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This report talks about cross culture differences between the US and Tanzania. It has information on how snack fit company's CEO can work outside his home country, it deals with how he can manage running the company here and how he can get beyond all the stereotypes involved in an organization or in the host country and how he can build good relationship with his employees.
Almost everywhere we are or go there are stereotypes taking place, the underlying assumptions of images on billboards, calling someone wicked or jerk All this happens like everyday in the offices, organizations, homes, churches and even in the clubs. Stereotypes tend to transform assumptions of certain things (groups) into reality. All in all stereotypes have a negative side and positive side, just like everything else. One good example of a positive stereotype is" men are good drivers"(hello And women?). Stereotype is a mindset on things or I can say it's a bias that brings out a reflection of ideas that groups of people hold against those who are different from them.
2.1 Functions of a stereotype
Stereotypes play a major role when providing a quick identity of something to an audience so that it is recognized and understood.
They investigate cultural study to introduce significant limitations of human experience.
For years stereotypes have been used as justifications for prior intergroup discrimination, therefore they provide a means of justifying.
Stereotypes are like codes to give a common understanding of a person.
2.2 The impact of stereotypes in understanding other cultures.
-When stereotyping something it means that your mind is set on that particular thing because of the way you look at it. With that you comes up with a held notion or image of that particular person or group or culture.
-Because you do not understand other cultures you tend to ignore the uniqueness of individuals by painting all members of the group with the same brush.
-Stereotype can as well be used as a term of abuse; it makes the stereotyped group feel more inferior in some way to the other group.
-When stereotype is involved in understanding other cultures it can bring about deadly consequences. A good example is about the American oil company on a pacific Island and hired local labor. Within a week all the foremen were found lined up on the floor with their throats cut. Only afterwards did they understand that hiring young men as foremen to boss old workers was
Not acceptable in a society where age indicates status and seniority. Using their own cultural criteria for recruitment, they failed to anticipate the deadly consequences.
If they had tried to understand the culture of the people in the Pacific Island all that wouldn't have happened.
2.3 Ways to get beyond stereotypes for managers and employees.
Avoid making quick judgments
Managing people is the most difficult thing for managers to do, especially when you are working with different people from different cultures. Where there are people there are always problems. In a multicultural organization it is not easy for workers to get along easily either.
It is very important not to be too quick to judge someone in an organization or in offices too quick. First you have to find out what are the reasons behind his/her actions or behavior. Try to ask yourself questions at to why does he do that or how does she feel when doing that, find out all the reasons behind that particular behavior of someone before you stereotype them. You never know it might even be of very helpful to you as well. You could even end up finding very interesting facts.
Accept and try to understand other cultures
Some people find it very hard to accept and understand other people's cultures. They tend to stereotype them instead. If you can't understand your employees as a manager how do you expect to work with them and achieve a goal together when all you do is stereotype them? To get beyond those stereotypes in working places is better to understand other people's cultures and accept them. You might not like them but acceptance will play a major lore in working together and overcome the stereotypes behind.
Work as a team
In order to manage well and get behind stereotypes in organization is important to work as a team. This helps to learn more about other employees as well as their cultures. Team works brings about socialization regardless of where you come form and this can help a lot to overcome stereotypes.
3 EXPLORING CULTURE
Culture has s powerful impact on business world wide, it is very important that we identify the need to detect its presence. Some of the dimensions of culture are easy to detect while others require diving beyond the surface. Sometimes it is difficult even to drag out a few from the seabed, hidden in the depth and shadows beyond awareness. These can only be inferred through interpreting patterns of behavior and responses.
In exploring cultures the literature talks about the importance of our assumptions regarding space, language and time.
3.1 Characteristics of time
Business runs on schedules deadlines and appointments but these matters are regarded differently from culture to culture. People in high-context see time as away to plan the business day efficiently only focusing on one task during each scheduled period and viewing time as limited resource. However executives from low-context cultures often see time as more flexible, meeting a dead line is less important than building a business relationship. So the workday is not expected to follow a rigid present schedule. Trying to coax a team into staying on a strict schedule would be an attribute like in US companies but it could be viewed as pushy and overbearing in other cultures like Tanzanian cultures.
In some cultures time comes first in everything they do. They consider time as their number one priority to achieve something. There is an idiotic expression that says time is money" When it comes to business this is very important if you want to achieve. In characteristics of time we have monochromic and polychromic.
In monochromic cultures they prefer doing one task at a time and do not like to be disturbed during working. For these type of people time is very important and is considered as a precious commodity. This means that schedules and timetables are greatly valued in this culture and are to be followed strictly.
The polychromic cultures on the other hand like doing a lot of tasks at time (multitasking). In these cultures they are generality less concerned when it comes to establishing or following an agenda. This states that they treasure relaxed life more and the concept of time is more fluid.
3.2 Characteristics of space
Assumptions regarding space can refer to how a group has managed it's relationship with the environment through use of, as well as how relationships are managed through personal space, How much of physical and personal distance exists between people e.g. in the United States you can find wide open spaces unlike in Tanzania.
Some cultures like to have enough space when working as well as work in closed doors while others in open offices. American friendliness or readiness to make contract reflects the need to make greater effort to reduce the impact of greater physical spaces and distances. Therefore Americans more readily tend to share personal information and to inquire into the private lives of others.
In this way assumptions regarding personal space determine the nature and degree of involvement with others, what is expected form colleagues, relationship building versus getting down to business. It is expressed in artifacts and behavior such as the use of formal titles and address, what is discussed or not discussed, and how. It also reflects the degree to which information is embedded or direct in other words how much is left unsaid.
3.3 Characteristics of language
Language is also one of the key factors to recognizing other cultures. When we talk about language we also look at verbal language, which is, used more in low-context cultures like USA. We as well look at non verbal of which is used more in high-context cultures e.g. Tanzania however formal language is nowadays mostly used more in business wise. A good characteristic of language would be explicit and implicit language.
In explicit cultures people tend to use a straightforward language when communicating e.g. in the US. When it comes to implicit cultures the people are not straightforward with the language or sentence, they like making a person read between the lines.
High -context culture
This is the characteristic of culture language in which people rely less on verbal communication and more on the context of non-verbal actions and environmental setting to convey meaning. In this culture the rules of everyday life rarely explicit, instead as individuals grow up they learn how to respond as expected. The primary role of communication is building relationships, not exchanging information e.g. in Tanzania it is most common to see that people find it important to build relationships first in an organization than exchanging information.
This type of culture is more common in the states ( USA) where people rely more on verbal communication and less on circumstances and cues to convey meaning. In low-context rules and expectations are usually spelled out through explicit statements such as " can I please use your computer?"
The primary task of communication is exchanging information.
3.4 Importance of understanding culture and its impact on business
The characteristics of space, time, and language plays a big role in helping us to understand other cultures hence brings about a big impact in handling business with other cultures more effectively.
They can help us to understand culture and it's impact on business in such a way that:
-We would be able to know how to satisfy our customer/clients regardless of where they come from, since we already know what they are comfortable with in terms of language, greetings as well time.
Some customers don't like to be waited up in order to get a service.
-It can help us to learn and understand other people's cultures hence making it easier for us to work and conduct business with different types of people all over the world. With globalization at hand we tend to interact with so many different people with different cultures world wide, knowing there cultures will enable us to communicate with them more effectively since we know what they consider to be normal and taboo, their beliefs and values in terms of time, language and space.
-We can be able to know how to behave in other people's countries as well as when doing meetings with a people from different cultures since we know what is acceptable and not.
4 Power distance
Power distance indicates the extent to which a society accepts the unequal distribution of power in institutions and organizations. We have two forms of power distance, low power distance and high power distance.
The concepts of power distance states that the higher you are in power distance the more hierarchy you tend to have in terms of power and the more people are treated with inequalities. The low power distance you are in a culture the more people are treated with equality regardless of different in power positions.
According to Hofstede, power distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations accept that power is distributed unequally".
In other words people in high power distance cultures are more comfortable with a larger status differential than low power distance cultures. In high power distance employees are always in awe of their superiors and often show a lot of respect towards them.
Low power distance cultures have a low tolerance of authority and thrive for equality they play down inequalities as much as possible. Persons of higher positions are respected but employees are not fearful of them nor view them as superiors.
Decision making plays a big role in low power distance culture since everybody gets a chance to say what he think about a particular topic, people are allowed to participate and bring about their ideas and hence coming up with the best possible decision as well as pleasing all the employees.
Most of the power distance cultures are centralized.
This means that people depend on a leader. Less powerful people are more dependent on powerful and when it comes to organizations subordinates usually expect to be told what to do.
-Privileges and status symbols for those in power eg managers, are both expected and popular. The powerful people are entitled to privileges and do not hide their power.
-Inequalities among people is expected and desired. Wide salary range between top and bottom in organizations is common.
-When it comes to teachers they are considered as gurus who transfer personal wisdom and therefore the students treat them with respect.
-Organizations with high power distance would tend to have more levels of hierarchy. For example if we look at most African countries there is a lot of high power distance involved and thus more organizations with more levels of hierarchy being common. This hierarchy brings about a long chain of communication hence slow communication process that leads to time consuming for a decision to be made.
4.1 Uncertainty avoidance
Uncertainty avoidance refers to society's discomfort with uncertainty, preferring predictability and stability.
This dimension refers to how comfortable feel towards ambiguity. Cultures which ranks low compared to other cultures, feel much more comfortable with the unknown. As a result, high uncertainty avoidance cultures prefer formal rules and any uncertainty can express itself in higher anxiety than from low uncertainty avoidance.
The concept of uncertainty avoidance therefore states that the higher you are in uncertainty avoidance the low risk taker you are in trying something new whether in a society, organization or community. This means that if for example a company is high in uncertainty avoidance, the less it will be willing to try something new for a change, (try innovating a new technology). This is so because they are not risk takers, they do not like taking risks even if they know the result could be a big achievement or loss. It's common to find most developing countries with high uncertainty avoidance since they like taking risks hoping to achieve. Even when they fail their aim/goal is to reach high hence they tend to take every opportunity on something new in order to achieve hence being painted as risk takers.
4.2 Similarities and Differences
The similarities and differences of SF's home office and that of Tanzania are that.
We are both in low uncertainty avoidance hence we will be able to come up with new ideas to achieve something without conflicts.
We both have one objective, which is to find a possible solution for our products to sell here. This leads to taking any opportunity, which arises to help us achieve even if the opportunity itself is risky.
However there is a problem of Tanzania being high in power distance which include more centralization, privileges and inequalities, this is very different with that of SF's home country since they are low in power distance and hence allow the workers to participate in decision making and treat them with equality.
The awareness of power distance differences the subsidiary of SF's in such a way that they will differ in decision making in terms of job satisfaction, performance etc. they have different tactics in terms of how to approach your employees as well as how to treat them.
5 Human resource management
Human resource management focuses on the individual, rather than taking a collective approach. HRM is responsible for bringing people into an organization and as well responsible for looking at how people are treated in an organization. HRM helps workers to perform their work, compensating them for their labors and solving problems that arise in an organization.
Responsibilities for HRM are often devolved to line management.
5.1 HRM considerations
Some of the considerations that the HRM functions need to discuss what kind of strategies should be used? Where are they going to impose? Will they impose from home or not? What is the impact of local environment and global pressures for convergence?
On this the HRM has to consider and make a decision on the strategies they are going to use to run the SF business.
A business cannot run without strategies', strategies helps in making decisions to achieve a goal; they are step-by-step plan to handling something. They are game plans that every businessperson needs to use to achieve or attain the objective of the firm. Strategies are like climbing a ladder to get on top of a building and you have to make one step at a time, you can jump over but if you do there is a high chance you will fall. Without a plan into achieving something then there is no guaranteed you would achieve, you simply fall. Therefore the SF Company has to come up with
Strategies that can help them survive and succeed in the business. E.g. make people eat for free the first day you open so that they can have a clear taste of the snacks (this is one way of getting more customers} you have to think of the amount of people you are you going to hire, what kind of people do you need to manage and run your business to reach your strategic business objectives, how much you are going to pay them? What will the option be if you don't sell as you expect, are you going to do sales and more advertisements to get more customers or are you going to hire more labor, how much do you plan to invest?
Adapt or Impose
One of the considerations you have to make is weather you are going to adapt or impose. The way I look at it, it is important to adapt in the country you are doing business in, this is so because most labor force will come from here, in general most of the employees will be from here, therefore it will be easy for employees to work in an organization where they can follow their beliefs, values and cultures than following that of the US. This will make it easier to interact and do their job efficiently because they know what to expect and how to behave in their culture.
Similarity or variance required
It is very important to find out the similarities of the host country and that of yours. This can make it easier to make HRM meaningful by looking at which similarities the two countries have together. you can choose the ones which you think have more use in the organization. E.g if you know that you are both task oriented it will be easier to distribute the tasks among the workers. If you are both low in certainty avoidance then you know you will be willing to hire even local labor with the aim of training them without misunderstandings with the fellow managers.
5.2 HRM FUNCTIONS
Compensation and benefits
Compensation payment, this is in the form of hourly wages and salaries. An employee performance can be influenced by compensation. In the ideal situation employees feel they are being paid worth what their work are rewarded with sufficient benefits and receive some intrinsic satisfaction (good work environment, interesting work, etc.)
Training and Development
Training focuses on learning the skills, knowledge and altitudes required to initially perform a job or task to improve upon the performance of the current job or task.
Training can be used in so many ways
-Orienting and informing employee
-Developing desired skills
-Supply professional and technical education
The HRM function deals with attracting, screening and selecting qualified people for a job at an organization.
The method by which the job performance of the employee is evaluated, it is apart of guiding and managing career development. In this HRM obtains, record and analyze the relative worth of the employee.
This is a plan or action designed to achieve a certain goal. There are two views of strategy in cross culture. These are economic/rational view and another view of strategy.
. Assumes that environmental and organization are perceived and analyzed similarly
. In practice they are subjective realities rather than objective.
. Assumes strategic decisions made following same process.
Many of the strategic management frameworks, tools and techniques affirm the belief and value of a rational analytic approach. This approach takes for granted certain assumptions. It assumes for example that the environment and is objective realities that are similarly perceived and analyzed by intelligent managers. Yet those managers making strategic decisions often find themselves confronted with environmental uncertainty and ill structured problems
The rational analytic approach also assumes that managers making strategic decisions follow a similar route, gathering all relevant information, gathering all possible alternatives, evaluating the costs and benefits of each alternatives, choosing the optimal solution and then acting upon it. Culture influences the way managers gather and interpret information, choose between decision alternatives and establish criteria for action and thus the strategy that is adopted which may differ from organization to organization.
Another view of strategy model
This view assumes that managers have less control over their environments, which are difficult to know, and that taking action does not necessarily make things happen. Strategy unfolds in response to current events. Thus the intended strategy and the emergent one may not necessarily coincide. Strategies designed at the top and those that emerge through more autonomous activities further down the organization may be more or less loosely coupled. Strategies as such are thought to emerge and to evolve over time, as a pattern in a stream of decisions.'
6.1 Strategy models
There are two types of strategy models, these are controlling model and adapting model
This is characterized by as centralized and formalized
In this strategy top management may call in expert consultants to assist in devising strategies, in the process formal strategic planning units maybe established to devise plans to be submitted to top management or the board for deliberation. Formal scanning units may also exist that are responsible for tracking environmental events. Scanning is focused and in-depth in order to obtain the necessary information.
Most of the times in this model information are quantitative and objective, the information can normally be obtained from reports. In order to analyze the information forecasting, econometric models and structured scenarios are used. Based on this analysis top management makes the decision and hands them down to be implemented.
. Cultural assumptions in controlling model
- Environmental can be known
- Specific information can be obtained and analyzed to reduce environmental uncertainty.
-They believe that truth is determined by facts and figures manipulated by mathematical models.
- Those presumed to have power or knowledge are mainly taken as decision makers e.g. top management who are assumed to make the decisions as well as with individual interests
- The monochromic view of time as liner-and segmented men's that strategic decisions are seen as discrete events and action steps can be planned within a given timetable
According to these perspectives the purpose of strategic management is to achieve control of what happens both outside as well as inside the organization hence controlling.
This type of model is more decentralized and informal. Responsibility for strategic is diffused through out the organization, scanning is broader based and less systematic. Information is gathered from personal sources, friends and colleagues and through observation (field visits) and thus tends to be more qualitative and subjective. In this model information is interpreted through 'home grown'. Intense discussion is encouraged involving many people from all levels within the organization. Strategic decisions are expected to be reached through consensus.
In this model responsibility and accountability are assigned to the collective.
Underlying assumptions in Adopting model
. Environment cannot be readily known or controlled. Therefore the organization must be flexible and prepared to react to unforeseeable environment events
. Personal relationships and interactions are considered key to developing shared understanding, thus information sources are more personal and subjective
. Truth and reality, or knowledge is more likely to be arrived at through a 'sixth sense', feeling or intuition.
. Strategic vision is often vague and philosophical.
. Strategy implementation is considered to hinge on the development of internal capabilities knowledge competencies and learning, in order to be able to continuously improve, hence adapting.
6.2 I would recommend to SF's CEO to use the adaption model since it is familiar with how people in an organization works here therefore making it easier and comfortable for them to do their job. This will even help him to understand the employees better and therefore building a good relationship with them hence motivating them so that they can improve themselves hence goals achieved.
Multicultural is when people from different countries live in a country apart from their origin.
7.1Challenges faced in multicultural teams
In multicultural teams there are likely conflicts to be arise. This is because team members come from different cultures hence different behavior. Perspective of things would be different, what another member considers to be good another will consider it to be bad. It is important that team members have to be aware of there differences and resolve conflicts themselves.
It is really hard to trust someone you hardly know especially when it is someone from a different culture. Teams are formed with all kinds of people from different cultures, background, beliefs as well as different values, therefore it is quite a challenge to bring these people to work together and make them trust each other. Because of mistrust some members of the team could end up withholding important information or ideas to themselves instead of sharing because of that luck of trust.
Multicultural teams are forced to communicate in a common language; it is usually the language of the dominant group. It can be either in English, French, and Spanish etc. This implies that there are members in the team for whom the communicating language is not their mother/native tongue. This often result in miscommunication between the team members where one member meant one thing, but said something else or get misunderstood by the other members. This problem can occur in translation errors.
Miscommunication and mistrust can bring about work stress on the team members. Once team members are aware that there is possibility of error in inter-team, then all decision making, problem analysis and deductions are at risk. This creates an enormous stress among employees.
Task and Process strategy
These are Patterns of decisions made in managing processes so that the organizations can achieve it's competitive priorities. Process strategy has a role of
. Team building
. Choosing how to communicate
. Elicit participation
. Resolve conflict
. Evaluate performance
Task strategies are important in,
- Creating a sense of purpose
-Assigning roles and responsibilities
7.3 key aspects of process strategies
Some of the key aspects associated with process strategies are
This is a process of enabling that group of people to achieve their goals.
Teams that perceive themselves as actively doing something together rather than coordinating information or expertise, work harder to integrate themselves and their activities. However tea building may create the sense of forced comradely. These efforts maybe seen as manipulative, an instrumental use of relationships ant therefore backfire.
Choosing how to communicate
The ways in which teams 'talk' creates thought and feelings, enhancing or inhibiting relationships, problem solving and learning. Talking in teams' reveals how issues of identify, interdependence, power, social distance, conflict and negotiation are managed. Thus being able to decipher language and communication patterns is extremely important to negotiating strategies for working together.
One of the first things to agree on is working language. The choice of language may cause friction, especially if the team is bicultural one. E.g. Franco- Swedish team decided to adopt English as the working language. While this seemed like a reasonable idea, the French mangers' mastery of English was considerably than that of the Swedes. Thus the French felt at a disadvantage.
Choice of language can create 'winners or losers' as language dominance is often synonymous with power and influence.
Given differences in how language is used and in language fluency, efforts to elicit participation need specific attention. Unless a conscious effort is made to integrate the diverse contributions, the very reason for it's presence is undermined and the experience only serves to reinforce the idea that diversity does not add value. Thus, some restraint of dominant members and encouragement of quieter members may well be needed.
Making sure that all members are heard, that their views are properly aired and considered requires sensitivity and courage. This is needed to identify and confront underlying differences and prejudices that exclude certain team members. This means not just listening to, but also acknowledging their contribution. Too often, the foreigners weather the only American or Tanzanian in a group feel ignored.