An Examination of Cross Cultural Management at Home Furniture Ltd

Topics: Management, Culture, Organization Pages: 8 (2430 words) Published: August 26, 2013
Section A
Provide the CEO of Home Furniture LTD with advice on the policy he should adopt when operating in various countries and employing people from different countries.

The purpose of this assignment is to provide practical recommendations to the application of issues relating to cross-cultural and diversity management. The rise of the European Union and the ability for the workforce to move freely across borders enables employees to recruit from an international talent pool. This is advantageous in many respects but also leads to the rise in importance of consideration of issues of managing people from across many different cultures. Globalisation has also helped to contribute towards the growing talent pool as more and more people are moving abroad for work and study.

The focus of this case is Home Furniture Ltd. This is a London based company and the city is renowned for its multi-cultural and diverse residents and outlook. Therefore, the ability to successfully attract and retain a multi-cultural workforce is essential for business success. Another interesting trend, with the reduction in cost of information technology communication is the rise of the virtual workforce, whereby people from across continents collaborate on projects from remote locations. Managing a remote workforce is also dependent on the understanding of differences in national culture and working practices that is essential not only for management to understand this, but the idea of promoting cross-cultural collaboration and diversity needs to be embedded into every facet of the organisation.

Home Furniture Ltd is an example of a contemporary organisation that even though it is not a multi-national organisation is still increasingly participating in the trend towards cross-border collaboration. This is one of the interesting facets of this trend is that cross-cultural management effects everyone, and not just what were once considered to be ‘global organisations’. Therefore, this is an extremely important discipline to master.

Drawing on the field of research into national culture (Hofstede, 1980), then national cultures tend to share common attributes and traits that once understood can be better managed. There are also different degrees to which various national cultures are similar or different. Hofstede recommends that when entering into cross-border collaborations, risk can be reduced through engaging with national cultures that are most similar to the domestic market. To some extent, that is what Home Furniture Ltd did, first reaching out to Europe, then the US and more recently China.

For example, according to Hofstede’s research, the UK and the US have similarly aligned cultures, or at least more so than UK and China. This is based on a typology that underpins different dimensions of national culture as developed by Hofstede (as cited in Buchanan and Hyczynski, 2007). For example, UK and US both operate on an individualist dimension, whereas the Chinese national culture is based much more on collective action. Therefore, this could present many challenges in the workplace whereby some employees have a tendency towards collective decision-making and other prefer an individuals decision that is made, perhaps based on their status and hierarchy within the organisation. Therefore, one of the most important success factors in terms of managing cross-cultural diversity is to understand that there are differences, identify what these differences may be, communicate this to every member of the organisation through adequate channels of communication and seek to develop a culture that understands, respects and responds to these differences. This will help avoid disharmony, discontentment and feelings of frustration within the workforce.

In terms of practical implementation, Home Furniture Ltd faces challenges in terms of managing its operations and logistics on a remote and global level. Therefore, communication is arguably one...

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