Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cross cultural management in a new global order

As businesses start to go global, it becomes importance to understand the role cross cultural management has to play in the handling of personnel across continents. For example, with the biggest firms starting to move their manufacturing to China, firms should understand how to bridge any cultural bridges that are there to be crossed. Surprisingly though, many organizations are either ill informed or choose to ignore such issues. Continuing with the Chinese example, factors such as the national religion, local customs and way of life need to be taken into account. And that’s before you even consider such massive factors as legal structures and language barriers.
Failing to take into account these simple factors will result in poor communication and cultural struggles and conflicts. All of this will end up affecting efficiency and will doubtlessly raise costs and risks. What’s more, at worst it could result in failure of the entire project. When committing to any overseas projects, business failure can at many times be put down to a lack of cultural sensitivity. Not sharing a common cultural context and background, behavioral patterns can emerge that pits one ethos and sets of customs against another. And that is not the best of situations to be in.
All of these cultural differences make it difficult to objectively evaluate information that flows out of any given location. Moreover, it becomes very difficult to understand meanings and intentions when cultural nuances are misunderstood. For example, saying “nega” in China is the Chinese equivalent of “um”, but you can understand why an African American or any Black person would be incensed to hear a Chinese national saying “Nega…nega” while pondering something as simple as a work schedule or what went wrong. Little things like this are where cross cultural management comes into play, educating both sets of workers and sensitizing them to the peculiarities that epitomize the other set of people. All of this done so that there comes a sense of understanding across the workforce and things start to flow more smoothly from top to bottom of the organization.
For more details: SuperCFO

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