Sub Banner Default Image


over 3 years ago by Elk Recruitment
Cultural Knowledge

Multicultural Management in the context of international business is discussed as a
key attribute and a “success factor” for businesses, managers and teams in today’s
globalised business arena (Kelley School of
business, 2011, P.A Cassiday, 2005, Y.Y Kim, D P.S Bhawuk, 2008, R. Ma, D G.
Allen 2009). For both Multinationals, expatriates and lone workers
through the advancement of transport, communication, Information technology and
reduction in flight costs in travelling abroad in recent times, taking a post
in a foreign country or conducting business across foreign borders is a
feasible growth opportunity for some enterprises and unfortunately a financial
necessity for others. For the individual, whether you’re a practitioner of
management, engineering, medicine, manufacturing, education or construction,
your country of origin’s current economic situation need not be the be all and
end all in determining the financial stability of your family or indeed be an
over ruling factor in preventing your career advancement prospects (The Bent of tau Beta PI, Spring 2005).   

The increase in expatriate workers in recent times has arisen from a combination of
factors such as globalisation, labour shortages in many countries, as well
attractive higher salaries and tax benefits available in some countries (HSBC Expat Explorer Survey 2012).
Globalisation has created many opportunities (Mitroff, 1987, Eric
T-S Pan, 2005) but having the ability to be able to manage within and
adapt to a culturally diverse environment at grass roots level or at managerial
level will impact on the level of success of this opportunity both for the
company and for the expatriate.

In order for expatriates to be successfully integrated into a multicultural
organisations, it has been identified through various studies driven by the
growth in international business, that there is a need for cross cultural
training “At the present time there is a
greater need for effective international and cross cultural communication,
collaboration and co-operation not only for the effective practice of
management but also for the betterment of the human condition” (Culture Leadership and Organisation, the GLOBE study of 62 societies)
of individuals in a multicultural context (Dr. Lee, Hung-Wen, M.G. Harvey, N. Miceli, 1999).
Multinationals such as IBM, Heineken and Johnson &Johnson , colleges (S. Ledwith, D. Seymour, 2010) and training houses have had to quickly
adapt to this evolution in multicultural management requirements
and implement/offer specific cross cultural training programs to students and
expatriates under many different titles such as “Re-patriation Training” (M, G Harvey,
1997, M Harvey, D Ralston, N Napier, 2000) “Cross Cultural Training”(A, Esther
Joshua-Gojer, 2012) Multicultural Training, Diversity Training, Cross Cultural Leadership,
and Cross Cultural Adjustment.  Although success rates of these training
programs is suggested as questionable, the main emphasis of these multicultural
training programs is in the preparation of the individual to work effectively
from a cultural perspective in their new place of work.

Even though there is an awareness in recent years on the importance of Multicultural
Management (D, Shanahan 1996), many companies still “do not provide or give
very limited cross cultural training” (S. Ghafoor, U. F. Khan, F. Idrees, B. Javed, F. Ahmed, 2011)
as a result, expatriates are suggested as failing and experiencing the difficulties of
working in cross cultural environments.  Working in a foreign environment
can be a difficult experience (Truax, 2008) and a study by (Buckley and Brooke,
1992, Christensen and Harzing, 2004) suggests that failure rates of the
expatriate to be high for a variety of different reasons from both a professional
and personal standpoint.  Expatriate failure can also have a negative monetary impact
on the company, for instance in the (Journal of Contemporary Research 2011),
it is reported that failure rates of expatriates has a reported $2 billion per year negative
impact on US multinationals (S. Ghafoor, U. F. Khan, F. Idrees, B. Javed, F. Ahmed). 

It is also important to point out that the challenges faced and negative impacts
of working in a culturally diverse environment are not only experienced in business
management, it is also well documented in education among teachers resulting in
suggested “Diversity burnout” (Moshe Tatar, Gabriel Horenczyk, 2003), in
psychiatry (A. Quesrishi, F. Collazos, M. Ramos, M. Casas, 2008),
international project management (E. G. Ochieng, A.D.F. Price, 2010)
as well as operations and manufacturing to name but a few.   So in taking a position
abroad and to be able to adapt efficiently and successfully within a culturally
diverse environment in today’s world is becoming more and more the norm and seen
as an expected prerequisite in both professional and personal development (The Bent of tau Beta PI, Spring 2005, N. Adler 1995).

The business world has evolved and the need to understand human behaviour in a
cross cultural context by means of successful Multicultural Management is
crucial in modern day management (G. Hofstede,
1991, F. Trompenaars, C. Hampden Turner, 1998, P. R. House 2004, Schwartz 1990),
All experts in international business agree that in order to succeed in global business,
managers need to be able to respond positively and effectively to practices and values that may be drastically different to what they are accustomed to” (Culture Leadership
and Organisation, the GLOBE study of 62 societies).  What the above quote and
introduction indicates is, Globalization is here and now and having an impact on
everyday business.  Modern managers at some point in their career may work abroad,
but the skills of being able to manage abroad in a Multicultural setting is extremely important
and not having those skills can have an impact for the individual and the company.

Multicultural Management taken from
‘Multicultural Management by Clive Dunne MSc 2013’