What is the meaning of globalization in the context of cross-cultural management with a special focus on the evolution of our understanding of national culture and cultural change’ (Bird & Fang, p.139)?
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In the context of cross-cultural management, globalization is reshaping the way people think and behave thereby fostering cultural change in societies. It is through globalization that cultures can learn and inspire each other especially with the approval of cultural differences and collisions. The understanding of national culture and cultural change has evolved over the years. This paper guides one on the occurrence of cultural trends.
Cultural group independence was first introduced by Sir Francis Galton in the 19th century in his work on correlation. He realized that cultural groups engaged in cultural transfusion processes that could not be easily singled out. Scholars became interested in cultural change and cultural ecology in the 1950s. Cultural ecology is a phenomenon of culture that has evolved as a response to the natural environment and that which emerged as a potential area on anthropological research. The 1970s were a period when cultural research went through rigorous theoretical development in the field of anthropology. There were calls for a thick description of culture that had to be supported in the field of social life. A clear distinction between the ecological theory of culture and the ideational one was made (Bird & Fang, 2009, 130-140).
Geert Hofstede developed a basic shift concerning how culture would be viewed. He welcomed an explosion of empirical investigations to look into cultural variation. This way, the concept of culture was successfully narrowed down into simple and measurable segments through the adoption of national culture as the fundamental analytical unit. He shaped managerial behavior by establishing cultural values as the governing force. Hofstede’s work helped in sharpening people’s awareness of cultural differences. Large scale studies such as the GLOBE project adopted his view of cultural value frameworks (Bird & Fang, 2009, 140).
Globalization is responsible for the paradoxical movement of cultures. There is the emergence of global cultures that transcend national cultures and boundaries. Then, there is the synchronization power of the internet alongside wireless technology that provides local cultural values and companies with unprecedented universal exposure. Cultural ecology and learning have been the central force revolving around the globalization of cultures. Cultural ecology is important in containing cultures as “special, unique and idiosyncratic phenomenon” while cultural learning opens and pushes the cultures towards a common, universally interwoven and non-idiosyncratic phenomenon thereby enhancing globalization in a cross-cultural context (Bird & Fang, 2009, 141). Globalization supports the creation of common interests, values, meanings, and cultures that can be attained among individuals of varying cultures with the help of the internet and mobile phones. Cross-cultural management is achieved in this sense (Bird & Fang, 2009, 140-141).
Write a critical analysis of the concept of national political culture and its importance in guiding management practices. Do this concept and its theoretical framework provide managers with the ability to ‘appraise the legitimacy of the management practices that they are trying to implement’ (Chevrier, p.181)? If not, what other factors must also be considered?
National political culture is what entails people with different behaviors and views to share. A national political culture is simply the living together of people with different national cultures. It is a set of references, which have been developed and promoted by society via myths to deal with the tensions that it comes across and to do away with the fundamental threats it is scared of the most. It is influential to sense-making processes that are present in all levels of social life; whether political institutions or organizations (Chevrier, 2009, 172).
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The national political culture does not support individual power; rather, it aims to maintain differences that create pressure directed towards equality. This search for equality is associated with the implication of duty with each person trying to behave like the other. As a result, mistrust and intolerance are generated towards peculiar women and men. Individual responsibility is encouraged but not the emergence of exceptional characters.
National political culture is very imperative in fostering quality management. This is because “management consists of making men and women work together on a collective project as it is a political activity” (Chevrier, 2009, 178). If different people do not share some fundamental conceptions of human dignity, social order, justice, liberty, and equality, then it becomes difficult for them to work successfully when together.
National political culture anchors discussions that are prevalent among employees. Discussions enable employees in any given working place to reveal their perceptions about quality based on the topic of discussion. Taking the example of an engineering company in Switzerland, quality management is achieved through the production of quality products that are in part supported by national political culture. Discussions as mentioned above play a key role in the production of quality products through fine-tuned dialogue between the engineers.
National political culture instills in managers the knowledge to “appraise the legitimacy of management practices they are trying to implement” (Chevrier, 2009, 181). Cross-cultural variations in organizations require understanding. One such situation is where international assignees, whose role is to manage local managers and employees charged with the responsibility of “cross-cultural transfer of management practices” at the local level (Chevrier, 2009, 180). Managers have got to look into the behaviors and design tools that are not solely respectful of legal constraints but which also fall within the cultural context.
The development of national political culture knowledge is more arduous than the application of do’s and don’ts but, it is more powerful. It opens an opportunity for one to interpret social practices and meanings. However, unlike the directive guides, it leaves no room for innovation. Knowledge of appraising the legitimacy of management practices to be implemented anchors managerial ability due to the aspect of sharing.
Bird, Allan and Fang, Tony. (2009) Editorial: cross cultural management in the age of globalization. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 9 (2), 139– 142. Available through Sage Premier Database [Online]. Web.
Chevrier, Sylvie. (2009) Is national culture still relevant to management in a global context? The case of Switzerland, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 9 (2), 169–181, Available through Sage Journals [Online]. Web.