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Cross cultural management deals with ways of dealing or comparing two or more different cultures. Cross-cultural analysis is essential for identifying the universal aspects of cultures of human beings and other social organizations from the ones particular to the society. There are many models and theoretical frameworks for comparative analysis of various cultural attitudes. By considering the differences in the cultures and social organizations of various societies enhances the development of a wide understanding of individual development, control of crime and inequality in the social context.
The study below discusses the strengths and weaknesses of two models of cross-cultural comparative analysis in United Kingdom and Egypt and their implications to the cross-cultural management. It considers all the perspectives that various thinkers prefer in the study of cross-cultural activities (Mead, 2009).
Models of cross-cultural comparative analysis
There are many models which enables in the analysis of the multicultural concepts in the present society. These enhance the understanding of human development, gender, family and the entire society. Most of the Nations engage in the cultural studies for the sake of understanding and improving International Management. There are some research perspectives which have come up as a result of increased interest in the comparative and international management. These perspectives includes: the agenda of research brought by social anthropology, these are centred on the value of the culture, structures, relationships and attitudes both at the organizational and national level (Sapru, 2008).
The other perspective is inspired by the philosophers in the area of international dimensions of organizational behaviour which concentrate on issues relating to cross-cultural leadership, interpersonal and group relations and cultural synergy. The third perspective is generated by general management and strategic management writers which are concern about moulding the structure of the organization. The last perspective is brought about by the research of the practitioners in the international dynamics in the practices of management. This is concern about the communication and negotiations among various cultures which copes with the cultural shock so as to be able to properly manage the cultures of an organization (Caselli et al, 2005).
Theoretical Perspectives on Comparative Culture
According to Harrison, (1994), there are a total of three major factors which replicate the discussion of the theoretical aspects of comparative management and organizational culture. These perspectives includes: integration perspective describing the organization's cultural manifestations and acts as a self reinforcing factor as well as evaluating their effects on the behavior of the organization. The second is the differentiation perspective which describes the ambiguity and differences across various subcultures (Brown, 1995). The cultures available both at national and international levels are completely different although some traits may seem related there are some distinctions and the perspective enables to identify and evaluate these differences. The third perspective is fragmentation perspective which is concern about the analysis of the internally based cultural dynamics, fluctuations of consensus, and the oppositions of the members (Tjosvold &Leung, 2003).
There are some theories which help in the study of the cross cultural analyses in United Kingdom and Egypt. These are among the well established entities hence expected to have developed a common culture, with the general environmental condition of the entire Egypt, the Egyptians are expected to have common or related cultures. However this is not, each of the nations has various cultural activities identified with a certain organization or group of people both locally and internationally. Various researchers have come up with some theories to show the development of the behavior of various individuals in the community. The Theory of Human Development: A Cross-Cultural Analysis is one of the theories which enhance development of human beings (Holden, 2002).
According to Thomas, (2008), the thinkers who were concern with changes and development in human society were classified into three main categories related to changes in the society. The most fundamental one is social economic development which is described as a set of closely related changes reforms including innovation of the technology, growth productivity, and life expectancy and improving health status. The second factor is change of value which brings along social-economic development in the expansion of the markets and social mobilization diversity. Other build up activities of human beings like commercial operations strengthen the relationship between individuals or groups of people. The Egyptians are well known for their developed commercial activities since they have a lot to exchange either for money or other commodities. The availability of many tourist attractions has led to the development of commercial which the Egyptians are identified with at international level (Johann, 2008).
Civic exchange is also part of the value exchange leading to civil cultural values. United Kingdom is considered as one of the victorious nations worldwide. They are considered as political role model especially to many developing countries and others like the Egypt also consult the United Nations for political advices. The nations are related with the civil cultural values by the other nations in the world. The third process in human development theory is concern about the political institutions in the society. Many of the communities have adapted democratic constitutions in what they refer to as the third wave of democratization and realizing increasing levels of straight civil involvement (Saraswati, 2009).
There are many doubts concerning this model; with the occurrence of socioeconomic development, change of value or democratization at once, some of the poor societies especially in the most arid parts of Egypt suffer as a result of scarce resources and they tend to be limited by traditional values which reflecting restrictions on human autonomy. Even with the existence of democratic constitutions, the communities are mostly governed by authoritarian administration (KâÄŸÄ±tçÄ±baÅŸÄ±, 2006).
The theory also limits human development because of the assumptions that some cultures are associated with a certain group of people or nation. Most of the modern theorists assume that the three modes of development: socioeconomic, change of value and level of democracy are closely related although did distinguish the common focus on these phenomena. Thus modernization was assumed to cover them up and its reality is assumed by listing its concrete components but not by what integrates them. This leaves the public without clear understanding of what human development to modernization entails thus they just subsume into anything in the name of modernization. This is affecting the management of different cultures because things are rapidly changing and some of the cultural beliefs are changing into modern activities or not following any strategy thus the operations cannot be planned for (Inglehart, 2004).
It is also difficult to satisfy the expectations of the next generation because children are growing up communities with computer-mediated experiences as a norm. The students spend most of their time in school but no enough time to master what is expected of them as members of certain social groups. Various generations develop different way of doing things either national or international based by observing and imitating how their friends behave from various communicating channels like television and radio or by interacting with members of the other cultural groups. The meaning of socioeconomic development in the theory of human development is no longer considered in the development of group or organizational behaviour. There are many environmental factors which are influencing the development of individual and group behaviour. Technology is one of the factors; the United Kingdom is among the leading in Technological development. People are changing their way of doing things and adapting implementation of technology and use of machines in all areas of operations (Friedlmeier et al, 2005).
Initially the Egyptians were concentrating historical teachings, music and other forms of entertainments like creating movies. The Egyptian cultural and Educational Bureau which concentrates on organizing the cultural activities of the Egyptians in Washington listed art exhibition and music performance as first in the cultural activities of locals. Some of the activities have been improved while others have been dislocated by changes in the lifestyle. There are many western based movies which are increasing the competition in the theatre production market. The new technology is coming up with other ways of exhibiting their artistic materials, for example, through the internet of showing them on television screens. These changes force the Egyptians to change their cultures and adapt the new ones; this process is referred to as modernization. There is confusion when trying to adapt the modern way of doing things because the processes are not well distinguished and it seems like every individual or group of people have their way of behaving (Irvine & John, 2008).
A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Participative Decision-Making in Organizations
The model states that there is increase in the involvement in the decision making due to changes in the lifestyles. All the parties in schools and other learning institutions are allowed to make decisions in the process of learning. The involvement of children in the process of making decision is having positive influence on the individual behaviour and those of the organization. These children do not rely on the defined expectations of their social groups but come up with their own ways of doing things which are influenced by what they are taught in school or based on their interests. The issue of decision making is involved in all aspects of life. All people are involved in constitutional rules governing them and the leadership styles to be used. There is also freedom of choosing and adapting activities which are good and of advantages to the individuals involved (John, 2002).
This model is having negative impacts on the current generation both in United Kingdom and Egypt. The behaviour of people is identified certain age groups, for example, the elderly are strict on the cultural practices of their social organizations while the youths are referring to them as being outdated and are coming up with their new ways which may not be easy to understand although are embraced by any young person and reflected on any daily activity (Stephen, 2009).
The young people are not spending their time in the social places which can help in their socioeconomic development by interacting with their elderly but are concentrating on their books or other technological devices like internet. They have no time to discuss things with their parents but only want to be keen on the communication channels to ensure that they are updated on what is happening on the other parts of the world. Therefore these communication channels and the internet are acting as role models which greatly influence their behaviour. Each generation is struggling hard to make things easier thus the pressure behind the many scientific revolutions done on the new technology in United Kingdom (Leo, 2003).
The cultures of the Egyptians are also changing, for example, people are coming up with the new ways of exhibiting their arts without physically involving themselves. They are easily doing it through the use of the net or other communication channels; however these changes have improved some of their cultures like theatre production by bringing along new acting styles, recording and editing (Kreitner, 2006).
A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Participative Decision-Making in Organizations model has negative effect on the cultural activities because through it people easily neglect their culture and adapts others for individual benefit without minding about their effects to the entire organization. Other factors in life are highly influencing the way people perceive things hence behave in the organization. Therefore the national and international changes in the cultural activities are as a result of the changes of the individual behaviour driven by differing interests (Hersen & Jay, 2004).
The implications of these for managers
The cross-cultural managers are undergoing some difficulties as they try to monitor differences and similarities in various cultural activities in Egypt and United Kingdom. This is because the future of the activities is unpredictable hence it is not possible for the mangers to strategize an action plan. There are many internal and external forces which are driving the behaviour of various individuals in the communities.
The managers consider various models of cross-cultural comparative analysis like theory of Human Development: A Cross-Cultural Analysis to understand the concept of human development especially on the individual behaviour and that of a community. Socioeconomic developments, change of value or democratization are the phenomena behind this theory. Through the socioeconomic development the managers are able to identify how people relate with each other or the current economic activities taking place in the area hence be able to predict the behaviour of people.
A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Participative Decision-Making in Organizations is another theory which the managers can consider to improve their performance. Each of the members should be allowed to make decision on behave of the cultures of their community. Allowing members to make decision would improve the sustainability of the cultural activities and also ease the work of the management. It is easier for people to accept and abide by the cultural activities which are not dictated to them. The freedom of making decisions may also be disadvantageous to the management because if each member comes up with his or her ideas and stick for its implementation would result to an endless list which would be beyond the control of the management.
There are many different cultures in United Kingdom and Egypt. This is as a result of different groups of people from differing backgrounds and each involved in individual activities. The cross-cultural managers undergo a lot of difficulties as they carry on their duties, this is because people's lifestyles are rapidly changing hence their cultures. There are many internal and external reforms which are bringing changes in the socioeconomic activities, changes of values and democracy. People are neglecting their initial ways of doing things and adapting new ones so as to develop their societies as well as boost their living standards.
The study considers the strengths and weaknesses of two models of cross-cultural comparative analysis from a list of many theories concern with cross-cultural. The theory of Human Development: A Cross-Cultural Analysis was first considered as it is concern with the development of human behaviour as an influence in the individual activities and the cultures of various groups. The other model which was considered to be essential was A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Participative Decision-Making in Organizations is the other theory. It is concern about allowance of the members to make decision about their cultures.