Term Paper: Globalization and Management All People

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[. . .] The Turkish Emporium has been able to compete on a global level because of two unrelated facts. The first is that the company, relying on local workers, can produce garments far more cheaply than can garment companies based in the First World that have stronger protections for workers as well as having to pay salaries that will allow workers to be able to support themselves vis-a-vis the cost of living in the First World. (There are unfortunate consequences for workers in both the First and Third World for such a differential of labor standards, a subject that is for the most part beyond the scope of this paper.) However, it is of concern to this particular company because one of the most important aspects of the Turkish Emporium's ability to compete in the global economy is the guarantee that it makes to all of its customers that it uses no child labor, unlike other belly-dancing costume customers; provides good working conditions for all of its workers, and pays a fair wage (http://www.turkish-emporium.com/us.htm).The company is able to pay its workers higher-than-average salaries for the region and still turn a profit because the cost of living is cheaper in Turkey than in the First World. The fact that the company cares for its workers has helped to create a sense of camaraderie within the company that is the desired goal of most work teams drawn it customers from America.

For example, Denise Al-Saud, who teachers belly-dancing at the University of California as well as teaching privately, chose to switch her business to the Turkish Emporium precisely because of this policy:

This happened about the time there was that big flap about K-Mart - about its clothes being made at least in part in Central and South American sweatshops.

And I have to admit that my first response was, "Well, of course those clothes are made in sweatshops - how else could the company sell them so cheaply. What do people expect?"

But then I started to really think about the issue. I reminded myself that just because something is common practice does not mean that it is okay.

There are a lot of wrongs in the world, and we as individuals don't have the power to fix most of them. But there are some instances in which we can make a difference, and this is one of them. When I buy costumes from overseas - which I do a fair amount - I can make sure that there's no metaphorical blood on my hands at least.

I've even talked to some of the workers themselves about their work conditions. It's not a life that I would like, but the company clearly does treat them better than other Turkish companies (Al-Saud, 2003).

The other aspect of the company's business that has enabled it to compete on a global level is that it has cashed in on Western perceptions of both Istanbul and belly-dancing as exotic - something that the company owners were already aware of, but also a concept that the company owners have explored through their sharing of customer survey information with other firms (Fezhi, 2003).

When I talk to our American or British customers and tell them that I share information about what customers want with other companies and that they share information with me - that in fact we have interconnected data bases - they tell me that we are crazy, that there is no way that a company can compete that does this. But for me, it makes quite good sense. I am a small company that has a great deal in common with other small companies in my region that are doing business with the West. We each have our own interests, but the best way for each one of us to succeed is to share information. We are all playing on the same team (Fezhi, 2003).

These cultural differences in assessing how to use and share information have been studied by a number of different scholars. Cultural affects on business practices are complex, as Carmel (1999) argues. This complexity affects both communication and management techniques. The understanding and management of cultural differences and, more importantly, the incorporation and acceptance of them are crucial to understand both for those businesses that have international components (which today means almost every business). Any attempt to create international alliances - either between companies (such as between a company that supplies component parts and one that assembles these parts into a finished product) requires an acknowledgement of and respect for cultural differences (concerning the proper degree of cooperation and information sharing as well as a range of other issues (Hofstede, 1991 Hall & Hall, 1990).

If one were to examine the concept of the work team in an American company with many international connections, the concept of this team is very different, being almost oriented within the company and even the division. While part of the differences between the Turkish Emporium and IBM results from differences in their sizes, much of the differences in work teams also results from cultural differences. (It is in fact arguable that the differences in size of the companies itself reflects differences in cultural ideals about cooperation and sharing.)

IBM executive Frank Pacetta defines the spirit of the work team in the globalized economy as being based on the importance of communicating - which means that managers have to communicate their vision to their workers. His willingness to take responsibility for his own actions is clearly at the root of his ability to inspire his workers:

Pacetta: I think it's actually quite easy and we just have to make the time to do it. I call it the "busyness of failure." We don't take the time to communicate, to recruit, to train. There are surveys you can have people fill out. The easiest survey just asks, 'On a 1 to 3 scale, is this a great company to work for?'

It's also important to meet with people one-on-one -- not contacting them by e-mail and cell phone and all that. Go out and ask, 'What do we have to do to fix this company?' A lot of entrepreneurs will say, 'Oh, I've got that in place.' But then you've got to execute it.

Every month, [find out] the three barriers keeping people from being successful in their jobs and go cut those barriers down. Don't take a long time to do it. Don't say you're working on it. Make things happen. It's called "TAN" -- take action now. And then [employees] will say, "Holy smokes, she really did those three things. She didn't talk about it or say, 'I'll get back to you' or 'I can't do it.' She's clearing the decks. I have no more excuses, do I? She cares about me. She's sincere. She's created a nice atmosphere. She's cut down the things making it hard for me to sell to a customer or to make things happen (www.entrepreneur.com/Your_Business/YB_SegArticle).

This attitude of being willing to subject oneself, as a member of management, to the same standards that the average worker is also held to (at least in the most fundamental sense of each person being responsible for doing the best job possible - regardless of that person's rank) must be counted as an important part of the success that he has been able to achieve at IBM and lies at the core of the work team concept for many Western companies (Tudhope 1993).

This style must be seen to be in distinct contrast to a number of other management styles, such as the one that is practiced in the military and that is hierarchical in nature: Soldiers are not encouraged (or even at some level permitted) to question the motivations or conduct of their superiors. Pacetta, in a way that is typical of many Western companies using work teams, is not interested in giving "orders" to "underlings." This does not mean that the "command and control" model of military leadership is in fact inappropriate in all cases - although even the military has to some small extent loosened its hierarchical style in recent years (Tudhope 2003).

The stakes in even the biggest business deal are far less than they are in the world of the battleground. Management - or "command" structures must reflect the real conditions under which people work. They are appropriate when people are shooting at you; they are much less appropriate when people are just asking for an update on the latest version of a manual. Work teams in Western companies are thus both a response to the economic challenges of globalization as well as challenges to management to keep First World workforces happy.

Methodologies and Management

This research tests several hypotheses regarding the ways in which the idea of the work team and concepts of cooperation are becomingly increasingly important… [END OF PREVIEW]

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