Managing Across Borders and Cultures

Topics: Culture, Cross-cultural communication, Cross-cultural Pages: 7 (2170 words) Published: November 15, 2013
Critically evaluate the relevance of cross cultural management issues within international business and discuss why companies fail to underline the need for cross cultural understanding.


In today’s world, culture is hard to ignore. It affects the way people dress, what they eat, what religion they follow and also the places they go. Culture is essentially a set of shared beliefs, social norms, organizational roles and inherited values (Lee, 2005) that affects everyday life in informal and formal settings. When two different cultures mix, the understanding of the others culture can arguably be seen as respectful and advantageous in a business sense whereas its negligence can be viewed as discourteous, rude and thus lead to a culture shock. With thanks to technological advancements, the world is becoming a ‘global village’ (Kawar, 2012) where people from different cultural backgrounds are socialising and communicating with one another. Therefore dealing with people from different cultures would necessitate the awareness of cultural diversities which is where cross cultural management plays a part.

Cross cultural management aims to assist in the dealing with differences that stem from difference backgrounds of each culture (Jackson, 2002). According to Nancy Adler (Kawar, 2012) Cross-cultural management explains the behaviour of people in organizations around the world and shows people how to work in organizations with employees and client populations from many different cultures. Globalisation has been the catalyst which created the need for greater awareness in managers to be sensitive to the cultural aspects of decision making” (Mattock, 2003). Cross cultural management places great importance of four aspects; the need for open and constant communication (verbal and non-verbal), the need for sensitivity to be respectful of another culture, the importance of flexibility in being patient with understanding another cultures and the reduction of conflicts through education and abandonment of generalisations and stereotypes.

Against this backdrop, the following essay aims to explore whether the application of cross- cultural management in international business is a necessary tool in today’s global village. Through the study and scrutiny of varying business ventures, this essay will reach a conclusion as to whether there is a need for cross cultural management and why companies fail to acknowledge its importance. In doing so, the essay will employ the work of theorists such as Hofstede and Trompenaar to further evaluate the importance, or even lack of, of cross cultural management.

Literature Review & Critical Analysis

The work of Rodrigues Fontaine in his journal of “Cross-cultural management: six perspectives” (2007) is particularly interesting as he highlights key points for consideration in managing across cultures. In the first perspective, the classical approach places importance in the work of Hofstede and his dimensions of culture. Even though Fontaine speaks specifically of the importance of the application of Hofstede’s work to be a cross cultural manager in Malaysia, where various ethnic groups live amongst the indigenous, he goes on to generalise clarify that a cross cultural manager is fluent in the works of Hofstede in order to better survive. Ray French (2007) wrote of how with caution, Hofstede’s model can give managers qualified and better assumptions about a cultures value.

This leads me to the socially and environmentally responsible cosmetic company, The Body Shop, which opened up stores in United Kingdom high streets from the 1970s. As the business became popular, expansion was the next logical step in its progression and so they set up shops in the United States. In comparison to its home stores, their success in America was extremely poor to begin with. The problem therein was their lack of due diligence to American culture. The Body Shop was set up in American high...

Bibliography: Lee, H.W. (2005). The Resolution of Cross-Cultural Issues. The Cambridge Business Review. 4 (1)
Kawar, T.I
Dowling, P., Festing, M. & Allen, D.E Sr (2013). International Human Resource Management. 6th ed. Andover: Cengage Learning.
French, R (2007). Cross-Cultural Management. London: CIPD
Jackson, T (2004)
Leopold, J. & Harris, L. (2009). The Strategic Managing of Human Resources. 2nd ed. Essex: Pearson Education Limited
Mattock, J (2003)
Mead, R (1994). International Management. Cambridge: Blackwell Publisher.
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