Subgroups were formed within our group where one subgroup handle the corporate leadership issues raised in the case study, another one dealt with national culture and foreign investments in Uganda. All members of the group participated in handling the introductory part and the recommendations part.
We utilized the Hofstede's theory of cultural dimensions to analyze the effects of the community's culture to its members and how they determine behavior. Hofstede tries to do away with the effects of changing company culture and focuses his analysis on how different national cultures influence an organization's culture. We also used Andre Laurent's theory to try to analyze the role of managers in expressing their cultural values and by what boundary they can practice such culture. The theory also helped us appreciate the fact that international managers need to be competent in managing multiculturalism. We encountered the problem of coming up with the theories that could best fit the case study. Again, we had not enough time to complete the work.
The country of Uganda consists of people speaking many different languages and having diverse cultures with a population of over twenty-five million people, which poses so many challenges for foreign investors to start and operate businesses. The official language in Uganda is English; however, many people are only capable of communicating in their indigenous language, which is mainly Bantu, or Nilotic language. These many languages used across many diverse cultures create a serious problem for foreign companies to successfully do business because the foreign investor is never sure which language will be common (Hofstede, 2001), therefore communication is one of the challenges in Uganda. Most of the people in Uganda are Christians; however, there are many Muslims and other Ugandans who practice traditional religion, which has a strong influence. The many religious inclinations create a challenge for foreign businesses to thrive in Uganda. Since the citizens of Uganda are too loyal and devout to their cultural beliefs and religion, a foreign company would have to live and accept the people's religious practices to deal with the natives successfully. Looking at the many languages spoken in Uganda and that many people can communicate in their native languages; the language barrier is a major setback for foreign investors operating their businesses in Uganda. Generally, businesses in Uganda tend to move slowly and it is a common thing to advise the officials to create conditions that favor fast business progress, something that is never practiced in the United States (Laurent, 1983). For instance, installation of a telephone could take longer time than required.
The income of Uganda is low and the payment systems are exorbitant. In offices, nepotism is common vice among Uganda's recruitment teams. Nepotism is the practice of employing relatives or offering them promotions, even under undeserved situations. Awarding of jobs to relatives is common here because of connections made through the word of mouth. In what many may consider normal challenges, Uganda outlines many unique challenges that may not be found in other countries. Since Uganda has is historically known for political instability and corruption, that has been carried all through to the present, companies operating in Uganda economy are faced with the harsh reality business operations face the risk of being tainted due to the fact that with that corruption, there is no guarantee of a place among the powerful (Hofstede, 2001).
Leadership Issues In Uganda that influenced the attitudes of Martin and Green
Several leadership attitudes were demonstrated by Martin and Green. Martin demonstrated polycentrism, where it can be viewed in a manner such that business is conducted in such a manner that aligns with the country's norms at the site of the business as well as conformity to the organizational culture. The polycentric nature of Martin was evidenced through his paying tips, he lived in the middle-class neighborhoods, rather than living with the other expatriates, he also participated in traditional ceremonies and he applied nepotism in hiring workers. Green showed a geocentric attitude and ethnocentrism. Geocentricism is such that some differences in opinion can be tolerated to make business dealings successful. Under individual conditions, the company can take two routes, either adapt to the new culture or work towards integration of the home country's culture (Flamholtz & Randle, 2011). Ethnocentric attitude is based on that feeling of superiority of one group to another. Green does not consider the cultural factors because he is used to some given cause-effect relationships in the US. Green understands the differences in the business environment but he is still focused on achieving his country's objectives rather than international objectives (Adler, 1986). Green also makes assumptions that the introduction of business in a new country is a simple process while it is a complex procedure in reality (Brocke & Sinnl, 2011). The attitude that Green had was influenced by the desire he had of incorporating the company's organizational culture into the project in Uganda. On the other hand, Martin was mainly concerned with achieving the project requirements regardless of the fallout that might happen due to going against the corporate values (Denison, 1990).
The National Culture and Martin's Dealings
Martin absorbed local people to work in the project although he went beyond the company's policy and against the laws of the United States (Lopez, 2004). Had Martin not been part of the project team, it would be almost impossible for the project to proceed. For Instance, since language is a big challenge in Uganda, HG ought to employ a translator to assist in communication. Three actions assisted in making the project a success; Martin had prior knowledge of what needed to be done to succeed in business in Africa, had the desire to finish all the required duties in time and within budget and adapted to local norms like nepotism. He showed that he understood the Ugandan national culture. Although Martin emerged successful through taking risks associated with his polycentric nature of the approach to his dealings, his involvement in various activities like the traditional rituals could have failed his at any point. This could have been the case because of the more pressure exerted by the corrupt officers and unstable Ugandan government through misusing their continued advantage to hike prices due to that cooperation. The challenges and the illegality of some given dealings in the United States went against the corporate policy. In spite of these increased problems, in case that Martin failed to employ this strategy to the business in Uganda, a lot of delays would be experienced, there would have been reduced local collaboration, increased expenses due to long waiting periods and even the abolishment of the project in the end due to lack of progress (Geert & Gert-Jan, 2004).
Recommendation to HG's Human Resource Manager
HG need to secure someone in the next phase of this project whose main duty is to act as a liaison between the country of Uganda and the corporate culture, and that person would be Martin. Lacking a liaison in the next phase would mean the same challenges of cultural clashes would occur again. Martin would be the person to understand the nuisances of the project under continuation because he has a lot of knowledge of the inner operations of the side project. HG Company, as the funding institution for this project, could work towards updating its policy through working hand in hand with Martin and other corporate officials to come up with clear guidelines of what an acceptable policy is while undertaking projects in foreign nations (Mead & Andrews, 2009).
Adler, N. J. (1986). International dimensions of organizational behavior. The International Executive, 28(1), 31-32.
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Brocke, J. and Sinnl, T. (2011). Culture in business process management: a literature review. Business Process Management Journal. 17(2). pp.357-378.
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Jackson, L. n.d. Achieving change in business culture: through focused competence-based management development programmes. Industrial and Commercial Training. 23(4).Laurent, Andre. "The cultural diversity of western conceptions of management." International Studies of Management & Organization 13.1-2 (1983): 75-96.
Lopez, P. S. et. al. (2004). Managing knowledge: the link between culture and organizational learning. Journal of Knowledge Management. 8(6). pp.93-104.
Mead, R. and Andrews, T. G. (2009). International management culture and beyond. John Wiley and Sons.
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