As it was mentioned before, global organizations such as P&G, GE, Toyota, Xerox among others, have adopted into their programs specific areas related to diversity (Iles, 1995). A representative example is ABC Superstore which represents one of the global organizations that gives the importance that it deserves to Diversity. As already cite, ABC Superstore operates in more than 50 countries and has more than 20,000 employees worldwide. It has set a diversity leadership team in each line of business that is responsible for putting into practice the initiative for each area.
The issue of managing diversity is still present at ABC Superstore. Managers face the issue of managing a multicultural workforce. Thus a multicultural workforce influences management styles. Research Question and Sub-Question What is the influence of working within a multicultural workforce has on management styles based on the experiences of international managers who work in a global organization with understanding of cross-cultural diversity?
Following sub-questions will be addressed to answer this question: 1. What is the link between management styles and multicultural workforce? 2. How do cultural differences influence on management styles? 3. What are the managerial skills to work effectively within a multicultural workforce? 4. What are the actions taken by organizations which provide managers the skills needed to cope with a multicultural workforce effectively?
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Managing culturally diverse workforce it is nowadays a challenge for international managers. On one hand, diversity represents both differences and similarities that exists on individuals and which make them be unique from one to another (Buelens et al, 2002); and on the other hand Parekh (2000) defines culture as “a system of beliefs and practices in terms of which a group of human beings understand, regulate and structure their individual and collective lives”.
Thus, cultural diversity is a variety of cultural differences that requires awareness, understanding and acceptance of those differences by managers, making the most of them in order to gain positive outcomes (Scarborough, 2001; Littrell, 2002; Harris et al, 2004; Smith and Peterson, 2005). Cultural differences might have some influences in the way managers manage their culturally diverse teamwork, and those ways or styles that are carried out in one culture are difficult to be implemented in another due to the difference of traditions, ways of doing things and values of that culture (Hofstede cited Evans et al cited Jackson, 1995).
Therefore, further investigation is recommended to be developed to minimize cultural shock in management which could affect business performance. However, this study will be done to offer an up-to-date source of information about multicultural workforce and its influences on management style, which is going to be executed in a global organization named ABC Superstore. Hence, factors such as cultural diversity and management style should be analyzed in-depth in order to comprehend what may constrain managers of any multinational organization to adjust strategies to maintain the business addressed to its objectives.
In this case, there have been other studies more related to the influence or impact of organizational and national culture on management styles and although managing diversity is a topic that has been researched for various authors, it can be said that managing a culturally diverse workforce is a relative new approach. Therefore, the purpose is to do academic research by studying the related existing literature reviews to analyze and understand the influence of a multicultural workforce in the management styles and developing a new perspective of the existing literature review might be useful for other researchers.
Finally, a secondary aim of this research is to encourage people to take similar investigation so as to offer useful up-to-date sources that can help both organizations and researchers to acknowledge what is happening in international business and what forces are influencing the changes within organizations. According to Saunders et al (2003), a research is conducted to analyze existing theories, or to establish new theories as a result of recent findings.
This will depend on whether the approach is deductive or inductive. A deductive approach is where the researcher develops a theory which will be tested, whereas an inductive approach is where the theory will be developed from the analysis of the data that is going to be collected. The nature of this research is not to find a specific theory but an explanation of an existing situation, for example, in today’s global business environment.
Therefore, this research will place the inductive approach which is closely related with the interpretivism philosophy due to its characteristic of not assuming results that are inferred from general conjectures, but developing an explanation from the data collected where general conjectures are induced from specific cases (Creswell, 1994; Jankowikz, 2000; Collis and Hussey, 2003; Saunders et al. , 2003). Qualitative Approach The obtained data can be either quantitative or qualitative.
Whereas a quantitative research is a logical and critical approach that relies on the use of statistics and numbers, a qualitative research emphasizes on understanding by exploring and giving interpretation to specific situations (Blaxter et al. , 2001; Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2002; Berg, 2004). Dabbs (1982 cited Berg, 2004) point out that the concept of quality is essential to the nature of things and quantity is basically an amount of something. These two approaches are mutually inclusive (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2002), that is, “qualitative data may be quantified, and quantitative data qualified” (Blaxter et al. , 2001, p. 199)
According to Ghauri and Gronhaug (2002) qualitative methods are more useful and appropriate when the research is inductive, which is the case, since it can lead to explanations by going in-depth into a phenomenon. Therefore, this investigation will undertake a qualitative data approach due to the importance of comparing and contrasting individual’s opinions and experiences, in order to identify what they think about whether a multicultural workforce influence or not in their management styles.
As the data will be collected by the use of interviews, the findings are going to be based on meanings and interpretations of experiences given by participants (Saunders et al. , 2000). Although qualitative data is known as time consuming and sometimes can be expensive, for businesses purpose give more realistic results at the moment of the analysis and interpretations of the data (Collis and Hussey, 2003).
Owing to what have been said, the qualitative approach is the best to fit to the aim and objectives of this research, not only to investigate management styles within a multicultural workforce, but also it will help to provide managerial lessons form the obtained findings. According to Jankowicz (1999) the aim of the research strategy is to establish a plan on how the study is going to be undertaken by the researcher. It helps to find answers to the stated question, supporting it with the different types of collecting data, objectives and research questions (Saunders et al.
, 2000). In this section the information from the research question will be clarified, and the limitation for the data collection will be set, as well as the main reason for the choice of the particular participants. For phenomenological methodologies the most common strategies between the authors are: case studies, surveys, experiment and exploratory (Saunders et al. , 2000; Blaxter et al. , 2001; Collis and Hussey, 2003; Jankowicz, 2005).
Considering the present investigation, the most appropriate approach for this research is case study because the variables that are going to be measure are: responses, reasons, experiences and influences that produce working with a multicultural workforce into management styles. In this case, “case study methods involve systematically gathering enough information about a particular person, social setting, event, or group to permit the researcher to effectively understand how the subject operates or functions” Berg (2004, p. 251).
From the above mentioned, it can be said that the purpose of this research is to present a detailed analysis of managers and supervisors of ABC Superstore who manage a multicultural group of people, in order to obtain information about their management styles concerning a cross-cultural business environment. Hence, a case study strategy provides an in depth understanding about cultural differences by, for example, in-depth interviews which involve personal discussion, mutual interaction, observation, or review of existing documents, being these some of the various data sources use to conduct a research in the case study method.
It explains the various aspects of a study that on the contrary, a survey or any other research strategy may be unable to exhibit (Saunders et al. , 2000; Berg, 2004). Furthermore, according to Collis and Hussey (2003, p. 68), there are four types of case study: descriptive, illustrative, experimental and explanatory. As stated in the aim and objectives, differences in cultures will be explored in order to define their influence on management styles. Thus, the present study will be described as illustrative research, because “the research attempts to illustrate new and possibly innovative practices adopted by a particular company”.