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MGM5640 Cross Cultural Management Assessment
This is a solution of MGM5640 Cross Cultural Management Assessment in which we discuss about cross cultural differences and there problems.
This MGM5640 Cross Cultural Management Assessment diversity of culture or heterogenization of culture involves variety of human societies and globalisation has made the Flat World wherein the people from different background interact to each other for a common good. The success of the business depends on a variety of factors and managing the cross culture differences is one such factor (Deresky, 2006). The business environment in which different employees and partners interact with each other supports the business with their different perception, personal beliefs, attitudes and values. The Americans are Individualist, informal and egalitarian and are most comfortable with their social equals while Chinese are collectivist, formal and hierarchical. Chinese has a small number of close friends and life- long friends while Americans have a large number of friends and those changes over time. The Indians always try to negotiate in their business transactions while Australians do not. Eastern countries are trying to embrace the western culture and to adopt western working methods to have long term partner relationship. However, there are culture differences with different nationalities working together with a different set of beliefs, ideas, language and approach to the work (Appadurai, 2001). This sometimes acts as a hurdle at work place which involves serious consequences and puts a question on the project success.
Managing Cross - Cultural Work Place Barriers
The present study would explain the people from different nationalities working together and the team involving Indians, Cambodian and British for an environmental friendly car project. These different nationalities have different culture in which Cambodians believe in, answering diplomatically and maintaining harmony in the team. British mindset of short term relationship is different from Indian mindset of long term strategic building relationship (Moran et al, 2001). There is need to address the cross culture which acts as the hurdle for the success of the project. The below figure displays the Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions which would be helpful for us to understand the present case and help us to propose different solutions.
Figure: Hofstede’s Five Cultural Dimensions
The Indian managers feel there treatment as of subordinate employees as they deal with the British Team as they are subjected to prove their expertise & competence in the team. The Group Leader should emphasise on the Hofstede’s Power Distance culture dimension (PD) in the team as this would make the team flatter and bring in equality in the team. The decision making should be encouraged along with the team effort and the feeling of subordinates in the team should be controlled. It is necessary for the group leader to check the British mindset of looking from Indians to prove their professional education expertise every time. The attitude towards authority should be understood, and the strong group cohesion is required (Pedesen et al, 2002). The group should score low on the Power Distance score as it promotes better understanding. The power division lies with the group leader and the group leader should ensure the division of power is equal, and the demonstration of competence (Hofstede, 2001) in order to prove this point is not required and if it is required it is required to be only to the group leader and not to the British colleagues.
The group leader should also promote creativity in the team wherein each member in the team is required to be skilled enough so as to bring in a lot of value to the project. Also, the Individualism dimension (IDV) of Hofstede’s should also be understood which promotes strength of the ties between different people (Hofstede, 2001). There should be the promotion of strong group cohesion while creativity and should be respect for each member in the team. This loyalty and respect are important for each one on the group and the manager should put in intrinsic rewards for the performer and should try there should be healthy competition in the team which brings in harmony and the competition (Primecz et al, 2011) to such an extent where in each member bring in quality and value to the project.
The gender differences are also viewed differently by different cultures in the work place. The traditional male and female roles are perceived to be different and this may affect the success of the project (Appadurai, 2001). The nations may have male dominated society in which male employee’s work outside and female employees may not be granted the same status in the work place as male employees get. There is a female employee in the team who is also the group leader and s of Columbian descent. The Indians may not listen to the group leader as British may do as Indian are still in the society wherein the women not working outside but may serve the family by being a home maker. This may lead to overlook the decision taken by the group leader by the team mainly by the Indian people. The Masculinity (MAS) dimension of the Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory is important here which would help in resolving this issue of gender differences at work place (Hofstede, 2001). The training and education of the group is important where it is to be instilled in the team that men and women are equally good and should be admired and respected equally. The avoidance of “Old Boy’s Club” mentality is important and the importance of considering the women as powerful as men in making decisions and in different work activities at work place. The job design of the female employee and the male employee should be discriminatory and should promote equality in the gender (Moran et al, 2001). In this particular case, the group leader is of the female gender which is important to have this dimension clearly educated in the team as she needs to drive the project and make important decisions in the project. The people in the team should respect the decision of Colombian women as they would do for male group leader. The gender distinction should not hurt the project and the treatment of the female lead should be with due respect and importance (Moran et al, 2001).
The body language which includes non – formal business communication is a big hindrance to the project which includes unspoken intention through the physical behaviour (Gudykunst et al, 1995). The body language is the sub - conscious behaviour which the people try to communicate to the others, though a sub – conscious behaviour, but it is an intentional act of communication. This governs the attitude or the state of the mind of the person through different clues (Gudykunst et al, 1995). The communication by the leader of the team who is Colombian woman and Colombians tend to communicate in an indirect and subtle manner. The Colombian culture details the maintenance of harmony in the team and clear avoidance of ‘No’ and preferring ‘May Be’ or ‘Yes’ while tensing to be more of diplomatic at the same time. There is a requirement of studying the Hofstede’s dimensions to deal with intercultural communication. The non – verbal communication can be different in different cultural and may offend or confuse or can be viewed differently in different cultures. The effective way for cross - culture communication can be to stop, listen and think and in which reflective listening is one such way of communication (Primecz et al, 2011). The group leader should not jump onto the conclusion and also should feel responsible of saying ‘No’ at times of the things are not going according to the project plan. The group leader should score low on Power Distance (PD) dimension of Hofstede’s dimension theory wherein she should lay emphasis on teamwork and involve as many people for decision making (Hofstede, 2001). The strong cohesion of British and Indian group is required but at the same time it is required that the group leader should gel well in the team and promote a higher degree of intercultural communication.
There are also differences in the working habits in different cultures which include talking to different people in the team, way of looking at the problem, language accent, day to day working habits and even dining habits. All such factors count in importance, and the cross cultural training of people is important so that all the people in the team should feel comfortable with each other. As in the case the Indian managers are comfortable to work with their Indian counterparts and this lead to lose connectivity between the team. The training and education of each culture is important which should involve end – to – end working activities and non working habits. Each culture should value the other culture habits and the training should instil a level of comfort amongst each other. There should be Long Term Orientation (LTO) as described by Hofstede’s dimensional cultural theory wherein there should be a value to long term traditions and values (Hofstede, 2001). The Indians have the characteristics of delivering social obligations and avoiding loss – of – face while it is not the case with British. The group leader should try to understand this cross culture aspect and should try to have a strategic partnership which is build on trust and equality. This would help in managing the time and setting the priorities for the deliverables. Such long term orientation is necessary to understand for different cultures which bring in required value in the team (Moran et al, 2001). The British should value long term relationship rather than short transactional relationship with each other. The partnership of long term relationship would help in to build trust, faith and belief in each other and also bring in respect to each other cultures.
Time management is an act of planning, coordinating different activities with a time control in order to increase the efficiency of the project. There should be environment conducive to efficiency and effectiveness along with a set of priorities and severity attached to each priority (Le Blanc, 2008). There is a project management problem in this project in which the project is bound to be completed in 6 months, but it is far from being completed with desired deadlines. There are different perception of time,and the working group involves people from different nationalities which have their own perception about meeting the deadlines (Le Blanc, 2008). India is a polychronic culture in which they tend to change priorities depending upon the importance of the issue and sometimes try to do many things at one time. British are more punctual and try to adhere to strict deadlines, and this has become one of the serious concern for the team. There is a requirement of prioritization and scheduling of the work activities to be more effective and efficient. The work breakdown structure should be implemented while also setting the personal goals. Along with this, the understanding Hofstede’s Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) of dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty is required with acceptance of social etiquettes and relaxing certain set of rules and regulations to some extent (Hofstede, 2001). It is also required to complete the work on time it is required to minimise occurrences such circumstances which hinders the project deadlines with a careful step by step planning at the same time. The principle of breaking down the work, prioritization and scheduling with careful step by step planning while also relaxing certain rules and regulations at the same time is required. This would help in bringing more coordination between different work cultures in the team.
Managing the cross cultural differences is important for project success as it hinders the project to a large extent. This study present a lot of cross cultural problems as the team constitutes of Indians, British and Columbian. To manage all these problems arising from cross cultural differences Hofstede model helps in proposing desired solution to all these problems. The Hofstede model which is based on five cultural dimensions is required to understand and address these problems. Apart from this, there is requirement of training and education in the team which helps in strong cohesion, relationship building and to value each other cultures.
Deresky (2006). International Management: Managing Across Borders and Cultures. Pearson Education India. 5th Ed.
Gudykunst, W and Kim, Y.Y (1995). "Communicating With Strangers: An Approach to Intercultural Communication," in Bridges Not Walls, ed. John Stewart, 6th edition, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995), pp. 429-442.
Le Blanc, Raymond (2008). Achieving Objectives Made Easy! Practical goal setting tools & proven time management techniques. Maarheeze: Cranendonck Coaching. ISBN 90-79397-03-2.
Hofstede, G. H. (2001). Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations across Nations. SAGE Publications
Pedesen, P and Hofstede, G.H (2002). Exploring Culture: Exercises, Stories and Synthetic Cultures. Intercultural Press.
Appadurai, A (1996). Modernity Al Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. U of Minnesota Press.
Moran, R. T., Harris, P.H., Moran, S.v. (2011). Managing Cultural Differences: Global Leadership Strategies for Cross-cultural Business Success
Primecz, H., Romani, L. and Sackmann, S (2011). Cross-Cultural Management in Practice: Culture and Negotiated Meanings. Edward Elgar Publishing