Essay: Managing Across Cultures 30

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Managing Across Cultures

Business management strategies are changing rapidly as the domestic and international business environment is converting into a big challenging of functioning beyond boundaries. In this regard, managers are playing vital roles in dual capacities. On the one hand they are business managers and developers who need to achieve their goals important for the growth of the bank. On the other hand they need to manage the operational processes effectively (Stringfellow, n.d). The recent global changes in the regulation and competitive structures are making positions even more complex. The ability of managers now cannot be judged on the basis of what are the quantitative results and achievements but what now is more important is to maintain high quality of work with a motivated and satisfied team. This is where managerial and leadership skills are best evaluated.

In the global competitive business environment it has become extremely important for managers to be effective leaders. They need to pursue their staff to a desired level, which should motivate them to work effectively and timely. To ensure that teams are well motivated is essentially a matter of using the right kind of leadership skills and appropriate management style. At the same time, an understanding of the motivation process will greatly enhance the chances of their success. Organizations have now become hybrid of different cultures and people from different backgrounds working together for the attainment of common objective. It's crucially important for managers to know what motivates them. And what leadership skills are required to direct them in the unified path?

In this paper theoretical perspective of leadership and motivation will be assessed. These theories will be discussed specially with regard to their cultural dimensions when applied to a real life organization's case study. In the case study potential problem of leadership and motivation to the various cultures are identified supported by logical recommendations.

managing cultures

Companies that appear to be quite similar can be faced with different corporate cultures. When companies merge together or undergo the process of acquisition or expand their business operations in diversified regions, they are faced with cultural issues and confronted with cultural conflict which if not managed properly can result in organization's cultural shock. Companies with smart leaders are well aware that cultural due diligence is as important as financial sustainability of the company. Organization's value system is rooted in its corporate strategies that reflect the company's growth prospects and future survival. If the value system of the organization is weak its foundation is shattered and the pillars of goals, objectives and strategies will no longer be able to hold the company for a longer period of time. Cultures are not easily changed, so if company is faced with divergent cultures due to any reason, it has to prepare itself to manage across cultures by creating a new culture for supporting the new organization policies and strategies.

Impact of culture on organization

Culture is the value system, norms, beliefs and attitudes that influence individual and group behavior within an organization. These norms, values and believes are initially structured in the organization through mission and vision by the founder of the business. It is then shaped and carried forwards along the business operations through senior executives, managers and other stake holders. Culture is the way of doing business. It involves strategies regarding the responsiveness to customers and suppliers. The span of control within the organization, level of authority and nature of delegation of authority, employee performance measurement mechanisms, development and growth prospects, risk tolerance and aversion procedures and quality assurance mechanisms all these are part of cultural norms and principals that shape the organization's strategies. In reality culture and strategies go hand in hand. Culture provides the insight of doing things and strategy show the road of getting to the destination. Organizations are able to achieve their objectives if they know how to prioritize value system and apply them best with the strategic implementation.

Organizational Cultural Assessment

Understanding the forces that drive employee performance is not an easy task. Its complexity even gets saturated when company are faced with the dilemma of managing across cultures. Organizational performance depends greatly on three factors: ability, environment and motivation. (Bovee, 2000) If employees have the necessary abilities to perform the task, organizational environment also supports their functions and the work groups are highly motivated, is the ideal situation where an organization is able to achieve its objectives. On contrary if any of the factor is missing then it is most likely to fail.

In light of the importance of cultural assessment in an organization, cultural due diligence involves organizational assessment and its future strategies by looking at the factors like:

a) How well the company adapt to the new processes and how it reacts to the cultural differences?

b) Analyzing the company style of management. Whether it's centralized or decentralized, entrepreneurial, authoritative or management by objective.

c) Evaluating competition structure and competitive strategies. Effectiveness of the company in serving the market and its penetration in the market.

d) Critical success factor for the company. Is it the management style, marketing strategies, industry growth, product life cycle or creativity and innovation?

e) The financial implication of the company. Its budgetary prospects, revenue structure and cash generation system.

f) Assess how far the company gives importance to the growth and development of the employees and enhancement of their creativity.

g) The communication system within the organization. It is very important assessment because it identifies the centers of policy formulations, its implementation and how these policies are communicated within the organization. It reveals the authoritative structure of an organization and how far organization is successful in managing its resources.

h) The risk evasiveness and risk taking behavior of the organization.

Discussion on the managing across culture is not limited to overcome the cultural conflicts through best management practices, rather its objective is to identify the cultural differences and how far these differences can be managed for the optimum results of the organization. Companies in today's time are more interested in taking advantage from the pluralism in an organization and making it an opportunity instead of threat. Collectiveness of thinking, collectiveness of understanding and collectiveness of responses always gives outcomes which are in best interest of the masses and representation of the whole body.

CASE AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE

Case In Point-Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is the fourth largest automaker in the world. It is an American company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company was founded by Henry Ford incorporated on June 16, 1903. Ford Motor Company is the largest family-controlled company in the world, has been under family control for about 100 years. Alan Mulally is the current Ford CEO who has been appointed by William Clay Ford, Jr. For the restructure of the company. Ford Motor Company in current business environment is managed as a global business. Business functions like product development and vehicle design are all conducted on global basis instead of regional development centers. Manufacturing and purchasing functions are also controlled globally. The human resource management in this global business environment is also managed internationally by placing best people from anywhere of their current location to anywhere in the business center where their skills, abilities and experience is required (Charlene, 1998). Such management policy requires company like Ford or any other company with the same management philosophy required thorough understanding of different cultures, what motivates people from different norms and values and how that is reflected in the formulation of international projects. Consequently, company like Ford is faced with challenging task of understanding different cultures and societies when conducting their business across national boundaries. All the management strategies significantly the human resource management policies like recruitment, selection, training and compensation of employees are complicated through such cultural differences characterized by different countries around the world.

Under such circumstances leaders are challenged with the task of motivating employees towards the achievement of common goal around the world where business operations are conducted and directing them to the right path of business policies and strategies while managing their cultural differences. Following text will discuss how company like Ford is best able to meet its objective while managing across culture through profound leadership and motivation.

Managing through Motivation

One of the most difficult and challenging task of managers is to motivate employees to perform at the highest possible level in order to achieve organizational goals. A true leader role is to determine the factors that stimulate employee motivation and to channel that motivation in ways that serve organizational objectives (Dessler, 2000). Theories of motivation are amalgamated around three basic ideas: the nature of human needs and desires, the thought process that people adopt to satisfy those needs and the reason that people repeat or change their behavior. The three areas of motivation theories are:

a) Need Theories: These theories identify human action to overcome certain deficiencies. The four major need theories are Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, Alderfer's ERG theory, Herzberg's two factor… [END OF PREVIEW]

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