Before we discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of cultural stereotypes first we have to know what cultural stereotypes refers to.
Stereotyping refers to simplification, generalization and often exaggeration of view of someone from another. Culture stereotype refers to simplified, generalized and often exaggerated view of someone from another culture.
Culture Stereotype is of two types:
POSITIVE Vs NEGATIVE CULTURE STEREOTYPE
Having a generic view of "Germans are efficient" is a proper example of positive culture stereotype whereas "Germans are arrogant" is an example of negative culture stereotype. Individual people are mostly different from culture to culture but there may be an element of truth in stereotypes which are discussed in the following sections.
ADVANTAGES OF CULTURE STEREOTYPE
MEANS FOR CONDUCTING RESEARCHES
There are so many researchers conducted where the researchers had no idea regarding the topic and for the sake of conducting the research and come to an end result they took the help of stereotyping. They continued the research in order to know whether their hypothesis was true or not.
LINKING EMOTIONAL VIEWS WITH PRACTICALITY
"Culture stereotype links the emotional view of a person with the practicality"
We all know that Japanese are very industrious. When we think of recruiting a Japanese employee than we give him appointment based on the culture stereotype and when the actuality is right than we can say that our emotional view on the Japanese employee (industrious) showed us the right way to get the best output.
REDUCTION OF COMPLEX REALITY
In reality we tend to be in a fix regarding various outputs. Ex: whether we are going to make the best out of the inputs used, whether we are making the best decision appointing a new employee for the respective job etc. We take more time thinking rather doing it. If we have taken a stereotype which is appointing a Japanese for the post will give me best output than we would have saved a great deal of time and money for researching and all like that.
DISADVANTAGES OF CULTURE STEREOTYPE
OFTEN ACCcepted without further critical thinking
Culture stereotypes are often accepted without further critical thinking without individual background knowledge. This may lead to misperception and loss of comparatively best outputs.
People often think they know something about the other culture. But having this sorts of over estimation leads to misrepresentation and lose of opportunities.
often based on emotions
Culture stereotypes are often based on emotions rather practicality. Example: Japanese are very industrious that doesn't mean that everyone in Japan is industrious. When the manager appointed Japanese having the concept of Japanese are industrious may prove wrong which may lead the manager to deep trouble.
SUGGESTIONS TO THE MANAGERS
When a manager is said to go beyond stereotypes than there is only one option left is to work on the practicality. Different research works, journals, books on different perspectives may help the manager to come to the conclusion rather stereotyping.
TASK # 2
Before we discuss the nature and implications of Hofstede's five dimensions of culture we need first we need to know what are those discussed below:
Status and authority differences between a superior and a subordinate
Individualism versus collectivism
The extent to which persons define themselves as individuals rather than as members of groups
Masculinity versus femininity
Assertive, competitive, success-driven values versus quality of life, relationship-oriented values in society
Preference for structured rather than unstructured situations
Emphasizing long-term values such as thrift and persistence versus short-term values such as fulfilling social obligations
Hofstede's Power distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society's level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.
For example, Germany has a 35 on the cultural scale of Hofstede's analysis. Compared to Arab countries where the power distance is very high (80) and Austria where it very low (11), Germany is somewhat in the middle. Germany does not have a large gap between the wealthy and the poor, but have a strong belief in equality for each citizen. Germans have the opportunity to rise in society.
On the other hand, the power distance in the United States scores a 40 on the cultural scale. The United States exhibits a more unequal distribution of wealth compared to German society. As the years go by it seems that the distance between the 'have' and 'have-nots' grows larger and larger.
Uncertainty avoidance deals with a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man's search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, and different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; 'there can only be one Truth and we have it'.
For example, in Germany there is reasonable high uncertainty avoidance (65) compared to countries as Singapore (8) and neighboring country Denmark (23). Germans are not to keen on uncertainty, by planning everything carefully they try to avoid the uncertainty. In Germany there is a society that relies on rules, laws and regulations. Germany wants to reduce its risks to the minimum and proceed with changes step by step.
Less Power Distance Along With Strong Uncertainty Avoidance
The uncertainty avoidance index for Japan is almost 90 (Hofstede, 1983). Japan is a country found to have strong uncertainty avoidance. This means that in Japan, people are less willing to take risks and security is a powerful motivator (Hofstede, 1983). "People are very willing to perform if they are offered security in exchange" (Hofstede, 1983). People in Japan take risks as long as security is given in exchange. "These security-seeking countries seem to have been doing better economically in the past twenty years than the risk takers" (Hofstede, 1983). Despite the idea that taking risks is a good thing, Japan has been doing fine avoiding them. "Hofstede explains that a high ranking in uncertainty avoidance indicates a low degree of tolerance for unpredictable behavior. "Hofstede states that large Power Distance plus strong uncertainty avoidance leads to people viewing an organization as a 'pyramid of people,' that is a hierarchical bureaucracy" (Keeley, 2001, p. 28). Japan has a very organized structure of organizational structure. This method is proven and therefore has little risk associated with it.
"A strong uncertainty avoidance value system does not make the average Japanese person flexible abroad; nor does it facilitate understanding among the Japanese public for other countries' values" This is the idea that the Japanese have done things a certain way throughout their history, therefore, they are going to continue to do things the way they have been done. Also, this does not make them very understanding when it comes to different ways of doing things. "A strong uncertainty avoidance society does not treat with kindness its sons or daughters who return with foreign ideas. A high level of pressure for social conformity and a strong inner urge to work hard results. The history of Japan as an insular society can partially explain this".
Large Power Distance Along With Weak Uncertainty Avoidance
South African's are fairly risk accepting when it comes to investments based on the fact that they have the 17th largest stock exchange in the world CIA Fact book. South Africa has been seeking innovative ideas from the U.K., one of its major trading partners, which expresses their willingness to take risks in the market in order to gain rewards investing in South Africa.
Such rewards include greater foreign (even domestic) investments in their country and greater employment opportunities for people in South Africa. The government in South Africa is offering tax incentives for investments to entice both foreign and domestic investors South Africa tax incentives for investments.
The lower the uncertainty avoidance, the greater the tolerance for uncertainty is. However, lower uncertainty avoidance among the South African's usually lead to strict laws and procedures as a way to protect against unstructured situations from happening.
IMPLICATIONS REGARDING SAVE
Equal Distribution of Power
From the above analysis of the two dimensions among Japanese, Germans and South African's we have come to know that regarding equal distribution of power Germans would not accept unequal distribution of power as little or no power distance whereas Japanese and South Africans would as having large power distance.
Uncertainty avoidance cannot be a good idea while establishing a brand new business throughout the world like SAVE. If the managers are not well prepared to face the uncertainty than there will lack of prosperity and get the best output from the game of business. While taking decisions regarding reducing risks or making investment decision consisting risk on it than appointing the South African's in the decision making board will be the best idea as they are the risk takers whereas Japanese and Germans are the risk avoiders.
TASK # 3
Training programs are planned attempts by an organization to facilitate employee learning of job-related knowledge, skills, and behaviors. Training programs also refers to teaching managers and professionals the skills needed for both present and future jobs.
Training usually involves teaching operational or technical employees how to do their jobs more effectively and/or efficiently. Responsibilities for training programs are generally assigned to the HR function. In general, training is intended to help the organization function more effectively. Managers must be sure that productivity can be increased through training and that productivity gains are possible with existing resources.
There are several purposes related to providing training programs to the subordinates. The purposes of providing training programs are stated below taking the generalization and specialization concepts into consideration.
Ensuring effective performance
The first and most reasonable purpose of training programs is to ensure effective performance by the existing and the potential employees. Through effective training programs subordinates become more skilled on the specific field which ultimately leads to little or no mistakes in the practical performance.
Reduction of deadly mistakes
It is quite obvious that if employees are not given proper training programs than mistakes will come which may create deadly mistakes for the overall organization's performance. In reducing such mistakes there is no way left without providing effective training programs.
Saving both time and money
When effective training programs are given to the employees they become specialized on the particular task which enhances their effectiveness and efficiency level which ultimately reduces both time and money.
Accomplishment of verifiable and specific objectives
Effective training programs help the employees make effective contributions in accomplishment of verifiable and the predetermined goals of the specific organization ensuring quality service and time management.
DETREMINANTS OF TRAINING NEEDS
The assessment of the organization's job-related needs and the capabilities of the current workforce should be considered at first in determining the training needs. The following factors are the main determinants of an effective training need:
Strategy of the organization
Overall strategy of the organization is one of the major determinants of training need. Whether an organization will arrange an effective training program or not will depend mostly on the strategies taken or going to be taken. Example: If an organization is having a strategy to build in the existing and potential market than the management must arrange effective training programs but if the company is having a strategy to divest than arranging training programs will become total wastage of time and money.
Resources available for training
Resources available for training are also one of the major determinants of training needs. If an organization is lacking with effective training materials and trainers than it is not going to be possible for the organization to ensure an effective training programs.
General philosophy regarding training and development
Whether the current and potential purposes of training programs will fulfill through such training can be one of the effective determinants of the training needs. Before launching the training program whether it will ensure the current and potential benefits or not must be determined first. For that effective cost benefit analysis must be taken into consideration.
EFFECTIVE TRAINING METHODS
There are several training methods an organization can adapt which completely depend on the purposes and goals of such training programs. The following training programs are considered as the effective methods of training.
In house training refers to arranging training programs inside the organization. Providing training through practical learning and guidance is considered as an effective training method. It is conducted on the organization's premises primarily by the organization's employees. The content of such training programs can be tailored to the organization. Scheduling of such training program can be flexible. This method of training programs can be costly regarding the chances of making deadly mistakes early on.
OUTSOURCED TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
This sorts of training program involves having people from outside the organization perform the training. Cost of such training program can be lower than in-house training. One of the most advantage of such training is professional trainers assure quality. This sort of training program may be generic rather than tailored to the organization.
Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job and classroom instructions. This can one of the effective methods for training which includes both practical and theoretical method of learning which is more effective than only one way of learning.
Vestibule training is such a work-simulation situation in which the job is performed under a condition that closely simulates the real work environment.
Lecture or discussion approach
Through this approach of training, a trainer presents the material to those attending the program in a descriptive fashion.
MOST EFFECTIVE TRAINING METHOD
All the training methods mentioned earlier are the effective methods relating to the needs and wants of the organization, individual versus collective interest etc. An effective manager should adapt such a training program depending on the situation and effectiveness of the method going to be adapted.
TASK # 4
Before we specify three key features a manager to possess and the reasons behind those we need to know what are the skills international managers need.
Inter personal relationship skill
Building and maintaining interpersonal relationship is one of the major criteria international managers should have. As we are talking about the international managers they will have to abroad frequently attending various meeting while setting up the business and running the existing business up and running. Therefore the managers have to maintain interpersonal relationships with the stakeholders like suppliers, employees, creditors etc stating in different corners from the origin of the business to make business deals. It is quite obvious that if the mangers of any institution have no interpersonal relationship skills than the stakeholders will not be interested to deal with the business and the ultimate result will be facing a loss.
Motivation to live abroad
As discussed earlier that as a multinational company the managers may have to go abroad most often and it looks like having another life in abroad along with the home country. Therefore the managers should adapt with living in abroad and they should be given adequate facilities while making any trip to abroad as they will have to stay out of their family for a long time depending on the situation arises.
Tolerance for uncertainty
Uncertainty is a very familiar term in doing any business just like "No risk, no gain". The managers play the crucial role to avoid the risks and make the best out of the risks taken. Though the managers have to take instant decisions taking the risk into consideration they should not be in the queue of uncertainty avoiders. They should have the forecasting ability whether he can make the best out of the risks he is going to take. He have to calculate the risk and return first and than make decisions whether he should or should not go for it.
Patience and respect
Patience is another important factor to be a successful manager so does having respect towards the subordinates and the job he is dealing with. Profit and loss are such terms which are directly related with a business. Though the decisions made by the manager was not fruitful enough for this year he should not lose his hope rather he should carry on learning from the mistakes. Carrying out his job respecting his job along with subordinates will help him achieving desired success in the long run.
There is no denying the fact that flexibility is the must to be an effective manager. Flexibility refers to quick responding in the changeable business situations. Managers have to take instant decisions depending on the situations arise and making competitive moves. Business situations are always changeable and to be a good manager he have to be smart enough to change its strategic decisions whenever needed.
Sense of humor
"He is not a good manager who always gives orders without making any joke." The wise saying indicates another important factor that an effective manager should have while running the business effectively. Managing a great deal of human resources is not just making orders and getting things done. The manager of IBM in America used to send jokes to the employees email everyday while entering into his room so that all the employees start their work with a smile in their face and productivity raises.
advantages of having cultural diversity AS A WHOLE
In today's global economy, where companies in different countries do business regularly and the internet gives even the smallest business the potential to have a global presence, embracing a diverse workforce has become more necessary than ever. The idea of cultural diversity is not just about hiring people of different races, or hiring people from different religions. It's not even just about hiring workers from different countries. Cultural diversity exists all around us. It exists in different households and communities, from the suburbs to the city. Diversity is a part of the very fabric of society and it can also become a part of your business as well.
A business will need people with many different skills and experiences. By choosing people of varying backgrounds a business can benefit from the different experiences these people have gone through. The cultures they were raised in can prove to be very important to the company. If the company has employees with a variety of backgrounds then it has people with a much different point of view than the company itself.
A different point of view can be invaluable to your business. The cultures that people come from can provide your company with opportunities that you may have not seen or known about. Ideas for products that cater to a particular culture or community of people can come from your employees. By hiring a diverse set of people you give your company a better chance to tap into markets that you might not have realized even existed.
Small business is about finding opportunities and taking advantage of them. You need every edge you can get as a small business owner and the source of the opportunity or bit of insight should not matter to you as much as the results do. People come from a great many backgrounds and there is no reason that your business shouldn't benefit from it. The question is will you hold your business back or embrace the idea of cultural diversity in your workforce?
Your business needs every edge you can give it and besides, nowadays it's just good business sense to hire a diverse workforce. Besides the experience that people of other cultures can provide, you also give yourself a larger pool of potential employees in which you can hire from. That benefit alone can be immensely valuable to your company. Opportunity exists all around you but sometimes it takes someone from another culture to point it out to you.
Diversity in workplaces
Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization. That sounds simple, but diversity encompasses race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more.
Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others. Those perceptions affect their interactions. For a wide assortment of employees to function effectively as an organization, human resource professionals need to deal effectively with issues such as communication, adaptability and change. Diversity will increase significantly in the coming years. Successful organizations recognize the need for immediate action and are ready and willing to spend resources on managing diversity in the workplace now.
Benefits of Workplace Diversity
An organization's success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as:
Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.
Broader service range
A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis.
Variety of viewpoints
A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences. The organization can draw from that pool to meet business strategy needs and the needs of customers more effectively.
More effective execution
Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then are executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment.
ADVANTAGES OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY FROM DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW
HUMAN RESOURCE POINT OF VIEW
Increase ability to recruit employees of different nation background and host country nation
There is no denying the fact that it is necessary for an organization to have culturally diverse workforce which helps the human resource department to recruit potential culturally diverse workforce. As the management of multinational companies has little or no idea about what should the standard salary as well as the workload for the specific job therefore local managerial team helps the multinational organizations sorting these sorts of problems as well as managing culturally diverse human resources.
MARKETING POINT OF VIEW
Increase ability to respond to cultural preferences of local market
Marketing refers to creating demand among the target customers. Regarding satisfying customers knowing them is one of the major duties for a marketer. To know what a company's current and potential customers prefer the local stakeholders play major role rather employees from outside the country. When the marketing department is embodied with local employees along with foreign officers, it will be very much easy to let the management know about the current and potential customer preferences which will lead the management to take efficient strategic management.
Enhance organizational flexibility and responsiveness to multiple demands and changing environment
Organization consisted with cross-cultural stakeholders enhance organizational flexibility and responsiveness to respond to radically changing environment. It will be easier for the organization to cope up with various changes in the micro and macro environmental factors when there exists various kinds of employees from different backgrounds and having different cultural components. Ex: When there requires productivity enhancement than Japanese employees might work well rather a Bangladeshi. When there is technicality required than an American employee might suit for the situation.
Assessment of diversity in the workplace - Top companies make assessing and evaluating their diversity process an integral part of their management system. A customizable employee satisfaction survey can accomplish this assessment for your company efficiently and conveniently. It can help your management team determine which challenges and obstacles to diversity are present in your workplace and which policies need to be added or eliminated. Reassessment can then determine the success of you diversity in the workplace plan implementation.
Development of diversity in the workplace plan - Choosing a survey provider that provides comprehensive reporting is a key decision. That report will be the beginning structure of your diversity in the workplace plan. The plan must be comprehensive, attainable and measurable. An organization must decide what changes need to be made and a timeline for that change to be attained.
Implementation of diversity in the workplace plan - The personal commitment of executive and managerial teams is a must. Leaders and managers within organizations must incorporate diversity policies into every aspect of the organization's function and purpose. Attitudes toward diversity originate at the top and filter downward. Management cooperation and participation is required to create a culture conducive to the success of your organization's plan.
Ward off change resistance with inclusion. - Involve every employee possible in formulating and executing diversity initiatives in your workplace.
Foster an attitude of openness in your organization. - Encourage employees to express their ideas and opinions and attribute a sense of equal value to all.
Promote diversity in leadership positions. - This practice provides visibility and realizes the benefits of diversity in the workplace.
Utilize diversity training. - Use it as a tool to shape your diversity policy.
Launch a customizable employee satisfaction survey that provides comprehensive reporting. - Use the results to build and implement successful diversity in the workplace policies.
As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse. Organizational success and competitiveness will depend on the ability to manage diversity in the workplace effectively. Evaluate your organization's diversity policies and plan for the future, starting today.
MANAGING GLOBAL AND VIRTUAL TEAMS
Virtual teams comprise an important structural component of any organizations and are particularly important in globally dispersed enterprises. Global virtual teams are internationally distributed groups of people with an organizational mandate to make or implement decisions with international components and implications. They are typically assigned tasks that are strategically important and highly complex. They rarely meet in person, conducting almost all of their interaction and decision making using communications technology.
Although virtual teams play an increasingly important role in multinational organizations, little systematic is known about their dynamics or effectiveness. Effective global virtual teams fit their communication patterns to the task, and they generate a deep rhythm of face-to-face communications interspersed among periods of remote communication.
5 CRITICAL AREAS NEED TO BE ADDRESSED
As we have already known that Execom is a multinational company and there are cultural diversity exists in the organization. Therefore it is quite mandatory for the organization to form virtual teams to organize effective team work to the overall strategy of the organization. Forming a virtual team is not an easy task to do so do managing those. The following five critical areas need to be taken into consideration to critically manage the virtual teams formed.
Ensure everyone receives training in team work and technology and that technology functions well.
First and foremost it should be ensured that all the team members get proper training facilities to enhance his/her individual and gradually collective skills which will lead to ensure the success of the assigned tasks. There is a common tendency working in a team is that if the team is formed with 5 members than it is quite obvious that Â¾ members are working on the assigned task and other Â½ members are just the free riders. There must be a team coordinator who will divide the task into 5 sections (if the numbers of group members are 5) and must ensure that everyone belonging to the team participates in accomplishing the task so that there is now way out of team conflict and distraction of the strategy.
Before the coordinator gives instruction of starting team work he/she must ensure that all the members are given with adequate resources they may need in accomplishing their respective tasks. He must take this into consideration that without adequate resources all the strategies are just the dream for the manager which cannot be accomplish throughout his lifetime. After arranging all the necessary resources to the subordinates they must be given proper training in order to let them know how to utilize those resources and how to start the task and where to stick.
2. Spend time developing the relationship, getting to know each other and evolving a team identity as through video conferences.
In a virtual team it is quite obvious that all the team members might not know each other as there will cultural diversity exists in a multinational company like Execom. Knowing each other in the team is that important as achieving the target because working in a team without knowing each other creates the gap of causing team conflict which will ultimately destroy the whole team. Therefore there must be a session to introducing each other, knowing each of the team members background, what he/she likes to do and preferred ways of doing a particular task etc will help the manager to know what should be the best way to accomplish the assigned task.
Evolving Team Identity: Evolving team identity refers to know each other in the team is as working in a team without knowing each other creates the gap of causing team conflict which will ultimately destroy the whole team. There are several ways to evolve a team identity, video conferences is one of them which is discussed below:
Virtual Team Using Video Conferencing
A group video conference can make a meeting into a real event/occasion where you are expected to be present (since you can be seen). It reinforces the group as an actual entity. Video conferencing is useful at the inception of a team to help put a face to each person. It is also a good medium for people to use to ask questions. The combination of the problems inherent in the media with language concerns may make it difficult for people to understand one another.
For people from high context cultures, this media may provide additional clues to meaning and reaction since one can watch the participants' expressions and gestures. Unfortunately, the technology is still limited so it is not as good as seeing those reactions face-to-face. If group members are comfortable communicating in a common language, video conferencing can be a good media for group discussions or presentations of information. When there are linguistic barriers, these conferences can be much less effective and possibly even hurt the team dynamics, particularly among participants from more collective cultures. For example, most Japanese are very uncomfortable when talking in English, and this feeling heightens when there are picked out like an actor on a screen.
3. Encourage open enthusiastic and proactive behavior and manage conflict effectively.
After assigning tasks to the individual team members one of the major tasks of an effective manager is to know what will be the possible ways of creating conflict in the team and what measures should be taken to close those scopes earlier. There are some tactics that can be adapted by an effective manager to manage tam conflicts which are discussed below:
Weekly meeting should be arranged to know introduce each other and let the manager know about the progress of work which will ensure responsiveness among each team members and increase inter competencies which will eventually decrease team conflict.
Taking Personal Opinion
The manager should know which member wants to accomplish the assigned task in what manner, what s/he will require to do the task on his own. Because using a single system for culturally diverse people will not work well because culturally diverse people require different work environment, ways of doing and so on.
4. Establish clear role definition and milestone including celebration of small wins.
Job description is one of the major tasks of an effective manager. If the employees are not well known about the tasks, what he/she will need to do, how to do he task etc than there will arise team conflicts. All the team members must know what there individual responsibilities will be accomplishing the milestone set the management which will be expressed through the strategies formulated by the top management.
Celebration of small wins must be taken into special consideration because it motivates each members working effectively, enhances team spirit, make members willing to do work effectively etc which will ultimately individual team member to accomplish the milestone.
5. Ensure that minority voice is heard and cultural differences are acknowledged.
Effective managers must hear all the team members voice doesn't matter whether he is elder in age or newly joined or the youngest in the team. The manager must take into consideration that a younger member might have better knowledge about an issue than an elder member in the team. Therefore each and every member must be encouraged to raise their voice, brainstorm and generate their ideas.
As discussed earlier, culturally diverse members must be taken into special consideration raising their voice, taking their ideas into consideration and most of all taking them into consideration in such a manner that they are one of the effective decision makers.