Sample Management Essays on Cross-Cultural Management

Cross-Cultural Management

The last two decades have witnessed an increasing number of multinational companies expanding their business ventures across the world. The explosion of these firms into the global market has facilitated by globalization, removal of trade barriers, and advancement of technology. However, the organizations face challenges ranging from legal, cultural, political, and environmental during their operations, access to the market, and employment. Since human resource is an integral part of the business operation at all levels, cross-cultural differences are inevitable; hence there is a need for effective cross-cultural management of human resources.

Effective cross-cultural management is a growing challenge facing the majority of multinational companies. Many countries have implemented the equity policy and that of diversification to ensure equal access to employment opportunities (Ruzagiriza, 2017). The demand for cross-cultural management in organizations has increased substantially because of globalization, global division of labor, equal opportunity for all, and offshore outsourcing. Therefore, firms have been forced to implement effective cross-cultural management strategies that promote business performance, employees’ cohesion, and access to employment opportunities for minority groups (Ruzagiriza, 2017). Consequently, managers must understand cross-cultural management and adopt effective strategies that ensure a harmonious relationship within a collective group.

There are three aspects of cultural diversity, namely internal, external, and organizational dimensions. The intrinsic level exists within a person and includes age, race, sexual orientation and ethnicity (Ruzagiriza, 2017) Organization dimension refers to the individuals’ functions within the entity and professional affiliation, and it contributes to the organizational culture. However, leadership is a primary determinate of management of cultural diversity, hence the need for the establishment of transformative leadership to nurture cultural diversity and inclusion and formation of organization culture.

According to Ruzagiriza (2017), cross-cultural management is how an organization manages people from different cultural backgrounds, whose aim is to design operational framework and management strategies across diverse cultural history. Additionally, culture is defined as strong sets of perceptions and principles that when expressed can juxtapose those from other cultures (Sultan et al., 2013). There are three levels of cultures within a business environment, and these include national, organizational, and business culture (Siriphattrasophon, 2016). National culture is the dominant culture within the boundaries of a country while business culture is the values that govern acceptable business operations in a society. On the other hand, organizational culture refers to core objectives, mission, and internal adjustments that are achieved through collective mobilization and harmony among employees within an organization. Therefore, effective leadership is critical in attaining cultural diversity, hence need to integration policy that promotes equality, equal opportunities for all, and eliminates discrimination. For it to be efficient, leadership must streamline programs and objectives of the company to achieve the intended business goals.

Competent leadership is fundamental in establishing an organizational culture that promotes diversity, social interaction and giving a competitive business advantage. However, the failure of cross-cultural management occurs from insufficient cross-cultural awareness, inadequate understanding among managers, an inadequate willingness among managers, and insufficient levels of competencies and skills among managers. The failures are caused by a manager who is unaware of presence cultural dimension in management, managers who know the presence of cultural aspect but undervalues its impact, and also managers lacking intercultural competence (Siriphattrasophon, 2016).

A culturally conducive business environment helps the organization to access the market, determine what product to sell, and helps enterprises to come up with effective dispute resolution strategies. Companies such as coca cola combine a different degree of cultural adaptation, stages of development, and cultural integration to overcome challenges that may arise from cultural diversity to achieve the mentioned goal. Therefore, cross-cultural management performed through creating cultural synergies, conducive environment for cultural learning, skills development training, and employees’ recognition. For effective cultural management system, corporations should accept the existence of cultural diversity, development of consciousness of cultural diversity management for the leaders, and becoming aware of the differences.

Cultural Diversity at the Coca Cola Company

Multinational companies, for instance, Adidas, Nike, Petro-Canada, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft Company have acknowledged the positive impact of cultural diversity in achieving the competitive advantage of their enterprises. Culture plays a crucial role in influencing the choice of market, deciding what products to offer, and affects access to markets. Therefore, effective management of cultural diversity is essential in promoting organizational decision-making process, improving representativeness, and stimulates creativity among employees.

Equally, the Coca-Cola Company is one of the few international firms that have prioritized cross-cultural management in their operations (Coca Cola Company, 2018). The institution has adopted an inclusive policy supported by seven core values, namely collaboration, diversity, passion, quality, leadership, and accountability. Equally, the business workplace strategy attracts, develops, and retains diverse talents, provides support for groups with different expertise, and incorporates programs to educate all employees to be culturally sensitive (Coca Cola Company, 2018). Notably, the programs have enabled the firm to achieve sustainable growth, a fair work environment, and inclusivity. Furthermore, the company has adopted strategies that have allowed it to streamline its operation within the local culture. For instance, in China, the company has implemented the “Think local, Act local” model and incorporated Chinese religions in the advertisements.

Integrating business programs to conform to the local culture enhances access to the market and drives business goals. Its global leadership facilitates the application of the training program, with good insight and understanding of cultural management (Coca Cola Company, 2018). Furthermore, in its strategic plan, Coca-Cola has established a diversity advisory council and business resource group that aims to ensure effective management of diversity in culture and business prospects. The mentioned council is an example of a cultural competence committee, and it is made up of representatives such as legal experts, policymakers, and employees (CocaCola Company, 2018). The advisory council is responsible for establishing a culturally sensitive workplace to ensure employees cohesion.

The council is mandated to develop policies and regulations that ensure cultural competency is an integral part of the company’s cultural ethics and organizations culture. The firm has gained a competitive advantage, image, and marketing that has helped increase its productivity. Moreover, it has adopted programs such as Zero-tolerance for display of cultural insensitivity and established cultural competence committee, cultural diversity training, cultural training for expatriate employees, and global leadership within the workplace.

Diversity training is one of the primary strategies adopted by Coca-Cola Company in managing cultural diversity at the workplace (Manisha, 2018). Diversity training is an initiative taken by the management of a company or organization to create awareness of multiplicity and inclusivity in workplaces. There are two categories of diversity training, and these are awareness-based and Skill-based training. The latter deals with proficiency in tackling cultural difference in the organization and uses tools that help employees to interpret cross-cultural differences, adaptability, and intercultural communication (Manisha, 2018). Awareness-based training is used for sensitizing the employees and making them aware of their cultural assumptions and prejudice. The delivery of the program is through experiential exercises and case-studies (Manisha, 2018). Equally, the firm has adopted diversity training programs that drive employee’s engagements and create a work environment that values diversity and accelerates productivity.

The firm ensured the inclusion and diversity strategic plan, which is coordinated by the Diversity Advisory Council to ensure successful implementation of the training initiative. The training initiative is anchored on three pillars, namely diversity training, diversity library and diversity speaker series (CocaCola Company, 2018). The programs aim at minimizing conflicts and strengthening the company’s ability to reinforce its values for sustainable business growth (Chen, 2017). Thirdly, the company has employed an experienced manager to help in formulating and driving the organization diversity policy, and that includes the diversity training program (CocaCola Company, 2018). Furthermore, since the top leadership has to be involved in the training to make it successful, global leadership is a critical asset that has ensured the training is effectively cascaded down to the junior employees thereby providing continuity of the program.

Diversity training has enormous value to an organization like Coca-Cola. First, it creates an inclusive environment that encourages teamwork and harmony among the employees. Secondly, the initiative helps the firm to establish a competent team that is composed of people from different background, experience, and culture that improves business performance (Chen, 2017). Lastly, the training program creates a conducive environment that promotes behavior shift, encourages innovativeness, and supports positive organizational culture.

Global Alliances

Driven by the need to maximize and appreciate the turbulent business environment they operate in, businesses are increasingly embracing new business ideologies and strategies. One such business strategies, which many corporations have successfully implemented to accelerate growth is the formation of global alliances. While pooling for financial, technological, and human resources together is effective in venturing into new markets and industries, the move is characterized by inherent challenges (Kale & Singh, 2009).

One such challenge is the lack of autonomous decision making by the management of partnering companies. Such lack of autonomy provides room for underperformance by employees. Poor performance affect productivity, which is the lifeline of any business venture. Additionally, global alliances are easily beset by poor communication problems, which can spiral out of control. Without proper communication, partners in a global alliance and their employees would not effectively allocate resources and resolve conflicts, thus leading to business failure (Delaney, 2019).

Cultural differences especially at organizational level may curtail effective integration of operations and communication. Moreover, differences in legislations in home countries of both partners in the alliance and the home country of the new entity may lead to legal challenges. In some cases, the new venture may be a direct competitor of the alliance partners, leading to limitation of business opportunities.

Global alliances are remarkable in reshaping of organizational operations. If not effectively implemented, it may end up damaging the companies’ reputation, as well as financial and human resources. Implementing a global alliance requires the appointment of persons who will oversee the implementation process. The partners will then meet the legal requirements associated with such a business venture before getting down to putting their plan in motion. The partners should bring on board qualified human capital to implement the strategic alliance. Finally, it is imperative to carry out period analysis of the operation of the new venture. Analysis will measure progress while identifying areas that require improvement or strengthening.

Annotated Bibliography

Kundu, S. C., & Mor, A. (2017). Workforce diversity and organizational performance: a study of IT industry in India. Employee Relations39(2), 160-183.

The article discusses how the concept of diversity in contemporary organizations has changed over the years. According to Kundu and Mor, it has evolved from being a government obligation to a strategic priority that may help them corporations in gaining competitive advantage and becoming preferred employers. The author further stipulates that the manifestation of diversity alone does not guarantee increased performance or success and that firms need to manage their diversity strategies by valuing, celebrating, and encouraging it among their workforce. However, for the process to be successful, the entities should offer support services to their employees to enable them to develop a positive attitude and appreciate diversity practices implemented by the management.

Lu, C., & Fan, W. (2015). Cross-cultural Issues and International Business Communication Practice: From an Anthropological Perspective. The Anthropologist22(1), 15-24.

Lu and Fan stipulate that communication is considered one of the vital aspects that define the success of most modern organizations. The authors acknowledge that factors such as culture have a significant influence on the element of communication and strategies employed by the business. These elements serve as invisible barriers that may limit the growth and survival of most institutions, and it is essential for both growth and survival. Therefore, Lu and Fan suggest that international institutions should ensure they employ concepts of cross-cultural management in running their organizations due to the increased levels of diversity in the contemporary market. The article further explains that while the world becomes homogenous and the disparities between nations decrease, the cultural dimensions among people become stronger. Organizational leadership should embrace cross-cultural management since it plays a significant part in defining a firms’ success, and thus promote its different aspects, including effective communication.

References

Chen, W. (2017). Research on Cross-cultural Management in Transnational Management of Enterprises. Proceedings of the 2017 International Conference on Innovations in Economic Management and Social Science (IEMSS 2017). doi:10.2991/iemss-17.2017.281

CocaCola Company (2018) Diversity Education & Training. Retrieved March 17, 2019, from https://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/diversity/diversity-education-training

Delaney, L. (2019 Jan 21). Advantages and disadvantages of global strategic alliances. The Balance Small Business. Retrieved from: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/global-strategic-alliances-advantages-and-disadvantages-1953552

Kale, P. & Singh, H, (2009). Managing Strategic Alliances: What do we know. Management Decisions, 41,2, 32-140.

Kundu, S. C., & Mor, A. (2017). Workforce diversity and organizational performance: a study of IT industry in India. Employee Relations39(2), 160-183.

Lu, C., & Fan, W. (2015). Cross-cultural Issues and International Business Communication Practice: From an Anthropological Perspective. The Anthropologist22(1), 15-24.

Manisha Srikanth. (2018). What is Diversity Training? And Why It’s Important. Retrieved from https://www.infoprolearning.com/blog/what-is-diversity-training-and-why-it-is-important

Ruzagiriza, A. U. (2017). Does Cross-Culture Human Resource Management Affect Performance of International Organizations? Evidence from Rwanda. International Journal of Innovation and Economic Development2(6), 14-28.

Siriphattrasophon, S., & Trang, N. T. (2016). Cross-Cultural Management of a Multinational Enterprise: A Case Study of Thailand and Vietnam.