Never underestimate consequences of different cultural codes

Never underestimate consequences of different cultural codes

Anna, a job coach from Italy

Anna, a job coach tells us a story which reveals how religious and ethical values of a worker with different cultural codes can impact on the work performance. A Muslim boy she had accompanied in a social integration path started an internship as a waiter in a restaurant, where he was well received and had good relations with colleagues. Aware of his religious beliefs he was assigned to serve the tables, so as to avoid him any possible contacts with pork meat. Despite the excellent reception received and the positive working climate, he felt uncomfortable. During an evaluation meeting with the coach, he explained the reason for his discomfort: he could not send home the money he earned in the restaurant because such money appeared to him dirty, not being “halal”. Pork dishes were prepared in the restaurant and although he was dispensed from preparing them, he felt that the money he earned was dirty because of the presence of pork (feeling of guilty). The coach listened carefully to the young man's discomfort and tried to tune in to his needs and feelings. Finally they found the best solution: the coach would have replaced monthly his “dirty” money with other "clean" banknotes. This simple exchange of banknotes set him free from his inner cultural conflict.
A refugee trainee was placed in a hotel of a large chain. He did his job very well, but he often went out an hour earlier. When he was asked why he replied that, once he had completed his assigned tasks, he did not want to remain at work in order not to be paid more. He didn't know that the salary is not hourly. His behaviour was perceived by his chief and colleagues as unfair, instead it reflected high ethical principles of fairness.
A newcomer low-skilled worker during his traineeship used to take his shoes off at the garage. What for him was a form of respect for the company was a big problem of safety at work. It was necessary to explain him the reasons why he had to wear his shoes: to protect himself from possible accidents.

Tag
Cultural differences
Internship
Misunderstanding