As business now – a – days operate globally and is a growing trend in global markets. Due to high level of competition in global markets, it is a major concern for most of the businesses to acquire and retain the skilled, talented and experienced human resources. Thus, there is a growing demand of outsourcing human resources and effectively adjust the shortage gap in the human capital (Bresciani and Comi, 2017). Also, global operation of companies has led to the requirement of hiring foreign employees or workforce from various countries and locations, different cultural backgrounds and origins etc. Managing a diverse workforce is one of the biggest challenges faced by the managers in every organization. Managers in every organization have to timely address the raising problems on cultural differences as well as address the concerns on how the managers communicate their decisions effectively that focus on equal benefits to both the organization and the human resources. The expansion and shift of business from local to international or global markets help the managers to gain an in – depth understanding of the significance of cultural diversity in the workplace, specifically in the management of human resource that mainly deal with diverse set of employees at each level of organization (Bresciani and Comi, 2017).
International working teams are found commonly in most of the businesses these days. Companies interact with members of different national cultures and develop a strong business relationship bond with them. This also includes their customers, business partners as well as employees. Managers work is highly influenced by the creation of global economics and thus the need to manage issues of communication and controlling in multi – national companies of multi – cultural environment is a significant interest now. Managers, these days have gone through unending competitive challenges in employee management of different cultural nationalities and orientations, considering the basic human psychology of responding to crucial situations culturally (Hopkins and Scott, 2016). Thus, understanding the concept of cross – cultural management is very important for all the managers in globally operating businesses. The main aim of this report is to assess the similarities as well as differences of managerial processes and organizational culture in diverse workforce or cross – cultural environment and understand the wide range of issues faced by managers as well as organization in such a cross – cultural working environment. The wide range of issues covered in the report include - Individualism versus Group Orientation, Communications, Decision Making, Autocratic versus Delegate Leadership, Superior – Subordinate Relationships and Managing Teams. Also, in order to discuss these concepts of organizational culture and cross – cultural management, the countries chosen are China and USA.
The Concept of Cross – Cultural Management (CCM)
The growing significance of global business has developed a high demand for managers in managing global workforce skills as well as working with individuals from several different countries. The Cross – Cultural Management (CCM) can be described as acquiring cultural synergy, intercultural effectiveness and productive diversity on the performance of human resource management across several cultures, through procedures, policies and processes that include cross – cultural type of adaptation and social engagement as well as the skills that include the leadership of teams of cross – cultural type. In other words, cross – cultural management can be defined as the individual’s behaviour in global organizations which clearly reflect on how the employees or people with different backgrounds and culture work together in an organization and fulfil their job roles assigned. The major concern to effectively manage the employees hailing from different backgrounds and cultural orientations is considered to be a significant factor to make an organization successful. Companies dealing with people from different parts of the globe, must essentially take into consideration of cross – cultural workforce as the rising conflicts can lead to failure of the company.
Various researches have been carried out to identify the impact and significance of cross – cultural management and the range of conflicts related to it. It has been found that there is a significant difference in the attitudes and behaviours of employees and managers across the globe. Also, this is mainly associated with the national culture managing the differences in work – related attitudes and values over other significant variables such as – profession, gender, age and position within the organization (Bresciani and Comi, 2017). These differences are further segregated into four cultural dimensions. They are – individualism and collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity and femininity (Z. Khairullah and Y. Khairullah, 2012).
Assessment of Similarities in Managerial processes and Organizational Culture
In this section of the report, the assessment of similarities that exist in managerial processes and organizational culture in China and USA will be discussed. Chinese are among the most hard working people and thus, they give more focus on innovation and technologies. On the other hand, United States is considered to be a highly advanced country utilizing wide range of innovations and technologies in their businesses. Both the countries, China and United States believe in providing wide range of opportunities to their employees and motivate their employees to put their best efforts in organizational success (Weihrich, n.d.). This clearly means that the employees in China and United States are provided opportunities to express their ideas, thoughts and experiences and give their best services to organization. Managers in both the countries are supportive and provide employees with necessary tools and technologies to carry out the organizational activities. Managerial processes and planning in United States organizations are mainly short – term oriented and whereas, in China, though the managerial processes and planning focus on long – term, they do consider short – term plans when necessary. Managerial processes involved in business planning in both China and United States make use of top – down approach and thus, the flow of information related to business processes is from top to bottom.
In terms of organizing under management processes, individual responsibilities are provided to employees in both the countries and thus, employees are open to wide range of challenges and competition in the global market. Also, yet another similarity between China and United States in terms of organizational culture and structure is that they follow formal bureaucratic type of organizational structure to form their business. Managerial processes under human resource recruitment and selection in both countries focus on acquiring skilled, talented and experienced employees and also efforts put in to retain the experienced and deserving candidates are higher (Weihrich, n.d.). Organizational culture in both the countries, China and United States believe in rapid communication with employees at each level. In order to motivate employees, and to make them highly productive, organizations in China and United States providing effective and efficient Training and Development Programs. All the decisions coming under managerial processes are taken by the leader or the head of the group. Organizational culture in both China and United States are designed often in directive style, which means the culture defines determined, strong and firm organizational goals, mission and vision. As the organizations use top – down approach, the communication carried out in both the countries is also in top – down format. Any kind of major controls in managerial processes are managed and handled by the seniors or superiors in the organizations. Quality control tools coming under the managerial processes are used in limited number in both the countries, United States and China.
Assessment of Differences in Managerial processes and Organizational Culture
Though there are certain similarities in managerial processes and organizational culture between the two chosen countries – China and United States, there are many differences that exist between these countries and are highly significant. These differences lead to major issues in the organization and ultimately the overall business is affected. Following is the detailed explanation of wide range of differences / issues that are significant in managerial processes and organizational culture in China and United States
Individualism versus Group Orientation
The factor or more specifically the issue arising from individualism versus (vs) group orientation or collectivism also affect the communication between individuals in both the countries. Geert Hofstede developed a very popular and widely used model for effectively defining the cultural dimensions called Hofstede Model, and individualism versus group orientation or collectivism is one of the factors described in model. Individualism vs group orientation or collectivism are referred to a range or degree to which people in a specific country or location prefer individuality rather than acting as a group members or as a team. This dimensional factor clearly focuses on the relationship that exists between individual people and teams or any larger social group. Organizational culture in the chosen countries vary significantly on the emphasis level they provide (US) on encouraging individuality / uniqueness and on conformity and interdependence (Laowai, 2016). Managers and employees based in United States tend to focus more on themselves and their performance. Also, employees tend to work individually without taking much assistance from their co – workers or seniors. In Chinese organizations, employees believe achieving organizational goals and objectives, by collectively working towards them. So in one or the other way employees are interdependent on each other in an organization. Also, their managerial processes and organizational culture define collectivism as their success factor.
Organizational culture in United States focus on individualistic growth and also the managers tend to implement this characteristic in all of their employees and help them grow in their domain. When Chinese employees work in US organizations they face a lot of problem adjusting to the working culture and environment (Laowai, 2016). Also, individual rights and duties in the organization are the major concerns for the foreign employees. Employees in United States based organizations believe in bringing up a better quality life individually rather than depending on their seniors or co – workers to assist them at work. Whereas in the Chinese organizations the managers and team leaders encourage group work and focus on developing strong relationship between employees at each level and share their ideas, thoughts and knowledge and help each other to accomplish work standards. For the Chinese managers, needs and requirements of a team or group is more important than the individual employee needs. When an employee from US – based works with Chinese people, he face a lot of problem interacting with a group and work in a group. These issues create chaos in the team and affect the project on the whole.
Communication or the style of communication is one such factor that can create chaos between employees and managers in workplace. Managers in Chinese organizations consider people from United States to be very upfront in the way they speak with other people in teams. This has been creating a lot of differences and misunderstanding among the team and miscommunication has affected the work balance significantly. Now, employees in United States organizations are trained and educated in such a way to defend their opinions and ideas which has the ability to create a serious debate or a confrontation and until a person or an employee is proved right, this debate tends to continue (Thompson, 2017). Whereas, people in Chinese culture tend to just agree with the opinions and ideas of other employees in a team and reflect that they honour and respect the opinions and ideas of others. Agreeing terms can create lot of confusion for people working in each other organizational cultural environment.
Managers in Chinese – based organizations believe that being too direct to express ideas and opinions like US people in a project team is considered to be humiliating and the individual is considered to be rude. Thus, employees and managers from United States organizations believe in direct expression of ideas and thoughts and Chinese employees and managers follow the culture of blunt communication which is a subtle and an indirect way of expressing their opinions and thoughts (Zhang and Yu, 2016). Thus, it can be considered that the employees of United States are more dominant and tough in terms of expression of thoughts and communication and Chinese employees are less aggressive in comparison with US employees. American communication style is considered as highly unprofessional by Chinese people as well as their organizational culture.
Managers and leaders from United States organizations primarily make the decision through the approach of rational decision – making. United States have strong cultural preferences to the idea of individualism and thus, there exists a reputation risks for the decisions made by the managers in the organization. Managers and employees in US – based organizations making decisions to enhance their productivity as well as to increase the profitability of the organization provide for acceptance and recognition through shareholder appeal. The decision making approach used by US culture is risky for Chinese culture as it is assumed that the managers as well as employees are provided with unlimited information on the project and also possess cognitive ability to make logical as well as rational choices. The major limitation of decision making approach used by United States people is that it limits creative thinking as per the Chinese organizational culture and managerial processes and also lacks robust and wide range of solutions and options for the process of decision making (Wang, 2012).
On the other hand, it is already known that Chinese organizations believe in operating collectively and thus the approach used for the process of decision – making in these organizations are full – emotional and semi – rational perspective. Managers and employees in Chinese organizations work collectively with the aim to achieve a common goal that makes use of structured and formalized approach in their tools of decision - making process (Wang, 2012). This approach used in decision making has the limitation of spontaneity and flexibility of sharing opinions and ideas for the people of American organizational culture. The management of Chinese organizations arrive at a conclusion of viable options and solutions through high propensity for developing relationships with other members in the team and the organization (Wang, 2012). Chinese organizational culture and managerial processes are highly sensitive when compared to the culture adopted in United States decision making process. Due to these cultural preferences, the Chinese management in organizations adopt collaborative method for decision making process and at the end; the management is considered and thought to be a single team. Managers in Chinese organizations develop solutions to problems occurring in teams and project collaboratively over a couple of meetings (Hopkins and Scott, 2016). Thus, for the managers and employees from United States culture, this approach is way too lengthy and time consuming and according to them, decisions in project and teams are to be made dynamically.
Superior – Subordinate Relationships
Just like other factors, the superior and sub – ordinate relationships in United States and China also varies significantly. It is already known that the managerial processes and organizational culture of United States focus more on individualism and quick decision making, aggressive and open minded talks and discussions etc. These factors are again adopted in the relationships that exist between senior or managers and their subordinate employees. In the American organizational culture, the superiors or managers foster independence to their employees and the employees are ensured to experience autonomy and openness in the organization. The employees are encouraged to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions in team meetings and each employee is encouraged to have uniqueness in their approach towards project work. The relationship that exist between managers and sub – ordinates in United States – based organizations lead to high degree of work autonomy for the employees. Due to this culture, the conflicts are reduced within a short span of time as managers come and deal with their sub – ordinates directly and find solutions to the problem in less amount of time (Chen & Hambrick, 2012). This also shows that Americans are more efficient in terms of communication with employees at each level in organization.
On the other hand, Chinese organizations believe in group work and thus, individualism is not given importance in the organizational culture (Chaney & Martin, 2012). Managers and employees only focus on the project requirements and when it comes to expressing opinions and thoughts, employees are not encouraged as much the American culture does. Chinese believe in adopting indirect approaches and tactics to conflict resolution and does not believe in open discussions for expressing ideas and thoughts and discussions (Ao, 2016).
Now, considering the last factor of assessment of differences in Chinese and American culture, the ways of managing teams and teamwork styles also varies in these two countries. The managers in United States culture are more comfortable using project – oriented style (Dickson et al., 2012). During the phases of project, the responsibilities and roles are effectively and clearly defined and are equally divided among the members of team depending on their skills and designation. Managers ensure to conduct meetings at regular intervals of time to gather updates from employees and exchange necessary information. Employees are trained and educated to focus on their particular job roles and tasks (Huang, 2015).
On the other hand, Chinese managers are more adopted to using people – oriented working style and managing teams. Here, the roles and responsibilities within project are not well defined and employees seek help of their co – workers or managers whenever they face any issue in the assigned work. Thus, managing teams in Chinese work culture involves them to work in multiple projects in an organization that compete for their resources and time (Huang, 2015).
Most of the top companies in the world have businesses and operations running all over the globe. The workforce in each region has their own cultural values and practices. It is very obvious that the regional culture influences workplace culture also. In addition to this there is shortage of resources for several businesses which forces organizations to hire employees from different countries (Chen & Hambrick, 2012). It is very much possible that these employees hired from a different country could have differences in their cultural values in comparison to the parent company. The management of these companies face certain challenges with regard to difference in cultural values. It is extremely important to respect each other’s cultural values, at the same time trying to achieve certain company goals and ambitions. Giving importance to respecting each other cultural values and handling conflicts effectively not only helps company to achieve its targets but also increases the brand value of the company globally because these are factors that are considered for rating organizations(Great places to work)
It is the responsibility of managers who work on cross cultural teams to be fully aware of these aspects. Managers need to be trained and educated on the topic of cross cultural management. It is important to note that despite so many cultural differences amongst employees there are lots of similarities as well amongst cultures (DeVellis, 2012). It is extremely important to identify and encourage these cultural similarities which can help blend the workforce together. Similarly managers need to follow diplomatic and healthy practices to handle the differences in the various cultures. One of the examples for employee cultural differences are people from United States and China. The people from both the countries have different working style altogether. People in the United States are more individual contributors where as people in China like to work in groups. Another difference is in terms of freedom of expression of thought in Unites States. People in United States have the freedom to voice their opinion, debate topics where as people from China are more used to blunt communication, less discussion. The managers can bridge the gap by devising methods to interact effectively with different cultural workforce.
Ao, Y. (2016). The Impact of Cross-Cultural Communication on Foreign Managers’ Leadership Style in China-Based International Organization. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 04(09), pp.99-118.
Bresciani, S. and Comi, A. (2017). Facilitating culturally diverse groups with visual templates in collaborative systems. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 24(1), pp.78-98.
Chaney, L. H & Martin, J. S. (2012). Global business etiquette: A guide to international communication and customs. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger
Chen, G., & Hambrick, D. C. (2012). CEO replacement in turnaround situations: Executive (mis) fit and its performance implications. Organization Science, 23(1), 225-243.
Conger J.A., O’Neil C. (2012), Building the bench for global leadership, People & Strategy, No. 35(2).
DeVellis, R. (2012). Scale development: theory and application (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Dickson M.W., Castan N., Magomaeva A., Den Hartog D.N. (2012), Conceptualizing leadership across cultures, Journal of World Business, No. 47.
Has D. (2012), Considerations on the Intercultural Management Models of Work Team in the Context of Globalisation, Cross-Cultural Management Journal, No. 14(2)
Hopkins, W. and Scott, S. (2016). Values-based leadership effectiveness in culturally diverse workplaces. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 23(2), pp.363-385.
Huang, J. (2015). Managing Teamwork in U.S. – China Cross – Cultural Teams. [online] Connecteast.net. Available at: https://www.connecteast.net/blog/managing-teamwork-in-us-.html [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].
avidan M., Bowen D. (2013), The Global Mindset of managers: What it is, why it matters, and how to develop it, Organizational Dynamics, No. 42(2).
Laowai (2016). China Collectivism vs Western Individualism. [online] Slideshare.net. Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/laowaicareer/china-collectivism-vs-western-individualism [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].
Martin, J and Nakayama, T. (2012). Intercultural Communication in Contexts. McGraw-Hill Humanities
Minkov, M., Hofstede, G., (2012), Is national culture meaningful concept? Cultural values delineate homogeneous national clusters of in-country regions, Cross-Cultural Research, 42(2), pp. 133-159.
Siddiqi, A. F. I., & Zakariya, A. (2012). Effects of Leadership Behavior on Supportive Learning Environment. Journal of Asia Pacific Business Innovation and Technology Management, 2, 75-92.
Thompson, V. (2017). American Vs. Chinese Business Culture. [online] Smallbusiness.chron.com. Available at: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/american-vs-chinese-business-culture-59039.html [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].
Wang, B. (2012). Chinese Leadership: 5 Critical Differences with the West - IEDP. [online] Iedp.com. Available at: https://www.iedp.com/articles/chinese-leadership-5-critical-differences-with-the-west/ [Accessed 9 Sep. 2017].
Weihrich, H. (n.d.). Management Practices in the United States, Japan, and the People's Republic of China. [online] Available at: https://www.academia.edu/9481064/Management_Practices_in_the_United_States_Japan_and_the_Peoples_Republic_of_China [Accessed 8 Sep. 2017].
Khairullah, D. and Y. Khairullah, Z. (2012). Cross-cultural Differences in Management. International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology, 3(2).
Zhang, S. and Yu, B. (2016). Differences between Chinese and American Culture. DEStech Transactions on Social Science, Education and Human Sci