The paper "Cross-Cultural Management and Communication in Business' is a good example of business coursework. In today’ s world, globalization has become an accepted phenomenon. Not only are manufacturing companies looking for new markets and low-cost production centers around the globe to maintain their competitive edge and to grow, but service organizations also find growth prospects limited in-home countries over the long run. Especially, countries that were economic laggards a few years back – like many in Asia and Latin America – are emerging as new economic powers hence inviting large doses of foreign investment both in manufacturing and services.
With the globalization of trade, industry and technology, every aspect of a business organization becomes internationalized. According to Goman (1994), "Markets no longer stop at national boundaries, neither do corporations… . For organizations to flourish, let alone survive, their perspective must be global. " Hence, the business environment of global companies is considerably different now than what it was prior to the World War II when most companies concentrated on the domestic market or even during the Cold War era when companies originating from particular blocs operated in similar friendly countries.
Imports were limited and products that were exported were basically the same as that sold at home. In the present times, on the other hand, multinational production is a reality, with the largest American and European companies conducting most of their businesses abroad. However, globalization is essentially an executive-led activity and the workforce has hardly any role to play in this (Goman, 1994). Hence, managing in the global business environment that operates in multiple cultures requires a lot of learning issues for the executives. In such a scenario of global economic growth, international managers have a key role to play in different organizational and inter-personal cultures as well as with varied forms of governments and markets.
As Stanek (2000) says, "Today's global organizations require international managers that understand and can respond to customers, governments and competitors alike". To begin with, international managers must know what the local employees are thinking and what their perception about the required change is. Wright et al (1999, cited in Granell, 2000) found from a survey of organizations that globalization was the most important pressure for change in organizational culture, followed by technology advances, skill shortages and competition.
Particularly for American and European companies, globalization was found to be the main incentive to change. It is for the leaders in the organization to anticipate the future of the company and constantly evolve. At the same time, leaders need to encourage employees to question the prevailing situation and the steps being taken. Employee feedback on their perception of the change is also critical. In a business environment that is changing continuously, employees are concerned over their security.
Hence, they expect the management to provide them with comprehensive and honest answers to their concerns. Cultural integration is the most crucial aspect of international business since insensitivity to local culture might result in resistance from the local people, thus affecting overall services. For example, Granell (2000) describes the experience of a Cuban expatriate in Hong Kong who did not dare to take any decision without consulting feng shui after he found that local people did not respect a non-believer. Typically in Asia, collectivism prevails, by which group learning and execution of tasks are preferred to the western notion of individualism, in which individual aspirations and performance are encouraged (Granell, 2000).
There are more subtle differences in the work cultures of the eastern and western world. Like, Americans are typically work-centred and do not hesitate to work late hours if a project needs to be completed. Europeans and Asians, on the other hand, despise working into “ unsociable hours” , thereby provoking resistance if ordered to do so (Jassawala et al. , 2004). Expatriates need to understand the values, attitudes and behavioral practices, including language use and gestures as well as interpersonal skills, in the host country.
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