Good Example Of Essay On Leadership Across Culture
Managing Culture Diversity
Finding and Analysis 4
Culture Shock 6
Workforce diversity 10
Recruitment and training of the culturally diverse workforce 11
As the process of globalization is constantly going forward, businesses often face culture diversity issues. Even in case the offered product or service is perfect from the point of view of its quality, poor knowledge of cultural peculiarities of the country where the company is working may influence itsperformance and revenues in a negative way. Therefore, more and more organizations emphasize the development of culture diversity management.
Norms of culture play a significant role in the interpersonal relationships and mechanics of the workplace. When one grows up in a culture, he takes its behavior norms for granted. One does not have to think about his preferences, reactions, and feelings.When a person steps into a foreign culture, everything seems different suddenly. The person does not know what to say or do. In this case an individual may face a culture shock.
Diversity management is a constant effort in the organization. In a culture, that promotes inclusiveness and equity, diverse perspectives are appreciated and integrated in to the core practices of business (Lauri, 2012).
Diversity management is the process of incorporating the workforce recognition and client differences into all core functions of business management, communications, services and processes to create a fair, inclusive, harmonious, effective and creative organization (Managing Cultural Diversity. Training Program Resource Manual, 2010).
Cultural diversity is discussed by many researchers nowadays; this essay tries to summarize and analyze the main aspects of culture diversity and strategies of its management.
Finding and Analysis
According to Aytemiz Seymen (2006), the cultural diversity is an important factor for competitive advantage of modern organizations and therefore significant attention should be paid to it. There is also another opinion that states that cultural diversity has both disadvantages and advantages and in some cases it can be evaluated as a reason of problems. Researchers who support this point of view consider that organizational applications and systems should be designed in order to increase the potential cultural diversity’s superiorities, and to reduce the disadvantages of it. But there are researchers who consider that cultural diversity in companies should be blended into a homogenous and common cultural texture, they are the ones who prefer universalism to a multicultural structure.
In order to be able to manage cultural diversity effectively in organizations, it is good to develop a management model of cultural diversity for the company by considering the negative and positive sides of various perspectives (Aytemiz Seymen, 2006).
Knowledge of cultural peculiarities is the most important aspect in communication with the foreign clients. There is no doubt that most of the developed countries are becoming service economies. For example, in the USA 80% of its workforce and 77% of its gross national product (GNP) are from the service sector. The same is the case in other industrialized countries of Western Europe, Japan and Canada. In the globalization process it becomes important from a social as well as commercial perspective to decide how should managers deal with the people from diverse background. In order to develop a knowledge-based skills society, which highly esteems learning and wants to be of service to others, managers need to be familiar with cultural sensitivities and deal with embarrassing situations, which can cause both social and commercial harm.
Hospitality industry is a large part of service industry that includes various tourist service providers (hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, entertainment, event services, etc). The characteristic feature of the hospitality industry is that it deals with the culturally diverse customers on a daily basis. In order to be successful in such conditions, all the employees should have knowledge and be trained in working with international clients. Lack of such knowledge may spoil the reputation of the company and, consequently,reduce its revenues.
Another characteristic feature of the hospitality industry is that it usually hires a culturally diverse workforce. Employees from culturally diverse background make positive impact on the company, but at the same time wrong management of them can cause misunderstanding and conflicts. Therefore cultural diversity management strategy should be a priority issue in the hospitality industry.
Mohsin (2006) aims to highlight the sensitivity significance in cross-cultural encounters and how to increase benefits from such encounters. Recently services such as hotels, education, fast food, investment agencies and banks, etc. have more and more expanded their business to the global level. Service international trade since 1980s represented growth rate of 175% and today it is one-fifth of total world trade. Such a significant growth also demands that service companies conduct their business with customers and operators form different cultures (Mohsin, 2006).
In service management researches, the term ‘service encounter’ is firmly established and means the contact between service provider and customer. There are two mutually dependant variables presenting two interactions perspective of service encounters, which can become a cause of two main areas of problems. The first of them foresees that problems appear because the domestic service provider’s performance does not meet the foreign customers’ expectations (gap in the inter-cultural provider performance). The reasons of it can be the lack of knowledge about the cultural differences, absence of individual approach to clients and cultural diversity trainings. Also it happens when the client from the foreign culture expects more service than the local standard in the given country. The second one suggests that it can be the case that the service cannot be provided at usual level of performance because foreign clients do not maintain expected by the domestic supplier role behavior (gap in the inter-cultural customer performance) (Mohsin, 2006). It happens when the client’s behavior and reaction differ from those that the customer servicing employees expect.
Researchers suggest the classification of fast assessment of culture core values. Among the most important aspects there is sense of space and self (the most significant difference is between the Western and Eastern cultures), language and communication (learning language and culture are helpful in this), appearance and dress, distinctive or typical outward garments, dress requirements for different events e.g. religious or business, feeding habits and food (presentation, selection, religious needs or diet, use of cutlery or hands or chopsticks), time consciousness, sense of time relative or exact, casual or precise (for example, the person form Germany understands the punctuality in different way than the one from Brazil; German individual does not accept lateness, whereas the Brazilian may come to the meeting much later than expected).
Also it is necessary to pay attention to the relationship, how are organizational or individual relationships determined (e.g. gender, age, wealth, status, power), use of titles and family arrangements, norms, values, practices and customs, attitudes and beliefs, learning and mental process, learning and thinking style, processing and organizing of information. While working with international partners it is also necessary to take into account their work practices and habits, attitude to labor and work, dominant work type, promotions and rewards that will help in future collaboration with them.
Culture shock is the psychological disorientation that is experienced by many people when they have established contact with a culture different to their own. The reason this problem has such a significant influence on people is that many of the cultural differences experienced by them threaten their sense of meaning in life (Managing Cultural Diversity. Training Program Resource Manual, 2010). There are some recommendations how to cope with the culture shock. The one needs to: admit that such influences exist; learn the living rules in the host country; get involved in some new cultural aspect; learn the language; travel around the country; develop relationships and make friends; maintain contact with family and friends; do things that remind about home; avoid idealizing the life in the native country (Travel.gc.ca, 2015).
According to Selmer (2001), the individual (e.g. expatriate) does not need to undergo a deeply held values basic shift to get used to a new of cultural traditions abroad. It is enough to learn new cultural and social skills, similarly to learning of the foreign language.
Adjustment to work foresees learning the work standards in the host country (e.g. expected results or manner of giving tasks. Communication with nationals requires the expatriate to learn culture and language and be open to interact with them. Adjustment to non-work general environment foresees either knowledge of culture and language or learning formal and informal rules of the country.
Nowadays organizations often provide cross-cultural training to their employees before assigning them to work abroad in order to facilitate communication with foreigners. For example, in Chinese culture there are five speaking practices: listening-centredness, implicit communication, a focus on insiders, politeness, and face-directed strategies of communication. Such speaking practices in China often lead foreign individuals to misperception of Chinese people as shy, reserved and indirect, or as deceptive and evasive. These perceptions may create problems in communication between Chinese people and others (Selmer, 2001).
According to Haslberger (2005), a first time expatriate does not have enough information about his or her ability to work in a foreign country and own reactions. Depending on the stay length, this person may or may not reach more or less stable state in the foreign country. In several months most expatriates will know enough the reactions to cross-cultural moves. In order for previous experience to be a facilitating factor, it should be a positive one.
According to the author, the following factors may facilitate the expatriate’s adaptation in the foreign culture and overcome the cultural shock: learning the local language, communication with the nationals, friendly character and willingness to communicate (Haslberger, 2005).
Mohsin (2006) suggests several current issues of cultural diversity and strategies of working with them. For example, openness to cross-cultural sensitivity; native culture has an impact on future behavior of a person. Consequently, preparedness and awareness to deal with diverse people groups developed at their native environment will bring benefits in the future. Understanding the differences between developing and developed states regarding quality of service evaluations and perceptions is also an important issue now. Knowledge of the main cultural values of the clients, suppliers and employees to customize the services when possible as well as correct complaints’ handling and recovery of service from failures is very important, an attempt of recovery should always be made (Mohsin, 2006).
Cultural diversity can have both negative and positive impacts on organizations. These differences may not become hazards but rather benefits and opportunities if they are managed properly. The benefits and opportunities includeknowledge and competitiveness transfer; innovation; increased minority customers attraction; better talent retention and recruitment and reduction of labor cost. Cultural diversity’s successful managing may also help organizations to diversify suppliers list by improving business relations with minority-owned sellers to cut costs down and drive quality up, and assist to enhance corporate reputation in neighbor countries (Gong, 2008).
Besides the benefits, hospitality industry also faces cultural diversity challenges, such as: communication challenges (various languages and different cultural backgrounds); issues of discrimination. Diversity training can help to cope with the above-mentioned issues. In order to develop a diverse workforce and improve customer servicing, it is necessary to decrease shortsightedness and cultural ethnocentrism in employees (Gong, 2008).
The research of Korjala (2012) showed that when asked about interactions with other cultures, 85,7% of participants(hospitality industry’s employees) reported a situation when cultural values clashed. Language barriers totaled33,3% of votes, and 33,3%reported a religion as being a problem, with praying as an example(Korjala, 2012).
Cultural intelligence may help to achieve the goals. Arora and Rohmetra (2010) identified several aspects helping to achieve company’s goals in the conditions of cultural diversity, for Instance openness to cross cultural sensitivity. Managers in the industry of international hospitality need to constantly improve their knowledge and skills in order to understand the differences that arise due to the cultural diversity. In case managers are open to cross cultural issues (non-verbal and verbal), their performance increases, as they get closer to satisfying their customers cultural expectations and becoming more competitive compared to their competitors. The authors also emphasize on flexibility of approach e.g. the possibility of the service provider to adapt themselves to their customers’ cultural requirements enables them to ensure good service and happy clients that guarantees the success in business. Also the authors consider embracing diversity to be important. For the service provider it is necessary to understand diversity because it is inevitable in service organizations to come across clients from diverse cultural backgrounds and create cordial relationships with them as it helps to generate profits and revenue for the organization (Arora and Rohmetra, 2010).
Workforce diversity has been a significant issue to which the hospitality industry has paid a lot of attention for a long time. A lot of researchers have been trying to find out how to help employers to deal with diversity issues such as religion, age, gender, etc. However, less attention has been paid to the issues of cultural diversity. According to Gong (2008), diversity means the differences between people. The secondary diversity dimensions include issues such as religious beliefs, communication style, relationship status, ethnic customs, and general appearance. Such differences can be generally described as cultural diversity.
Both workers and management have various cultural and national backgrounds. Taking into account such situation, organizations face several serious questions: How to ensure fairness for all workers with different cultural backgrounds? How to increase the contribution of every worker in a diverse company? How to ensure that the diverse workforce works harmoniously together to reach common goals? (Gong, 2008).
Diversity management has the following basics: it is voluntary (it is not obligatory for the companies, but it makes impact upon their performance and revenues and therefore it gets important); it goes well beyond the legislation of Employment Equity in its diversity definition, which is based on all workers inclusiveness, and not just ‘designated groups’; diversity management is a strategy of business aimed at opening the all employees’ full potential in the company with the aim of creating competitive advantage (Lauri, 2012).
Training of the culturally diverse workforce
The training program’s aim is to enable enterprises to better understand cultural diversity and how to effectively manage it to improve performance of the whole company. This includes teamwork, relationships, market knowledge, productivity, community relationships, competitiveness and customer service. The main objectives of training are to enable participants to: learn about workforce cultural diversity and managing cultural diversity; consider and identify for their enterprises the potential and actual impacts and cultural diversity benefits; increase their culture and cross-cultural interactions understanding; develop their cross-cultural communication skills and cultural awareness; make a diversity analysis of their business operations and strategies; action plan development for managing cultural diversity in the companies; learn about support services and available resources (Managing Cultural Diversity. Training Program Resource Manual, 2010).
In order that diversity training can become successful, top management of the company should be involved. It should ensure the compliance with the high level of organizational culture.
But no one course can teach all the differences in cultures. An employee can feel a significant difficulty while applying the knowledge and skills learned from the training. Training for managing diversity competencies is not the best method to help the sector to manage cultural diversity. Ensuring an international working environment is much more important (Gong, 2008).
Recruitment of the culturally diverse workforce
Managers in hospitality industry often ask the question regarding recruitment, engagement, and retaining the diverse workforce. To answer this question, it is necessary to identify typical diversity mistakes, obstacles, best practices by other organizational leaders, and then identify the solution suitable for the certain company.
Mistakes in diversity recruitment can be as follows: the company only considers the diversity visible dimensions, primarily gender and race;differences that include geographic background, sexual orientation, communication and thinking style, ability and disability, work function, work style and religion are not valued; absence of diversity in the management level.
In the conditions of modern marketplace, it is not easy to hire employees in hospitality industry. Such people should have a specific set of skills and personal qualities. Specialists recommend first of all to plan recruiting strategy carefully, to build a positive image of the company in order to be able to retain employees. Workers of diverse cultural background should feel involved and appreciated within the organization. The assessment of the results and promotion should be based on the fair principles.
For instance, Hilton Worldwide global workforce makes 314,000 employees in over than 4,200 hotels in 93 territories and countries. This is a company employing diverse people serving diverse clients. Therefore, it tries to correspond to the highest integrity standards, service excellence and ethics. Besides workers and clients, Hilton also has diverse suppliers, owners and partners. Among its activities in this respect, Hilton Worldwide has long-term relationships with some Historically Black Universities and Colleges, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to search for the excellent talent within programs of hospitality.
Hilton provides scholarships for talented youth studying hospitality collaborating with the following universities and colleges: National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, American Hotel and Lodging Educational Foundation, Point Foundation American Indian Scholarship Fund, Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund.
According to the information discussed in this essay, managing cultural diversity is a significant issue for the global economy. The researchers suggest various strategies to manage cultural diversity, such as to enrich knowledge of the host cultures, try to get open-minded, learn the language, respect the religion, handle claims effectively, and etc. In order to apply this to all the functional units of the company it is useful to organize trainings for employees.
Hospitality industry deals not only with culturally diverse clients, but also with workers who came from different countries. Incorrect cultural diversity management of such a workforce may lead to the conflicts inside the organization and problems with customer servicing.
Managing cultural diversity is one of the key factors that help to develop successful business in the conditions of globalized economy.
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