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Masters of collaboration
Human beings have the tendency inheriting different cultural behaviors and practices within their society or the environment. The integrated behavior entrenched in the mind of people contributes immensely to how different people relate to each other and how they resolve particular issues affecting them (House, Javidan, Hanges & Dorfman, 2002:8). Such cultural knowledge has been viewed by Hofstede’s to differ across nations and subsequently to manifest its influence in the globalized corporations or multicultural companies.
Cultural dimension scores (Hofstede, 2014)
b. Influence of another culture dimension of collaboration
Power distance index
Power distance index is the extent to which different cultures value power or influence. Cultures with high power index such as Japan believe that authority is what defines the society, and senior people ought to be respected. Low power index countries such as United Kingdom and Germany believe in equal treatment (Hofstede, 2014). Disparity in power index may hamper collaboration among parties since either party demands superiority over the other in decision-making. For instance, collaboration between Honda and Rover companies could not succeed since the former had a culture of high status thus demanding to rule over the other (Lester, 2007). However, the equal rank in power index for Germany and United Kingdom had little influence on decision -making only that the disparity in individualism could not sustain the partnership in the long-term.
Masculinity is the extent to which cultures value competition and ambition for power. High masculine countries regard competition as an essential driving force for development. High level of masculinity in Japan is attributable to their aggressive investment in technological research and development (Hofstede, 2014). In most cases, high score on masculinity could influence positively on the long-term orientation for a country towards future growth and sustainability. Partnership between Rovers and Honda was unattainable as the latter management was reluctant to engage in high-tech investment and research for future growth. Similarly, high uncertainty for avoidance for United Kingdom adversely influences their low score in masculinity hence derailing collaborative development.
High Long-term orientated cultures have the tendency to hold leave their current culture and expand in other dimensions (Sui Pheng & Yuquan, 2002:9). In business perspective, high long-term oriented cultures will easily adopt the rise in technology to increase sustainable advantage in the market. The large disparity between Germany and United Kingdom hindered collaborative engagement between BMW and Rovers companies because the latter was reluctant about the future and, therefore, risk-averse on improvement of production system through technology
The high level of indulgence in UK culture could be attributed to the failed collaboration with BMW and Japan considering that UK managers could be inclined to have fun during weekends as compared with German and Japan cultures who believe in regulated enjoyment guided by rational principles. For that reason, cohesive integration was adversely affected resulting to low productivity and slow growth over market rivals.
2. To what extent can Hofstede’s cultural dimensions be used to explain such cultural gaps?
Cultural behaviors are not just limited to inherent society practice but rather can also be gained based on the environment people are living in. For instance, companies have different financial reporting criteria and research and development procedures. Hence, Collaboration may intertwine the two operation cultures leading to slowed operations. For instance, the high disparity of long-term orientation between Germany and UK could be attributed to the partnership break Up since Rover’s managers were skeptical in forecasting high returns on investment compared to BMW managers who lay hopes for future market growth. Therefore, cultural values are adaptive among different people depending on the behaviors in the prevailing environment.
My negotiating Dilemma
2a. What is precisely dilemma referred to in the last paragraph?
The work disagreement between South Korean and Dutch companies is a clear manifestation of the intertwining of cultural belief and practices among societies. Both parties are reluctant attitude towards each other thus resulting in ineffective operation.
The negotiation dilemma facing the Dutch Business Consultant is the Negotiator’s Dilemma. Negotiator’s Dilemma refers to the circumstantial dialog where the negotiator must strive towards a common objective for diverse parties either through competing along or applying cooperation strategy (Gelfand & Brett, 2004). In such a dilemma, the key focus should be to convince both parties on what they might lose and the enticing gain they would incur if they relaxed their stance. However, the process requires tactical approach for the negotiator to bridge the acrimony gap and avoid being enclosed in it. The Dutch consultant holds on to the fact that either refusal to pay or to take the matter to court by South Korean and advertising agency will result in loss for all. Therefore, the consultant has to apply the competing strategy in an integrative aspect to ensure that both parties confirm the reality of mutual benefit.
2b. How would you describe the contrast between South Koreans and the Dutch when they are doing business?
The business contrast between the two companies is as a result of cultural diversity between the South Koreans and the Dutch managers. Cross-culture in among different companies may adversely influence business operations and collaboration if either party suspects of short-change from its partner (Moran, Harris, & Moran, 2011). The South Korean company lays suspicion of overrated advertising charges by the Agency and opts to withhold payment for the contract. On the other hand, the Dutch agency threatens to withdraw the contract. The scenario demonstrates the presence of agency theory problem that could result from cross-cultural mismatch. The South Korean company being the principal while the advertising agency being the agent, the misconception and diversity in cultural behavior develops mistrust in the collaborative operation- a problem that incurs loss to all parties.
Based on Hofstede’s cultural survey, South Koreans portray an 18 percent level of individualism compared to Dutch citizens who prefer individual operations at 80 percent. Such a discrepancy explains why the South Koreans are doubtful about the advertising agency’s activities since they are rarely involved in their operations. Unfortunately, they have no mechanisms to proof their doubts. The Dutch managers advocate individualism in activities as the best strategy to advance their activities. However, both companies long-term orientation culture in relation to their countries stands at 100 and 67 for South Korean and the Dutch respectively. The statistics demonstrate that the two companies believe in future growth but, unfortunately, the issue of individualism spells doom for their future cooperation. In that perspective, the Korean company is rightful in raising skeptics over the Dutch operations due to their entrenched culture of collectivism in operations. The consultant must apply an integrative negotiation strategy based on providing facts for both parties as an approach to dispel the environment of doubt between the two partners.
2c.How do you think dilemma could be resolved?
The best way to solve the problem is through an integrative negotiation approach. The approach capitalizes on production of operation documents that will proof the integrity of the agency’s activities. The principled strategy demands that the negotiator applies a competing approach by fronting on a common objective that both parties should focus on the respective gains they are making through the cooperation (De Dreu, Weingart & Kwon, 2000). Cooperating with either party would be detrimental, and thus the consultant should avoid the approach. Eventually, the companies will agree to the settle the battle and focus on the core objective.
The role of the manager
3a. How would you characterize the attitude of Sweden Germans and Japanese towards the role of the manager in an organization?
In general, philosophers argue that a human being tends to inherit their behavioral character from their prevailing environments during childhood and during the experience they obtain in the course of their life. The lifecycle theory approach explains that their inherent character remains intact in a person’s mind and at any one time will serve as a refining point during decision-making or behavioral reaction to social life. The same situation occurs in the working environments, where different employees manifest different approaches to life with a common objective of garnering positive results (Molinsky, 2015). In that case, employees who work in various environments other than their native society are likely to carry forward their behavioral characters to the new environments. Similarly, employees who shift employment to a new company will have to blend his previous cultural attitude with the practice in the new environment. For instance, if a former employee had an unpredictable future in his former place of work, he would continue with a similar attitude to the new employer and could develop the energy to confirm his job security in the company. His perception of the organization as an authority system would remain intact in his mind.
According to Laurent research, Sweden employees record the lows level of concurrence that managers should respond to subordinates concern. This indicates they believe in cooperation between the workers and the employees towards achieving a common objective. Based on Hofstede’s cultural survey, the Sweden’s level of individualism stands at 71 indicating that they prefer individual effort rather than relying on each other to seek problem solutions. Additionally, their low level of masculinity at five complements the research statistics that Sweden’s employees have a feministic attitude that emphasize on quality of life and extensive commitment to the employer to consult their employees in decision-making.
Germans medium level of uncertainty avoidance portrays that they emphasize on elaboration of working details as a way of predicting the worker’s future in the company. Their above average level for masculinity supplements Laurent’s research statistics that German workers capitalize on competitiveness and moderate collaboration with other stakeholder’s to steer a firm’s growth. Hence, German workers would not concentrate so much on manager’s response to the solution but instead will employ individual effort to deliver alternative solutions.
According to Hofstede’s cultural survey, Japanese have the highest record of individualism, and every person strives to outsmart each other through creative and innovative solutions to social or working problems. They have high regard for masculinity where competitiveness, assertiveness remains the core objectives of every individual. For that reason, Japanese would rarely anticipate for consultation with the managers hence expects them to respond to any questions if asked. In another perspective, the Japanese record a high level of uncertainty avoidance. Factor that confirms Laurent’s research survey. For instance, Japanese workers may be uneasy in the working environment especially if the suspect of ensuring retrenchment of company insolvency. They would expect the manager to make clarifications to their doubts as an approach to sustaining their strength and prosperity.
3b.How would you describe the research method Laurent used?
The research method is explorative since its provides a question to the sample survey that would invoke their mental attitude towards the issue. Such a method has a little room for error because the interviewees are the immediate victims, and the questions pertain directly to their social environment.
Crisis? What Crisis?
4a. Why did Japanese offer a higher price that originally required?
In business, managers are rational in their objective by utilizing the available opportunities to maximize their revenue and productivity. The tactic approach by Japanese to offer a higher price than expected manifest the concept of valuing a business as a going concern concept that anticipates that the company would recover the invested funds in the course of using the product. The accommodative approach is based on the projected returns that the Japanese had tactfully calculated during their secluded meeting. In negotiation, value-based approach performs better than a subjective approach where the latter concentrates more about the future benefits than the immediate gains.
4b. What is the conflict handling style chosen by each party?
The Japanese, who are regarded as the best negotiators, are influenced by their high level of uncertainty avoidance. They extend their discussions backed by facts to eliminate any unscrupulous deals. Initially, both parties employed the competitive conflict resolution styles where each party retained a hardline position in defending their proposals. However, the Japanese shifted to accommodative approach by giving in to the British company’s offer. Accommodative style of resolving conflict is very tricky in that the party that gives in first must consolidate or its gains and losses to evaluate the overall benefits. Such an approach could be manifested through the secluded meeting held by the Japanese prior to agreeing to the British offer. The tactical approach reflects the Japanese nature of resolving the differences amicably for mutual benefits.
On the other hand, the British negotiators applied the competitive style throughout the negotiation by maintaining a common ground. The British negotiator played a soft negotiator role- a tactical mind player to calm the Japanese anger and save the negotiation from flopping. Soft negotiator role capitalizes on integrating the warring parties by calming the aggrieved negotiators to ensure that the agenda of the negotiation process is not subdued. Fortunately, the competitive style worked in their favor despite inflicting anger on the Japanese.
4c. Extract from the text those moments when emotions do not appear. Which are typically Japanese or British? Why?
Emotion is an instrumental factor in the negotiation process between two or more parties and can lead to positive or negative results. Emotions are only recognized when parties are acting inversely i.e. Differing in the content of the negotiation. If both parties are acrimonious, emotion is only realized but disregarded because it will have little impact on the final solution
(Kopelman, Rosette & Thompson, 2006). In most cases, one party must be aggressive while the other ought to be composed for emotion to take effect.
One of the moments where emotions do not appear is during the introductory session when both parties express their interest for each other. During the session, both parties are quiet as they listen to each other’s proposal and, therefore, emotions are ineffective.
Another instance is during the delivery of the negotiation deal. When the Japanese negotiator reads their final verdict, the British negotiators demonstrate keenness on listening thus neither party’s emotions overwhelm the other. The deal ends in mutual gain for both parties.
De Dreu, C. K., Weingart, L. R., & Kwon, S. (2000). Influence of social motives on integrative negotiation: a meta-analytic review and test of two theories.Journal of personality and social psychology, 78(5), 889.
Gelfand, M. J., & Brett, J. M. (Eds.). (2004). The handbook of negotiation and culture. Stanford University Press.
Heydenfeldt, J. A. G. (2000). The influence of individualism/collectivism on Mexican and US business negotiation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24(3), 383-407.
Hofstede, G. (2014, November). Cultural Insights - Geert Hofstede. Retrieved from http://www.geert-hofstede.com
House, R., Javidan, M., Hanges, P., & Dorfman, P. (2002). Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: an introduction to project GLOBE. Journal of world business, 37(1), 3-10.
Kopelman, S., Rosette, A. S., & Thompson, L. (2006). The three faces of Eve: Strategic displays of positive, negative, and neutral emotions in negotiations.Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 99(1), 81-101.
Lester, T. (2007, June 29). Masters of collaboration. The financial times.
Molinsky, A. (2015). The Mistake Most Managers Make with Cross-Cultural Training.Harvard Business review.
Moran, R. T., Harris, P. R., & Moran, S. V. (2011). Managing cultural differences: global leadership strategies for cross-cultural business success. Routledge.
Sui Pheng, L., & Yuquan, S. (2002). An exploratory study of Hofstede's cross-cultural dimensions in construction projects. Management Decision, 40(1), 7-16.
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