Cross-cultural management and international management are concepts that refer to working with individuals coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. In some sources, such as the works by Thomas & Peterson, these terms are presented as interchangeable; however, they are not the same. Overall, both concepts simply being aware of the differences between various cultures’ approaches and perspectives and minimising the possible adverse effects of these differences. To understand the differences between these two notions, one should know that cross-cultural teams are those consisting of people coming from two or more cultures (Imakwuchu & Billy, 2018). Thus, it is possible to say that cross-cultural management refers to the management of diverse teams that considers the difference in employees’ approaches and practices due to their cultural backgrounds. At the same time, international management can refer to handling operations in a foreign country, which requires the knowledge of existing business regulations, economics, taxation, and related operations (WebFinance Inc, 2019). The first part of this report will address this question from the perspective of the relevance of culture to the issues of management and organizational behavior.
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Role of Culture
To understand the link between culture and organizational behavior, one should be aware of what culture is. Ollier-Malaterre and Foucreault report that culture can be defined as a set of beliefs shared by individuals that have a common historical experience. Cultural beliefs can be related to gender roles, values of time, and relationships between groups and individuals. Sociologists outline several aspects cultures have, which may affect people’s perspectives significantly. They include masculinity and femininity, power distance, individualism and collectivism, and uncertainty avoidance (Sarooghi, Libaers & Burkemper 2015). In addition, humane orientation and performance orientation, specificity and diffusion, and survival and self-expression are also the dimensions in which cultures may develop, influencing individuals’ behaviors and viewpoints (Ollier-Malaterre & Foucreault, 2017). The impact of cultural aspects on the populations has been studied extensively since World War II when many companies started working with international organizations, which were viewed as foreign (Bird & Mendenhall, 2016). The research on cross-cultural and international management continues today, as a global contextual orientation of the organization has become a significant contributor to its success.
Culture may have a significant impact on the individual’s perspectives on work-life constructs (Ollier-Malaterre & Foucreault, 2017). It can affect employees’ behaviors and strategies they choose to achieve success; this point will be discussed in detail throughout this report. Moreover, an individual’s cultural background can determine their attitude towards the organization’s management style and company culture. Therefore, employees coming from individualist cultures may appreciate the opportunity to work from home or have a flexible schedule while it is not as crucial for those living in collectivist societies (Ollier-Malaterre & Foucreault, 2017). Moreover, Sarooghi, Libaers, and Burkemper note that cultural background may also affect employees’ innovativeness and creativity, especially in low-tech industries, which may be a surprising finding. The facts presented above imply that if employers do not pay attention to workers’ cultural-driven traits, they cannot benefit from them and, inversely, encounter challenges due to these differences.
Culture and Management
Addressing culture and its aspects can be considered one of the most significant tasks of organizational management. Managers’ leadership style can affect the way employees perceive their working environment and conditions, as well as their performance in general (Ashikali & Groeneveld 2015). One of the most appropriate and effective leadership styles for working with cross-cultural teams is the transformational one. Such an approach is designed to foster social exchange between team members and align their goals with organizational culture. This style of management focuses on employee motivation and considers each employee individually (Ashikali & Groeneveld 2015). From the perspective of encouraging diversity in the workplace and paying attention to culture, the principles of transformational leadership reveal the relations between culture and the field of management, as well as organizational behavior. The last point will be discussed in detail in the following section of the paper.
It is crucial to add that the issues of management are also related to culture because addressing diversity in the workplace can be one of the most significant tasks of leadership staff in the globalized world. The reason for it is that companies need to improve their performance continuously, which can be achieved through effective diversity management and the increase in employees’ commitment (Ashikali & Groeneveld 2015). Moreover, management personnel should address the social and psychological aspects of employees’ behaviors and attitudes, which can also be affected by culture.
International Management: Discussion
In the era of globalization, international management is also a significant contributor to companies’ success, although it is different from a cross-cultural one. As mentioned above, international management focuses on external challenges for the company’s operations that globalization causes, including the need to communicate with partners of various cultural backgrounds. Leadership staff must understand not only how to handle diverse staff groups within their workplace but also how to interact with global partners from the perspectives of business operations and finances. Leaders should be aware of existing regulations and non-spoken rules to avoid possible mistakes and misunderstandings. In addition, they should understand public policies and provisions, tax systems, economic structures, and social structures of other countries (Ollier-Malaterre & Foucreault, 2017).
It is possible to say that companies cannot perform effective international management if they are not able to implement appropriate cross-cultural approaches within their structures. The reason for it is that working with foreign partners requires an understanding of the significance and role of culture, as well as its effects on individuals’ values, beliefs, and attitudes. Companies’ cross-cultural management should address the same issues to be effective.
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Cross-Cultural Management: Link Between Culture and Organisational Behaviour
Cross-cultural management can be referred to as the leaders’ ability to establish trust-based and respectful relationships among team members. It may be a challenging task due to the reasons presented above, such as differences in views regarding work-related issues, gender roles, and communication. Cross-cultural management within an organisation can be performed with reference to comparative and international perspectives. The first approach is often considered synonymous to cross-cultural management itself, as it addresses sociological and psychological differences between employees coming from diverse backgrounds (Bird & Mendenhall, 2016). There is a direct link between culture and organisational behaviour because the former affects both staff members’ actions and the company’s leadership style. For example, there may be significant differences in how employees coming from the United Kingdom and those living in Japan handle stressful situations or approach conversations because these cultures have developed according to different dimensions. This issue implies that cross-cultural management should aim at teaching employees how to minimize challenges posed by differences in their perspectives and benefit from diversity.
The second approach to cross-cultural management is an intercultural one, which is different from the comparative one. This approach is focused on how individuals coming from various cultural backgrounds handle management and leadership practices in general. It uses theories from the fields of cross-cultural psychology, intercultural communication, and social psychology (Bird & Mendenhall, 2016). The intercultural aspect of cross-cultural management is also vital for leaders because it can help them to analyze the potential benefits and disadvantages of different employees’ approaches to work. From the perspective of organizational behavior, it means that a company should analyze how its staff members prefer to interact with others, what communication style they tend to choose, and what leadership style they respond to positively.
One may think that globalization has led to challenges in the workplace due to the increased lack of communication and understanding between employees; however, it is not true. It is vital to note that ensuring diversity in the workplace is crucial because it can improve decision-making processes, enhance the talent pool, and contribute to a wider customer base (Guillaume et al., 2017). At the same time, the positive impact of diversity can only be present as a result of effective cross-cultural management because companies should work on fostering positive interactions between individuals coming from different backgrounds. Otherwise, differences in cultural backgrounds among staff members can lead to decreased job performance, increased number of conflicts, and lower employee morale (Guillaume et al., 2017). As a result, organizational behavior should be designed to mitigate possible challenges associated with culture and ensure that diversity in the workplace is beneficial for its operations.
In summary, it is possible to say that organizational behavior should be designed according to the needs of cross-cultural teams and the traits of particular individuals. Companies can implement the strategies of so-called servant leadership, which implies the establishment of an environment in which all employees can feel accepted regardless of their failures and be confident in their actions (Seto & Sarros, 2016). This type of leadership is focused on employees’ interests while also encouraging them to show concern about the company’s operations. Seto and Sarros report that servant leaders should have a desire and an ability to motivate the members of cross-cultural teams, enhance their self-esteem, and put the organization’s needs above their own. Moreover, they should offer hope and guidance to the employees, which is particularly significant as many of them may experience challenges while working in a diverse environment. Such an approach to leadership can enhance organizational behavior as well, establishing quality working relationships between the teams and their superiors.
Significance of Cross-Cultural Management
Both cross-cultural and international management are vital for ensuring excellent organizational performance. One of the primary causes of it is the fact that globalization has led to significant changes in the way companies should handle their operations. As many firms start to work with foreign partners, they should be aware of the possible differences in other enterprises’ approaches to business. It means that it is vital for businesses to have a high level of cultural awareness. In some countries, such as the USA, employers may need to have even greater cross-cultural sensitivity due to a high level of diversity in the nation’s population (United States Census Bureau, 2017). Thus, cross-cultural management measures within an organization are a necessity.
Existing literature in the field shows that paying attention to cultural values employees have and managing diversity in the workplace can improve organizational culture and behavior significantly, which, in turn, can lead to increased employee commitment and loyalty (Hock, Clauss & Schulz, 2016). Cross-cultural management should promote open communication, ensure strong and trust-based relationships between staff members, and minimize the adverse effects of diversity. For example, Ghodrati, Joorabchi, and Muati report that increased diversity in the workplace has led to the expansion of discrimination. Effective cross-cultural management measures should be designed to eliminate the impact of this issue because employees’ well-being is crucial for the development of organizations (Zheng et al., 2015). Thus, it is vital to implement effective cross-cultural management principles to minimize possible problematic issues.
It is crucial to add that cross-cultural management can enhance employees’ affective commitment, too. Ashikali and Groeneveld report that this type of commitment not only motivates an employee to work harder and be loyal to an organization but also to have an emotional bond with the company. As a result, members of cross-cultural teams may feel more involved in the firm’s operations and be more willing to work towards its goals (Ashikali & Groeneveld, 2015). Affective commitment can be considered a result of effective diversity management because it can help employers to attract and retain individuals coming from various cultural backgrounds. Thus, it is possible to say that effective cross-cultural management measures are beneficial to both companies and employees.
Ashikali, T & Groeneveld, S 2015, ‘Diversity management in public organizations and its effect on employees’ affective commitment: the role of transformational leadership and the inclusiveness of the organizational culture’, Review of Public Personnel Administration, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 146-168.
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Thomas, DC & Peterson, MF 2018, Cross-cultural management: essential concepts, Sage Publications, Los Angeles, CA.
United States Census Bureau 2017, The nation’s older Population is still growing, Census Bureau reports. Web.
Zheng, X, Zhu, W, Zhao, H & Zhang, C 2015, ‘Employee well‐being in organizations: theoretical model, scale development, and cross‐cultural validation’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 621-644.