Group Definition Of Cross Cultural Awareness Management Essay

The purpose of this report is to add to the group slide presentation on cross cultural awareness and the training program that was formulated to tackle the issue. Within this report there will be a summary of each the points that the group focused on. The task that the group were faced with was in the form of a training program that was geared towards increasing cross cultural awareness of a group of 10 British sales managers who work for IBM.

Group Definition of Cross Cultural Awareness

As more companies expand globally involving expatriates, the need for culture awareness has increased. The lack of cultural awareness is the main cause of misunderstanding and conflicts because of the cultural differences and where the behaviour perception of one culture may be different for another. (Cushner & Brislin, 1996).

The authors gave different names to cross-cultural awareness such as cross-cultural competence, cross-cultural training, intercultural competence and intercultural sensitivity. Based on several academic literatures, “cross-cultural awareness” means that a good understanding of its own culture will help the individual to understand more the other’s cultures and then to be more successful in cross cultural behaviour. In other words, the individual should be conscious enough of their own culture in developing the manager’s intercultural competence. That means increasing the ability to behave in intercultural way and improving communication across cultures as the intercultural competence shows consideration for other’s needs and fulfilment of one’s own satisfactions (Gupta & Govindarajan, 2002). In addition, cross-cultural awareness enables the individual to create a self-awareness through which he can identify his own knowledge and cultural values.

Importance of Cross-Cultural Awareness

Cross-cultural awareness is considered an important tool that reduces the consequences of cross-cultural conflict. It helps to learn how to behave in appropriate way across different cultures and create a feeling for these cultural differences. This results in enhancing cross-cultural communication skills like listening, speaking and observing which play a vital role to build trust between people of different cultures. The improvement of partnership skills as well, that requires a greater international collaboration. In addition, it decreases the cross-cultural misunderstanding and creates a winning working environment in the workplace. It is a business benefit and cost-effective solution for many companies since it maximizes their potential globally and develops the intercultural sensitivity of expatriates by providing better results to the organisation. It has a significant importance because the expatriates would understand and accept and build a strong relationship with people from various cultural backgrounds.

Appropriateness of Training

Bush and Thomas (2000) explain that it is of a main important for “developing successful buyer-seller relationship”. A sales manager will have to go through special training which we can call cultural diversity training.

Before going through this training Bush and Thomas (2000) argue that it is a requirement for sales people to be exposed to a culturally diverse encounter. This phase will lead sales managers to realise the impact cultural diversity will have on business relationship and will enable them to be really aware of its importance, instead of neglecting it.

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Requirements can be achieved thanks to management training games such as the BAFA BAFA game. This game begins with the creation of two teams. The sales management team will have to be split into two teams that have different languages and cultures and will have to handle with the rules of the game, and to understand each culture. This game has a long history of success and it was proved to be a good tool to make people from different background work more effectively together.

Once the sales managers are aware of the benefit cross cultural training could bring to them, they can move on the proper training. Montagno,R.(1996) say this will enable sales mangers to acquire the three main qualities needed to do business abroad such as initiate conversation and establish and maintain a meaningful relationship.

Type, content and length of training

Seven types of training were identified by researchers Litrell and Salas (2005). These seven approaches are identified in the appendix. Each of the seven have their meanings, for example with regards to the groups specific training program, language training means that individuals do not have to become fluent but a general understanding of common courtesies in the host language is provided. (Befus 1988; Bennett 1986) It was decided that six months would be a worthy timescale for the training to take place in order to cover the ten methods and contents chosen by the group. These ten, were sourced from the “handbook of intercultural training” the ten can be viewed in table 1. These link to the groups definition of cross cultural awareness because the group had identified the key words, such as sensitivity, which is linked to the content of culture sensitizer. From the ten, a table (table 1) was created, which described factors such as what the outcome of the training will be, whether the training will give them knowledge into about or across cultures, what the learning styles would be as different people have different learning styles, for example British people have a different style to American people. The ten were chosen because we felt these were most likely to fit the definition of cross cultural awareness that we produced, for example self-awareness will give employees an understanding about their own culture as well as other peoples’ cultures.

Table 1: Training Methods

Cultural Effects

Yang, et al (2009) suggest that the effect of trainees’ cultural background could be examines by Hofstede cultural dimensions. According to Hofstede (1994), nation cultural is defined as the collective programming of the mind in a nation or region. Hofstede (2009) suggested that cultural has several dimensions which include Individualism and collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, time orientation, power distance and masculinity and femininity. The review on cultural effect to the British participants’ learning performance will base on Hofstede’s framework. Table 2 is a summary of the participants’ cultural effect:

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Table 2 Cultural Effects in Cross Cultural Training (Sources: Geert Hofstede, 2010)

Dimensions

Score

Effects & Approaches

Individualism/Collectivism

89

The UK individualism cultural have higher intrinsic motivation than participants from collectivism cultural.

The UK’s participants’ valence and training motivation are higher when training is perceived to increase the competencies of individuals.

The UK’s participants’ cultural adopt a concrete, intuitive, and inductive learning style.

Uncertainty Avoidance

35

The UK participants’ cultural training effectiveness is associated with a lower level of valence.

Short/Long-term Oriented

51

The UK’s culture has an average score on time oriented dimension. As a result, the course shall take care on both long-terms and short terms benefits.

Power Distance

35

The UK participants’ cultural is higher when the training is implemented by using a decision-making process.

Muscularity/ femininity

66

The participants’ culture will have higher training motivation and valence when training is perceived to increase the competencies of individuals.

The UK has high individualism culture, Yang et al. (2009) showed that participants from individualism cultures have higher intrinsic motivation than participants from collectivism cultures and their valence and training motivation are higher when training is perceived to increase the competencies of individuals. Therefore, the training program should focus on increasing individual performance rather than organization’s competencies.

Yang, et al. (2009) reported individual cultures adopt a concrete, intuitive, and inductive learning style. As a result, the course shall include elements of solid example to gain best result from participants. They also suggested lower uncertainty avoidance cultural training effectiveness is associated with a lower level of valence. Consequently, the training shall include more individual works rather than group works. They found that the participants from short term oriented will require immediate benefit from the training program. However, the participants from long term oriented will require future benefit from the training program. The UK’s culture has an average score on time oriented dimension. Therefore, the course shall take care on both long-terms and short terms benefits.

Yang et al. (2009) found that the participants from short term oriented will require immediate benefit from the training program. However, the participants from long term oriented will require future benefit from the training program. The UK’s culture has an average score on time oriented dimension. Therefore, the course shall take care on both long-terms and short terms benefits.

They also suggested that masculinity cultural will have higher training motivation and valence when training is perceived to increase the competencies of individuals. Therefore, the training program should focus on increasing individual performance rather than organization’s competencies.

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Evaluation

The evaluation is an important stage to be considered in the implementation of cross-culture training. It aims to evaluate the effectiveness of cross-culture training by linking logically the content of measures to the training content (Kraiger et al, 1993), assess the improvement of participant’s awareness about cultural differences and whether the skills and knowledge learned from the training has been implemented in the workplace (Littrell, Salas, 2005) in order to provide recommendations for future cross-culture training.

In order to evaluate IBM’s cross-culture training, it is important for the evaluator to understand the meaning of culture awareness and sensitivity and set up success criteria for CCT program (Guzman, 2003). Only then they can evaluate participant’s knowledge and cross-culture training outcomes. The evaluation requires mixed methods including both qualitative and quantitative in order to increase the reliability of the findings. Thus, we will use various evaluation methods at this stage namely conducting interviews with participants in order to determine the change of their cognitive, affective and cognitive behaviour during the training, their self-maintenance and their adjustment to multicultural environment that have been also mentioned by Cross, et al, (1992) “A set of congruent behaviours, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross cultural situations”. This method will be followed by pre-training and post-training survey in order to rate their competency and ability to deal with different cultures in the workplace. The return on investment (ROS) should also be used in order to measure the outcomes of this CCT program. This will help to decide whether CCT program should be modified or not and improve it in the future.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the pace of globalisation has raised a great attention of managers on the cross-cultural issues due to the conflicts and misunderstanding encountered in the workplace. These issues led to harsh consequences taking the form of frustrated shareholders and business opportunity losses. Therefore, there is a growing need to have an extensive interpersonal skills and knowledge than in past (Kealey and Protheroe, 1996). In other words, companies with an international growth strategy, such as our company IBM, are getting to implement a cross-cultural training for their global managers dealing with individuals from various cultures and this was an effective strategy to achieve their multicultural objectives and organisational performances. The six-month cross-cultural training implemented in IBM sales department will be a mean for our managers to increase their cultural awareness both at the professional and individual level including their communication and negotiation skills.

Word Count: 1500 (exclude the tables and references)

Appendix: Presentation Slides


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