National and organisational culture influence how international corporations do their business. This has been pronounced in the article "Brett Jones in Tanzania - What to Do When a Manager 'Goes Native'?" The article has portrayed numerous aspects of cultural and ethnic diversity that might potentially influence the operations of the US-based Hydro-Generation (H.G.) in Tanzania. Some of the aspects include corruption, religion, and lifestyle. Additional critical issues include communication and negotiation structures that potentially reflect on the effectiveness of leadership across the various ranks.
Corruption among the Tanzanian locals and government officials is extreme. That makes it difficult for foreign corporations to contact their businesses efficiently. The issues of nepotism in the hiring processes in Tanzania may pose problems in the future. For instance, Brett Jones has embraced the tendency of hiring relatives recommended by the locals. He also encourages extra payments for import clearance and to get other things done. Although this might seem to be a quick resolution for smooth business operations, it might adversely influence the H.G.'s future international operations and reputation.
Foreign corporations, such as the H.G., and their representatives, should, therefore, be aware and familiar with the host country's cultural and religious practices. The issues of religion and cultural rituals also hinder or slows the operations of foreign corporations. Such corporations should realize that some countries like Tanzania require foreign representatives to participate directly in rituals if they are to continue with their operations. International representatives should also recognize that some illegalities and duplicitous operations are ethically undesirable as they affect foreign corporation's way of doing business, especially for US-based corporations that sharply rebuke dealings such as corruption and nepotism.
Graham Steinberg and Brett Jones have entirely different approaches to international business. Steinberg believes that H.G. operations in Tanzania should align with its morals and values from the headquarters. He exemplifies the Christian way of operation and is afraid that Jones' accommodating tendency may pose risks to the corporation in the future. Although his notions could be logical, people with a completely different culture may not appreciate these different morals and values. Jones, on the other hand, is accommodating of the Tanzanian culture, adopting its corruptive nature into his operations. His interest and respect for the local culture put him in a better position for understanding the critical aspects characteristic of the Tanzanian way of doing business.
Despite that, Jones completed the first phase within budget and time; he is not a perfect candidate for the next phase of the project. His lenience to the local culture may pose adverse risks to the corporation soon. The corporation should hire a candidate who would engage in H.G.'s culture and ethical values into the project. That will help in maintaining the corporation's image and build on its organisational culture.
Cultural diversity is one of the significant challenges facing corporations and businesses operating in the international market (Junior et al., 2006, p.2). Culture is seen as the shared mental constructs that distinguish members of one social group from the others. It is an assortment of ethics, principles, traditions, and outlooks, which characterize a particular social group (Junior et al., 2006, p.2). Different nations have diverse cultures that differentiate them. That influences the operations of foreign organisations greatly. According to Junior et al. (2006, p.2), foreign organisations and their representatives should, therefore, strive to understand the culture of the regions or nations they wish to operate in. It should be done by investigating and understanding vital cultural aspects that are manifested in the nation's social structures, religion, language, communication, and values. These national cultural elements pose significant challenges for the general operation of foreign corporations. The organisational culture of these corporations also has an essential role in complicating global trades in a multicultural setting.
The article "Brett Jones in Tanzania - What to Do When a Manager 'Goes Native'?" illustrates the possible challenges that foreign corporations face in international markets due to national cultures, a case of a US-based Hydro-Generation (H.G.). Some aspects of culture that influence the operations of the H.G. include corruption, religion, and lifestyle. There are also issues in leadership and communication and negotiation structures. These posed challenges for the smooth running of the H.G.'s business operations in Tanzania. The corporation's representative in Tanzania, Brett Jones, is accommodating of the local culture and has adopted its corruptive nature into his operations. His interest and respect for the local culture put him in a better position for understanding the Tanzanian way of doing business; this enables him to complete his initial and construction phases of the project satisfactory, on time, and within budget.
However, the H.G.'s vice president, Graham Steinberg, is concerned about Jones' ways of conducting business, which might have significant repercussions and risks on the future operations of the corporation in the international market. He reaches a quandary of whether or not to employ Jones in the next phase of the project in Tanzania. This paper theoretically analyses the cultural issues facing H.G. in its operations in Tanzania and provides a reflective summary of the learning outcomes from the group.
Globalization has led to the birth of numerous international corporations working in various countries, resulting in cultural diversity in international markets. Singh (2010, p.45), defines cultural diversity as the differences in the elements of culture such as religion, race, ethnicity, language, and nationality, which distinguish one social group from another. A social group is termed as diverse if it constitutes individuals from different cultures. These cultural diversities can influence the operations of any corporation in the international market (Singh, 2010, p.43). To ensure successful operations of foreign corporations in environments characterized by diverse cultures, corporations and their representatives should adopt culturally sensitive structures and flexible leadership that accommodate the culture of the country in which they operate (Singh, 2010, p.43).
The diversity of culture is seen in its portrayed in its elements. For instance, organisational and national cultural differences are seen in the norms, values, rituals, and people's way of life (Kazi, 2015, p.2). These elements fluctuate across cultures, resulting in intercultural differences. Kazi (2015) describes these differences as demanding rational approach, participative leadership, fairness, and ethical virtues in operations that deter corruption and nepotism, and prioritization of religion in international business endeavors (p.2).
The HG's representative in Tanzania, Brett Jones, eagerly accommodates Tanzanian culture in the corporation's operations, some of which are not in line with H.G.'s organisational culture and its way of doing business in foreign nations. He proves useful in the local development issues and accomplishes his project satisfactory, in time and within budget. However, he embraces unethical cultural aspects such as corruption and disregard of the values on which H.G. is found, arousing concerns for significant risks for the corporation in the future operations in the international market. It is, therefore, crucial that foreign firms and their representatives be flexible to the diverse cultures. In doing so, they should also be careful to be too lenient and accommodating to the local culture and avoid unethical practices that may damage the image of the corporation in the future or weaken the organisational values of the corporations.
Influence of National and Organisational Culture
The variation and organisational cultures across nations and organizations pose a unique challenge for foreign business corporations (Kalhor et al., 2014, p.382). It is essential to understand these variations, most importantly, the cultural factors, in the international market to ensure effectiveness in operations. Various cultural factors at the national and organisational level influence the operations of foreign corporations. These include corruption, religion, communication and negotiations, and lifestyle. In the case of Tanzania, the cultural patterns tolerate corruption among the locals and government officials. Expatriates and the hiring processes that embrace nepotism see this in the extra payments for services. Such unethical practices regarding the foreign corporation's values may negatively affect the operations leading to problems in the future.
Corruption derives its roots from influential, mostly national culture, and the willingness of locals, the corporate and government officials to engage in such practices (Cuervo-Cazurra, 2016, p.6). Therefore, the corruption levels in global business markets are determined by both the national and organisational cultures. Although some behaviours considered as corrupt in a particular culture, maybe a standard practice in others, and therefore, there is a need for international corporations and its representatives to recognize these facts. The consequences of corruption are severe at any national or corporate level. Controls should thus be implemented to limit such practices. For instance, business corporations should adopt an organisational culture that is ethically acceptable and rebukes all that pertain to corruption, to avoid future risks (Cuervo-Cazurra, 2016, p.6). Such a move renders Jones unfit for the next phase of the H.G.'s project due to his corrupt practices. The management should hire another person, willing to operate by the values and ethicalities of the corporation to maintain organisational image and culture.
Religion is also another cultural aspect that influences international business. The influence of religion varies from one nation or organisation to another, depending on the legitimacy, homogeneity, people's tolerance and beliefs of religions (Junior et al., 2006, p.3). Foreign corporations should, therefore, adopt a culture and organisational structure that recognizes all facets of religion in the countries that they desire to extend their operations. They should as well consider all the possible impact of religion on the society's economy and operational activities (Kalhor et al., 2014, p.3). It is imperative that the US-based HG Corporation, found under Christian values, to recognize the various religions in Tanzania and their respective influence on the corporation's activities and future endeavors. For instance, the corporation can tailor an organisational culture that harmoniously accommodates the traditional, Christian, and Islamic religious values in Tanzania, to operate effectively and maintain its image.
Communication and negotiation are also other factors that influenced culture and significantly affect foreign corporations in daily operations. According to Junior et al. (2006, p.3), communication is an essential tool for international business, especially between entities with different cultures. Ineffectiveness in communication may affect the results of negotiations and even failure, were entities with different cultural backgrounds fail to communicate effectively. Nego...
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