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Today's managers have been faced by global challenges in their daily operations as a result of being exposed to global business environment perceived as dynamic, complex and interdependent. Every manager has been forced to align their operation strategies and styles of operations in ways that match a specific environment in which they are located. Modern managers face Constraints that include technology, politics, social, moral, culture and stiff competition across cultures. Such aspects have necessitated the need for global approach within the international market. However, there are some circumstances where those environmental aspects open up-opportunities to managerial operations. With such a background, it's important to evaluate the effect or influences business enterprises encounter from the different cultures around the world within organizations. Cultural aspects affect how individuals communicate or interact within the workplaces. Every interaction by the management within an organization is based on mutual expectations. Within the Chinese, cultural levels involve explicit, norms, values or existence assumptions (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck, 1961).
Workplace: Cross-cultural and intercultural manifestations
For every society, beliefs are shaped by culture and experiences. Similarly, beliefs bring about cohesiveness among individuals within organizations. Reflections are emulated in individual actions plus behavior of communication in the workplace. Beliefs are responsible in formation of our cultural values. Values generally refer to organizational rules, ideas which are shared concerning what's true, beautiful or perceived to be right. Societal guidance in relation to how to respond to social or physical environment is the responsibility of organizational values. Culture shapes individual behaviors and conducts which to some extents may not be appropriate or comfortable for other people to understand. For example, amongst Chinese, their work ethics are different from those of the Americans. Working hours among Chinese is 12hours a day, and 7days a week while an American works 9am-5pm, from Monday to Friday. Chinese are also very hard working and take rests afterwards, which is highly valued, even with beds at back of some offices. For this reason, varied cultural values may seem to conflict since their interpretations are different. Culture is used to solve problems within organizations though the solutions may not be similar for organizations seeking solutions to a common problem. However, to minimize the negative effects of culture for an organization, proficiency and practice is crucial via innovations. Openness in learning about our cultural differences and the management thereof clearly facilitates mutual benefits to all individuals within the organization. Management of cross cultural differences enables creativity, tolerance, flexibility and innovativeness within organizations. With such, success is assured within the advanced intercultural and globalized world (DuPraw & Axner, 1997).
Individual interaction is divided into two dimensions of communitarianism and individualism. Every organization must devise its own way of coping with cultural diversities. Interactions can be based on discovery of individual likes and dislikes while trying at the same time to undertake negotiations on the individual differences. Similarly, an organization can decide to place a shared concept so as to accomplish a collective goal. Individual orientation can either be self or community based. However, caution must be adhered to avoid generalizing identification of a certain cultural aspect with a particular community. Determination of the closest group that an individual can identify with is very necessary. Self orientation is highly based on individualism. Where individualist culture dominantly exists, individuals are kept before the community. Individuals are expected to make decisions on their own, take care of their families and themselves as well. Individuals are believed to be the primary unit of the organization and value ultimate standard. Individual opportunities to freedom or development determine the society's quality of life. Community judgment is attributed to the weight accorded to individual interests. On the other hand, communitarianism involves an orientation to goals or objectives which are common in the entire organization (Smith & Debrah, 2001).
Communitarianism focuses mainly on individual interests and rights in relation to the whole community. Community values therefore shape the autonomous selves. Within this culture, community comes first before the individual and actions of an individual must align to the needs of the society, hence individuals are naturally taken care off. Quality of life is therefore attributed to the level of the care the individual gives to his fellows at an expense of own freedom. In this culture, presentation is plural and unaccompanied individuals are said to lack status. Decision making in this culture consumes time since efforts are highly sustained to facilitate a consensus within the organization. For example, individualism among the Chinese is ranked lower than the Asian culture. Communist rule is emphasized on a collective society among the Chinese. Chinese culture is centralized on relationships while Americans is based on individualism. Chinese are quite and reserved while Americans are eloquent. Aspects of time and space can separate cultural ways of conducts and customs (Wright, 2007). Communication styles or use of language differs from one society to another. For example, English speakers have a predominant verbal culture. The biggest challenge English speakers encounter is that they are never able to communicate with any other language. To some white an Americans, raised voices imply a sign for commence of a fight. Jewish culture on the other hand, they associate raised voices with excitement in conversation among individuals. Within western societies, an eye contact confirms interest.
Affective cultures take conflicts positively to deal with problematic issues while neutral cultures think it should be avoided. For example, Chinese are courteous, indirect in addressing issues and have prolonged memories for humiliations and favors. Americans are more direct with high memories of conflict superseded by objectives of business while open conflicts among the Eastern countries are seen to be demeaning or embarrassing. Any individual differences are solved quietly, or through a written exchange. Within organizations, achievement oriented cultures associate individuals status with their accomplishments. Such individuals must prove what they are worth and status is offered on the basis of actions. Ascriptive status does not require whatsoever any rational justification. Individuals of ascribed status are associated to how individuals relate to their positions within organizations or the workplace. Such status is offered on the basis of being and not on achievement. Achieved status justifies hierarchies with claims that senior individual have more achievements (Hofstede, 2001). For example, in U.S, Finland or Germany, individuals are rated on the basis of their achievements or success in their workplace. Such individuals interrelate with people who are related to their profession or role. Key positions are allocated to persons with excellent knowledge, skills or talents. For example, Chinese accord great respect to wisdom, seniority or ability. To an American, respect is on the basis of achievement, success or wealth (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 2006). Some culture takes it necessary to inter-mingle their status with their organization. Ascriptive culture ill associate such titles with assurance that an individual's organization highly respects its employees and can be associated with a high position or rank.
Managers with an achieved status orientation can be highly irritated by an ascriptive negotiating team who submit change proposals to a particular ascribed authority. Young professionals assigned to deal with individuals who are 10 or 20 years by age may seem to be an insult to Ascriptive culture. For example, in an interview scenario, an achievement culture will seek to know first what an individual studied while an Ascriptive culture will seek to know where an individual studied. Motivation among American employees is achieved by perhaps assigning individual task and paying their dues in relation to their results. In diffuse cultures, non-performance will make the managers to motivate their staff through showing ways of improving performance with time (Wright, 2007). A boss within a diffuse culture will never expose any failure but rather the individual will lead a conversation towards the subordinates on expected improvements. For instance, adhering to schedules and procedures is extremely valued among the Chinese while for Americans it depends with an individual. Within specific cultures, performance is success or task oriented and employee mobility or turnover is necessary. For example, Americans change jobs within duration of 2-5years. Loyalties are therefore never built into the relationships between employees and employers.
Cross-cultural and cultural management Strategies
Within different countries international management in business operations is highly affected by preferences of communitarian or individualist. Nevertheless, the most fundamental areas affected by such cultural differences are evident in decision making, negotiation or individual motivation. For example, in Mexico, culture is relationship based. Professionals have to establish trust bonds and friendship with others. Individuals speak about family where visitors talk about parents, children and siblings among others. With such talks, friendship is established and an assurance is provided that the visiting person is responsible. To deal with individualist, quick decisions should be made while immediate offers should not be referred to the head quarters. For communitarian community, patience should be applied in consenting and consultation. Managers should always adjust individuals to the needs of the organization. Similarly, managers can introduce individual incentive methods such as employee assessment or pay for performance (Eunson, 2008).
Additionally, the organization can offer special praise for higher performers while at the same time allow for individual initiatives. Integration of personalities to that of the authority within a group would also be very significant. Managers can also undertake cultural differences management through concentrating on employee morale, cohesiveness, reduce turnover rates, avoid bias to some individuals and set super ordinate goals to be met by all employees. When managing cultural differences, understanding the roles of emotions or reason is very crucial in interrelationships. Emotionally neutral cultures never display their feelings but are capable of controlling and subduing them. High affectivity cultures are never able to hide their emotions or feelings (Deresky & Christopher, 2008). Normally, they are always seeking for immediate outlast for their feelings. Neutral cultures never reveal their emotions; they show tension within their faces and postures. However, damned emotions will occasionally explode. Within such cultures, it's a taboo to gesture, show strong expressions of the face or allow for physical contacts. For such cultures, delight or anger is normally regarded as unprofessional within the workplace. Negotiation focuses on the object of discussion and not necessarily on the individuals.
Affective cultures on the other hand express their thoughts or feelings non-verbally or verbally. Tension is highly released by their expressiveness or transparency. Emotions are never inhibited; they flow effusively, easily and vehemently. Vital, heated or animated expressions are highly admired. Strong facial expressions, physical contacts or gesturing are common within such a culture. However, readiness or enthusiasm to vehemently agree or disagree never implies that the individuals within this culture have reached a conclusion. Any negotiation held will highly concentrate on individual and not necessarily on the discussion object. Therefore, when managers are managing individuals oriented to neutral cultures, they should avoid expressive, warm or enthusiastic conducts. Such actions are interpreted to be control deficiency over one's feelings which do not align with high status. Similarly, extensive preparations in advance assist managers to stick to neutral discussions. Management of that kind will also require small clues on whether an individual has been angered or pleased by a certain action. In addition, ambiguous, detached or cool demeanor should be avoided. Such actions may be interpreted to be negative evaluation or social distance. Tolerance should be much adhered to vast expressions of emotions without intimidation or coercion in affective cultures (Barak, 2005).
In management under Ascriptive status, managers ought to use titles that reflect their influence degree within the organization. Also, in dealing with achievers, managers should respect the achievers information and knowledge. In addition, use of titles reflecting once competence within the organization should be applied. Mangers should also not underestimate the achievers urge to do better or going beyond the expectations. In business, managers should ensure enough data for the negotiating team, knowledgeable individuals or technical advisors. This would facilitate conviction to the other company and ensure that the pursued project success. Counterparts' information or knowledge should be respected even if it's known of their influence deficiency in their organization House et al, 2004).
Based on the above analysis, its evident that cultural differences determine highly how individuals behave and conduct themselves within the workplace. Every individual has been oriented to a unique cultural background which can facilitate conflicts among employees. Due to such cases, organizational managers need to establish proper strategies to counteract individual differences. Such actions would facilitate cohesiveness among the staff and allow for smooth flow plus high productivity levels within the organization (Hooker, 2003).
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