Essay Cross Cultural Management by Ton van Haarlem

Topics: Culture, Cross-cultural communication, Intercultural competence Pages: 12 (4371 words) Published: June 22, 2015

Table of contents
1. Background2
Cross cultural differences3
National culture4
Barriers to cross cultural communication at the work place5 Measures to overcome barriers in cross cultural communication7 2. Discussion8
3. Summary8
4. Reference10

1. Background
Business firms such as Multinational companies will inevitably have to be accustomed to different working styles of their workers who are drawn from different cultural backgrounds. It is imperative for business firms to understand the cross cultural differences in their operations. This understanding acquires more importance in the sphere of communicating with people hailing from diverse cultures. The communication system of a business organization is interspersed with values, rules, practices & philosophy of the business. Communication system acts as link in transmitting values & norms associated with different cultures in an organization. Since the communication system holds the key to transcending the differences in cultures would regard its communication system as a mechanism to transfer knowledge. The Multinational company have to ensure that steps are taken to overcome the barriers to cross cultural communication in order to attaining organizational objectives effectively and efficiently.

In this case the problem is that there is an error of 1mm of an product, an Chinese company is making an new design for an Swedish company. The Chinese R&D managers decide to notify an problem to the Swedish manager first and let him decide what to do. It is the Chinese way of showing their respect to superior by asking their opions on everything. But the Swedish management team expect that the Chinese company adjust the error and give the company an model. The Chinese company should not wait for order but instead they should taking initiatives.

Intercultural communication presents a new challenge to managers. Culture is the “software of mind” that can influence people’s patterns of thinking and behaving. Mental programming influences people’s living and working all over their lives. For example, Sweden and China are immersed in different cultures which lead to different ways of thinking and behaving. When a Swedish company tries to understand the management style or behaviors of Chinese staff, some basic principles are challenged. For instance, Chinese feel that all men are born unequal and they should all obey the decision of the authority. While Western people believe that all men are born equal and they can make independent decisions and act on their own. In other words, national culture can influence the management and communications of organizations.

Technical developments have removed most of the physical barriers on communication. However, managers still encounter some cultural barriers. In order to achieve success, managers working in global environments must be proficient in cross-cultural communication. Different characteristics of culture result in thinking, understanding and communicational diversity. These diversities obstruct organizational development and management more or less.

By contrasting the differences of management style, staff behaviors and communication system between different cultures the barriers of cross cultural communication in multi-nation firms will be found. So what are the barriers of cross cultural communication in multinational firms?

It has to be noted that many business firms have become responsive towards accommodating different cultural perspectives and some business entities have shaped their organizational settings so as to be in harmony with sensitivities in different cultures. Multinational companies operate in different countries and they cater to the needs of customers sharing different cultural meanings. In communicating with customers belonging to multitude of cultures, Multinational companies will have to develop and shape their policies especially in...
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