At the University of Oxford we are committed to establishing an inclusive culture, where everyone can contribute and flourish regardless of visible and invisible differences. With over 11,000 staff from around the world, we must all contribute to creating a supportive culture. Often we can do that by talking together. In our daily lives we have opportunities to create high-quality relationships across difference to further our common endeavours.
People at the University of Oxford come from around the world, with very varied backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. We expect all members of the University to treat their colleagues with dignity and respect. As an individual you are entitled to hold your own beliefs, but in your work role you are expected to work with people holding different beliefs.
Communication styles vary in different cultures. To people coming from a culture where the style is more direct, communication at the University may appear very indirect. Be alert to feedback that is phrase as a suggestion: ‘You may like to look at that section again’ implies that the material needs major revision!
The University has an academic culture where people are encouraged to debate and challenge ideas. However the challenges should be on the ideas and approach and not a personal attack on an individual. Similarly, feedback should be constructive, and evidence-based. Some individuals have a more directive management style, but this should be clearly distinguishable from bullying. If you feel that you are being bullied or harassed, you may like to talk about your situation with a Harassment Adviser.
Much of our behaviour is determined by our culture, which may create misunderstandings between people with different expectations. Test any assumptions and be patient in establishing good working relationships with colleagues.
Many of us work in shared office, where we have to get along with our colleagues. Try to be sensitive to the needs of your colleagues. Things to think about include:
Recognising that people have different ways of working and being sensitive to their preferences may help to ensure that workplace relationships go smoothly. Things to think about include:
Efforts can be made to ensure that meetings are arranged and conducted in an inclusive way:
Ideas to think about include:
The University will try to accommodate religious observance, subject to business requirements.
Things to think about: