Discuss how an understanding of cross cultural management theory and cultural intelligence could help a hospitality manager in the transition across cultures.
Diversity in hospitality industry:
One of the biggest impacts of globalization for those managing companies and organization is dealing with a more culturally diverse pool of employees (Lim and Noriega, 2007). Lim and Noriega (2007) further argue that in a world where over 50% of world’s are owned and controlled by TNCs and MNCs they are bound to deal with workforces from different cultural backgrounds due to their cross boundary operations, their attempt to attract talent from various parts of globe, and at times governments’ pressure for greater diversity at workplace (Stanley, 2008). Stanley (2008) note that, the same rule of thumb applies to the hospitality industry, which has seen a surge in workforce diversity. Lim and Noriega (2007) advocate that rapid growth in the hospitality industry in areas such as East and Southeast Asia (e.g. China) have presented the hospitality MNCs such as Hilton and Sheraton with the much needed space to grow. Stanley’s (2008) study of international hotel chains in Asia continent reveals that Hilton is planning to add another 300 branches to its existing 50 branches in the region. According to a report by Xinhua (2008) many international hospitality organizations showed readiness to tap into the Chinese market in the face of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Such aggressive battle for market share in this flourishing region has already made its mark on the labour market where there is a tight competition among these companies to attract the talented employees (Doherty et al, 2007). Doherty et al, (2007) argue that the real competition in the labour market is to absorb the kind of managers that are able to deal with employees from a different cultural background. Thus, the important task for these MNCs is to attract the type of management talent (often expatriates) who are able to deal with multicultural work environments while these managers receive the right king of support from the head office to overcome the type of problems these environments pose due to cultural differences (Zhang, 2010). The increasing importance of dealing with cultural differences, especially in management level has resulted in creation of a vast body of literature on this subject. One of the earliest works on this subject were presented by Hofstede (1980) who introduced a conceptual framework that is based on 5 dimensions of; “power distance, individualism vs. collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long term vs. short term orientation” (Hostede, 1980). Other theories of culture are developed by scholars such as Klutchhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) who introduced the cultural orientation framework and Hall (1971) who develop the cultural contexts concept. In the this paper the main aim of the author is to compare and contrast these three cultural concepts on the basis of their advantages, disadvantages and suitability to the management of Chinese employees in the context of hospitality industry. However, firstly this author is going to provide a brief introduction on culture and its various definitions as well as debating why it is important to understand culture and cultural differences. What is culture?
Culture has been studied and analysed from various different perspective, which tend to provide varying, but yet at times similar definitions of this term. For instance, Keesing (1974) defines culture as “systems (of socially transmitted behaviour patterns) that serve to relate human communities to their ecological settings. These ways of life of communities include technologies and modes of economic organization, settlement patterns, modes of social grouping and political organization, religious beliefs and practices, and so on” (pp. 5). Binford (1968) provides the following definition:
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