Cross-Cultural Analysis; A Case Study of Flamingo Consulting
Cross-CulturalAnalysis A Case Study of Flamingo Consulting
Anthropologistsdefine cross-cultural analysis as a comparative examination of socialfactors between two or more societies (Udy 253). It is a study thatattempts to shed more light on the distinct aspects of thecommunities but also provide general conclusions of the same. Thesesocieties can be in terms of nations, regions, ethnic backgrounds oreven races. Culture is a people’s way of life. It consists ofcustoms, traditions and even religious beliefs and therefore has adirect contribution to an individual’s personality and attitudetowards life. For an organization to succeed, it needs to hire staffwhose values will contribute to its desired culture. There is also avital need of understanding and appreciating diversity. Across-cultural assessment of an organization assists in improving themanagement of the different types of personalities and interpersonalrelations.
FlamingoConsulting is a reputable international consulting firm that is knownfor its high quality and excellent performance in the environmentaland agricultural sectors. The organization works in small teams toenhance the speed of decision-making process and boost resultsthrough the synergies created by the members of the team. For thisparticular case, the project manager is confronted with a dilemma ofthe poor performance of her team because of the shortcoming of theteam members to co-operate and tolerate each other. Most of theseproblems are attributable to the cultural background of eachindividual which in turn affects their personalities and attitudestowards work and life in general. The team comprises of the Grace,the project manager who is from the US and in particular New York,Thomas from Canada, Pedro from Argentina, Xin from China and Rashidfrom the United Arab Emirates.
Therea number of cultural and personal issues highlighted in this case,and they can be summarized by four major key points which have beenidentified as the general multicultural problems affectingmultinational organizations globally (Brett, Bhefar &Kern 84-91).
Direct versus indirect communication: This aspect refers to the different ways individuals convey information. Some people prefer to be upfront and very direct in their communication while others prefer to use subtle hints that lead to the message. In Grace’s team, she is among those with a knack for being quite direct with their messages. She calls out Rashid on his tardy behaviour and his unresponsiveness. Rashid, on the other hand, is not a very direct communicator, instead of informing other members of the team about the situation where he is not able to meet the supposed clients over the weekend, he lets them learn about this through social media posts of his weekend escapades. Thomas is also not very good with direct communication. He feels overburdened by his team members’ shortcomings because he always has to correct their mistakes but does not speak it out. This is probably because he intends to explore a higher position in the organization and does not want to ruffle some feathers.
Accents and fluency barriers: The team is comprised of people from five different nationalities, and this most definitely has its implications. Xin’s first language is Chinese and not English, and this profoundly impacts his communication and work output. His work had a lot of grammar errors, and Grace had to correct it every time before delivering it to clients. Xin’s spoken language was also characterized with a thick accent and poor fluency. The language barrier affected Xin significantly, and he became withdrawn and less open to his ideas. This was detrimental to the team because Xin’s contribution was crucial as he interacted with a majority of the clients. The positive aspect of Xin’s language inadequacy is that he was aware of it and made efforts to improve the situation by taking evening lessons in English. Rashid’s speech was also deficient, but he was too self-absorbed to accept it by suggesting that Grace, and he spoke different versions of the same language.
Divergent attitudes toward hierarchy and authority: For some cultural reasons, Xin and Rashid who were both of Asian descent exhibited a similar behaviour in their attitudes toward authority. They viewed authority as absolute and always proceeded with seeking permission first before undertaking any task an act that always drove Grace to the wall because she finds it as a wastage of time and an increase in the holdups in the team’s progress. It is also noted that Rashid was more conversant with a male dominated environment and this is probably the reasons behind his attitude towards Grace whom he did not maintain eye contact while communicating and seemed as if he disregarded her corrections and authority.
Contradictory norms for decision making: This point is closely related with the one above. As discussed, Rashid and Xin were used to a hierarchical decision-making process, and this did not augur well with other team members. Another aspect of this issue was demonstrated by Pedro who held a very personal approach towards the decision process. Pedro always wanted his decisions to be considered as final, and when this did not happen, he took it personally. As a result of this personality, he resorted to extreme measures that were synonymous to insubordination of Grace as the project manager and the team leader. Pedro’s behaviour also became an impediment to the team because it dampened the spirit of teamwork and consideration of every member’s opinions.
Asa result of the challenges mentioned above, Grace had a toughdecision to make. To assist her to figure out the most appropriateactions to undertake, it is important for her to understand what isexpected of her as a global leader in dealing with cross-culturaldifferences amongst her team. In a research done by two scholarsProf Javidan from the University of Calgary in Canada and ChairmanHouse from the Wharton School of Business, it was established thatthere is a distinct cultural acumen that global leaders need touphold when dealing with their teams to contribute to the overallsuccess of an organization. The research is commonly known as GLOBEwhich is the abbreviation for Global Leadership and OrganizationalBehaviour Effectiveness. This study uses cultural dimensions toexplore similarities and differences in culture in 62 countries andtheir consequences to global management (Javidan & House289-305). For Grace’s situation, there is need to understand thesecultural dimensions which will be valuable to her decision-making theprocess as she forges ahead with her team.
Assertiveness: This is the degree to which the general public urges individuals to be extreme, aggressive, confident and focused versus unobtrusive and tender. Highly emphatic social orders have a tendency to have a "can-do" mentality and tend to esteem rivalry (Javidan & House 293) They have sensitivity for the robust and the victor. The less confident social orders, for example, people from Sweden have a tendency to lean toward warm and helpful relations and agreement. They have sensitivity for the frail and stress dependability and solidarity. Others from less confident nations may ﬁnd it excessively forceful, inconsiderate, and disagreeable to talk about express and aggressive desires. They would lean toward a correspondence procedure that is two-route as opposed to one path from the manager. They incline toward a profoundly included discourse with much dialog about the subject. The finish of the correspondence procedure to individuals from such nations is not recently deliverable outcomes but rather better relations among the gatherings.
Future Orientation: This alludes to the degree to which a general public empowers and rewards future-arranged practices, for example, scheduling, setting aside resources into the future, and postponing gratiﬁcation. Nations with a solid future focus are related to a higher affinity to put something aside for the future and longer thinking and necessary leadership time spans (Javidan & House 294). Social orders with frail future aligned priorities are linked to shorter thinking and scheduling timelines and more noteworthy accentuation on immediate gratiﬁcation.
Gender Differentiation: This is the degree to which a general public boosts gender roles contrasts. Nations that have the slightest gender separated practices tend to accord ladies a higher status and a more grounded part in basic leadership. They have a higher rate of girls taking an interest in the work drive and more women in places of expertise. Males and females in these societies have a tendency to have comparative levels of training. Conversely, nations answered to have high degrees of gender separation tend to accord men greater economic wellbeing and have a moderately couple of ladies in places of authority (Javidan & House 294). Highly gender divided social orders may ﬁnd it very worthy of utilizing distinctive sorts of dialect with males and females. The type of correspondence with ladies in such social orders has a tendency to be paternalistic and one-route, started by a man. This sort of communication might be entirely inadmissible in a sexual orientation populist nations. Ladies will disapprove of being belittled or in any capacity being viewed as unique to men.
Uncertainty avoidance: This is deﬁned as the general public`s dependence on social standards and methodology to lighten the unusualness of future occasions. It alludes to the degree to which its individuals look for organization, consistency, structure, formalized techniques and laws to cover circumstances in their day to day lives (Javidan & House 295). Social orders that are high on instability shirking, for having a more grounded inclination toward organization and consistency, organized ways of life, explicit speciﬁcation of social expectations, and standards and laws to cover circumstances. Interestingly, in other culture where uncertainty avoidance is not a priority, there is substantial resilience of equivocalness and instability. Individuals are utilized to less structure in their lives and are not as worried about after tenets and methodology
Power Distance: This is deﬁned as how much people from a general public anticipate that power will be unequally shared. It signifies the degree to which a group keeps up disparity among its individuals by stratiﬁcation of people and gatherings concerning influence, specialist, glory, status, riches, and material belonging (Javidan & House 295). It likewise reﬂects the foundation and support of strength and control of the less efficient by the all, the more capable. Viable correspondence additionally relies on upon the level of energy separation in general public. In nations with largest amounts of power separation, communication is almost always one-way, top to bottom. The director is constantly anticipated to know more than the subordinates. Information or criticism from subordinates is at times requested and in planning motivation, and formalizing choices made amid gatherings
Institutional Emphasis on Collectivism and Individualism: This reﬂects how much people are urged by societal foundations to be incorporated into gatherings inside associations and the general public. Institutional accentuation on community comprises of dispensing assets and making openings accessible for individuals from the public as a whole to take an interest in societal authoritative, monetary, social, and political procedures (Javidan & House 296). This is proficient using financial motivating forces, for example, tolerant criteria for associations to pick up non-proﬁt status and in this manner be excluded from expenses, and an arrangement of open partnerships, for instance, athletic clubs, senior native social organizations, and provision of baby care services for working moms. In such social orders, aggregate enrollment and union are very esteemed. Bunch objectives and interests are more vital than individual objectives and interests. Imperative choices are made by gatherings as opposed to people, and associations assume liability for worker welfare.
In-group Collectivism: This alludes to the degree to which individuals from a general public take pride in participation in little gatherings, for example, their family and hover of dear companions, and the organizations in which they are employed. In collectivist societies, the procedure and substance of correspondence are relied upon to help amass union and congruity (Javidan & House 297). The language tends to be soft and indirect. Any form of communication that could prompt uneasiness and conﬂict is maintained at a strategic distance. The dialect has a tendency to be general, and the procedure is exceedingly involving, with a lot of conversation.
Performance orientation: This alludes to how much a general public supports and rewards aggregate individuals for performance excellence and improvement. For the high performance driven nations, compelling correspondence implies immediate and express dialect (Javidan & House 300). Certainties and ﬁgures and rational thinking are hallmarks of correspondence. A monetary method of reasoning and expected results are the key criteria in choice making. Communication is an unfortunate chore. The end is the deliverable outcomes. Individuals from lower execution situated societies have a tendency to incline toward the roundabout and obscure dialect. They are not very comfortable with substantial results driven and unequivocal correspondence. Hard truths and ﬁgures are difficult to find and not considered as important notwithstanding when they are accessible.
Humane Orientation: The extent how much a general public supports and rewards people for being reasonable, benevolent, liberal, mindful, and kind to others. In such societies, human relations, sensitivity, and support for others—particularly the powerless and the helpless—are exceptionally esteemed. Belongingness and sensitivity are imperative. People are relied upon to watch over the prosperity of the others (Javidan & House 300). Paternalistic and support connections are esteemed. Individuals are typically neighbourly, delicate and tolerant, and esteem amicability. Guardians are relied upon to monitor their children, and children are required to be respectful. The ramifications of this are the way of correspondence is more cantered around maintaining a strategic distance from conﬂict and being mindful and paternalistic. The communication process might be more cantered around being steady than prompting any output. As a matter of fact, the procedure itself might be the final product since it shapes cohesion
Afterunderstanding the cultural acumen for global leaders and equippingherself with the appropriate information, Grace can execute any ofthe following decisions to solve her dilemma with her team’sperformance according to Brett, Bhefar & Kern’s recommendationson managing multicultural teams (Brett, Bhefar &Kern 84-91).
Adaptation which recognizing cultural gaps amenable and by-passing them
Structural intervention which involves the altering the shape or composition of the team
Managerial intervention which translates to prior goal-setting exercise or involving higher-level manager
Exit which refers to eliminating a team member when other options have yielded unsuccessful.
Brett,J., Behfar, K., & Kern, M. C. “Managing Multicultural Teams.”HarvardBusiness Review(2006): 84-91.Web. 7 Apr. 2017
Javidan,Mansour, and Robert J. House. "Cultural Acumen for the GlobalManager: Lessons from Project GLOBE." OrganizationalDynamics29.4 (2001): 289-305. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.
Udy,Stanley H. "Cross Cultural Analysis: Methods and Scope."AnnualReview of Anthropology2 (1976): 253-70. Web. 7 Apr. 2017
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