Fitzsimmons, Stacey

Assistant Professor,


Department: Business

Research description:

-Multicultural and bicultural individuals in the workplace
Expertise Profile
Business professor Stacey Fitzsimmons examines how multicultural employees can benefit organizations.

Multicultural individuals are often immigrants or the children of immigrants who have internalized multiple cultures and identify with both or all of them. Dr. Fitzsimmons says they have much to contribute to the organizations where they work. She helps them recognize the strengths and resources they bring to the workplace and encourages organizations to capitalize on those unique skills.

Because multicultural individuals have experience seeing the world through more than one cultural frame, they can recognize when miscommunication and conflicts arise from cultural differences, and can act as mediators to help resolve them. These interventions create healthier workplace environments, allowing everyone their best chance at success. "Monocultural individuals are less likely to think about how their behaviour,such as the way they talk or deal with conflict, differs from behaviours common in other cultural groups, but multicultural individuals are more likely to recognize and understand cultural differences.

They can act as bridges between groups, allowing companies to work across cultures and borders."
Dr. Fitzsimmons first became aware of the changing dynamics of cultural identities when she was a PhD student, and she conducted a survey where people had to record their cultural identity: "I had to throw out the data because everyone wrote down more than one cultural identity," she says. The survey inspired her to do further research on multicultural identities in the workforce.

Dr. Fitzsimmons illustrates multicultural business issues in her classroom through live case studies. For example, in 2014 her class did a live case study with two members of the American Bar Association's task force to combat human trafficking. Students developed a plan to help convince organizational leaders to adopt the task force's recommendations for reducing the potential for human trafficking in their supply chains.

Related links
Dr. Fitzsimmons Faces of UVic Research:

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