Cross cultural factors play a crucial role in management, especially in today's world where business is becoming increasingly international, and where according to 85% of Fortune 500 firms having rated having "competent global leaders" as the most important factor for business success. Culture has many definitions, but in the business management context I believe that it can be best described as "something that shapes behaviour or structures one's perception of the world" (Adler, N.J. (1997) International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior). There are many challenges that can occur when faced with a different work culture than your own, and my friend will be likely to encounter some such as greeting style, formality of attire, eye contact, personal distance and many more factors that occur at the work place.
To better prepare my friend, it would be essential for them to gain knowledge of the foreign culture so that they would be able to have a smoother transition without causing confusion and conflict. Cultural Intelligence, or CQ can be defined as "a person's capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity" (Ang, Van Dyne, & Koh, 2005; Earley & Ang, 2003; Earley & Mosakowski, 2005). This plays very important roles in cross-cultural management due to today's increasingly global and diverse work setting and is a vital skill set needed by almost all managers in order to be successful. I am going to discuss the challenges that my friend is likely to encounter as well as suggestions to how to prepare for these challenges through solutions and utilizing cultural intelligence.
[...] More importantly are the more deeply imbedded cross-cultural differences, one challenge that my friend is likely to face is that they come from a very loose connected and universalistic culture compared to the particularistic culture at the new job. With a universalistic culture, laws are written and they must be upheld at all times whereas in a particularistic culture, it is more relationship orientated and the nature of the relationship determines the behaviour not the rules (Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (2011) Riding the waves of culture: Understanding cultural diversity in business. [...]
[...] This is the current culture at my friend's new work place. This may be a very big cross-cultural problem for my friend as their culture is to be very direct and therefore she may unknowingly upset or insult the employees who are not used to very direct and blunt communication. I would suggest to my friend that they actually try to adapt slightly to the less direct communication, especially when giving criticism to employees so that the employees do not feel disrespected and insulted; however I would also suggest that my friend make it clear that even if they are being blunt and direct, it is not because they are displeased but simply how they are used to communicating. [...]
[...] These cross-cultural differences between my friends and the new country's culture can be seen as underlying assumptions as most of the employees would not realise that they believe individual qualities are more important than performance. Cultural Intelligence, or CQ can be defined as person's capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity (Ang, Van Dyne, & Koh, 2005; Earley & Ang, 2003; Earley & Mosakowski, 2005). CQ can be measured in four ways: Meta-cognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioural senses. [...]
[...] This plays a very important role in cross-cultural management, as it is important that my friend picks up these habits and learns about CQ in order for them to adapt to their new cultural environment and be an effective and well-respected manager. In conclusion, my friend will experience many new and challenging experiences when they start their management job in a completely opposite cultural environment to their own. They will face both observational challenges and well as more deep-rooted challenges that will take more thought and experience to resolve. It is crucial that they face these challenges in the best way possible in order to not cause disruption and cause conflict between employees. [...]
[...] Management and Organization Review, 335- 371 MG102 Organisational Behaviour Cross-Cultural Management Lecture Slides 2-36, Dr Connson Locke Professor Chris Rowley and Dr Irene Poon Centre for Research on Asian Management Cass Knowledge Dec Schein, E. H. (1985) Organizational culture and leadership Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (2011) Riding the waves of culture: Understanding cultural diversity in business. [...]
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