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Working Together:
Succeeding in a Multicultural Organization

by George F. Simons, D.Min

Third Edition
Menlo Park: Crisp Publications, Inc., 2002
117 pp. $13.95
ISBN 1-56052-670-X

Reviewed by Kate Berardo

The challenge for authors of diversity workbooks is to put their teachings to practice. To end up with an effective learning tool that has wide application and sells well, writers must plan for a diverse audience and factor in different learning styles in their exercises and examples. George Simons, with his recently-released third edition of Working Together, may be the guru of conscientious diversity writing and good business sense. The latest edition of his popular diversity workbook is an extremely effective tool to teach workers, no matter what their background, career level, or learning style, how to work together and interact effectively in different environments.

Working Together combines ideas and exercises proven effective in prior editions with new and important learning tools. The first three sections replicate the contents of the second edition with updated formatting and simplified language for ESL readers. Readers are first guided through an analysis of their own ideas and beliefs about different groups of people. Then, exercises focus on how different backgrounds impact people and how they can manage their words, ideas, and behaviors accordingly. The following section provides lessons of increasing importance in recent times, including how to deal with diversity and the media, insider and outsider cultures, and cultural shifts and changes. The workbook concludes with a section to help individual address their feelings and behaviors toward globalization and terrorism, topics of recently heightened sensitivity that can create a negative workplace environment if not properly dealt with.

The ideas in Working Together are presented in a pristinely clear fashion so professionals from varied backgrounds can experience regular ah-ha's in reflecting on their own lives and experiences. The workbook passes over a heavy focus on intercultural communication and diversity theories but subtlety incorporates their core ideas, allowing readers to walk away with a better understanding of people rather than terms and concepts. This approach makes the workbook energizing and truly enjoyable-a refreshing outcome for a training workbook with such wide-ranging subject matter.

The workbook targets three types of learning for professionals and organizations: 1) self-study; 2) pre-study before a classroom training session; and 3) study as part of a system-wide multimedia learning program. Since the primary goal of Working Together is to foster understanding of diversity and an appreciation of how diverse backgrounds impact people's behaviors and actions, the book has a scope that extends beyond the workplace to living space in general. It would, for example, make an excellent relocation learning tool for expatriates or a pre-departure guide for study abroad participants to facilitate cultural adjustment. It could also be an effective teaching aid in American high schools to address how to deal with current events and situations. The only limitation to this wider application are that some exercises have workplace-specific examples and terminology, but nothing that can't be overcome with a little imagination and a few substitutions of "community" for "organization" or "classmate" for "coworker."

George Simons is the founder and president of George Simons International, creator of the award-winning DIVERSOPHY® training instruments, and an internationally known author of numerous diversity and intercultural management books. He brings to the table over 30 years of experience in cross-cultural communication and global management, which shines through in the concise, effective exercises of Working Together. The workbook is a Fifty-Minute™ Series Book published by Crisp Learning, who specializes in competency-based self-directed learning materials.


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2003 George Simons International.  See reprint policy for reproducing material from this site. Last modified: Dec. 3, 2003