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Leadership And Cross-Cultural Management

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Question:

Discuss about the Global Leadership And Cross-Cultural Management.
 
 

Answer:

The article named “From cross-cultural management to global leadership: Evolution and adaptation” published by ‘Bird, A. and Mendenhall, M.’ in April 18, 2016 shows how the global leadership trends has changed in cross cultural management and how these changes construct new global leadership literature. According to Alon and Higgins, (2005), the cross- cultural leadership can be understood thoroughly with the use of cultural intelligence and it can also prove helpful to compare and choose new adaptations that need to be implemented in new-fangled leadership plans. Similarly, Bird and Mendenhall (2016) identified some skills and activities of global readers through the use of cross-cultural management research. For example, one of the key activities (boundary spanning) of global leaders was identified during the research. This essay will examine the role of cross-cultural management in evaluating global leadership and describe the challenges and efforts of  research in different fields. It will also discuss the weakness and strength of approaches to adapt new changes resulted from cross- cultural management in global leadership trends.

Cross-cultural management refers to a term, which helps to manage teamwork by differentiating customer preferences, practices and cultural priorities in global or international business framework. Describing the organizational behavior across the culture and countries is another focus of cross-cultural management. The main article explains the various types of cross-cultural management research to evaluate global leadership. The cross-cultural research can be unicultural, comparative and intercultural.

 


In order to understand the unicultural nature of cross-cultural research of management, it is important to understand the term. Unicultural, as the name suggests refers to a single dominant culture that is prevalent across nations. Uniculture may also be defined as universal culture where there is no distinction between cultures of different countries. In evaluating the role of cross-cultural research, it is significant to focus on the unicultural nature of management in today’s world. According to Sarala et al. (2016), mergers happening in today’s business environment requires leaders to merge not only the businesses but also the cultures of different countries. Many examples can be given of such mergers and acquisitions where two completely distinct cultures had to be merged in order to gain powerful positions in business. This provided a great challenge to global leaders. Cross-cultural management studies have delved into this issue as well and provided solutions, although limited, that helped managers acquire competency in dealing with such issues.cross-cultural management

Leadership in the global business environment demands effective management of workers from diverse cultures. In the field of cross-cultural management research during the early late 20th century, comparative studies were undertaken that although values cultural differences, but had a subtle inclination towards the more dominant class. This has been described clearly in the main article. Global leadership’s definition itself was influenced by the studies in cross-cultural management. Fontaine (2007) argues that global leaders must have the capability to understand the inherent nature of a country and evaluate the incidences of cross-cultural management in that country. The authors provided six perspectives on cross-cultural management that leaders could utilize in order to be efficient. According to him, classical approach, anthropological approach, psychological approach, stereotypical approach, knowledge management approach and systems thinking approach could are the six perspectives that helps evaluate the role of global leaders. Many other scholars have also delved upon the issue of cross-cultural management and its role in producing leaders of the future. Geert Hofstede was probably the first scholar and philosopher who provided a framework for companies to identify the difference in culture in different nations. According to Hofstede, six cultural dimensions are there that demarcate the culture of different nations (Engle and Nash 2015). These include power distance index, individualism and collectivism, uncertainty avoidance index, masculinity and femininity, long-term orientation and short-term orientation and lastly, indulgence and restraint. These dimensions are largely helpful to multinational organizations in order to assess the cultural differences in different nations.

 


According to the authors of the main article, national cultures have asserted a strong influence on business negotiations internationally because “each culture is unique and applies different style”. A failure to recognize the uniqueness of national cultures might cost heavily on the business. Instances of countries like those in Asia including Japan and China that uphold teamwork and cooperation as important to business while the Western nations encourage individual accomplishment and responsibility.

Multinational companies (MNCs) confront cultural issues more frequently than they confront national or local companies. The reason behind this is that MNCs operate in various countries and thus they interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. Culture becomes the driving force behind the success of an MNC because the more employees are trained in cultural etiquettes the more chances of success for the MNC. In the views of Marano et al. (2016), cultural competency is the most important qualification for an employee at MNCs because dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds is a sensitive issue. Employees must have the capability to interact with customers without hurting their cultural sentiments. Haffar and Perez (2015) point out the reason behind the better performance of some MNCs than others do in international business. The author states that there is a dilemma whether MNC culture coincides with national cultures or it is better than national cultures. They have researched that the national culture of MNC shapes and dominates the organizational culture prevalent at the company.  

Cross-cultural management research has played an important role in preparing global leaders for facing the challenges of the changing business environment. In making the future leaders, cross-cultural management researches have provided a collaborative work on providing training and supervision through which dynamic cross-cultural competencies could be achieved. Many universities concerning business management have also incorporated subject on cross-cultural management and training. Students exchange programs also focus on the training of students in cultural communication from the business perspective. The article authored by Bird and Mendenhall (2016) has focused on the concept of cross-cultural management and its close association with global leadership. The main point made in this article is the theory that cross-cultural management has influenced the formation of global leadership. The authors suggest that cross-cultural management is not a new phenomenon rather it has been the subject of business in the past as well. The authors have provided evidences of the presence of global business studies in journals written during the 1960s. The journal focused specifically on the study of organizational behavior and management.

 


The article included works of other scholars who wrote about identifying cross-cultural research and challenges related to it. Further, the authors mention about the initiation of cross-cultural methodology during the 1960s and the concerted efforts by authors to address this evolving concept. They also highlighted the fact that during the early years, scholars used to query about cross-cultural management in a naïve way. To provide an instance, scholars during the early phases used to ask whether the phenomenon experienced in their country was the same as in other countries or not. In addition, they used to inquire whether the application and success of the theory of management in their country was similar to others or not. The authors argue that these assumptions and queries that amounted to research lacked depth and sophistication.

Bird and Mendenhall reviewed the primary fields of global leadership literature and found that the future of cross-cultural management relies on extensive research and practical application. However, it has to be mentioned that the research on cross-cultural management has many strengths as well as weaknesses. First, its strengths should be discussed in order to provide a clear view of the implications of applying this area into global leadership studies. Cross-cultural management studies have long since focused on the ways to enhance management efficiencies of global organizations. It has allowed companies to incorporate systems of effective cross-cultural management into their management system. As put forth by Stahl and Tung (2015) studies in cross-cultural management has enabled both governments and organizations to prepare a plan that encompasses the wellbeing of both its citizens and the people in countries where companies do business. The main article mentions the use of cross-cultural management as a “more specific subset of international management” that refers to the accommodation of different cultural practices. One of the biggest advantages of cross-cultural management research has been its ability to address the issues of global leadership throughout 1960s until the current era. Further, the advent of globalization had incurred maximum pressure on managers to maintain stability in business. Scholars and experts around the globe were struggling to find a concrete way to address issues of globalization (Søderberg and Holden 2002). Business leaders were finding it difficult to analyze the reasons for the failure of organizational competency. Cross-cultural management studies that commenced roughly during the 1960s relieved leaders of the pressure. It provided a systematic study on the ways to lead an organization while pertaining to the needs of diverse workforce as well as consumers.

 


In the later years however, with the emerging trends in international business, cross-cultural management studies began to show limitations. As Chevrier (2003) points out, “only a certain range of perspectives were taken into consideration while incorporating cross-cultural management researches in top business institutions around the world and this seems now as a lethal limitation”. The authors explain that the discourse on cross-cultural management in the contemporary setting takes into account only the western norms. It is largely true because researches on cross-cultural management have imposed the implicit western view to the world. Further, cross-cultural management studies based their research on the constraints shown by national cultures in management practice. This proved to be a limitation on global leadership because the assumptions made by cross-cultural management researchers were “either inconsistent with available empirical evidence or have not been addressed empirically” (Gerhart 2008). To provide an instance, to act as a constraint, differences in culture within respective nations had to be small in relation to differences across countries. However, this was not the case as proved by many evidences. Leaders found themselves in a dilemma as to train whether their employees to adjust to cultural differences in other countries or equip them with adequate knowledge regarding the cultural differences within the country.

To conclude, it can be added that the phenomenon of global leadership led to the increase in competition between businesses at global level. It provided an impetus to businesses in developing nations to come forward and be a part of the global phenomenon. Training in cross-cultural management began to be imparted during the late 20th century during the emergence of globalization and rapid influence on businesses. The essay provided a critical analysis of cross-cultural management by providing detailed and comprehensive assessment of culture and business. It was followed by an explanation on the importance of cultural knowledge in multinational companies. Then, the role of cross-cultural management in evaluating global leadership was discussed in light of the arguments put forward by various authors. The essay also provided the strengths and limitations of cross-cultural management studies and in its capability to provide a framework for global leadership. The essay conducted a review of literature on the journal article titled From cross-cultural management to global leadership: Evolution and adaptation to understand the evolution of global leadership through cross-cultural management.

 

References:

Bird, A. and Mendenhall, M.E., 2016. From cross-cultural management to global leadership: Evolution and adaptation. Journal of World Business, 51(1), pp.115-126.

Engle, R.L. and Nash, B., 2015. Does it matter if researchers use individual dimension constructs or only aggregated constructs of cultural distance and cultural intelligence?. Journal of International Business Research, 14(2), p.47.

Fontaine, R., 2007. Cross-cultural management: six perspectives. Cross cultural management: an international journal, 14(2), pp.125-135.

Gerhart, B., 2008. Cross cultural management research: Assumptions, evidence, and suggested directions. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 8(3), pp.259-274.

Haffar, M. and Perez, L., 2015. The Influence of National Culture on Business Negotiations: An Exploratory Study of Venezuelan and British Managers. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering, 9(8), pp.2794-2802.

Marano, V., Arregle, J.L., Hitt, M.A., Spadafora, E. and van Essen, M., 2016. Home country institutions and the internationalization-performance relationship: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Management, 42(5), pp.1075-1110.

Søderberg, A.M. and Holden, N., 2002. Rethinking cross cultural management in a globalizing business world. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 2(1), pp.103-121.

Stahl, G.K. and Tung, R.L., 2015. Towards a more balanced treatment of culture in international business studies: The need for positive cross-cultural scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies, 46(4), pp.391-414.

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