Job Satisfaction and Motivation

Topics: Culture, Cross-cultural communication, Management Pages: 15 (5618 words) Published: December 27, 2012
Discuss the challenges faced by managers of multicultural workforces and those managing in cultures other than their own, and put forward recommendations for management training. Around the world people eat differently, people speak differently, and people dress differently. (Alder, 2008) We can see these differences with our eyes, hear them with our ears, but what about the differences we cannot hear or see? These differences are known as our culture. ‘Culture is a complex and dynamic topic that is very difficult for leaders, or anyone, for that matter, to deal with.’ (Connerley et al, 2005 pg.2) To be able to understand culture is a difficult and complex task, this highlights the level of trouble that managers can have working within and with other cultures. To identify the difficulties that managers face in expatriate work and also managing a multicultural workforce one needs to be able to define the characteristics of culture and asses the best methods of overcoming the challenges that may arise within a multinational and multicultural organisational workplace. ‘Culture is like gravity: you do not experience it until you jump six feet into the air.’ (Trompenaars et al, 1998 pg.5) Culture can look very simple from an outsider’s point of view however it is only when you are immersed in another culture or that find yourself working within a multinational or a multicultural team that one can truly comprehend the differences between different cultures. Even when we are working with people who we think share our culture, we can easily be mistaken, and they can in fact have a completely different culture, and subsequently a totally dissimilar ways of working. We are all well aware of the major cultural differences between us, such as religion, race, and the languages that we speak, but what about the subtle cultural differences between us that are not so easy to spot or that are even harder to define. In The Meanings of Culture, French states that: ‘Culture should be defined, and this is by no means an easy task.’ (2010 pg.19) This brings to mind that one should define culture in one sentence or even in one word, however could it not be that culture should be defined within the many variables that it exists in? Could and should we not look at the differences between cultures and create our own definition based on these? One needs to recognise that culture can be more than simple geographic location or ethnicity. ‘Ethnicity and nationality are important to individual and familial identity as on subset of culture, but the construct of culture-broadly defined- goes beyond national and ethnic boundaries. Persons from the same ethnic or nationality may still experience different cultures differences.’ (Connerley et al, 2005 pg.5) People from theoretically the same culture will have experienced different cultures and as a result will react differently than someone who is perceived to be from the same culture, in the same situation. As communication technology improves it can be argued that the world is getting smaller. Globalization is a growing entity that directly affects culture. We can see that our organisations, towns and even nations becoming more and more similar, and yet still maintain their cultural dissimilarities. (Alder, 2008 pg.62) The direct effect that globalization has on culture can be seen as two fold. It can either merge cultures together, much like the melting pot idea, or it can encourage cultures to reinforce their cultural differences to maintain and protect a culture. ‘Multiculturalism presents us with a paradox because it requires us to look at how we are the same and how we are different at the very same time.’ (Connerely et al, 2005 pg.22) The idea of the effects of globalization directly effecting culture, leads onto the idea if cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is a complex and problematic term to define as it requires the individual definition and exploration of culture and imperialism,...
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