Cultural differences are observable in every sector of the global economy. The overwhelming differences clearly visible in society are the ones that distinguish each group of individuals. Erin Meyer offers an elaborate account of how various cultures portray different situations, as will be illustrated in the course of this presentation.
Erin Meyer`s chief objective is to address the cultural difference that most businesses experience. Through her own academic research as well as a compilation of works by different psychological experts, she manages to create a reliable framework that can be adopted by organizations in any part of the world.
It is apparent that the current global economy has been diversified leading to a situation whereby multinationals and other related corporate entities are working with individuals from miscellaneous cultures. Meyer indicates that this can actually become challenging and result in misunderstandings, whenever people differ on certain decisions.
Meyer offers an example of the French individuals whom the Americans perceive to be chaotic, disorganized, always late, and they tend to change the topic making it difficult to follow them (Meyer, 2016). Similarly, she demonstrates the same by inquiring what the Indians think about the same individuals. It appears that the latter individuals have a different opinion about the French terming them as rigid, inadaptable and focused (Meyer, 2016). This is a clear demonstration of how various cultures differ.
In some cultures, the physical presence of individuals is a fundamental communication incentive while in others, this is not necessarily the case. With the advent of video conferencing and telecommunication, this is visible, especially where physical manifestation of individuals becomes a necessity due to the visual and circumstantial clues (Meyer, 2016). Failure to adhere to this is likely to result in misunderstandings.
While expounding on cultural communication, Meyer categorizes cultures into two broad facets, namely: high and low cultural contexts (Meyer, 2016). Low context cultures such as that of the Americans and Germans perceive communication to be precise and hence ample room is left for ambiguity (Meyer, 2016). This differs from high context cultures such as those of the Chinese and Koreans which depend on nuanced communication requiring further elaboration on the same message.
While addressing the aspect of leadership. She clearly indicates that the contemporary society requires a flexible leader. This is due to the cultural perception clearly inherent in different cultures. For instance, Russians believe that a leader who adorns expensive suits and bears the title of president exudes a lot of power (Meyer, 2016). Similarly, in American, leaders are not necessarily defined by outward appearance since most of them tend to adopt a reserved stature in most cases. Modesty is highly valued in the western world, and it is not unusual to see the CEO of a company riding a bicycle to work (Meyer, 2016).
In order for leaders to engender significant influence at the workplace, Meyer insists that they have to first gain a clear comprehension of the various cultures existent in the world. This will ensure that they are able to instigate their desired objectives to every individual irrespective of their cultural affiliation. Some cultures relate well to direct negative feedback as opposed to others which are accustomed to indirect negative feedback. Examples of latter cultures are Indians, Chinese, Kenyans, and Indonesians, whereas, Russians, Australians, and Italians relate better with the former feedback (Meyer, 2016).
Erin Meyer is indeed one of the most objective authors who clearly defines the culture map existent amongst individuals in the contemporary world. The author is particular about the cultural differences that most businesses experience. She further indicates that working with individuals from miscellaneous cultures requires organizations to familiarize themselves with different cultures. Some cultures require physical contact with individuals in order for the message to be passed on successfully as opposed to others. Besides, there are two main frameworks which are the high and low context cultures. Besides understanding which context individuals belong to, the leader has to ensure that they are flexible enough to fit into any suitable perspective. It can hence be concluded that by understanding the culture map organizations will end up being in a better position of former a better working relationship with all their employees regardless of their cultural identities.
Meyer, E. (2016). The culture map: Decoding how people think, lead, and get things done across cultures.
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