Managing People in a Global Context: Cross-Cultural Differences

The cross-cultural difference is among the vital themes that have an impact on international human resource management. Human resource managers deal with cross-cultural differences in their organizations through a harmonized interaction of employees from diverse cultural, ethnic, age and also economic backgrounds. According to Kawar (2012), the management and employees in a business organization should both strive to understand how to effectively deal with cultural diversity at the workplace. Cross-cultural differences can be defined as the different set of values and traditions that various employees portray in the workplace (Kawar, 2012). International human resource management, therefore, analyzes the cross-cultural theme to identify some of the limitations of this concept and how the limitations can be avoided. The concept of cross-cultural differences relates to the experience in our computer maintenance company who employs global computer technicians.

Most of the employees employed in our organization are affected by cultural barriers. Cultural barriers are rules or expectations of a culture that prevents a person from another culture from inclusion or participation. One of the most predominant cultural barriers in our department is the language barrier. Language barrier provides communication limitations among the employees and also between the employees and the management of the company, and often, the intervention of an interpreter is required to understand a foreign colleague. Communications is a vital component of the production process in a business organization. Language barrier that is associated with the cross-cultural difference has therefore limited the output of the company. There are various effects of cross-cultural differences that are associated with operating a business in a foreign country. These challenges are faced by the international human resource managers in trying to achieve the goals and objectives of their organizations. Managers are thus enforced with the responsibility of ensuring that their employees work in suitable working environments. There are a number of techniques that an international human resource manager should, therefore, establish in their organization. If employed as the human resource manager of the international branch, I will encourage the employees to embrace the various cultures portrayed by the different employees. A cultural barrier can be broken if an individual develops an interest in the culture of other societies. Accepting and embracing cultural differences would also enable me as a manager to maintain a healthy working environment for all the workers in a foreign country. Maintaining the diversity also enables employees to learn from one another and increase the output of the organization.

There are various challenges that face international managers who handle the concept of cross-cultural differences in their organizations. The low output of work is a challenge that results from the time consumed by the slow communication process in the organization. As a manager, I would handle the issues of a slow production process and low quality of output through establishing employee motivation techniques which award the individuals who produce both high quality and quantity of work output in a specified period of time. The awards will give employees the incentive to work hard and also work together towards breaking the cultural barriers that exist among them.

Unethical cultural values in the business environment is also a challenge that I will face as a human resource manager in an international business organization. For example, the culture of Latinos has adopted the culture of sharing personal pieces of information in the workplace. The Latino employees share a lot about social and family issues in the workplace, a behavior that is not encouraged by the standard business ethics of a workplace (Elsaid, 2012). The unethical cultural practices would be handled by our company with the help of qualified diversity trainers. The diversity trainers offer training skills which enable employees to work and improve on their cultural awareness, attitude, and knowledge to maintain a favorable working condition in the organization.

I have learned several lessons from my experience with cross-cultural differences in my workplace. The first is clear communication. It is vital for a manager to convey explicit messages, particularly when it comes to the company policies and codes, as this ensures that everyone understands what is expected from them along with the company’s objectives. I have also learned that in order to deal with cultural diversity or to be culturally competent, one must make as many efforts as possible to understand another person’s’ cultural baggage. Secondly, a culturally relevant individual must have good cultural awareness, skills, attitude, and knowledge, as all four elements are essential to cope with a culturally diverse work environment.

Dual-Career Couples
The increase in the level of economic growth has increased the living standards leading to the concept of dual career couples. Dual career couples can be defined as couples with both active careers and also entrusted with the responsibility of raising a family together (Berlato & Correa, 2017). The levels of commitment to their careers are usually high and are forced to compete in their workplace and also handle family responsibility. According to (Berlato & Correa, 2017), these couples also enjoy various advantages from this concept including having an extra income to spend on luxurious commodities; they also enjoy equality and are considered as happy couples by the society. Human resource manager should understand the issues and concerns surrounding this concept for an effective management of their business organizations. In our business organization, the concept of dual career couples and its effects can be portrayed through the effects of the concept in the work recruitment and working schedules of employees.

The ease of migration in spouses reduces when both parties are involved in active careers. The employees working schedules is also affected by this concept. Employees struggle to maintain huge workloads and end up spending a little time with their family. International human resource managers should, therefore, understand these issues to enable them to establish favorable working conditions for their employees. If I was a human resource manager in a multinational organization, I could establish policies that recognize and solve the issues affecting the dual career couples who are working in foreign countries. I believe that solving the problems of these couples would enable the individuals to enjoy the favorable working and living conditions.

There are various challenges that are associated with working an international assignment for the dual career spouses that should be analyzed. The primary challenge that dual-career couples working in foreign countries are faced with includes maintaining a balance between work requirements and handling family responsibilities. As an international human resource manager, I would establish programs that are aimed at achieving a work and life balance to achieve a suitable working environment and increased work output. My organization would establish programs that enable the children of dual career couples to live and attend school around the workplace of these individuals.

Our business organization will also reduce the challenges of dual career couples working in a foreign country by establishing flexible working schedules that enable individuals to produce quality output and also spend quality time with their families. The company has four strategies of alternative work schedules. The first is the compressed working week. This strategy implies that employees work forty hours a week, but the schedule design allows them to finish their work by Thursday evening or Friday noon, thus allowing a three-day weekend with at least one afternoon of family or personal time. The second strategy is flextime, a work schedule that will enable workers to begin and end their workday within a range of hours, with the employee given the freedom to decide when to start and finish a workday. Another form of alternative work schedule is the part-time work arrangement (Neault & Pickerell, 2005). Since not all tasks require full-time recruitment, the schedule eases the burden of the workload on permanent employees. Therefore, the part-time model allows our employees to save more time for their family life. The organization also utilizes job sharing as a model of accommodating dual-career couples within the workforce. Under the model, the company hires two part-time employees to fulfill the same task. The model thus allows partial days-off for the employees to engage in family affairs. The final schedule is telecommunicating, which is mostly used in our department (Neault & Pickerell, 2005). The plan allows employees to fulfill some duties from home, with internet telecommunication enabling for a constant update on what is important at any given time.

There are several challenges managers face when working with foreign dual-career spouses. One of the problems would be talent management, especially retaining top dual-career couples with potential and talent. Companies invest a lot in their employees, especially those with the potential to be successful with the company. If the flexibility module does not satisfy the employee, it is certain that they will leave and find a better arrangement. The result is the loss of talent and the company’s potential human resources. Another problem would be meeting the company’s expectations and goals. The company might be forced to negotiate in a work arrangement that is beneficial to the employee but a compromising for the firm. The result is that the firm will have to cope with issues such as job efficiency and deadlines.

What I have learned about dual-career couples from my experience in my company is that hiring dual-career couples is not a bad investment for a company, and requires organizations to develop well-tailored policies to accommodate such employees. Such strategies, for example, alternative work schedules mentioned, enable companies to retain some of their best human resource assets, at the same time ensuring that the company achieves its goals.

References
Berlato, H., & Correa, F. (2017). A reformulation of the dual career conceptual model fo analysis in an organizational scope: Revealing new aspects. Brazilian Business Review,
14(2), 225-246.
Elsaid, A. (2012). The effects of cross-cultural workforce diversity on employee performance in Egyptian pharmaceutical organizations. Business and Management Research, 1(4), 162- 179.
Kawar, T. (2012). Cross-cultural differences in management. International Journal of Business and Social Sciences, 3(6), 105-111.
Neault, R., & Pickerell, D. (2005). Dual career couples: The juggling act. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 39(3), 187-198.

Leave a Reply