Table of Contents Page No. Introduction 1 Culture and its Role in Business 2 Growing Importance of Cultural Awareness 5 Implications for Management 8 O Quality Management O Appraisal Methods of Managing Across Cultures 11 O Importance of Cultural Differences O Third Culture O Becoming a Trans culture Models of national culture 16 O Single Dimension Models O Multiple Dimension Models O Historical – Social Models Interview Analysis 20 Conclusion 22 References 24 Bibliography 25 Appendices Appendix 1. 0 Interview Correspondence O 1. 1 E-mail arranging Interview O 1. 2 Transcript of Interview Introduction In our proposal (included in appendices) we stated that our primary intention was to conduct a literary review of material surrounding this topic. To this end we sought out journal articles relating to the issues involved in managing across cultures.
A lot of the specific material is available, for example focusing on American managers dealing with Europe or Managers from the West dealing with management in the East. Although some of this was relevant we wanted to take a more international approach and look at the issues all managers, regardless of where they are from or who they are dealing with, should be aware of when managing across cultures. The paper initially reviews literature dealing with culture and its role in business. We then go on to look at the growing importance of cultural awareness and how globalisation is forcing the issue of managing across cultures on managers. A section dealing with the implications, which arise concerning quality and appraisal, follows this. We then proceeded to look into how managers and companies can deal with the challenges of managing across cultures via the creation of a corporate or “third” culture and discussed the creation of this “third” culture.
... , I will discuss about the perceptions and responses of managers to organisational culture change initiatives. I shall use Ogbonna (2003) experiments ... and post-bureaucracy as well as the different methods, models that applied in the two eras. I draw upon ... shape the identities of their members and influence their culture in order to manage effectively. Furthermore, by drawing on Ogbonna, E. ...
The final review section finds us identifying and over-viewing the various models that are used for identifying differences in national culture with a view to helping managers recognise such differences and therefore, helping them deal more effectively with the challenges of managing across cultures. In our proposal, we also stated our intention to meet with a European marketing manager of a successful global company. A representative of our team met with Mr. Des Collins, European marketing manager for Bridgestone / firestone Europe at the Bridgestone/Firestone offices, Hampton Square, Balbriggan on Wednesday the 26 th of March. We then proceed to the analysis we conducted on the answers supplied to us by Mr. Collins.
These findings are then compared to our earlier material and a final conclusion drawn up. We would like to thank Mr. Collins for taking the time from his busy schedule, to see us Culture and its Role in Business Today, international business is growing and global strategies are being employed as never before in modern times. There is added emphasis on the need for understanding of emerging values among managers across cultures, which has never been greater. Culture can be described as “an extrapolation of the past” and “learned behaviour rather than innate” (Paliwoda and Thomas, 1998).
Culture is an intricate system of communications, which incorporates the biological, as well as the technical behaviour of human beings with their various systems of expressive behaviour. It is not borne merely due to the country in which one resides. Research has shown “the sense of belonging to an important ethnic group may override, and even nullify, the feeling of belonging to a particular nation-state” (Usunier, 2000).
It is the sum total of a way of life and includes such things as behaviour, values, beliefs, languages and living practices shared by members of a society and consists of implicit and explicit rules through which experience is interpreted.
... , let’s summarize the skills that make Frans a successful global manager: * Cultural intelligence * Communication skills * Listening to others * Negotiations (between organization, government ... have arisen from its new responsibilities. The people from different cultures, work style and language are what’s creating organization diversity ...
People from different national cultures often operate under different assumptions about what is appropriate behaviour. The function of culture is to establish modes of conduct, standards of performance and ways of dealing with interpersonal and environmental relations that will reduce uncertainty, increase predictability and therefore promote survival and growth among the members of any society. As a result, organisational structures are impacted by distinctive cultural traditions. Managers face a global uniform environment, which could eventually lead to the homogenization of managerial attitudes across cultures.
It has been said, in the past, that countries exhibit very different views on the make up of business ethics, which are regarded as being based largely in cultural diversity. One culture may focus on different aspects of an agreement (legal, financial) than another, which may choose to concentrate its attention on alternate aspects (personal, relationships).
Some cultures focus on the specific details of an agreement (such as the documenting of the agreement) whilst others focus on how certain promises may be kept (process and implementation).
Using the Americans and the Japanese as an example, further illustrates this point: Japanese negotiations centre on negotiating personal relationships while Americans tend to negotiate contracts. In organisational settings, these cultural differences in underlying assumptions can significantly affect interactions when individuals from various nationalities meet. Contrasting cultures force people to view and value the many social interactions involved in finalising agreements in a different manner.
According to those who embrace the paradigm of cultural distinctiveness, each culture has its own sense of beauty that has been developed through history and is composed of attitudes, values and related behaviours (Ball and McCulloch, 1996).
Research seems to indicate that the importance of national culture in cross culture management is diminishing and suggests that the world is moving toward a single, global management culture. This new belief has been encouraged by the work of many key individuals in modern day. Studies note that as a result of the increasing interconnectedness between varied local cultures, a global culture could eventually emerge. The importance of this change could eventually prove immeasurable, should it occur, as there can be serious repercussions due to lack of cultural awareness.
... is how to prepare managers to operate effectively within different culture. Many organizations use cross-cultural management training for the managers. New approach has been ... methods which are available for the training to develop cultural awareness for business people. The paper reviews the methods of training available and ...
Compromising a culture’s moral values can be considered extremely difficult and it is more likely that one country will try to impose those same values on the other (Seitz, 2001).
This is no longer acceptable in business terms. Businesses can only expand in globalised markets by adhering to the needs, perspectives, and accepted procedures of their foreign partners / counterparts . The field of international management owes a great deal to cultural anthropology, a study that focuses upon cultural distinctiveness.
Without the insight provided by these studies, many businesses would have struggled to steer clear of the pitfalls involved in cross-cultural negotiations (Rosenbaum, 2003).
Cultural differences can influence business negotiations in unexpected ways, as many a hapless trader has learned. Although globalised communications and marketing have made the world much smaller in many ways, deep differences remain between cultures. Negotiating has always been a delicate business and one, which is handled with extreme care, with the intent focused on not insulting / offending trading partners. This takes on even more significance when your negotiating partner is halfway around the world. Existing differences extend well beyond surface behaviours, such as proper table manners and the exchange of business cards, and even beyond deeper cultural characteristics, such as attitudes about relationships and deadlines.
Careful preparation must be undertaken in an attempt to avoid any potential danger zones and help a business navigate positively around them. Indeed, there exists another, equally treacherous aspect to cross-border negotiation: the ways that people from different regions come to agreement or the processes involved in negotiations, as mentioned briefly earlier (Japan/America example).
Decision-making and governance processes can vary widely from culture to culture, not only in terms of legal technicalities but also in terms of the behaviours and core beliefs that drive them. It is the job of management to ensure that all the potential obstacles to continuous and successful business are identified and removed or avoided in an efficient manner. Numerous deals of significance have failed in the past because people chose to ignore or underestimate the powerful differences in process across cultures. Growing Importance of Cultural Awareness Increasingly, people working in business and management are directly in contact with other cultures.
... for a considerable period of time namely Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Process Reengineering (BPR). Statement of Objective This paper ... in the absence of a culture of change that soothes employees. Reengineering can impose a cultural upheaval on a company. In ... the process. These are also essential to reengineering. For managers and employees ignorant of TQM and its requirements, a jump ...
More and more often, they are involved in face-to-face contact with foreign managers, colleagues or partners. Through international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and through expatriate assignments, managers have to make adjustments. They may even have to rethink completely their methods of working, and even rethink the nature of the organization within which they work. Management styles, for example, may differ substantially from one European country to another. What might motivate staff in one country may de-motivate staff in another. Differing values of managers have also been considered as a factor in organizational conflict.
This has particularly been the case with multinational firms operating in and across diverse cultures where, unavoidably, there is considerable incongruity between the values of host country workers and their expatriate managers. The literature on cross-cultural management of multinational firms cites a number of instances where this incongruity has caused expatriate managers to be both perplexed and sometimes paranoid about the outcome of imposing their traditional or home-country management styles upon indigenous personnel (Geller man, 1967; Pezeshkpur, 1075; and B adar, Gray & Ked ia, 1982).
The implication of such conflicts for a successful management-system is obvious: managers must factor in differences between their own environment and the one in which they must operate before they impose any value, let alone their own, on their foreign subordinates. Knowledge of value systems, then, might aid us in devising internally consistent management styles for effective ‘transcultural’ management practice.
Having looked in a more detailed fashion as to why there is a growing importance on the field of cultural awareness, our Team identified at least five different reasons: 1. The cultural environment affects virtually all the activities undertaken by management. Organizations establishing and running global operations usually need to negotiate with various foreign constituencies. 2.
... do people from different countries act differently? Some cultural differences are reflected by other cultures. Since I came to live in the United ... States, I have experienced a lot of differences in lifestyle ... they meet. In addition to greeting, eating manners is another difference between Americans and Vietnamese. To eat their food, Americans ...
Strategic alliances are becoming more common, involving firms with different strategies and objectives. For these alliances to succeed, managers need to understand the cultural factors that influence organizational strategies and objectives. 3. Managers in foreign locations frequently find that employees behave in ways that are quite different from the managers’ expectations.
To lead and manage effectively it is often necessary to understand the cultural expectations that influence people’s behaviour. 4. Expatriates, employees working in a foreign location, find that culture shock can affect their general ability to function well. Cultural understanding and adaptability have been identified as contributing to better expatriation. 5.
Various functional aspects of organizations, such as accounting, finance, and marketing, can differ markedly from one location to another. For an organization to be effective overseas, these functional aspects must fit the local culture. For most managers, cultural differences are obvious between countries, which are located far from each other. But a recent study shows that you can also find, within Europe, an enormous cultural difference. With reference to this study, there are three important reasons to be aware of cultural differences and to monitor potential changes in values and attitudes: 1. In spite of the small geographical distance, there are marked cultural differences between the Central European countries that sample (Czech Republic; Hungary; Poland; and Slovakia) and a Western European country like The Netherlands.
2. It would be dangerous from a managerial perspective to treat the Central European countries as a homogenous group. For instance, the two neighbouring countries of Czech Republic and Slovakia differ sharply in four of five dimensions. This means that it may be problematic to combine activities in these two countries in a single integrated organization.
3. Some regions in the world will exhibit cultural shifts as strong as Central Europe in the coming decades. If this were true, managers would not do well to rely too much on static pictures of the cultures concerned, but to keep a keen eye on value shifts in these countries. Experience built up during the years of transition may soon become outdated. Not only are the differences between countries important for the company’s managing. Also the cultural differences in the company itself have a great impact on its well doing.
... immense influence in the organizational culture of organizations. Fischer et al. (2005) posit that without effective management of cultural differences in an organization, it ... of the diverse representation of cultures. According to Schermerhorn, Osborn and Hunt (2005), solving conflicts arising from cultural differences is extremely important for ...
When a company goes multinational, the employees involved have to adapt in their dealings with each other. Therefore the growing trend to globalization of businesses is giving rise to a need for the development of effective international management teams. For many organizations this need will entail thinking more clearly and overtly about cross-cultural issues and systematically understanding and valuing the benefits of diversity in international teams. Achieving this requires the integration of thinking and practice relating to team building, understanding of the benefits of differing personal styles and behaviours. Although much can be achieved by working with specific teams, the truly successful global players are likely to be those which embed the change through integrated changes in selection, development, reward and recognition policies and practices. In doing this, the value of effective multicultural working can be captured at many levels in the organization and international teams, be they project based or permanent, will tend to reach high performance levels more rapidly and consistently.
This in turn can help organizations build global capability and therefore, gain competitive advantage. Implications for Quality Management Millions of men and women working in various business organizations, industries, and government offices around the world fit the definition of ‘manager’. Effective managers are essentially good communicators. However, even talented communicators need to pay special attention to the art of achieving a balance of quality and efficiency. Their already demanding jobs are becoming more complex with the onslaught of globalization and the quality concerns raised as a result. It is the job of management to communicate directions in a language and manner that is understood and deemed acceptable by employees, in various cultural groups.
Importance differences have been noted among managerial styles across cultures that can have profound effects on business functions such as communication, decision-making and teamwork. Training needs must be tailored to the specific needs of the organisation in question, and designed in response to a rapidly changing global marketplace. Sensitivity to potential cultural differences has frequently been cited as essential for managing in this capacity. The importance of this issue has been highlighted by a number of studies focused on the value of training for non-domestic assignments. It was discovered that individuals in managerial capacities who travel abroad without cross-cultural training have a failure rate of 33 – 66% compared with a 2% failure rate for those who received such training, according to the Business Council for International Understanding (Harris & Moran, 1991).
Another unfortunate consequence of insufficient knowledge and appreciation of alternate cultures has been the unpopular response to the ethnocentrism of the West.
There have been a number of good managerial or marketing intentions that have gone awry as a result of broken negotiations and failed ventures (Ricks, 1993).
While the cost of training can be expensive, it is minute in comparison with potential costly failures of unprepared expatriates, and culturally enlightened managers stand a better chance of leading their organisations into the evolving global economy in a positive manner. It is recommended that management receive training on a number of key issues in cross-cultural management, such as: intercultural communication, cultural sensitivity, effective intercultural performance, cultural management influences, work culture and cultural synergy to ensure the continuation of organisational quality (Harris & Moran, 1991).
Employee Appraisal Implications Throughout the past two decades, theorists have discussed in great depth the appraisal process as an important tool to manage people.
The basic concept of the appraisal process identifies the improvement and development of individuals and their performance as the key purpose of an appraisal. Appraisal is implicated further in cross-culture management as performance may be interpreted or valued differently due the alternate belief and value systems held by the various cultural groups involved. In the majority of Western organisations, the main focus of appraisal continues to be performance appraisal, “doing is more than being” (Schneider & Barsoux, 1997).
This is contrasted by Asian business ethics, where emphasis is placed on employees’ personalities and characteristics. The information about behaviour collected may also be interpreted differently due to different value and belief systems of, for example, what is right / wrong , or good or bad behaviour. These culturally related implications might lead to some of the terms, which construct the appraisal process being interpreted and valued differently among culturally diverse groups.
When implementing the appraisal there can be varying levels, from formal to informal. The degree of formality depends on organisational and national cultural characteristics. It has been argued that formal appraisal points to high individualism cultures in which, organisations may prefer to exert tight control, due to their organisation’s culture and national culture roots being characterised by a high degree of uncertainty avoidance. In such cases, conflicts could arise when members of an organisation value uncertainty avoidance differently. Similarly, employees who are used to highly standardised and regulated procedures might find it hard to adapt to organisations that employ rather informal approaches to management and appraisal. The choice of appraiser is also an important aspect of the appraisal process.
Organisations usually have a number of viable options as to who conducts the actual appraisal. Those performed by immediate superiors could indicate a top – down orientation within an organisation and a potential preference for hierarchical structures. It has been suggested that a number of other individuals within the firm, including peers, subordinates, the appraised him / herself , and even customers could be involved in the appraisal process (Woods, 1997).
These are characteristics of flatter, less hierarchical organisations, which actively seek to include employees on all organisational levels in procedures and processes, and where control is decentralised.
This approach might however be unsuccessful in some Asian cultures such in China, where high respect for authority and age could hinder such communication systems. The above discussion has illustrated that appraisal systems might indicate and reflect the cultural characteristics that key players, such as the appraiser and the appraised, are influenced by, in their different approaches to appraisals. Different national cultural backgrounds, along with culturally shaped value and belief systems might influence individuals’ views and interpretations on certain issues within the appraisal process. Evidence suggests that increased focus on this aspect of cross-cultural management could be exerted by exerted by organisations to ensure employee contentment.
Methods of managing across cultures The system for managing across cultures that is reliant on the development of a synthetic “Third” culture within an organisation, has its’ origins in the expansion of South-East Asian firms into Western markets. This system is very relevant for any company that is expanding internationally and will have a need to manage across cultures. This system shies away from the older “Two-Cultures” management practises and focuses understanding differences between cultures so that the company, via the creation of the Third culture, can accommodate them. The importance of cultural differences It is a statement of the obvious to point out that different people from different cultures behave and believe differently from one another. Theorists place cultural differences into two categories: 1. Nominal Differences.
2. Systemic Differences. 1. Nominal Differences Nominal differences are the different ways cultures define phenomena such as behaviour, language and institutions. The most noticeable nominal difference is language cultures as cultural groups have very different ways of identifying the same thing. A small nominal difference would be that an Irish person would ask for milk with a coffee while an American would ask for cream.
This difference is small and would have little consequences for management. However it’s important to understand the small differences so we can appreciate the larger ones. An example of this was General Motor’s decision to release a car named NOVA in Mexico. NOVA meaning “It doesn’t go” in Spanish. Not the wisest of marketing ploys.
The directors at GM are not stupid, they were just thinking of Mexico in terms of their own culture. 2. Systemic Differences. Systemic differences are fundamental differences in the beliefs and philosophies key to a cultures identity. One key difference is how different cultures regulate collective activities e. g.
people working for a company. In Western cultures there is reliance predominantly on procedural means, enforceable agreements such as contracts and legal agreements. Whereas South-East Asian cultures rely on relationships based systems of trust, duty and the need to honour ones word. These core systemic differences are defined by theorists as the individualistic nature of Western cultures, that is each person working to his / her own benefit.
Compared to the collectivism of Asian cultures, that is every one working toward the collective good. There is no disagreement that this individual / collective systemic difference causes the most serious problems in managing across culture’s, there is no proven way of measuring the extent and effect of the individualism versus collectivism phenomena. Theorists point this out: “Despite the importance cross-cultural researchers ascribe to individualism and collectivism, general disagreement on both their conceptualism and measurement of collectivism and individualism prevails” (Chen, Me idl & Hunt, 1997).
Third culture Third culture is a step on from two-culture management structures when managing across cultures. With the two-culture model both sets of managers recognise and accept there are cultural differences between members of management and staff, but no action is taken to understand one another. Instead two-culture management structure relies heavily on legal agreements to enforce their business deals.
This can seriously effect strategic alliances across cultures with the attitude arising that for one company to win the other must lose; this is very negative and makes such alliances less effective. Third culture management structure focuses on building trust and long-term relationships across cultures based on mutual trust and benefit. Managers must be able to accept other people’s culture with out making judgements based on their own cultural ideals. TWO CULTURE THIRD CULTURE CYA Trust Compete Co-operation Confront Accommodate Short-term Long-Term Legal contract Handshake Contract Breach Mutual Obligation Win/Lose Win/Win Figure: Characteristics of two and third culture structures (Graen & Hui, 1996) In creating a third culture for management it is necessary to enlist the use of people called ‘transculturals’. These are people who have been trained in and exposed to a culture significantly different to their own.
This allows a transcultural to think outside the terms of their own socialisation and be capable of making decisions and judgements at a managerial level free from the bias of their own culture. It is very clear that such people are vital to managing across cultures and key in the creation of a corporate third culture that allows the values of various cultures within a venture to be represented and accommodated. Becoming a Transcultural Adventurer Sensitiser Insider Judge Synthesiser Figure: Five Stages of Becoming a Transcultural (Graen & Hui, 1996) Cultural Adventurer: Firstly a person must take an interest in a culture outside of their own and be curious about that other culture. Tourists are cultural adventurers on a basic level, but a more accurate example would be a student studying foreign languages or better still studying abroad. Cultural Sensitiser: A cultural sensitiser is sensitiser to another culture and capable of accepting all the nominal differences, however a lack of understanding of systemic differences still exists. Discrepant culture insiders: To be truly able to understand the extent of our own cultural bias we must be immersed in a culture completely different from that of our own.
With locals as guides a transcultural can become socialise d in the norms of a new culture. That is they can accept that they know a lot about a culture, but recognise they do not know and understand everything yet. Judge: This is the next stage in becoming a transcultural. A person at the Judge stage is able to accept and analyse situations while removing themselves from the preconceptions of their own culture and have a deep knowledge of the culture under study. In effect at this stage a transcultural has a good understanding of both nominal and systemic differences within a culture to that of his / her own.
Synthesiser: The final stage is what we have been aiming for. A cultural synthesiser can bridge the gap between two or more cultures by understanding various phenomena with out a particular cultures bias. They are vital to creating a Third culture management structure. A set of norms that fits the various cultures involved. This greatly helps when managing across cultures. Models of National Culture For a better understanding of management across cultures we considered it necessary to conduct a literary review of the main models used by academics for identifying the differences in national culture, thus allowing us in a later section to draw comparison between the theory and the practice.
The following is a summary of the models we consider to be most appropriate. There are different types of models of National Cultures that are considered: – Single dimension models – Multiple dimension models – Historical-social models National culture can be defined as the collective mental programming of any particular nationality, Hofstede (1980) and (1991).
The Relevance of National Culture to the study and Practise of Management Morton notes that a crucial implication of the work of Hofstede, Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars and other contributors to the developing body of experience and knowledge about international culture and management is that cultural interpretation and adaptation are prerequisite to the comparative understanding of national and international management practise, e. g.
concerning entry into new markets and new countries or the establishment of effective programmes of international human resource management. Single Dimension Models These national culture models are based upon a single dimension or variable dimension. Three models are described below. High and Low Context Cultures According to Hall there are high context and low context cultures. In this case context is defined in terms of how individuals and their society seek information. People from high context cultures obtain information mostly from personal information networks.
People from low context cultures seek information about decisions and deals from a research base. Monochromic and Polychromic Cultures Lewis noted the difference between monochromic and polychromic cultures. Monochromic cultures act in a focused manner, concentrating on one thing at a time within a set time scale. For example the Germans, the Finns, and some other North Americans are categorised to be monochromic. Polychromic cultures are flexible and unconstrained by concerns with time. People do many things at once, often in an unplanned or opportunistic sequence.
For example Indians, Latin Americans, and Arabs are polychromic. Fukuyama’s Analysis of Trust Fukuyama analyses the relationship between trust, social capital, and the development organisation and management. He identifies and compares low trust and high trust societies. In his opinion a high trust society can organise its workplace on a more flexible and group-oriented basis, with more responsibility delegated to lower levels of organisation.
Low trust societies, by contrast, must fence in and isolate their workers with a series of bureaucratic rules, e. g. American culture is a low trust with the more group orientated cultures are high trust, such as China. Multiple Dimension Models These national culture models are based on multiple dimensions or variables. Because Hofstede’s Model (that considers national culture and values, which affect the work environment and its management and which are categorised within four variables) has already been discussed in class only two models are shortly described below.
Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars Analysis Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars suggest that the nature of enterprise value systems, and the value judgements associated with them, appear to depend on the resolution of seven value dilemmas. They think that these dilemmas, and the varying solutions associated with them, permit the manager to understand key cultural differences between the approach taken by different nationalities to the process and practice of management. The seven value dilemmas are: – Making rules and managing exceptions – Deconstructing and constructing – Managing communities or individuals – Internal ising the outside world – Synchronizing time process – Achieved status versus ascribed status – Equality versus hierarchy Lessem & Neubauer’s Analysis Lessem and Neubauer analyse European management systems. They categorise the impact of national culture under four inter-related criteria sets.
There is the tension between pragmatism and idealism / holism that characterises European approaches to the theory and practice of management. The Anglo-Saxons and the Dutch tend to take a more idealistic or holistic approach than their German counterparts. Also there is a tension between a rationalist approach to dealing with management issues, as for instance taken by the French: and the humanist or people-oriented approach that is characteristic of the family companies of Italy and Spain. Historical – Social Models Under this heading national models are described which are based on historical-social dimensions or variables. Below is a short introduction of two models given.
The Euro-management Study Bloom et al s 1994 book Euro-management is based on a major study, which aimed to find out whether there are any common characteristics between European managers. Bloom et al suggest that the basic characteristics of a European management model comprise the following: – The capacity to manage international diversity – An orientation towards people – Social responsibility – Internal negotiation – A degree of informality South East Asian Management Chen, Cragg, and Sea grave suggest that there are certain key historical-social influences on the development of management practice in South East Asia. These influences are mainly Chinese, among which are Taoism, Confucianism and the thinking of Sun Tzu. Each of these influences is quite descriptive and in-depth and had a profound effect on management practice development. Interview Analysis On Wednesday 26 th of March a representative from our team met with Mr. Des Collins, the European Director of Marketing for Bridgestone/Firestone Ltd.
The purpose of our meeting with Mr. Collins was put forward queries on issues we encountered during our study of this topic. The purpose of doing this was to see whether or not the material on managing across cultures was actually used in practice. This would allow us the opportunity to contrast our findings with the ‘alleged’ theory based methods of managing employed across cultures and therefore give us an indication of the lessons that could be learned for future reference, when managing in this capacity. The first set of questions related to the issue of the importance of culture with regards to management. It was made very clear that Mr.
Collins believed that cultural differences are very real and that management need to recognise this if they wish to manage across cultures. He defined culture as .”.. a form of communication which allows one group of beings to distinguish themselves from another… .” and stressed that management must ensure that they do not make cultural assumptions and end up offending either their employees or business partners. On this point he also said that “It has become imperative to posses a culturally aware management team, as different cultures often posses different views as to what appropriate behaviour is…
.” We also asked him where he had learned that it was necessary to be culturally aware and whether managing across cultures affected his attitude toward management. His answer suggests he learned about cultural sensitivity the hard way: “Yes, before working in this capacity [across cultures] I was unaware of the implications of certain gestures I felt were appropriate in the given situation. I found out for myself in both my corporate and personal life [that they were inappropriate]” The next topic discussed with Mr. Collins was whether the company had any specific way of managing across cultures, such as the “third” culture creation covered earlier. His response was that the responsibility of notifying managers and staff from visiting countries of local cultural preferences lied with the marketing manager for each specific country. He pointed out that this was not as important within Europe as it was when dealing with his Asian counter-parts.
Essentially the European cultures are very similar when compared to the differences faced when dealing with a culture as far removed from our own as Japan. Mr. Collins also said ” I truly believe that a single global management culture is not very far away as it is becoming more and more common for individuals to leave their culture outside the boardroom and continue their dealings in a universal way” A key area we wished to talk to Mr. Collins about was the area of how Bridgestone/Firestone manage their staff across cultures with regards to the issues of motivation, appraisal and quality control. Mr. Collins said that members of staff in the European area react most efficiently when incentives are offered based on their individual performance before going on to make the statement “Currency is a universal motivator.” On the subject of staff appraisal he said the frequency of appraisals depends on the nature of the work being under taken in a given country, e.
g. Sales, Manufacturing, Research and Development, Marketing, and Customer Service. He said appraisals take place quarterly or annually and usually involved monetary handouts. However, he mentioned that there was a growing preference with managers that if goals are met, staff outings are organised and paid for by the company. These have the dual benefit of rewarding good work and boosting morale. On the issue of quality across cultures he said that initial quality standards, within the Bridgestone Organisation are established for products in Japan and adhered to globally.
We finally spoke to Mr. Collins on whether Bridgestone/Firestone used any of the models for understanding national differences that we had covered earlier in the paper. Although he was unaware of any specific models used he did point out that for international dealings with their company, people should possess an adequate knowledge of Japanese customs and culture, as a lot of important resources were located out there. We followed this up by inquiring if there are training programs in place to help staff become more “international ised.” His reply was “We send all employees on courses we feel will be beneficial to their long-term development within the company.” He also said they encouraged and organised staff trips to visit various European locations to give staff an idea of how things were done around Europe. Conclusion Having completed a literature review on Managing Across Cultures and interviewed a Senior Management Representative of a global organisation, our team was allowed the opportunity to compare and contrast the actual managerial tactics and those implied through the theory on the topic. During our interview, it was clearly evident that Mr.
Collins possessed an intricate knowledge of the importance of not making any cultural assumptions “such as proper table manners and the exchange of business cards, and even beyond deeper cultural characteristics, such as attitudes about relationships and deadlines” and the dangers involved in making such assumptions. His opinion on the need for a culturally aware management team also supports the theory encountered by our team when researching this topic, that people from different national cultures often operate under different assumptions about what is appropriate behaviour. Mr. Collins also pointed out that business and personal relationships are easily affected when management are unaware of the meanings of certain gestures and behaviour, as interpreted by cultures other than their own. This point is also backed up by the theory on the topic, which revealed “individuals in managerial capacities who travel abroad without cross-cultural training have a failure rate of 33 – 66% compared with a 2% failure rate for those who received such training.” The idea that certain cultural differences across Europe are not as evident as those involved in cross-continental management could be supported by Mr. Collin’s claim that “currency is a universal motivator”, given that he operates in a primarily European capacity.
The theory on this section of the topic also points towards the differences between cultural groups on the same continent being subtler than those encountered between groups from alternate sides of the world e. g. “Japanese negotiations centre on negotiating personal relationships while Americans tend to negotiate contracts.” Mr. Collins significantly supported the belief that the world is moving towards a single global management culture, with the statement that it is becoming more common for individuals and organisations to “leave their culture out side the boardroom” and continue operations on an international level (one that is acceptable to all the parties involved).
The implications for quality that we encountered suggested that already demanding jobs were becoming more complex with the onslaught of globalization and the quality concerns that were raised as a result. It is the job of management to communicate directions in a language and manner that is understood and deemed acceptable by employees, in various cultural groups.
In the context of the Bridgestone organisation, it was clear that quality related issues concerning Bridgestone branded goods were communicated from Japanese sources and followed by management worldwide. He did not leak any details on the methods used when such information was communicated (possible a reason for him citing the need to understand Japanese culture).
Unfortunately, Mr. Collins could not really provide us with information on specific models used by Bridgestone/Firestone Europe, when identifying national differences in relation to culture. He did however state that Marketing Managers in each of the countries Bridgestone/Firestone operate in were assigned the responsibility of ensuring any cultural preferences that may exist in their respective country. The information gathered is communicated back to him, allowing him to pass the information acquired, to individuals who may use the information as a guideline in future dealings.
Overall, the theory reviewed during the course of our research highlighted the fact that there are a number of issues to be considered when managing across cultures. With regard to our interviewee, he commented that he learned of the importance of cultural awareness the hard way as initially; having taken on a managerial role he was “unaware of the implications of certain gestures” that he felt were appropriate given the circumstances he found himself in. This may be due to the timing and path, through which Mr. Collins came to be in his position as European Director of Marketing. Current managers, aspiring to hold such positions in international business will encounter multiple training schemes and programs dedicated to this filed of study. References Ball, Don & McCullough, Wendell (1996), International Business, Irwin McGraw-Hill, New York.
Graen, George & Hui, Chun (1996), “Managing Changes in Globalizing Business: How to Manage Cross Cultural Business Partners”, Journal of Organisational Change Management, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp 62 – 72 Harris, P. R. and Moran, R. T.
(1991), Managing Cultural Differences, Gulf: Houston. Hofstede, G. (1980), Cultures and Consequences, Sage: London Hofstede, G. (1991), Cultures and Organisations, McGraw-Hill: London Paliwoda, Stanley J. & Thomas, Michael J. (1998), International Marketing, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.
Ricks, D. A. (1993), Blunders in International Business, Blackwell: Cambridge. Rosenbaum, Andrew (2003), “How to Steer Clear of Pitfalls in Cross-Cultural Negotiations”, Harvard Business Review. Schneider, S. , and Barsoux, J.
(1997), Managing Across Cultures, Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall Europe. Seitz, Paul (2001), “Cultural and Business Ethics”, Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 21 – 27 Usunier, Jean-Claude (2000), Marketing Across Cultures, Pearson Education Limited, Essex.
Woods, R. (1997), Managing Hospitality Human Resources, Lansing: Michigan. Bibliography Texts Ball, Don & McCullough, Wendell (1996), International Business, Irwin McGraw-Hill, New York. Harris, P. R. and Moran, R.
T. (1991), Managing Cultural Differences, Gulf: Houston. Hofstede, G. (1980), Cultures and Consequences, Sage: London Hofstede, G. (1991), Cultures and Organisations, McGraw-Hill: London Jackson, Terence: Cross-cultural Management, 1995, Butterworth-Heinemann Management Readers. Jeanne t, Jean-Pierre & Hennessey, David H.
(2001), Global Marketing Strategies, Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston Marx, Elisabeth (2000), Breaking Through Culture Shock, Nicholas Brea ley Publishing: Naperville Mendenhall, Mark E. ; Betty Jane Punnet, David A. Ricks: Global Management, 1995, Blackwell Publishers Paliwoda, Stanley J. & Thomas, Michael J. (1998), International Marketing, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. Ricks, D.
A. (1993), Blunders in International Business, Blackwell: Cambridge. Schneider, S. , and Barsoux, J.
(1997), Managing Across Cultures, Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall Europe. Usunier, Jean-Claude (2000), Marketing Across Cultures, Pearson Education Limited, Essex. Woods, R. (1997), Managing Hospitality Human Resources, Lansing: Michigan. Articles Graen, George & Hui, Chun (1996), “Managing Changes in Globalizing Business: How to Manage Cross Cultural Business Partners”, Journal of Organisational Change Management, Vol.
9, No. 3, pp 62 – 72 Higgs, Malcolm (1996), “Overcoming the problems of cultural differences to establish success for international management teams”, Team Performance Management: An International Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp 36-43 Kol man, Luder; Niels G. Noorderhaven; Geert Hofstede; Elisabeth Dines (2003), “Cross-cultural differences in Central Europe”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 18, No.
1, pp 76-88 Rosenbaum, Andrew (2003), “How to Steer Clear of Pitfalls in Cross-Cultural Negotiations”, Harvard Business Review Sebenius, James K. (2002), “The Hidden Challenge of Cross-Border Negotiations”, Harvard Business Review Seitz, Paul (2001), “Cultural and Business Ethics”, Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 21 – 27 Morden, Tony (1999), “Models of National Culture – A Management Review”, Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 6, No.
1, pp 19-44.