Table of Contents
- Cultural Differences and Diversity
- Language & Culture
- Relation Building of Multicultural Group
- Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
- The Impact of The Cultural Diversity on Interaction Process Cultural Differences
- Solution to Better/ More Efficient Interaction and Productivity
- Required Intercultural Competences Necessary for Successful Multicultural Teams
Table of Abbreviations
|PDI||Power Distance Index|
|MMCD||Multidimensional Model for Developing Cultural Competency|
|BCG||Boston Consulting Group|
|LTO||Long Term Orientation|
|LTO||Long Term Orientation|
In the past few decades, need of leaders for cross-cultural interaction have increased in organization both domestically and globally. Research and training by proficient multicultural leaders has now become obligatory in U.S. due to evolution to a universal economy and soaring diversification within the work culture. Leadership improves the personal, social and professional lives. (Ng and Sifford) Corporate believes that leaders bring unique assets to the business and improve the bottom line (Northouse, 1). Leadership develops vision and strategy helping others as facilitator, persuader and trainer to grow within the organization by stimulating and inspiring the supporters (Ryan, 1). It is important for multifaceted leaders to be environment-responsive. In order to learn new answers, they require great curiosity and enthusiasm; they need a large interest and an eagerness to consume new field signals such as faith, social community, literature, architecture, culture, and geography. (Pedersen and Connerley, ix)
Multiculturalism is an example of a backlash to ethnic and theological diversity of political theory. As an overarching term, multiculturalism is used to describe the correct and biassed statements of a number of disadvantaged communities, including women, gays and homosexuals, disabled persons and African Americans. Most of the theories of diverse culture focused on the comments and arguments of ethnic and minority groups like Latinos in US, Muslims in Arabian countries, and also in nations like Catalans, Basque, Welsh etc and also the native peoples of North America, Maori in New Zealand. Cross-culture deals with the policy of dissimilarity and recognition and that which is concerned with the disrespected identities and altering governing policies. It also requires economic consciousness and democratic authority and appeals for black people’s remedies on economic and political problems (Song)
Members of the multicultural team include diverse leadership strategies, operating methods, mechanisms of decision-making, and forms of assessing performance. Successful management of multicultural teams is to recognise the key cultural sources of tension, and ensure that all teams operate well and enable their participants to cope with potential challenges. Management means coping efficiently and creatively with the problems that may occur, when workers connect with each other from diverse backgrounds to reach a shared purpose. Cooperation and teamwork often add to productivity and fulfilment that would not otherwise be feasible. In an organisation, the successful execution of particular activities, programmes and priorities involves a close relationship between the classes.
Globalization and Technology have created a work culture that makes necessary for member of the teams to depend on one another to achieve their mission successfully. Such teams are a collection of employees having different cultural background, sharing their responsibilities and are interdependent on each other managing their relationship within and outside the organization. (Tirmizi, Halverson, 2-3). At first a leader should decide about the implementation of styles of leadership to treat each culture differently. A leadership style across culture is always considerate, sincere and appreciated. Unless and until everyone in an organization adapts the organizational environment it is difficult to move in a right direction and attain profits. (Tips for Leading Multi-Cultural Team)
Cultural Differences and Diversity
Inter group conflict between diverse groups can take place due of misunderstanding and misperception that relate to different views of cultural group. Few scholars have notified that cognitive differences between groups are the primary source of conflict. Alderfer and Smith have sited this with an example of cultural difference between the Whites and he Blacks. In their study that have notified that most of the managers in the large organization treated Whites and Blacks differently, as the White men and women are promoted more rapidly than the Black men and women despite having same skills, qualifications and efficiency.
It was also found in the same research that there are two help networks in that organisation, one is the black managers association composed of all Black managers and a Foreman’s club composed of first-level supervisors mainly of White people. These types of groups are increasingly coming up revealing cultural differences in an organization. From the recent study of Judith Lichtenberg, there are two different language of race among the White and Black Americans. Further he also revealed that White defines racism precisely as they believe in racial superiority whereas the view of Black tends to define it as a set of practices that may result in the domination of Black people. (Cox)
Language & Culture
In an organization there are colleagues working in different languages that may at times limit the access of being heard. Nuance matters in language differences which can be marked by an example of failure in analysis of the Accounting standards and procedures of Latin America by the U.S. The Latin Americans are more formal than U.S. and they often feel reluctant to discuss business matters any time of the day. U.S. Company selecting Latin American transportation equipment at a very low cost failed to realize the differences between metric and decimal measuring systems. (Diaz and Fauli) The primary barriers faced in an organization are differences in natural language that is used as a medium of expression one’s feelings and thoughts. Importance of language has been left out by many scholars .For example, Hofstedian dimensions made no inference about language. A tentative study portrayed that language impacts the organizational behavior to great extent. (Language in International Business) Language is one of the aspects of communication style especially the verbal. Non verbal communication is another characteristic of communication style which includes different facial impression, body language, gestures that can vary within different cultures. The extent of insolence in communication can add to cultural misinterpretation .For example, a loud voice is interpreted as excitement by Indians, Jewish, and Italian Americans and same is interpreted as fight by White Americans. (Raibinowitz, & Schultz)
Relation Building of Multicultural Group
Cox has recommended few strategies for dealing with the cultural differences .One is ‘Altering Personnel’ that aims to educate the existing employees to obtain better knowledge of cultural differences. Another strategy is to recruit and promote those with lenient and flexible personalities, so that they can support the cultural-diversity change initiatives productively within the organization. Such employees are tolerant and accept various cultures which may reduce the conflict arising due to cultural differences. Redefining can also aid cultural differences as it is cited through an example given by Blau revealing that if the activities within the group increase it motivates intellectual accomplishment that aim at valuing the diversity rather than tolerating it. Structured interaction can also resolve differences through inter-departmental task, in which specific work is to be accomplished by helping the various departments and interacting with them, that may facilitate one group to know the norms and language of the other. Even informal meetings within and outside the organization can also help in reducing the cognitive differences (Cox). Education refers to the psychosomatic learning in every field whereas training refers exclusively to the application of that education to the development of practical and research skills in the work practice.
Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
Prof.Geert Hofstede has viewed cultural differences as a cause of conflict than a synergy that is often a nuisance or a disaster. Especially the people employed abroad are more bothered about the different cultures and behavior. Dr. Geert had made a detailed study regarding the cultural differences in the workplace. (Paul, 155).In his study he had developed a model identifying dimensions to differentiate cultures which can be better understood by stating the underlying cultural dimensions.
Power Distance Index (PDI) – This index states the degree of equality and inequality within the society, the less powerful people in the association suppose that the power is distributed unequally. A high PDI indicates inequalities of power and wealth in the society which believes in caste system and do not permit a significant upward of its citizens, whereas a lower rank is for the society where equality and opportunity is focused and no difference between power and wealth sustain. (Paul, 155-156)
Individualism (IDV) – This indicates the degree to which the individuals are not integrated into groups. This refers that society where the bonding between the families is not so strong and individual need depend on themselves alone. While collectivists are those people who have a strong bonding with their families and society from birth. A high IDV ranking marks the individuality and individual rights are dominant within that society having very less focus on their relationships, whereas a low individualism notify that part of the society having close ties between the individual and the group. These group are of collective in nature involves in taking more responsibilities for their members of the group. (Paul, 155-156)
Masculinity (MAS) – It refers to the inequality of distribution of roles between the genders within the society and focuses on the male power and control over the female population of the society. The study reveals the difference in the values and culture in the society between the men and women. Men have assertive and competitive views different from the women. The assertive pole is the ‘masculine’ and the gentle and humble pole is known as ‘feminine’. Feminine countries have the same caring and humble values men has in the masculine countries, but in male dominated society ; women enjoys less rights compared to men. A low ranking indicates the country enjoys less discrimination between the genders where high ranking country females get dominated and controlled by the male society. (Paul, 155-156)
Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) – It focuses on the level of uncertainty and ambiguity within the society. It indicates the effect of culture on the members in an unstructured society. Uncertainness avoiding cultures tries to evade the surprising, unknown events by abiding by strict laws, rules and security measures. In an uncertainness country, people are more indifferent and reflective and are not accepted as emotional. A high grade indicates more concern for ambiguity having less rules and laws and readiness to recognize any change within the society whereas a low grade culture is always reluctant to adopt any change. (Paul, 155-156)
Long Term Orientation (LTO) – This is the fifth dimension found by study of 23 countries around the world. Determination and thrift are the long-term values and short term values deal with respect for society, tradition and societal compulsion. Asian Countries have believed in truth, can accept change and have zeal for investments whereas Western Countries are more secure and conservative and score a low rank. (Paul, 155-156)
The various dimensions of the Hofstede are further illustrated by the scores of U.S. through the chart given below:-
(Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimension)
The above chart clearly shows the cultural dimensions of U.S. on the basis of various indications. According to his research only 7 countries have maximum (IDV) Individualism magnitude from which USA has an IDV of 91 which indicates a country with a more individualistic approach and weak bonds with their families. Masculinity dimensions are the highest rank after IDV that interprets a high degree of gender difference; women are dominated by the male society that makes female inhabitants more assertive and competitive. Whereas Long Term Orientation (LTO) marks a low dimension that indicates a weak belief of the society in meeting the obligations and appreciation for cultural traditions. Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) also shows a very low dimension in the chart above indicating that the society has few rules and also fail attempt to control all outcomes and results. (Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimension)
The Impact of The Cultural Diversity on Interaction Process Cultural Differences
In recent times multicultural teams are becoming common. People from different backgrounds are different with various external constraints. Sometimes communications with the colleagues become more awake as compared to their families which may sometimes lead to family problem. Diversity Inc has marked that communication within the corporate is a success to organizational diversity, ranging from review of company’s vision to explaining the company’s standpoint on diversity. This endeavor needs to be proactive and should not only be a courtesy to the shareholders but should also be a deliberate business effort. The Public Relations should efficiently get involve in communicating the organization’s mission and vision statements if diversity maximizes within the entity. From the study of Sheng it is revealed that effective public relation practice within the different culture, establish an intellectual understanding, valuing diversity and regular interaction. (Toth, Grunig and Grunig) Interaction with varied culture groups increased because people from different countries work in a particular organization. This led to diverse culture background intermarriage and children are grown up in different cultures and have fusion of cultural identities. Globalization and technology have decreased the barriers of interaction between varied culture people. But global homogeneity always remains a question in the minds of people. The multicultural society is escalating at a high rate in United States, and American English is their prime language that creates complexity for the non-native English people to cultivate in them. Programs have been launched to assist those people to become skilled at communicating in English. These hindrances not only prevail in not only in private organization but also in government and academic institutions. This diversity allows people to interact, unite and share and work with new setting. An organization benefits with diversity as it promote innovative brain with fresh ideas and new approach in achieving the goals. The main confront is to visualize different understanding, anticipation regarding group dynamics, societal ritual and managing style. Even though there are many tools in creating dynamic multicultural atmosphere, but excellent communication skill is heart for business. (Lewis)
History has enough instances during the Nineteenth century where Native Americans people were forced to live in reservation and the Govt. had decided to move them to Great American Desert from the Middle America, actions in South America that forced one culture to eliminate other culture (Sinha).Catholic actions in Sri Lanka also marked the cultural imperialism in the country where all Hindu and Buddhist temples was burnt and threatened the people to adopt Christianity (Smandych and Hamm, 35) Many instances also revealed the benefits of blend of multicultural interactions especially between Indian and U.S that has increased drastically because of export and import of goods and services. In U.S minorities have covered the major population in the metropolitan areas. Studies also disclose that diverse human resource can lead to creativity and efficiency whereas failure to integrate within the cultures had negative implication that can at times lead to legal actions; for instance the discrimination suits against esteemed company like Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and Xerox.
Factors that affect the management and leadership of the team are national, corporate, functional culture and personal attributes. National cultures describes the assorted affect on the activities of the team, method of communication, course of time , individual space, competitiveness and the human opinions as the difference of Italian colleague being shy and reserved whereas a German guy can be distracted with timetables. Corporate Culture describes affect of the culture within the organization; for example, in a large entity the goals are achieved in a structured and organized way implementing hierarchic and bureaucratic approach .But in the case of Internet based company, the environment would be completely difference with 5-6 creative artists. Functional culture describes the nature of the industry that explains the diverse role, function and duty in different industry and job demands different skills and practice .Team development also plays a great role in management of team. The job of the team entrants is to acquire information about the rules and history of the team. Personal Attributes involves the personality, individual experience, reward outlook, acknowledgement and happiness from working in a team. In fact the efficient interaction and advancement within the teams depends on the member adaptation of the team cultures. Sustainable team can only be created if the members are successful in dealing with the dimensions of national culture (Sinha).
The table below lists the factors and their attributes focusing on team building
|Factors||Characters and Attributes|
|National Culture||Time orientation, Style of communication, Competitiveness|
|Corporate Culture||Structure of team like structured, hierarchical, and bureaucratic|
|Nature of Industry||Dress, Language, etiquettes, code of conduct|
|Stage of Team development||Security and confidence|
|Personal attributes||Personality, competence profile, Expectation of rewards.|
Cultures not only infer the living standard of the people but also focus on the understanding of the language of the people. Same words are interpreted in a different manner by different cultures that increase the misunderstanding between the people. Cognitive, behavior and emotional constraints affects the forms of communication. In one of the books of Cohen, he argued that cross-cultural differences have high impact on the political negotiations that can affect the varied cultural convention, custom, meaning, statement, principle and observation. The study also stated that culture shapes the personal character and communication highlights courtesy; build rapport, tact and even indirectness while individualistic cultures undermine the communication perspective relationship building. (Cohen, 7) Brannen and Salk reveal in their research that the consequences of complex diversity and suggests that cultural differences may not always have a negative impact on the performances but it is the individual’s instinct that respond to the cultural norms and policies. (Tirmizi, Halverson, 7)
Solution to Better/ More Efficient Interaction and Productivity
Employees can come from different culture, religion, caste and creed but that should not affect the overall performance of the employees. Managers should understand the instincts of their employees and they should identify the problem being faced by their employees, they should be properly guided and trained to attain maximum outcome out of them. If the employees are having problem in regards to the multi-culture, steps should be taken to sort it out. (Singer)
Harvard Business School has commented on the ways the employees should deal with their contemporaries in a diverse workplace. The study alleged that as diverse cultures interprets information in varied way; when a message comes from a superior level they do not trust it as a valid source as they assume the source to be a leader or a senior member in the association. Quite praise system should be induced because employees feel de-motivated and uncomfortable been not appraised among the other employees. International employees should be provided with early and proper training through any orientation session to get them accustomed to the entity’s culture. It is also suggested to assess the rules, constraint and policies of the organization during the interview process in advance to evade the fallacy about the conduct. Employees should retain their own cultural nuances and should get tailored to workplace culture that may adversely effect the intuition of the employees. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) also suggested that the non-foreign –born should also be trained to make them familiarize with the company’s mission and importance of diversity both across the organization and with the clients. Managers should understand the effect of acculturation process on the foreign employees so that they are comfortable with a foreign culture. Miller suggested that mentors should be assigned to a new employee from a different culture to assist in helping ease integration. If the employee’s spouse or family is concerned in the move, they should also be made comfortable with the change. The study marked that about 44% of such employees have failed because their spouse are reluctant to change. A better approach suggested by Valentine that new employee can be mentored with the peer group accompanying with an experienced employee. Coca Cola Company also has such mentoring program. According to the media relation manager of the esteemed company, the program facilitates skill development, encouraging the employee to perform better by assigning a sponsor manger guiding and training them effectively. Setting examples to the employees can be useful through the system of open-door communication because employees unused to the present practices of the business may feel reluctant to approach the superiors regarding any issue. But if the employers themselves approach them with suggestions and feedback then it can bridge the communication gap within the various levels of management. This idea encourages employees to work productively and efficiently. Using of slang, metaphors and idioms can be difficult for other culture people to interpret them. The verbal and non-verbal languages should be understandable by all and jargon and colloquialisms should be avoided. The best technique is to crate an environment favorable for participation of all cultures to ensure the company’s goal is achieved successfully. Subordinates should decide on the best way of communication with their colleagues and understand the personal and professional concerns. Mangers should also make decisions based on the company’s mission and vision rather than on the personal choices and traditions. BCG rightly suggested that to understand different markets, diverse culture employees should be present within an organization. (Harvard Management Communication Letter) The change management should be undergone in a correct manner among the people coming from different cultures to get accustomed in the workplace. Effective change management strategy involves understanding of the need and the nature of change and the process involves the preparation to accept the change. The next stage of the method includes the phase in transition in which the workers begin to do stuff in a different manner. The final step involves the refreeze step where employees reflect the change in the daily approach of their work. The change implemented if becomes successful is evaluated during the course. The diagrammatic process of the change is depicted below.
(Lewin’s Change Management Model, n. d)
Required Intercultural Competences Necessary for Successful Multicultural Teams
Competent leaders are necessary for a foreign market to thrive. Multicultural therapy plays a major part in the application of explicit cultural techniques that are compatible with the client’s cultural ethics. The three-dimensional human life, as entity, community and universal, is further elicited by this method. This attempts to combine individualism in the socio-cultural sense with collectivism. By building understanding of one’s cognition, values and biases, gaining comprehension of the customs of different ethnic groups and culturally relevant intervention, certain counsellors must possess some basic competencies. Multifaceted leaders and coaches discuss the matter where decorum and reverence are treated by all staff, partners, clients in terms of their individual measurements. (Ng and Sifford). In the office, they are involved in a continuous phase of competence through understanding, expertise and abilities to build a pleasant atmosphere that celebrates diversity. Awareness is to be created concerning the influence of the cultural setting on one another and gaining familiarity about the affect of one’s own racial identity that affects values, beliefs associated to career behaviors. Career counselor expand competencies by reflecting on own cultural background, clarifying the career development process by understanding the culture of the clients and becoming aware of the discrimination and domination globally that can affect the work culture. Sue had suggested that acquiring knowledge about of the colleagues is important. It helps in getting accustomed with the sociopolitical system, legislations and the institutional barriers. Conferences on racial diversity and understanding work experiences and career of cultural diverse members can also be helpful to gain awareness. Skills can be developed by emphasizing the interference of the individuals and the organizational levels. Counselors explain the career counseling process, prospect and goals of assessment mechanism and conduct such assessment of ethnic backgrounds and train them with non-standardized assessment tactic useful for counseling. Sue had stated that the leaders work during different dimensions following the Multidimensional Model for Developing Cultural Competency (MMCD) to work from the root level of proficiency. The diagram of MMCD will enhance readers to understand the 3 dimensions of multicultural model.
|Dimension 1||Dimension 2||Dimension 3|
|Diversity category of cultural competence||Components of cultural competence||Foci of cultural competence|
The three dimensions intend at delivering effective multicultural communication that explains the need to accept different category of people with focus and components of cultural competence.
The first dimension is associated with varied race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. Multiculturalism can lessen the importance of race as a powerful dimension as individuals are reluctant to discuss on such issues compared to other socio demographical diversity. Advance understanding of cross culture can weaken the race differences by understanding the socio political forces that may facilitate people to absorb the existence of diffeent culture. To further recognize the development of personal identity, Sue had designed a Tripartite Framework with 3 concentric circles of individual, group and universal. The framework shows that individual can belong to more than one culture group; where some group are more prominent than others and can change depending on circumstances whereas the other group may not change. In addition to this he said that all human beings are unique and belong to certain type and are born in a cultural shape of values, system and social practice influencing others. Thus, every level of individuality should be viewed as permeable with varied salience. (Pedersen and Connerley, 75-77)
The second dimension that comprise of awareness, knowledge, skills has been endorsed as the most eloquent exemplar by the Association for Counselor Association to evaluate counseling competencies across cultures. Through awareness accurate opinions, attitudes and assumptions can be obtained. Knowledge provides the basic understanding of diverse cultures that if known to the employees can facilitate them in dealing with other cultures members. Skilled leaders explore for educational, developmental and training experience to progress in better understanding and to succeed in working with different individuals. (Pedersen and Connerley, 77-80)
The third dimension illustrates the foci of cultural competence that scrutinize the individual level verses organizational level. As the history and culture affects the attitudes of employees and implementation of ideas, the organization should support and reward those actions. Further he stated the obstacle at individual level are biases, prejudice and misinformation; professional level barriers are ethical code of conduct, psychology and standard of practice ; hindrance in organizational level are monoculture policies, structures, practices and programs; at societal level are ethnocentric monoculturalism, power to define reality and Euro American historical bias. Various barriers of competency and the bridge for overcoming them are conversed through the different levels. At individual level to contribute valuable social services, leaders must deal with their own biasness, bigotry and propaganda regarding the diverse group in the society. As people perceive themselves as decent and moral, they find difficult to acknowledge biasness. Politeness is the nature of human, so regular discussion of racial differences can be unpleasant to others. At times dealing with bias goes beyond the rational exercise that can affect the emotions of the people. In this level affirmative changes must arise in their attitudes, values, emotions and behavior concerning the diverse population. Both the instructor and the learner should identify internal issues relating to personal belief systems, conduct and emotions while communicating with other racial groups.
Third dimension also focused on the professional level as the societal work profession developed from perception of Western European .So a social work or welfare may be construed differently in regards to the cultural groups. Leaders should go beyond attending workshops and train them with the practical experiences. Different cultures reveal leadership variedly, for instance Americans reveal good leaders as independent and forceful, whereas Japan leaders are pleasant, in France mangers are portrayed as experts , whereas United States think leaders as problem solver. Americans exhibit their leaders to be effective if they posses good soft skills, intelligence and integrity and Japanese efficient leaders are good listener, extrovert and flexible. The above illustration suggests that different culture follow different traits. At organizational level, the employees are expected to abide by the rules, policies and structure of the organization that can be oppressive to other groups. If such policies hamper the performance of such groups and make them de-motivated, then they should be trained and assisted to absorb such culture.
At societal levels, if the social policies like racial profiling, misunderstandings and inequalities are unfavorable to certain groups, then the leaders need to advocate for change. Initiatives should be taken at individual level when there is emergence of adapting preventive measures. (Sue, 38) ;( Pedersen and Connerley, 80-82)
Sue’s unique contributions assisted the leaders in dealing with the cross-cultural groups as it strikes a balance between simplicity and complexity by providing both qualitative and quantitative data. The research also involved clear critical facets by making the model both descriptive and prescriptive.
The report has aimed to focus on the study of cross-cultural group and their need for leadership training and development in the organization. It has also shown the history of multicultural group in a society and the way they are excluded from the society. This not only prevailed in a society but also in an organizational environment that hamper the performance of those employees. The chapter has also explained the Hofstede Cultural Dimension, which facilitated in understanding the ranking of dimension of different countries. The study focused on the views of different culture in the society and the way they are interpreted. The model also revealed the discrimination between the genders and the belief of uncertainty and ambiguity in the society. The report also involves the unique contribution by Derald Sue in managing cultural competency that helped managers and the leaders to communicate with the diverse cultural group effectively. Many scholars suggested the importance of communication with the multifaceted group can lead to improved performance of the team.
The report concludes that with proper interaction, a cultural team can feel to be a part of the organization. Management and leaders should particularly focus on such human resource to get them accustomed with the policies of that organization. This approach can facilitate the employees to retain and yield possible results. The report provide insights that people coming from different region, caste and culture with excellent brains and skills can only perform well, if they feel comfortable with the work environment. The findings from this study promise to enhance our understanding about the specific nature, language and the traditions of the multicultural team. Leaders can develop knowledge, expertise and behavior that may lead to mutual appreciation. They can create consciousness and anticipate cultural similarities and differences to communicate with the divergent cultures that can yield more productive and pleasing work situation. (Pedersen and Connerley, 46)
This research will help people to understand the tools adapted by the leaders to solve the problem of dissimilarities between employees. Additionally, it also summarizes the effectiveness of interaction with all individuals and accepting the team members of different culture, race, religion and genders with bare minimum misinterpretation. Cases from history are also cited for better understanding of multiculturalism to support a culture satisfying both the team members and the leaders embracing the diversity.
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