Managing Across Cultures


ManagingAcross Cultures

ManagingAcross Cultures

Diversityhas been one of the most explored concepts in the contemporary humansociety. This increased interest may be attributed to the role thatit plays in the enhancement of the profitability and sustainabilityof the business. Indeed, it is acknowledged that employees fromdiverse backgrounds would have a positive effect on the businessentity. Research has shown that ethnocentrism, which is defined asthe belief that a particular person’s language, behavior, cultureand native country is superior to all the others, would bedetrimental to business entities and may come with problems rangingfrom high rates of turnover, recruiting difficulties or evenlawsuits. Essentially, it becomes imperative that a company hiresfrom varying cultures or countries so as to counter this vice.However, they would also come with their societal cultures in theform of language and values. Given the variations in the cultures, itis possible for certain actions of individuals to be misinterpreted.The appropriate comprehension of cultural paradoxes would necessitatecultural intelligence, which is defined as the capacity to correctlyinterpret ambiguous or unclear cross-cultural situations.

Ininterpreting the message from individuals from other cultures, it iscommon to examine either the situational cues or even the written andspoken words, depending on the type of cultures. In the case ofhigh-context cultures, perception and communication with people fromother cultures would be highly dependent on situational cues, whilewritten and spoken words would be the most important in low-contextcultures. There are varied difference between the high-context andlow context cultures. In the former, individuals concentrate on theestablishment of social trust first, with agreements being madethrough general trust. Goodwill and personal relations are extremelyvaluable, with negotiations being ritualistic and slow. In the caseof low-context cultures, performance and expertise are valued, withnegotiations being as efficient as possible. Agreements are createdthrough formal and legalistic contracts.

However,proper relations between individuals in the two sides of the spectrumrequire that they make adjustments. For instance, high contextworkers have to learn to ask questions beyond their functions anddepartments, and make efforts to be more self-reliant. Low contextworkers, on the other hand, will not make assumptions on theself-reliance of newcomers.

Numerousefforts have been made to come up with proper theoretical frameworksthat would explain the effects of varied cultural variables onorganizational processes and leadership. This is the case for theGLOBE Project which not only accomplishes these but also seeks atheory that would allow for the comprehension, description andprediction of the effectiveness of the processes. This projectincorporates a total of nine dimensions including genderegalitarianism, future orientation, assertiveness, institutionalcollectivism, in-group collectivism, uncertainty-avoidance, powerdistance, humane orientation, as well as performance orientation.These orientations particularly allow for the determination of therelationships between the organizations and the employees, amongemployees, as well as the expectations that employees have for thebusiness entities and vice versa.

Eventhen, there are numerous cases where expatriates are incapable ofundertaking foreign assignments. This may be result from the failureto undertake realistic job previews or even ineffectivecross-cultural training. The later underlines a structured experiencethat is designed to assist the expatriates to adjust to the foreigncultures. On the same note, they may not have sufficient support inthe foreign country or culture to allow for their acculturation orsettling in appropriately.

Questions&amp Answers

  1. What are the goals of cross-cultural management?

Cross-culturalmanagement aims at comprehending the manner in which nationalcultures affect the management practices, identify the differencesand similarities across the cultures in varied organizationalcontexts, as well as enhance the effectiveness of global management.

  1. Does cross-cultural management align different cultures?

No.Rather than making different cultures similar, it allows members inan organization to have better comprehension of their and otherpeople’s cultures, as well as the consequences of individuals fromvarying cultures working together.

  1. Define values

Valuesunderline fundamental convictions that individuals make pertaining towhat is good and bad, right or wrong, or even unimportant andimportant.

  1. Why do organizations develop cross-cultural employee matrix?

Employeematrix underlines a system of assessment that utilizes numerous gridsto rank employees through changing the levels of performance.Cross-cultural employee matrix considers the varied ethnic andcultural issues that can affect the performance of employees. Thisincreases the diversity awareness, eliminating cultural bias,strengthening the cultural knowledge of employees, as well asensuring that the communication is simple.

  1. What is social culture?

Thisunderlines a collection of values and beliefs pertaining to what isundesirable and desirable in a group of people, coupled with a set ofinformal or formal practices that support the values.

  1. How is societal culture passed?

Thedescriptive and prescriptive elements of culture are passed from aparticular generation to the other by teachers, friends and familyand other people and learnt through observations and imitation ofrole models as observed.

  1. What are the three components of cultural intelligence?

Culturalintelligence incorporates the knowledge of the fundamental elementsof the cross-cultural interactions, undertaking mindfulness, as wellas the development of cross-cultural skills, which allows theindividuals to be competent across varied situations.

  1. What is cultural collision?

Culturalcollision underlines a situation in which individuals from differentcultures are unwilling and unable to collaborate to the extent thatit affects their performance in the workplace and the society.

  1. What is cross-cultural training?

Thisrefers to structural experiences that are designed to assistemployees moving from one culture to another to adjust to the latterso as to eliminate or reduce the prospects of cultural collision.

  1. What are the approaches f cross-cultural training?

Varyingapproaches may be used in training, as well as raising interculturalawareness including attribution training, didactic training,experiential training, language training, interaction training andattribution training.

  1. What is the GLOBE Project?

TheGLOBE project was undertaken by an international group of managementscholars and social scientists studying cross-cultural leadership soas to examine the varied elements of cross-cultural leadershipbehavior.

  1. What is the basis of GLOBE leadership?

GLOBEleadership is based on the belief that particular elements thatdistinguish a certain culture from the other may be used in makingpredictions pertaining to the most effective, acceptable and suitableleader and organizational practices in that culture.

  1. What are the GLOBE dimensions pertaining to culturally endorsed implicit leadership?

Sixdimensions are identified including team-oriented,charismatic/value-based, participative, self-protective, humanorientation, as well as being autonomous.

  1. What are the dimensions of culture with regard to Hofstede cultural dimensions theory?

Thereare five dimensions include power/dimensions, individualism,uncertainty/avoidance index (UAI), masculinity, and long-termorientation.


Kreitner,R Kinicki, A (2013). Organizational behavior. New York: McGraw HillCompanion Inc