globalising world?
The answer is to bring awareness and respect. All cultures can contribute positively to a multicultural organisation. Ultimately, we all can provide different attributes, aspects and knowledg. The real challenge is to learn how to really get the best out of each culture: the maximum from everybody. Perhaps the first thing any multicultural organization should do is to actually recognise and promote the cosmopolitan mix it possesses. One company I have worked in actually knows that it has 52 different nationalities among its staff – that is quite something, isn´t it?
My second answer would be related to the question of “corporate culture”. Here, the question is whether corporate culture is significant in a multicultural organisation? Does your company have a corporate culture that you recognise and live?
You know, over the years, working with different companies, I have heard mixed reactions to this. On the one hand I have been told “No, we don´t want to develop a corporate culture here. That is too restricting and we believe in the freedom of all our staff to live without such constraints”.
On the other hand, other companies cultivate and actively promote an inner corporate culture and staff identify greatly with that. Some of the very long-standing traditional companies have actually developed a corporate culture without actually cultivating it, as it has naturally evolved through time and through pride of brand or pride of product.
In all of these cases, I think it really is a subjective reply and that everyone has their own opinion as to whether corporate culture is a significant factor in a multicultural organisation. To some, the sense of belonging is essential and they take pride in being part of their orgnanisation; to others they prefer to have their freedom of identity without feeling attached. Everyone is entitled to feel, live and be part of a company´s culture or not as well as to feel that it is significant or not.