By definition, Intercultural Management refers to an integration of skills, knowledge, and insights that are necessary for successful undertakings between national and regional cultures and the distinctions between the cultures at various levels within an organization. Intercultural management also refers managing and controlling work teams regardless the differences in practices, cultures and the preference especially while operating an international business. Cross-cultural management is an important aspect that cuts across growing partnerships between corporations operating in foreign countries that have diverse cultural backgrounds. Due to the growing rate of globalization, more and more enterprises are expanding their operations to various destinations throughout the world and in turn, result in activities that require cross-cultural communication which is an essential aspect of intercultural management. It is evident that culture and communication are inseparable and thus forms a core pillar of the organizational directorate. Different cultural practices in various nations influence the management of people from different social and cultural backgrounds. The concept of intercultural management traces its conception to the traditional business setups where earliest forms of migration brought different people together. There was a need to manage the multicultural workers in first plantations in the US, and one of the leadership skills among the colonial capitalists were the recognition of the diversity of the employees. Societal culture in the past was a key determinant of interaction in places of work. It relatively similar to the present day practices within individual business groups as particular values and preferences are influenced culturally. It requires enough skills, capability, knowledge, power and insight which are necessary when dealing with differences in culture and practices of different regions or even nations at several management groups within an organization or various agencies.
Due to the growing diversity of people and the difference in their lifestyle the mode of management varies from one region to another in accordance to peoples behaviors. The strategies and techniques employed by different organizations are also significant influences when it comes to management. The development of intercultural management is facing some major problems. According to Gibson, people from various nations in some organizations encounters a lot of communication challenges, and they feel cut off from participating equally in the sessions. On this occasion, managers or leaders should come up with good and clear communication policies. Furthermore, disagreement in many business organizations occurs due to the difference in cultural practices. In the contemporary business world, intercultural management is continuously gaining meaning as a result of the promotion of global citizenship. Cultural differences have many effects on teamwork and team members in some ways that include attitude towards management, language barrier, and diverse approaches to solving problems, time sensitivity and biases based on gender, ethnicity or cultural background.
Intercultural management is not a new phenomenon as it was in existence in the ancient times, but the difference is that in the past, it was not common since it only took place at small scale. Examples of the previous occurrences of intercultural management are the cases of the Silk Route, trips of Marco Polo, and Roman Empire where there were significant cross-cultural activities in humanity history. As the times transpired, there was a vast proliferation in the application of the concept of intercultural management. The rise of the application of intercultural management is due to numerous factors such as globalization which started as early as 1492. Globalization began with the Caribbean voyage of Christopher Columbus where there was intensified multicultural interaction due to the emergence of the Soviet and United States as the first superpowers. The second factor for the evolution of intercultural management is European Union expansion which brought together capitalists from different social and cultural backgrounds. The last and most important aspect responsible for the advancement of intercultural management is the global economic development. Towards the end of the 1980s, many nations started to experience economic openness and interaction with other countries. Furthermore, there was the prevalent emergence of new systems of economies such as the Indian and Chinese markets that were large enough to dispose of new economic systems. Has study suggests that market economic models such as Scandinavian, American, Russian, and Japanese systems are all the products of intercultural cooperation and management. At present, the difference in existing economic systems is due to cultural differences. There is a significant aspect of dynamism in the concept of intercultural management since the factors that contribute to it occur only when more than two cultures interact. Cultural interaction leads to economic, social and cultural evolution and enrichment of either culture.
Intercultural Management Models
Some of the earlier research classify Cognitive Categorization Model (CCM) of cross-cultural management as the traditional strategy of managing people from diverse cultures. Intercultural administration in an international business context using the model has its main focus on the cross-cultural interaction that occurs between expatriate managers and subordinate of the host nations. A director of any organization operating using the CCM model appreciates the convergence between cross-cultural dynamics and cognitive structures. Some of the key elements of the model include the strategies of exploring and examining how employees view managers as leaders and similarly how the managers classify their workers using behavior and performance. When managers interact with other individuals from different cultural backgrounds, interaction results in the generation of more information which overwhelm them finding it hard to cope up. It is a counter-adaptive strategy to have cognitive structures which assist individuals who are new in a given environment to acclimatize to the cultural changes hence organizing and processing information. It is inclusive of the adaptation to language in the host nations and adapting to cultural differences. The cognitive structures according to Shaw are schemes which progress in their development with time as a result of the recurrent experiences in past situation, and previous interaction with persons and objects. As part of the cognition, the role of the schemas is to organize the manner in which people adapt and acclimatize to the new environment as a result of the intercultural interaction. The past research regarding the Cognitive Categorization model (CCM) have the main conclusions that managers from diverse cultural origins have differing styles, values, and attitudes of dealing with workers from different cultural backgrounds. However, the weakness of the previous research on Cognitive Categorization Model of Intercultural Management reveals little information regarding the impact of cultural discrepancies on the norms, attitudes, and behavior of workers.
The other intercultural management model that trails the Cognitive Categorization theory is the Hofstedes Theory of cultural dimensions. It is Geert Hofstedes model which entails his studies on cross-cultural communication through a global survey in 1972 to ascertain the aspects that IBM workers value and conducting a factor examination of the survey results to produce Hofstede original model. As a consequence of the close relationship between cross-cultural communication and intercultural management, the Hofstede model is applicable in describing how the culture of a given society impact on the behaviors, beliefs, values and norms of the members of that particular community. The Hofstedes factor analysis discovered four original dimensions which form the basis for analyzing cultural values. The dimensions include masculinity-femininity which describes the concept of personal orientation versus task orientation, power distance which tests and weigh the impact and influence that social hierarchy on the interaction of different cultures. The other two dimensions are uncertainty avoidance and the concept of individualism-collectivism. In another subsequent Hofstede study on cultural communication in Hong Kong, Hofstede was able to incorporate the aspect of long-term orientation as the fifth dimension with the purpose of covering other cultural value which the novel paradigm could not cover. Furthermore, Hofstede research in 2010 is responsible for the introduction of self-restraint and indulgence as the sixth dimension of the model.
Hofstede model is applicable in the contemporary management of intercultural interaction in that it is one of the foundations of cross-cultural psychology that present-day consultants and researchers use in the globalized business. Most of the fields that apply the Hofstede model include research in paradigms such as cross-cultural communication, international trade management and intercultural psychology which are the fields that are closely related to the concept of intercultural management. According to Mooij and Hofstede, Hofstede model in the present-day business environment is applicable in conducting cross-cultural studies to ascertain the role of social beliefs, culture and cultural values in business. The importance of the Hofstede model in cross-cultural management and related studies is that it facilitate ways of quantifying cultural dimensions hence enabling the comparison of cross-regional differences between nations. In Steeles study to ascertain the Mediterranean social model, the findings demonstrated that countries in the Mediterranean area have a culture of accepting inequalities. The choices of the people in the region occur due to uncertainty aversion. People from Mediterranean countries similarly have high respects to individualistic behavior. In a nation like Thailand, citizens have regards to masculinity with critical consideration of the male as the preferred leader in aspects such as family decisions and business.
The other theory that is closely related to intercultural management is the Cultural Convergence Theory which has the common belief that when two or three cultures interact, the result will lead to one culture influencing other cultures such that all the interacting cultures will have a general resemblance. The cross-cultural models conception is as early as the 1950s when the theory had a significant relationship with the then famous culture advancement model known as Modernization Theory. The theory articulates that as countries advance, they path of development follows the industrialization path in the same look as the Western nations. The similarities between modernization theory and convergence theory are that they both have the attributes of societal change and economic development. Intercultural management, in that case, deals with the acquisition and retention of technological knowledge as the people from different nations converge. According to Glaser, cultural convergence examples include the spread and advocating for English as an international language, global sports, and application of technology in which people from different cultural and social backgrounds together. Therefore, administering and overseeing the success of such convergence is some of the aspects of cross-cultural management. The conditions under which cultural convergence take place include the situation when two or more cultures resemble each other by elements such...
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