Cross-Cultural Management And Communication
Towards the last part of the 20th century, it was evident that basic changes were taking place in the global economy that greatly affected industries and the means in which a variety of stakeholders intermingled with one another. This progression became identified as “globalization” – an often hackneyed and challenged word that came to signify everything that transpired in the global economy, whether it was good or bad. Globalization is a multifaceted occurrence, challenged with respect to its meaning, scope and connotations and consequently with respect to the most suitable reaction to it.
Globalization and internationalization enhance prospects for contact and misunderstandings across cultures. The phenomenon adds an additional element to cultural concerns inside the contemporary organization. All businesses are in possession of culture-based on general language and vocabulary, behavioral customs, central values, informality/formality, et cetera. This inexorably becomes additionally intricate when a business has presence in many nations.
The greater than before cross-border scope of trade, through any manner of market entry, necessitates an improved consciousness of and understanding of the disparities in languages, ideals and behavioral customs. The substitute is less effectual or even unsuccessful negotiations, marketing campaigns and investment strategies. Organizational practices are the creation of their own particular
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Culture, more particularly the need to manage cultural diversity through communication, is important in many stages of the internationalization of business and in all forms of market entry. It is this theme in which the paper focuses on, a review of the writings on the subject of cross-cultural management and communication read by the author in books and scholarly journal articles. Cross-Cultural Management The increasing significance of global commerce produces a requirement for managers to become familiarized in global business and skillful in working with people from other nations.
The management of cross-culture examines the behavior of members of organizations the world over and instructs these members to be able to function effectively in business organizations with worker and customer populations from more than a few cultures. It illustrates behavior in organizations within nations and cultures, evaluates behavior in organizations across nations and cultures, and, conceivably most outstandingly, tries to appreciate and develop the contact of colleagues from diverse nations and cultures.
Cross-cultural management consequently spreads out the range of domestic management to include the global and multi-cultural field. One important area of reduced boundaries brought about by the phenomenon of globalization is in the tendency for crossing traditional borders of space, time and cultural assumptions such that new relationships are generated both within and between organizations. Multinational firms are facing more and more internal diversity in human resource terms, and are developing new and more intense cross-cultural relationships and linkages across shifting global landscapes.
Presently, there is a bigger requirement for successful global and cross-culture communication, teamwork, as well as collaboration, not only for the effective practice of management but also for the advancement of the human situation. One consequence of this phenomenon is that more and more people and organizations are involved with more than one culture, thus increasing the practical problems of cross-culture communication.
According to Soderberg and Holden (2002), cross-cultural communication developed as a new research area in the late 1960s, investigating the practical problems and misunderstandings encountered by private persons, agencies and organizations which are brought into contact for a variety of reasons, for example, cross-border legal disputes, trade contracting, business communication, trans-border data flows, technology transfer, and so forth. Cross-cultural examination in this area came to focus on how communication can contribute to the management of the diversity of employees within a multinational enterprise.
The definitive notion of cross-culture communication is a communication environment and ambiance; a variable set and established circumstances that decide communication accomplishment (Fredriksson, Barner-Rasmussen and Piekkari, 2006). The reason behind cross-culture communication in management is to build up regulations, tactics, goals and practices for the enhanced comprehension of communications among constituents of diverse cultures. The global economy creates new challenges for cross-culture communication and vice versa.
The global culture is a patterned way of behaving under the global conditions and processes sustaining the exchange and flow of goods, people, information, knowledge and images. These exchanges and flows of people, logistics, and minds give rise to communication processes that gain some autonomy on a global level, hence, there may be emerging sets of a culture, which themselves are conduits for all sorts of diverse cultural flows that cannot be merely understood as the product of bilateral exchanges. Cultural Integration
Parhizgar (2002) asserted that while the subject of intricacy and the knowledge base required by the international manager develops further as other nations are supplemented to the business’ field, not all environmental issues necessitate identical expertise. Others are more effortlessly managed than some. The cultural features of the environment, nevertheless, are fairly dissimilar. They are less concrete and less quantifiable. Even when looking for a meaning of the notion, little agreement is established.
Acting in response to these cultural orders is hard enough inside a business’ own residence society. Locals frequently have trouble getting a comprehensible interpretation of their own customs, particularly when they are in a multi-cultural setting. When trying to function in a multi-cultural condition, there is a significant intensification of difficulties with which the international business must deal. The management’s responsibility in this situation will be to make sure that the incorporating function is implemented than to make the incorporating choices themselves.
In effect, management will be concerned in the advancement of a business structure to provide accommodation this new occupation, in addition to the selection, instruction, administration, and control of new organizational members. The pronouncements and behaviors of these conventional managers should be observed and directed by expert in cultural function (Richards, 2001), just as the expert in legal function supervises the legal facets of resolutions and actions.
In most cases, communication at the outset of the cultural integration process as well as during the whole integration is seen to play an important role in handling resistance. As can be surmised from the discussion above, the propensity for cultural adaptation of any multinational firm’s strategy and operations is more a matter of the international orientation of the organization’s personnel than it is of the organization’s corporate structure. This is not to say that there are not structural components that will aid the adaptation process.
These structural components, however, can exist within the various corporate structures. Thus, whether the firm is organized on an international division basis, or uses one of the global structures such as global product, global area, global function, or matrix, it can have either a high or low degree of adaptability. It depends on the international orientation of the personnel (Welch, Welch and Piekkari, 2005). The above statements are not to argue that some structures do not accommodate a multi-centered approach better than others.
To the degree that firms consider themselves globally driven, the task will be easier to accomplish. To the degree that they see themselves as primarily a domestic firm with some foreign operations, it will be more difficult. Even in the latter case, however, where a firm may be newly internationalizing and not have evolved past the international division structure, it can still value and incorporate the contribution of its international division to corporate strategy.
And the international division, if it is operating with the same philosophy, will be developing strategic input that is a composite of the various parts that fuel it. According to Berger and Huntington (2003), there are three primary factors that will aid multinational firms in becoming a culturally integrated business, keenly adapted to the various societies in which it operates. First, the firm must be multi-centered, with each center or part being a major contributor to the overall, global strategies of the organization.
Second, there must be a strong corporate culture/management ethos throughout the organization that both supports this multi-centered approach and sustains the organization’s pivotal values, which are crucial in a multi-centered organization. And third, there must be the capability in each part of the organization of ensuring that the local culture is adequately considered. This consideration must be relative to the decisions that emanate from that part of the organization and that are being implemented by that part or subsidiary (Parhizgar, 2002). The Role of Communication
Harzing and Feely (2008) relates that diversity and multiculturalism somehow hinders effective communication from taking place because linguistics and context serves as barriers to communication, and a training of such nature is called for. Some globalization worries encountered by multinational enterprises take account of how to amalgamate the culture, languages and common employment expectations of human resources from diverse nations, and how to react to workers who carry to their new job conditions occasionally very dissimilar attitudes toward administration and have especially dissimilar expectations connected to management performance.
The variety of communication and business practices, motivation viewpoints, and organizational frameworks and common deficiency in the comprehension of the host nation’s cultures, marketplace, labor regulations and applications and language, by the parent firm, can be grounds for trouble for multinational enterprises. Richards (2001) argues that building up a culture for an enterprise which has origins in the multiplicity of its workforce will necessitate an appropriate communication channel within all divisions and all workers regardless of sex, race and organizational standing.
Paying attention to the workers and regular discussions with them will assist managers to gain knowledge of workers’ wants and to arrive at answers to the troubles disturbing their job and every day life. Workers from both genders functioning in cross-purpose teams can increase effectual communication abilities, which will reinforce the cultural multiplicity in the workplace. Corporate verbal and non-verbal communication plays an important role on cultural understanding. Effective communication between management and staff is essential to successful multinational firms’ operations.
Knowledge of the verbal and non-verbal language of the host country can enhance the effectiveness of a firm’s operations. Language, whether vocal or written, is the chief instrument of communication inside a certain culture. Language is depicted as a cultural mirror in view of the fact that it imitates the substance and nature of the culture it embodies. The most distinguishing feature of cultural differentiations that a manager becomes aware of in global business is the verbal language.
Harzing and Feely (2008) stated that knowledge of a foreign language can enhance a manager’s effective management of global business operations. The role of language (verbal communication) is self-evident in that all of the participants must, to some degree, share a language, be it their first or second. Without a common language, the organization would not be able to establish and perpetuate a culture, much less understand it. Ideally, cross-cultural staff should have some linguistic expertise even if it is rudimentary.
An attempt to communicate in the host country’s language, even a few sentences, always pleases and paves the way for pleasant discussion and negotiations. An ability to speak the local language can not only enable cross-cultural managers to communicate with the local managers, staff and guests directly and effectively, but also gives the manager a key to the local culture. Without it, a manager is often left out on a culture’s perimeter (Barner-Rasmussen and Bjorkman, 2005).
In the same manner, learning written language deserves the manager’s attention since translations are an inevitable part of international business operations. The deficiency of comprehension of the sense of the words often results in poor translation that renders totally different meanings in another culture. But cultural meanings can also be conveyed through nonverbal and non-written forms. These different ways of communicating cultural meanings are described as hidden cultural codes, the most difficult for an outsider to decipher.
As with language, culture also directly influences the use of, and meanings assigned to, nonverbal behavior. Cultural meanings can be transmitted through nonverbal and non-written forms, known as the silent language. This includes body language and the cultural perceptions of time, personal space, colors and numbers. In intercultural communication, inappropriate or misused nonverbal behaviors can easily lead to misunderstandings and sometimes result in insults. Berger and Huntington (2003) assert that ignorance of these cultural codes often leads to misunderstanding and embarrassment in the cross-cultural contact.
Nonverbal expressions, like language, comprise a coding system for constructing and expressing meaning, and these expressions are culture bound. For instance, the motion of the hand can mean something different to people from separate cultures, or it can mean nothing to the person of different cultural background. Cultural messages conveyed through gestures are very complicated, and can be easily misunderstood by persons from different cultures. These behaviors and perceptions are shaped by cultural values, either consciously or unconsciously. But they convey cultural meaning within a particular cultural system.
Misunderstanding the meanings conveyed through body language can result in communication problems for the manager. A basic knowledge of the silent language can make international managers aware of the hidden cultural cods in the host society. Through culture, organizational members learn which verbal and nonverbal communication is proper for a particular interaction. In theory, international businesses prefer to remain uninvolved in home or host country politics; although in practice they are often dragged into the political arena (Richards, 2001).
An international business is affected by political risks in such ways as changes in tax policy, temporary controls on repatriation of earnings of foreign firms, expropriation (or the seizure of assets by a host country), and political instability. An unstable political climate may leave an international business vulnerable with low profits and bureaucratic red tape. CONCLUSION The challenge for firms when operating on foreign soils is to comprehend and properly deduce the assortment of cultural signs. Inability to do such can have the outcome of grave troubles for particular programs or even unsuccessfulness of joint undertakings or merger.
So as to take advantage of as opposed to not working in favor of cultural factors, it is essential to be aware that individuals examine the world by way of a cultural prism and that, even though cultural presumptions may be communal with others within the group and to an extent by those with similar ethnic group, they may be unfamiliar to those to whom the business is trying to do business with (Varey, 2001). Those who perceive the world exclusively through their own cultural prism have an ethnocentric outlook and can come across grave troubles when attempting to perform activities in a global aspect.
On the other hand, those with a polycentric outlook are open to other cultures, attempting to see beyond their own cultural assumptions and develop an understanding of other cultures. This greater sensitivity to cultural divergence, while not guaranteeing success of the business, does enhance the possibility of success. The novelty most obviously required by transnational businesses is one that would permit them to react fittingly to the numerous environments in which they are discovering themselves. Selection and training, even as still significant and imparting a noteworthy role, are not sufficient.
Nor are the typical organizational frameworks that have been utilized for assisting the global business face its numerous environments. The augmented appliance of methods utilized long-ago is not sufficient nowadays. The traditional methods are not sufficient anymore for the reason that the cultural incorporation of global business operations has implicated such chief magnitudes. The cultural integration of these businesses should now be regarded as a detached, dedicated organizational utility. All cultures bear typecasts about the best form of communication.
Communication complexities take place when constituents of a culture anticipate their ideals to be similarly appreciated in other cultures, and turn down the opportunity to create allowances when either creating or understanding messages. Interpersonal communication across cultures is of central importance, as emphasized by this document, although many managers and other decision makers are simply not aware of the importance of communication competence to international business success, or if aware, are not motivated to acquire the communication knowledge to be effective international business persons.
This document hopes to alter that perception. Given the increased importance of effective communication, coordination, and management in dealing with global people processes, these processes have become a leadership imperative of the highest order. The litmus test of internationalization depends explicitly in the efficiency with which an international visualization has been interpreted and aimed at suitable local actions. The notion of culture and its characteristics must be first understood before the firm can fully benefit from the study of cultural specifics and a foreign language.
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