Good Going Global: What Does It Take To Make Cross-Cultural Teams Successful? Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Culture, Workplace, Employee, Training, Theory, China, Communication, Human Resource Management

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/09/30


Part 1
Service Provided
I am Amy, a well reckoned Organizational Behavior Consultant. Enriched with a decade long experience in Organizational Behavior and human resource development. I formed XYZ Worldwide – my global consulting company in 2007.

About Me

My area of expertise is cross cultural mentoring. I have led from the front in many prestigious projects and served as team leaders in multiple blue chip organizations, working in the area of human resource management and organizational behavior. I have been invited to speak at many international conferences to address the challenges of cross cultural alignment in MNC’s. I am also on the advisory board of aplenty well reckoned organizations as a specialist of cross cultural training. Research papers and articles penned by me have found their way to some of the most prestigious publications. My content on an interactive blog on organizational behavior has innumerable followers that include both students and professionals who take my viewpoint as a guidance and a tool for developing and managing human resource better. I seldom deliver lectures in colleges on OB and Human resources putting to good use my experience as a professional and knowledge that I have gained while completing my MBA in Human Resource Management from Rutgers.
I did some research of my own in addition to the discussion of Bon Vivant Specialties cultural training needs, a discussion we had at the event Managing Today, Leading Tomorrow (an International Education and Development program for high-potential mid-level professionals). Please find below my understanding and analysis of this case:
The Great recession of 2008 took well established family run Memphis based pet food business PetGourmand to the brink. Though low on technological exposure, this traditional business house was thriving with its employees practicing outstanding interpersonal relationship with customers and vet doctors alike. But the Sales force, Researchers and Manufacturing department had very full pronounced hierarchy within which they functioned with efficient reporting to middle and top level management.
When your enterprise, Bon Vivant Specialities- the Chinese leader in Gourmet food and beverages is set to acquire the American gourmet pet food provider- PetGourmand, to venture into the nutritious pet food segment we are faced with typical challenges that comes with cross cultural acquisitions:

Primary Issues

The scare of being downsized and thereafter lose one job is eminent for any employee recruited at any firm globally. The original workspace was American and two generations old with great reputation, all these factors equals stability and certainty, but this goes kaput in the new multinational environment where every employee has to re-establish himself before he gets re-aligned into the sleek flat structural framework of the poised for expansion-ambitious, young and technologically adept Chinese giant of Gourmet food. Though training programs will be scheduled for the quality savvy and experienced Petgourmanders to give them a head start in the competitive cross cultural MNC, still the fear of re-establishing oneself in a new business atmosphere at a comparatively older age when it gets a tad bit difficult to learn skills from scratch looks like a daunting task to Petgourmand’s employees.

Cognitive issue-Nationality

The employees of Pet Gourmand are apprehensive about working under a foreign – in this case Chinese corporation. Their perception is they were more at ease and within their comfort zones while working under an enterprise founded in their nation. They fear this difference will bring a host of changes in their working environment that they will find difficult to adapt to. This includes changes in motivation, in practices and beliefs, in behavior, in attitude, language, team work, gender and age based roles, holidays and festivals, customs and rituals and most importantly in interpersonal roles .

Technological Changes

The technological prowess of Bon Vivant Specialties is not exactly the forte of Petgourmand employees with very limited technological exposure as they have been over-compensating with their interpersonal skills and long standing partnerships. They have also been reaping the benefits of first mover advantage specializing in the niche of gourmet food in the US, a reason reflecting upon their laid back approach and the reason why no initiative was taken to set digital platforms to network better and generate additional business.

Secondary Issue

Language Barrier
Bon Vivant Specialties’ employees are bilingual. Though BVS employees communicate in English which makes this issue secondary in nature, still there are many possible instances over meetings, conferences, all hands, etc. where the Petgourmand employees will not be able to fully engage due to their inability to communicate in Chinese language. They would possibly have to rely on their new colleagues’ (BVS employees) interpretations. These barriers to communicate-understand or express may prove disadvantageous in several situations when Petgourmand employees are willing to impart important information or receive it. This barrier may bring out behavioral and motivation gaps between the cross cultural employees.

Age factor

The 40+ employees of Petgourmand are iffy about their future dynamics with younger colleagues from Bon Vivant Specialties. They fear their work objectives of rich experience, need to adhere to great standards of quality might get bruised as young, and go-getters make overnight decisions. They are wary of the individualistic approach and the power distance that might crop up owing to this age gap .

Lesser Face-to Face Interaction

Another issue that has cropped up in the mind of Petgourmand officials, owing to this acquisition i.e. once Bon Vivant Specialities takes over they will have lesser face to face interaction with their Chinese management seated in Hong Kong. Till now being part of a family run entity with lesser technological processes, meant ample of face time wherein the employees could address their issues in person, but the new technologically robust system is soon to change all of this to online heavy communication. Where a majority of issues will be resolved through e-mail communications or online conferencing. The 40+ employees from Petgourmand are finding it difficult to open up their minds to learn and adapt themselves to the new software framework.

Recommendations and Solutions

Cognitive Adjustment Theories
Cognitive elements reflect one’s sense of awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment. In global organizations the mind of many is clouded with the fear of the unknown. This state of mind leads to insecurity and anxiety, thereby affecting performance negatively. The Cognitive Adjustment theory suggests that through training and technological mediation one positively influences the behavior of cross cultural employees, making them aware, more prepared about their new setup. This motivation goes a long way in rendering positive outcome to business results. BVS should use this adjustment tool to the fullest to positively motivate Petgourmand’s employees to work towards an increasing ROI and incrementing revenues.

Anxiety\Uncertainty management (AUM) Theory

As the name suggests this theory is relevant to the case in hand where our quality savvy middle aged employees are wary about their future job security. They are scared to face the challenges of competing with a dynamic, ambitious, younger, tech savvy, driven by profit and ROI Chinese counterpart. When AUM is incorporated into intercultural adjustment training programs it results in effective communication which is made possible by ability acquired through the training to actively control and manage our anxiousness and restrict uncertainty from brimming and clouding our rational thereby bringing out a collective, positive behavior . Where we work for our team and organization’s benefit and let go individualistic apprehensions and insecurities.

Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions Theory

Hofstede based the theory on four fundamental dimensions. When put into practice Hofstede’s four dimensions spells out very significant differences, especially found in multi-cultural business environments. It exposes the weakness prevailing in the system so that one can work towards it:
Individualism- How distant, i.e. loosely bond or close or tightly bond are teams/companies/culture with each other. A cross cultural company with a high individualistic score should try to imbibe some team bonding to it.
Power Distance-The degree of inequality that prevails within the organization. An MNC with a high power distance score should try to build closer ties between senior management and junior colleagues so as to minimize the gap creation and disperse some power equally to promote more equality in the system.
Uncertainty Avoidance – How insecure or ambiguous an entity, the nation, MNC feels when faced with an uncertain situation. A low UAI score is encouraged as opposed to a higher one. Low UAI reflects acceptability of new ideas and novel events. It gives way to an open culture of where proactive employees can thrive, wherein employees can take risks to succeed.
Masculinity - Discrimination in definition of roles of men and women. For multi-cultural environments in today’s MNC which is all about gender equality, it is but necessary to maintain a low Masculinity score i.e. lesser gender difference in defining job roles.
The aforesaid four points will bring out the weaknesses in the cross cultural training and will help to re-align it to make BVS’ acquisition of Petgourmand a success.

Adam’s Equity Theory

In today’s multinational work environment only a little is left to the imagination. Employees can weigh their inputs and outputs basis another employee. Every employee wants to feel sufficiently gratified for their inputs and hard work. In such an environment if there is inequality and bias shown towards another employee then the lesser gratified employee becomes demotivated towards work as he feels deprived. So it is very necessary to maintain this equilibrium amongst employee’s at work so as to keep them satisfied and avoid hurting sensitive feelings of employees. If one individual is being compensated more then he should have relevant and valid reasons for the same. In a cross cultural environment an entrepreneur needs to ascertain that every host country and their member employees get their due. They need to be happy with their take away else the apartheid soon starts reflecting on their performance. Thus, in this case BVS needs to ensure they gratify their American colleagues in a manner similar to Chinese, Australian or European counterparts. .

The Theory of Communication by Hall and Hall

Fons Trompenaars Seven Dimensions of Culture Theory
Universalism vs. particularism – this dimension helps in prioritizing rules or relationships
Individualism vs. collectivism – this dimension brings out the degree of teamwork in a cross cultural environment
Neutral vs. emotional – This dimension helps in prioritizing expressing emotions or retraining emotions by remaining neutral in a given work scenario in multi-cultural environments .
Specific vs. diffuse – Different cultures have different degree to which they keep their work lives and personal lives distinct/private and apart from each other.
Achievement vs. ascription – In multi-cultural environments how much efforts would colleagues from one culture have to put into, so as to prove and establish themselves before another.

Sequential vs. synchronic-Helps in prioritizing one task at hand or multi-tasking practices

Internal vs. external control - Who controls whom- Do we control our respective work environments or are we controlled by it?
All of the above seven dimensions are pivotal for BVS to work out an efficient strategy for smooth acquisition and ensuing transitions of Petgourmand’s employees.
Besides the aforementioned theories my recommendation would be to appoint a cross cultural leader- American-Chinese leader in a senior managerial position in BVS acquired Petgourmand or Cross cultural transition leaders. So that the Petgourmand employees feel that they can easily trust, believe and communicate with such a person of power who acts as a bridge between the two companies from distinct nations and cultures.

Success Stories

Lastly, I would like to share some success stories I have faced while consulting for Cross Cultural Teams:
Motorola’s Cross Culture Training and Initiatives in China
Firstly, to win a local’s Motorola appointed and sent an American-Chinese GM while it took off in China. Secondly, they adapted a fast track management, localization program to affiliate top managers about the Chinese culture and its intricacies which affect the business environment. Then Motorala implemented the tool of gratification like housing allocation to its employees and donated scholarships to the educational institute so that the host country feels like an equal to their American counterparts and adequately gratified.
Mc Donald’s Culture Training Program in India

Ikea’s Cross Cultural Training Program

The leading furniture retailer Ikea has expanded across geographies. A pivotal reason behind the company’s success is the detail to culture in host countries. The company’s employee trainee programs across borders comprise implementing Edward T. Hall, Geert Hofstede, and Fons Trompenaars’ theories (explained earlier in the paper). The organization follows a due diligence phase of cultural analysis post which very sensitively and carefully they approach training and deploying actual responsibilities to their cross culturally trained workforce who are well prepared and poised for success.


Gudykunst, W. B. (2004). Bridging Differences: Effective Intergroup Communication. California: Sage Publications Inc.
Hoecklin, L. (2000). Managing Cultural Differences for Competitive Advantage. Universities Press.
Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture's Consequences. SAGE Publications.
Msoroka, M. (2013). Motivating Workers in Educational Institutions.

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"Good Going Global: What Does It Take To Make Cross-Cultural Teams Successful? Essay Example," Free Essay Examples -, 30-Sep-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 21-Jul-2024].
Good Going Global: What Does It Take To Make Cross-Cultural Teams Successful? Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Sep 30, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2024.

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