Intercultural Management and Indigenous Values
- Jay Bird | September 27, 2023
Companies should look at a term called inter-cultural management when examining how Indigenous values can fit into their corporate culture.
Inter-cultural management is when two companies merge, become one company, and there are cultural differences to manage, usually because there are two countries involved with varying cultural ethics. The idea is to work on integrating the cultures, so the workforce runs effortlessly.
Combining cultures is not an easy process, but long overdue in Canada.
In this country we have numerous Indigenous worldviews and value systems, none of which are being incorporated into corporate cultures. We live in a society that has historically pushed Indigenous cultures out of the mainstream and asked they be forgotten, devaluing them.
I think it’s time we address it.
Intercultural management in a Canadian context is about incorporating Indigenous values into corporate value systems, which are the underlying moral principles the company will build on. Outside the mission and vision of a company, the values hold the most influence in how a business reaches its goals.
I will examine a few Indigenous values and how they could fall at the heart of changing the foundations of businesses.
The whole universe is interconnected. Life is about understanding these connections and seeing the meaning behind them.
This is a circle, and all things flow from one to another, each needing the next as much as the one before to find wholeness.
For companies, the idea of interconnectedness can influence company initiatives. The key one would be seeing how all departments, projects, and staff attach one to another − a web of connections that make the business function.
This allows staff to see their place within the day-to-day operations of the company, from front end staff to executives. It recognizes the reality that everyone in the company matters, and even as individuals, we function in a communal reality.
Life is about subsistence, not taking more than we need, and allowing the environment we exist in to support itself.
This concept is known as sustainability.
Whatever we take, we give back in equal measure to ensure the ecosystem continues to thrive. The reason we do this is because the land is not ours, for a time we have stewardship of it, others will inherit this same environment.
Greed need not be an unspoken value in corporate structures, it can be contested.
We can learn to evaluate our personal gain versus what we give back; a balance between saving and sharing. Company policies could start rewarding personal growth, community involvement, volunteering, and green initiatives, as another type of reward alongside pay and benefits. It needs to incentivize both what we take (income) and what we give (charity), so we don’t normalize greed.
As nations, communities, and partners in one another’s success we must learn to implement Indigenous values into business systems, as we have not recognized their distinctive contribution.
Our way forward, for the health of all involved, is to give Indigenous worldviews their rightful seat at the table.