Cultural Sensitivity at Pacific Pods
Ava is the operations manager of Pacific Pods, a manufacturer and distributor of the large containers. Small businesses and individuals use these containers to store items for which they have no room in their workspace or residences. A company that owns these pods typically transports them to a person’s workplace or home, loads the pods, and then charges a storage fee. Customers who rent a pod usually can visit the site of the storage company and have access to their goods.
Revenues at Pacific Pods are growing steadily. With the high cost of office space and housing in northern California, many people lack enough space to house all their goods. Turnover at Pacific Pods is relatively low (about 15 percent), and the workers seem to be reasonably engaged in their work. Ava recognizes that manufacturing pods does not represent exciting work for all employees.
The workforce reporting to Ava is culturally and demographically diverse, and she values their talent and dedication. Ava herself represents cultural diversity, with a Mexican father and a Chinese mother. After talking to the HR director and reading many articles on the subject, Ava decides that if she displayed even more cultural sensitivity than she does now, employee retention and engagement might be even higher. She then embarks on an initiative to display even more cultural sensitivity.
The first target of Ava’s enhanced cultural sensitivity is Deon, a middle-aged supervisor who is African-American. Toward the end of a conversation about recruiting more production technicians with a better understand of math, Ava says, “I hope that you and your family have a great Kwanza this year.” Deon responded good-naturedly, “And a happy cinqo de mayo to you and your family.”
The second person Ava approached to display more cultural sensitivity is Gloria, a parts assembler in her late sixties. Gloria is pleasantly surprised that Ava dropped by her work station. The two engage in small talks for several minutes, and then Ava says, “Do you and your neighborhood friends play a lot of shuffle board and bingo? My folks and their friends do.” Shrugging her shoulders, Gloria said, “I don’t care about shuffle board and bingo, Instead I text back and forth with my four grandchildren.”
The next person Ava approached to display what she believed to be enhanced cultural sensitivity was Tyler, a young accountant and wheelchair user. After chatting about a couple of financial ratios related to Pacific Pods quarterly results, Ava commented, “Tyler, I have wanted to tell you for a long time how much I admire your courage. A lot of professionals who use a wheelchair would look for work at home, instead of going through the rigors of commuting. Tyler replied, “I’m no different from anybody else. I accept challenges.”
Next, Ava approached Lindsay, an information technology specialist with many visible tattoos and several body piercings. After chatting about cloud computing for a few moments, Ava said, “Please don’t ever think that your tattoos and body piercings will ever hold you back from promotions at Pacific Pods. We are an equal opportunity employer.” With a quizzical look on her face, Lindsay said, “Why is my body even a subject for discussion?”
Ava thought, “I think I am going to wait for any informal feedback about how my cultural sensitivity is working before I continue.”
Answer Questions in essay form:
1. What is your evaluation of appropriateness and effectiveness of Ava’s cultural sensitivity initiatives?
2. What suggestions can you offer Ava to be even more effective in displaying cultural sensitivity?
3. Explain if you found any one of Ava’s four cultural sensitivity initiatives to be offensive.
Follow the Case Study Format that is provided in the file. You should fully analyze the case studies by first identifying the key issues and likely root causes before you attempt to answer the questions. The length of your post should range between 500 words minimum and 1,500 words maximum.
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