OriginsInfocus September 2014

OriginsInsight - What is Culture?

"Culture" is not easily defined. And creating a cultural classification presents even more challenges. This is because our understanding of "culture" and our need to classify varies according to the context and purpose of use.

In this paper we discuss definitions of culture and suggest one approach that uses a multi-faceted classification to accurately predict the behaviour and values of different groups of people. This is vital for organisations who need to understand their target audiences and the markets they serve.

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Case in Point: The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO)

We were curious to understand the cultural composition of performers, patrons and management of the MSO. With its roots in the recital halls of Europe, we would expect a European bias. And, in line with expectations, we did find an over-representation of Anglo-Celtic and NW European backgrounds and a marked under-representation of other CALD communities, particularly Greek, South Asian, South East Asian and names of Islamic origin.  

Analysis such as this provides the MSO with a valuable evidence-base in meeting the challenge of being relevant to Melbourne’s increasingly multicultural society.

The Business Case for Employee Diversity

With last year’s release of Diversity Council Australia’s report Capitalising on Culture, there has been increasing interest in measuring workplace diversity. Companies are recognising the need to ensure that their workforces broadly reflect the communities from which they are drawn.  

This makes sense in terms of developing a healthy and non-discriminatory workplace. It is also important from a customer experience perspective. Companies are less likely to effectively engage with, or appeal to people of CALD background if they present a mono-cultural image. Organisations increasingly recognise the need to align employee and customer diversity with that of the market they are serving.

But now there are strong emerging economic arguments to support the case for greater cultural diversity in the workplace. Research published in the American Sociological Review identifies workplace diversity as one of the most important predictors of sales revenue, customer numbers and profitability.

The work, authored by Cedric Herring, identifies that for every percentage increase in cultural diversity, up to the proportion in the wider population, there was an increase in sales revenue of approximately 9 percent. Herring found racial diversity to be a better determinant of sales revenue and customer numbers than the size, age or number of employees. View the study.

The use of Origins name recognition software offers a quick and cost-effective way of measuring and monitoring workplace diversity and avoids the need for expensive and intrusive surveys that rarely achieve representative response rates. The article on the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the work conducted by Diversity Council Australia are two cases revealing quantified insights and benchmarks to support future trend analysis.

New Zealand Goes to the Polls

New Zealand, like Australia, prides itself on a diverse and multicultural society. But how well do its election candidates reflect its culturally diverse population? As next Saturday’s election looms, we analyse the 430 nominees to reveal how well New Zealand’s multicultural society is represented in its parliamentary candidates.

Similar to the findings of our analysis of Australia’s politicians at the last federal election (read here), we found there was strong over-representation of people of Anglo-Celtic origin, and an under-representation of almost all other backgrounds. The only non-Anglo-Celtic group with a similar representation to the broader New Zealand population is those of South Asian origin.
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How Scottish are the Scottish?

Next Thursday, people in Scotland will decide in a referendum whether or not to they wish to leave the United Kingdom (UK).

If that were to happen it would be the biggest disruption to the UK since the time of Napoleon. A ‘Yes’ vote would have profound effects on the political landscape of both the UK and the European Union (EU).

The opportunity to leave the UK has been presented because of the perceived financial and economic advantage for a potentially new nation and its people. But of greater significance is the opportunity to assert Scottish identity and to differentiate people with Scottish identity from the rest of the UK.

But how strong is this Scottish identity in Scotland today? Or is it a myth being promoted to serve the purposes of the Scottish Nationalist Party? What evidence is there for diversity and how might this affect the outcome of this unique referendum?

Language: Keeping Culture Alive

Many people see language as a key indicator of cultural identity. Upon migration to a new country people often prefer to speak their mother-tongue at home to maintain their cultural heritage and promote it to their children. The two major centres of migrants in Australia – Sydney and Melbourne – have large populations of people who speak a language other than English at home - around 40% and 30% respectively. In each city, around 250 languages other than English are spoken –more than the number of countries in the world! In some suburbs, non-English speakers at home outnumber those who speak English.

Recently the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age published articles of language diversity in Sydney and Melbourne. These well-researched articles provide great insight into the languages spoken and how the evolving populations are changing the linguistic dimensions of the cities. The Sydney article is available here, and the Melbourne article is available here. They are well worth a read.

In addition, the Sydney Morning Herald developed a series of interactive maps showing the concentration of various languages within each Sydney suburb. This excellent resource can be viewed here

Language is an important characteristic associated with many of the codes in the Origins name recognition classification. Analysis using the Origins classification reveals much about the behavioural attributes, customs, values and preferences of Australian consumers. It provides a means to help organisations understand and connect with their customers and target markets. More information about OriginsInfo name analysis is available here.
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Too Much of the Same Thing?

We reveal the secret weapon businesses are implementing to achieve proven growth to their bottom line.
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Name Traditions of Scotland

Your surname could reveal the Scottish location, occupation or clan of your ancestors.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games

As one of the most multicultural societies in the world, one would predict that the Australian team participating in the Commonwealth Games - an event that celebrates diversity - would consist of people from diverse backgrounds. So just how diverse was the Australian Commonwealth Games team? Which sports were dominated by people of particular origins? Read more to find out.

Balinese Naming Traditions

If you have ever travelled to Bali you would have noticed how many locals share the same first name - yes, including Ketut! Just from his name, we know that Ketut has three older siblings. Read this blog to find out why we know.

Cultural Segmentation – See Your Customers Differently

We all know that segmentation is fundamental to any marketing activity. But what is the best method to use to segment your customers? Find out here.


Diversity Council Australia (DCA) - Diversity in the Public Sector Network

To be held simultaneously on the 18th September in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane, the forum provides an opportunity for DCA members to discuss the challenges of building and managing a diverse workforce in the public sector.

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Can we Talk? Well, can we? Language: the Great Divide

To be held on 30 September at the Melbourne Immigration Museum, this symposium explores what it means to be a multilingual nation. It will explore topics in community language, citizenship, rights, education and services and profiles best practice across sectors. It aims to encourage active network and collaborative opportunities. 

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AHRI Inclusion and Diversity Conference

Focusing on building management practices in diversity and inclusion, the conference will be held at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne on Thursday 30th October. It will be followed by the Inclusion and Diversity Awards which will be held that evening.

The conference will cover the following topics:

  • How to implement effective inclusion and diversity strategies in your organisation
  • What best practice looks like in Australia and across the globe
  • How to re-frame inclusion and diversity as a business issue to gain buy-in
  • How to prepare the organisation for the successful integration of necessary processes
  • What the latest developments are across topics such as age, gender, indigenous employment, LGBTIQ and more

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DCA and INPEX Annual Diversity Debate - 18 November 2014

This signature event will feature high profile business and community leaders and social commentators debating diversity issues.

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New Australian Research Reveals how ‘The Bamboo Ceiling’ is Blocking the Rise of Asian Talent

The latest research by DCA has shown that people from Asian backgrounds are well-represented in entry and middle level jobs, and significantly under-represented in leadership roles in Australia - which  DCA describes as an enormous waste of talent.

The research has uncovered valuable information about ‘the bamboo ceiling’ and why so few Asian leaders are reaching the top. Its key findings are that while Asian talent is ambitious, motivated and capable, they are under-leveraged, under-valued and likely to leave. There are key barriers locking out Asian talent including cultural bias and stereotyping, westernised leadership models, lack of relationship capital and the case for culture not understood.

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