Cross Cultural Management Analysis essay

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Masculinity\femininity is one out of four dimensions proposed by Hofstede to describe how the culture affects the values of its members and their relevance to behavior. He considers masculinity to be the trait which denotes wealth acquisition, ambition, and different gender roles. Masculinity means assertiveness, material success and toughness, whereas femininity focuses on tenderness, modesty, and quality of life. Traditionally, men in the society represent heroism, achievement, and material reward. Unlike men, women tend to care for the weak and prefer cooperation, sympathy, modesty, and romanticism.     

Hofstede expresses the idea that femininity and masculinity differ in their social roles, which are associated with the biological existence of the two opposite sexes. These dimensions refer to the role patterns of the dominant sex in the society, in which men are assertive and women are nurturant.   

Examples of masculine cultures may be the United States (62 on the Hofstede’s scale) and Germany (66). These cultures share the same values like power, strength, assertiveness, and individual achievements. Both countries experience a high degree of gender differentiation. In such societies, women are mostly controlled by the domination of men; their emotional roles are more distinct.

According to Hofstede, among the countries that experience masculine culture are also Japan, Austria, South Africa, the USA, and Arab countries. The index of masculinity ranges in these countries from 53 to 95. The masculinity index is low in the countries such as the Netherlands, Scandinavia, France, Spain, Thailand, and other Asian countries. He also emphasizes that aspects of femininity and masculinity may predetermine how two different cultures perceive gender roles. Hofstede states that cultures that are labeled as masculine seek a maximal distinction between the behavior of men and women. The traits of highly masculine countries are as follows: mothers have weaker positions in families, men dominate in all spheres of life, material progress and success are dominant values of such societies, gender roles are clearly differentiated, and others.

Hofstede has also determined some consequences for the masculine society. In such a society, there is a belief in the inequality of the sexes, a belief that women are care takers and cooks, whereas men are breadwinners. Besides, education should be different for men and women; there exist occupations which are suitable only for men or only for women. Different professions are controlled by different genders. These aspects depend on the culture. For example, in the US mostly men are in the medical profession, while in the countries of Eastern Europe, women predominate in medicine. It is typical for masculine cultures that a traditional work for men involves challenge and is done with an aim to earn money and to gain recognition, which is contrary to the feminine cultures, where men aim to have good living, good working conditions, and security at work. They rarely take days off, work longer hours, and sometimes at weekends.                   

Representatives of masculine cultures seek to outshine. They appreciate their work, have clear goals and try to achieve them, and value high quality of life. The priorities of masculine society are protection, environment, nurturance, relationship, wealth expansion, achievements, and war. If the household is run by a father, it means that this household is masculine, even if the family lives in a feminine culture.    

Question 2

People attribute different importance to time. Effective work across cultures requires people to be able to manage business relations efficiently, which depends on the ability to identify different time perceptions. The dimension synchronic versus sequential refers to the way how people from different cultures manage the time.

Sequential dimension means that time is felt as a series of passing events. People who manage time sequentially plan and work out everything in advance; they do not like any unexpected changes in their schedules. Time is seen as a line of distinct segments: a second moves by a second, a minute by a minute, and an hour by an hour. As such, people schedule everything very thoroughly; they believe it is rude to be several minutes late. They take time commitments very seriously, where scheduling is a must. People from this culture prefer to have milestones in their projects; they rely on the structure, are influenced and controlled by the time, and value the famous saying ‘time is money’. Among the countries which have a sequential view of time are India, the United States, and Turkey.

Synchronic management of time means that events are interrelated and thay can be past, present, and future. Present events are shaped out by the past and future. Their commitments are tangible as time is flexible. Such people do various activities at the same time. Cultures with synchronic time management see the final activity as the goal which has certain obstacles which should be overcome in order to reach it. They show how they value the time given to them. People who share synchronic time management do not pay too much attention to punctuality. They change their plans easily. Trompenaars says that instruments are created to measure time. The experience is based on the past, present, and future, which are compressed. Israel, South Korea, and Hong Kong are considered to be the countries which follow the synchronic management of time.

Representatives of synchronic cultures differently manage time than those who represent sequential cultures. They have a more flexible and wider perception of time. Such people are not the slaves of time as they consider time adaptable and have more freedom to achieve their tasks. No deadlines and timeframes are held; tasks are approached in an open way. Synchronic cultures accept rescheduling a meeting or a plan in the last minute, missing a deadline, showing up later, etc. Their approach to time is more structured and rigid and may seem too strict and inflexible to the representatives of a sequential culture.  

Question 3

Hofstede defined the dimension of uncertainty as the dimension that expresses the uncertainty degree that is accepted as a norm in the society. Uncertainty avoidance is relevant to the tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. It shows how a culture programs members of society to feel comfortable or uncomfortable in various situations that are unstructured, among which are unknown, novel, surprising, and unusual situations. Cultures which avoid uncertainty try to minimize the possibility of such situations by implementing rules, safety and security measures, strict laws, etc. Germany is considered to be the country with a high level of uncertainty avoidance (65 according to Hofstede), whereas Denmark is 23 and Singapore is only 8. The Germans are famous for their desire to plan everything in advance in order to avoid uncertainty. It is due to the fact that the German society is based on strict rules, regulations, and laws and wants to have minimum risks.   

Uncertainty avoidance is not about avoiding the risk, but it is the way the culture deals with ambiguity. Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance are conservative and xenophobic, and they have a weak interest in politics, specific laws and regulations; citizens’ protests are usually repressed. Religion is also a characteristic feature of such cultures; their religions are ceremonial and ritualized. In their families, gender roles are traditional and children are taught that the world is hostile.     

Uncertainty shows the deficit in formal rules and tolerance of ambiguous situations as well as the extent to which people are threatened by the unknown situations. People of cultures that have a high level of uncertainty avoidance believe that everything unknown or different is dangerous. There is a strong resistance to changes. Contrary to the cultures high uncertainty avoidance levels, cultures with a law degree of uncertainty avoidance are open for changes, challenges, and new things. Representatives of such cultures are certain in their future.

Uncertainty usually arises when people are not sure in their future; they do not know what to expect from it and what will happen the next day. This uncertainty is a direct cause of anxiety, which is closely related to the state of nervousness and stress. In order to prevent uncertainty, societies set up special rules, laws, and duties that are under the control of authorities. France is a country with strong uncertainty avoidance and has lots of regulations. The Americans and Chinese do not have a great need in uncertainty avoidance. They prefer to stimulate innovations and focus on main ideas. They are more flexible and adaptive.

Question 4

I cannot completely agree with the statement that leadership is universally accepted across cultures. Leadership and diversity are among the most frequently discussed topics in scholarly research. The growing diversity of national and international workforce presents a serious challenge for leaders, who must develop new, efficient approaches for managing diverse employees and using diversity as the source of a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, previous research was increasingly concentrated on searching for the “one best way” of leadership in organizations. To put it simply, researchers were preoccupied with an idea to find one, universal leadership model which would be equally effective in all organizational settings. With time, the idea of the “one best way” was gradually replaced with the ideals of contingency leadership, which came to dominate organizational and leadership consciousness in all parts of the world. Today, contingency exemplifies the key component of diversity management decisions in organizations: a multitude of diversity management models suggests that there can never be a universal solution to diversity management issues.

The current state of workplace development suggests that diversity in organizations will continue to persist. The coming years are likely to witness a dramatic shift from diversity management to diversity cultures in organizations, which will serve as an essential source of competitive advantage and an instrument of continuous organizational learning in the long run. The current state of management science operates a multitude of diversity management approaches and models. These models reflect the growing importance of the diversity issues in the workplace and signify a new stage in the evolution of the diversity consciousness in organizations. Based on the American model of diversity management, these approaches exemplify a good attempt of senior managers and other organizational workers to reduce the diversity gap between employees and use the organizational potential of diversity to the fullest. Unfortunately, none of these models is fully effective and can lead organizations to their strategic goals.

The fact that a diversity management model emphasizes differences but ignores the commonalities between employees is one of its principal drawbacks. More often than not, diversity management models aim at reducing the cultural and social gap between diverse employees instead of using their cultural commonalities, values, and beliefs to unite them around a common goal. Second, most or all diversity management models fail to embrace the values and needs of employees with disabilities. Third, diversity management lacks a well-integrated theoretical framework. Also, the link between diversity management and performance remains unclear. Ultimately, it is due to numerous cultural barriers that organizations fail to find effective solutions to their diversity problems. This is one of the reasons why there should occur a gradual transition from diversity management to diversity cultures, which will have the commonalities, values, attitudes, and beliefs of the diverse employees to be embedded in organizational processes and operations. Until then, diversity will be scattered across a multitude of topics, problems, and organizational goals. Given that diversity in organizations will continue to persist, the current concept of diversity management will have to give place to a new vision of diversity culture, which will be an effective source of competitive advantage and organizational learning for years ahead.

Globalization is one of the most important factors affecting businesses, managers, and employees all over the world. Globalization has come to exemplify one of the strongest and the most salient sources of influence on leaders and employees. Throughout the past five years, international goods and services movements have generated almost $8 trillion. Globalization reduces trade barriers among countries and results in the emergence of new trade zones and international trade agreements. It is no coincidence that globalization enables organizations to compete for scarce resources and customer preferences internationally. Globalization leads to and facilitates reduced labor costs, lower costs of manufacturing and marketing, and greater demand for products and services, especially from the third world countries. Apparently, leaders working in global organizations need new skills and knowledge to manage these organizations through the global change. Unfortunately, in light of the emerging globalization trends, the significance of national culture gradually wanes. The absence of geographical boundaries erases the existing cultural differences among employees. Yet, it is at least wrong to assume that globalization eradicates the effects of national cultures on individual level; this being said, leaders in globalised workplace need a cultural intuition and understanding of the main cultural conventions affecting their followers.

National culture has always been one of the central measures of effectiveness in organizations. With the advent of international organizational forms, national culture has come to exemplify an important source of influence on individual employee outcomes and one of the central objects of the organization analysis. Hosftede’s model of cultural influences on organizations has become the seminal element in the evolution of cultural knowledge in organization research. Since then, “most of the research on culture has focused on identifying the core cultural values that differentiate cultures”. Hofstede (1980) and Schwarz (1999) are rightly considered as the gurus in the analysis of cultural values and their implications for organizational and workplace behaviors. Hofstede’s study of national culture is one of the most frequently cited works in the research of national culture and its effects on organizational performance. In 1980, Hofstede published the results of a broad survey of almost 120,000 personnel from a large multinational company in the U.S., where he proposed a system of the national culture dimensions to measure and predict the relationship between culture and employee performance in the workplace.

The countries with a collectivist culture tend to involve employees in decision-making process, while the countries with individualist cultures practice dictatorial leadership, which is unsuccessful. The same is about high-distance cultures. The leadership of these cultures does not give employees any opportunity to take part in decision- making process.

Question 5

Workforce diversity is rightly considered as one of the most popular and controversial topics in the contemporary business literature. Globalization and integration of markets and businesses lead to the growing diversity of employees in small organizations and large corporations. Thus, it comes as no surprise that organizations and professionals in organization studies seek to develop and test new models of leadership and management, which will let organizations utilize their diversity potential to the fullest. It should be noted that present day organizations are undergoing a dramatic change in diversity philosophies and principles. Today, the scope of diversity management is no longer limited to increasing the share of minorities in the workforce but implies the need to develop and sustain diversity-sensitive organizations. The current state of research displays a tendency towards describing and analyzing numerous models of diversity management and their implications for the future of global business. Mitchell and Boyle (2010) tried to create a single theoretical framework of diversity management and tested a model of leadership, in which diversity management would be closely connected to innovation and creativity, learning, and organizational transformations. The researchers found out that transformational leaders facilitated the creation of knowledge in organizations, leading to increased recognition of diversity and acceptance of diversity management within the staff (Mitchell & Boyle 2010). However, while Mitchell and Boyle (2010) concentrated on the theoretical aspects of diversity management, other authors and professionals explored the benefits and potential drawbacks of practical diversity management models.

These problems are typical of most or all diversity management programs in the contemporary business reality. Isolation, racism and prejudice, absence of mentoring, and hostile workplace environments are still the vital components of the daily workplace routine. In the meantime, “the key to greatness is to look for people’s potential and spend time developing it. […] Today’s knowledge workers are not just labor – they are capital. And what differentiates outstanding companies is the productivity of their capital”. Surprisingly or not, diverse employees apply similar values and attitudes to life.  Diverse workers are incredibly consistent in their reliance on the values of happiness, friendship, material success, and work-life balance. Therefore, future models of diversity management will have to develop collective values and ethical frameworks, which unite diverse employees around strategic goals and lead them to positive growth and change.

The most obvious weaknesses of the modern management diversity programs are: the lack of an effective theoretical framework; the lack of a clear relationship between diversity management and workplace performance; and the fact that diversity management approaches do not embrace the factors and values of disability workers. All these inconsistencies make the implementation of diversity management programs increasingly problematic. In the meantime, organizations create and fail to eradicate institutional, organizational, and cultural barriers to diversity management. Victimization and harassment, underrepresentation of minority workers, perceived unfairness, and insufficient involvement in the decision-making processes impede the progress of diversity initiatives in the workplace. All these are the reflections of the inconsistent and misbalanced organizational cultures. Simultaneously, it is clear that diversity in organizations will persist. Therefore, the future of diversity management is to cause a shift from conventional management practices towards the development of diversity cultures, which will be unique, specific, complex, collaborative, and continuous.

The future of diversity management is closely associated with the future changes in the structure of the global workforce and workplace relations within organizations. The most important changes include: improved accountability of leaders and increased emphasis on ethical performance, a shift from individualism toward collective values of morality and freedom, the rapid enhancement of intellectual and technological skills in workers, and the growing role of women in organizations, which will become less hierarchical and more competitive and collaborative. As a result, future diversity management will have to explore and define the common values and use them as the foundation for developing collective thinking, which incorporates the elements of male and female leadership, emphasizes ethics and morality of doing business with diverse employees, and promotes accountability and collaboration at all levels of the organizational hierarchy. Unfortunately, the current approaches to diversity management are increasingly concentrated on differences, rather than commonalities. Diversity management and affirmative action are all about reducing the differences, rather than using the commonalities between different workforce groups to generate a competitive advantage. For example, the Australian model of diversity management does not adequately address the workplace needs of ethnic minority workers. 

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