| Definitions of Culture Essay
According to Hofstede, culture refers to the collectively programmed aspects that serve to distinguish one category of individuals from another. He considers the investigation of culture as an activity that is aimed at capturing the general trend that is characteristic of a group of individuals at a general level. There are various levels of culture including regional, national, religious, ethnic, social class, even organizational, and gender. According to Hofstede, culture can be captured by evaluating the scores that relate to four values. These values are commonly referred to as cultural dimensions. The four dimensions include the Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism (IDV), Masculinity (MAS), and Uncertainty Avoidance index (UAI) (Sommerville & Dalziel, 1998).
Power Distance Index refers to the level at which the minor party in an institution or an organization expects and accepts the unequally distributed powers. Individualism refers to the extent to which the individual members are integrated in the groups where they are members. Masculinity concerns the distribution of values and roles amongst genders. In this case, Hofstede argues that women in the societies that happen to be feminine are accorded the level of modesty and values as the members of the male gender. However, the masculine societies result in a situation whereby women fail to be as competitive and assertive as men. As such, the gap between the values that are associated with men and those associated with women is far wider than in a feminine society. The Uncertainty Avoidance Index refers to the level at which the society is able to tolerate the ambiguous and uncertain (Hofstede, 2001).Trompenaars view of culture is based on the manner in which groups of individuals endeavor to find solutions to their problems. Trompenaars idea is based on Scheins definition of the organizational level of culture. Trompenaars definition is based on resolving three types of challenges. These challenges relate to the environment, time, as well as the relationship that an individual has with others. According to Trompenaars, culture assumes five dimensions which, indeed, form the foundation of what is regarded as the social system. The dimensions position affectivity against affective neutrality; universalism against particularism; self-orientation against collective-orientation; specificity against diffuseness; and ascription against achievement (Sherman & Helmreich, 1996; Tochtermann, 2009).Dr. Javidan considers culture to be a sharing of motives, beliefs, identities, values, and meanings or interpretations of significant occurrences that have their basis on the experiences of the individual members. These aspects are, consequently, transmitted from one generation to another. According to Javidan, identifying with a culture facilitates an individuals perception of the world in a manner that is in line with the groups ideological future. Dr. Javidans work has been focused on two dimensions of culture: family collectivism and the power distance. Power distance addresses the relationship distance that exists between managers and employees, the government and ordinary citizens, as well as the managers and their employees. The issue of family collectivism focuses on the strength of the ties that exist between immediate groups (Veltman, 2006; Marcus, 2003; Gitelson et al., 2001).
Cross cultural management involves studying the variations in cultures as per the changing global demographics especially with regard to the organizational management. It is important to understand various cultures since each one of them facilitates the interpretation of issues in a specified manner. In fact, studies have indicated that while some cultural aspects may be perceived to be beneficial for a situation, there are other situations where the same aspects may prove to be detrimental. Moreover, while some of the items may appear to be beneficial to the engagements of one set of individuals, they may not necessarily be beneficial for the rest of the groups. Since such diversities are inevitable within an organization, it proves important to understand and incorporate as much of the individual groups wishes so as to enable the human resource in an organization to work as a unit (Drucker, 1992; Hofstede, 1993; Bing, 2004).According to Hofstede, a harmonious relationship is the best strategy towards ensuring the success and survival of the organization, and ignoring the aforementioned aspects might threaten the existence of the organization. Since a change is inevitable in the current business environment, the manner in which organizations facilitate the management of those aspects that are associated with various cultures is the only way that the stakeholders can define and determine its future. Each culture presents a unique way of evaluating situations within organizations and, as such, managers are expected to adopt strategies that would enable them to conduct their activities in a cross-cultural manner (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004).Trompenaars encourages any type of leadership to remain conscious of the cultures that define the relationships between individuals in various groups. Strong organizations value diversity as it equips them with the capacity to tackle diverse challenges. Nevertheless, the value of such diversity can only be achieved through an effective cross-cultural management as this would enable individuals to avail competencies whose compounding presents flexible and competitive solutions. Cross-cultural management does also facilitate the building of strong relationships between individual members of the workforce (Javidan et al., 2006).With the current cultural and ethnic diversity in the business world, cross-cultural management is inevitable. This is especially in situations where the organizations in question happen to have franchises in multiple locations in the world. The management, therefore, is supposed to devise ways of mirroring the cultural diversity to the undertakings of the enterprises so as to avoid misalignment and disconnects amongst different categories of workers. Even so, organizations have to be flexible as demographics are continually changing (Verbrugge & Dunin-Keplicz, 2011).In its contemporary setting, an organization has to facilitate teamwork between various stakeholders for there to be an effective communication as well as organization of the most critical missions. Such teamwork would not be possible without an effective cross-cultural management. Moreover, cross-cultural management results into an efficient knowledge management and this serves to empower the individual members of these groups to work for the good of the organization. Dr. Javidan sees this as the situation that enables everyone to subordinate her or his personal opinions and goals to the efficiency and the unity of the organization, a scenario which facilitates the achievement of an acceptable level success. Indeed, an effective cross-cultural management enhances cooperation among the individuals within a group as well as among groups and departments within an organization. An effective coordination of these groups generates beneficial outcomes for the organization (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998).
This essay has indicated cross-cultural management is beneficial for various reasons. It acts as a motivating drive which helps in stabilizing a work force, putting human resource into action, building friendly relationships, improving group members efficiency, and helping to meet the organizational goals. Motivated group members remain loyal to their groups as well as their organization as they feel that they participate in the management of its activities. This royalty results in stability, which is extremely influential in maintaining the strong reputation of the enterprise. Cross-cultural management, therefore, enables the organization to utilize its human resource optimally, as it helps in building the team members willingness to work. It helps to fill the gap between the willingness and ability of a team member, a situation that leads to an increased productivity (Trompenaars & Wooliams, 2003).
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