Today’s marketplace has a growing challenge in securing a marketplace for serving multicultural and international customers. Organizations, therefore, need successfully to adopt a service delivery that will successfully satisfy the expanding, diverse marketplace. Taking into account the business expansion which is taking place globally, it creates a situation where there will be a clash of culture, where there is lack of culture understanding, and both in the home front and abroad. Evidently, servicing customers who speak different languages and are from different cultures require different abilities and skills other than those of traditional clients. Culture has different aspects that can cause conflicts and confusion; such issues go beyond the manner of dress and religious differences (Crawley & Swailes, 2011). Such differences include the hierarchal manner in business dealings, a way of communication, hand gestures, eye contact need for personal space and casual touching.
An excellent example of a country that an expatriate manager is sent is China. The first step to overcoming cultural challenges is through overcoming language barrier; this can be done through learning commonly used vocabulary and possibly learning the use of gestures. In addition, culture difference can be overcome through culture awareness training prior to being posted to the host country. It includes learning important things about the Chinese culture and the Chinese people and how they behave so that it may be easier to associate with them. Additionally, it is important for the expatriate to appreciate the Chinese culture, to prevent future conflicts. In the same note, it is important to be aware of the culture difference, and the need for behavioral change as it does not occur through a one-time training session. Studies show that for organizations to be productive, some effort has to be invested in building relationships. Therefore, employees and even managers need to be disciplined for the benefit of the organization that they are posted.
Cross-Cultural Effectiveness in Multinational Corporations
Multinational corporations operate in various and distant cultures and regions. For this reason, the cross-cultural interactions and relationships are part of their daily activities that affect the efficiency of their workforce. For this reason, it is necessary for the multinational companies to learn and establish different measures and approaches of managing these cross-cultural relationships to build fruitful interactions and among the external stakeholders, as well as the employees. In order for the multinational corporations to remain in business operations as well as gain competitive advantage in the international markets, they need to identify and understand the barriers as well as the facilitators of the effective cross-cultural interactions and relationships (Crawley & Swailes, 2011).
The multinational corporations operating and investing in multiple distant markets develop foreign subsidiaries or affiliates, participate in a variety of international strategic alliances and joint ventures, and use different overseas or international supplies. As such, they function and operate as systems composed of several subunits that work in divergent environmental contexts, including the national and international cultures, employing of a multicultural workforce, initiating and engaging in negotiations with the foreign contractors, and striving to satisfy the needs and wants of other stakeholder groups in each region of operation. As such, these multinational corporations maintain and promote relationships that are cross-cultural in nature (Yamazaki & Kayes, 2004).
The effectiveness of the operations of the multinational workforce is dependent on the state of the cross-cultural interactions. That is, if there are instances of barriers to the cross-cultural interactions and relationships in the multinational corporations, the effectiveness is likely to drop because of the obstacles to the realization of tasks. On the other hand, effective cross-cultural relationships and interactions can contribute to organizational development in business, including the improvement of the creativity and learning of the employees, the improvement of the communication, and the increase in the levels of satisfaction of the personnel (Crawley & Swailes, 2011). For this reason, understanding the barriers and the facilitators of efficient and effective cross-cultural interactions and relationships is important.
Cross-cultural interactions and relationships encompass all the forms of external and internal, indirect and direct contacts of individuals within a given subsystem. In the business context, the subsystems in the multinational corporations encompass interactions in the multicultural teams, the superior-subordinate relationships, and business negotiations, contacts with foreign affiliates or partners, training, sharing of knowledge and performing tasks. These interactions and relationships imply how individuals from different cultures gave influence to each other, especially on the international front where they come together because of these multinational corporations (Pires, Stanton & Ostenfeld, 2006). Communication is an essential element of these interactions because the process associates them with the perception of the communication and interactions as complex systems of variant behavior.
In the multinational corporations, there exist various subcultures that are influenced by organizational and national cultures of each of the subunits of multinational corporations. These subcultures affect the interpersonal interactions in complex ways because they foster both conflicting and complimentary behavior patterns. Nevertheless, the conflicting behavior patterns can produce the barriers to the cross-cultural interactions and relationships in the multinational corporations. As such, efficient measures for ensuring that cooperation between the parent, the external stakeholders, and the subsidiary companies are needed. Managing the cross-cultural interactions and relationships in the multinational corporations is elemental to enable the employees work with high-level efficiency (Pires, Stanton & Ostenfeld, 2006). The appropriateness of different behavior in cross-cultural settings is of significance. Defined as the degree to which identified forms of behavior of different individuals of a cross-cultural relationship are congruent with the behavioral norms, which are affected by the culture. Nevertheless, both the barriers and the facilitators influence the cross-cultural effectiveness.
Interpersonal relationships and interactions in the multinational corporations are influenced by the dominant national cultures of the employees and managers, which constitute a distinct organizational context of the multinational corporations as well as the individual features or attributes of the interacting people. These identified factors differentiate the human behaviors as well as the impact on the evaluation of an individual of the appropriateness. They all are determinants of the responses, preferences, to the attributes and behavior of other individuals (Pires, Stanton & Ostenfeld, 2006). Since the cultural barriers are the most fundamental agents of influence to the cross-cultural effectiveness, the business corporations identify different measures to ensure that they annihilate the negative impacts of the ineffectiveness. First there are barriers related and bonded to the national cultures of individuals, which originate from the metal programming of individuals by the different cultures, inherent from the national regions in which the operate. A variety of hindrances to the effective cross-cultural relationships and interactions include the culture shock, auto stereotypes, cultural distance, national ethnocentrism, and prejudice. Traditionally, the societies and individuals have associated the negative consequences of the ineffective cross-cultural interactions to the impact of the management of the foreign subsidiaries and multinational corporations.
It encompasses the growing need for the multinational companies to gain competitive advantage in the markets. Expatriate training encompasses the elements of the technological advancements, such as the social media. In these modern times, the Media is an important platform. Many people can now access media through in various ways. Media sources are easily accessible and the procedure to use them is right at the knowledge of most organizations, especially the multinational corporations. The effects of media are felt on a wide scale. Depending on the circumstances, various people perceive these impacts in different perspectives. Media on that note can be said to have both positive and negative impacts on the multinational corporations in relation to expatriate training. The impacts are not subject to a particular organization.
Based on the development of multinational corporations, the media has an immense influence on the operations and the development of the multinational companies. The media facilitates the disseminating of knowledge that these multinational corporations likely did not have. When multinational corporations invest in technology and the media, they increase the degree of interaction with other organizations or cooperation as well (Boncori, 2013). They may gain significant information that can be beneficial in gaining a competitive advantage by widening the scope of the operations. Technological inventions are among the aspects that can be credited to media. Media is all about developing new ideas and channels to enable the exchange of information between different parties. Setbacks in sending messages and receiving them on a similar note are now outdated.
As technology has gradually integrated into business operations, the multinational corporations have transformed their operations perspectives. It has greatly reduced the need for face-to-face communications for the simple need of sending messages. Another advantage of media is the promotion of the corporate world. Advertisements have been essential in making sure that businesses excel. Through media, the clientele-customer relationship is enhanced. Business people have an easy way to let their customers know about the products they supply by using media. It would have been difficult for each customer to travel around asking where they can acquire the products and services they desire. Internet services have made it as easy as carrying out transactions online. Payment can be done using credit cards no matter the distance between the parties. This lays emphasis on the positive effects that media has brought with itself to the world.
In order to remain in business, many multinational corporations have employed communication and gained the attention of many markets by giving them a form to their deep-rooted desires. Multinational corporations have managed to do this by understanding the media perfectly and using it in the advertisement and promotion of their products (Boncori, 2013). This has been effective for many multinational corporations because it has used this technique as its immediate goal in advertising. This method has enabled many multinational corporations to influence their customers psychologically by slowing them down as long as possible for a word about what it actually sells (Pires, Stanton & Ostenfeld, 2006). Multinational corporations have managed to stay in business long enough because they have strived to split through considerable commercial avenues by using emotional appeals to their customers as a strategy to advertising its products. The strategy that involves using subconscious appeals is effective because buyers and customers have considerably become resistant to daily advertisements from televisions, billboards, direct mails, newspapers, and magazines. Most of the advertisements of these multinational corporations that appear in national media have two orders of their content. The first order is an appeal to the deep-lying drives in their customers. The second order contains information regarding the product sold: its pictures, its name, its attributes, its brand, its unique features, its packaging, its advantages, its warranty and its functions.
The internet is another effective tool for expatriate training that most multinational corporations use as a media of advertising their products. It is effective because a larger audience is reached, and it is cheaper compared to the other forms of advertising and announcing products. It is referred to as digital signage, and it is easier to reach the location of a target audience through the internet. Digital signage through many technological advances has made it easier to control messages with precision, enabling them to be in line with target audiences from anywhere at any time. This in turn gives more responses from the advertisements (Boncori, 2013).
Culture gaps affect the operations of the multinational corporations as well as other business organizations. They are drawbacks to the effective cross-cultural relationships and interactions. Racial discrimination is one of the key contributors of culture gaps, which affect the cross-cultural effectiveness. Racial discrimination involves actions, beliefs or practices, political or social systems that seem different races as either superior or inferior to the others. This is mostly based on certain inheritable traits that are shared, qualities or abilities. At times, it holds that individuals of certain different races have to be differently treated. Many people, however, fail to understand that race is not only a biological category, but also an artificial grouping of individuals without facts that are variable scientifically. Racial discrimination is a social issue since it adversely affects the society. Racial discrimination immensely leads to economic, moral and cultural suffering to areas affected which eventually negatively affects the social way of life. Racial discrimination cannot allow citizens to contribute collectively towards a certain goal, which is a vital component in the growth and development of a society. For instance, provided a certain class of individuals in a society is not educated, that class cannot have the capacity and opportunity to contribute to that society in medical and technological arenas (Brittany, 2011). This eventually leads to a derailed society in terms of development and one that cannot adequately support its inhabitants. Another instance would be when a specific class of people in the society is denied the freedom to culturally engage with others, a lack of appreciation of similarities and differences of people in that society builds up, the whole society becomes ethnocentric and fails to develop socially. Racial discrimination destroys morality because it is based on hypocrisy. Many religions have philosophies that govern them towards loving their neighbors; this social morality is however turned when people go out and engage in hate crimes and terrorism some of those around them.
Organizations have then stepped up and are now dealing with ways of curbing racial discrimination in the society, for instance, the United Nations Human Rights Commission. This organization is a worldwide body that protects the rights of individuals from all over the world. The organizations motivate cultural interaction among member states in all economic, social and political arenas. The International Criminals’ Court is also a body that deals with such. It takes charge in administration and interpretation of laws in all crimes against humanity. There is also the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales that ensures no racial discrimination is prevalent in any way in any place. Racial vilification, exemptions, victimization, harassment gender are clearly depicted as going against the law. The enactment of these laws governs the country and her citizens to interact socially, politically and economically in all fields without any form of racial discrimination (Brittany, 2011). The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination consists of independent experts who monitor implementation of the elimination of racial discrimination. This body ensures that member states are fully committed to eliminating every form of racial discrimination in their countries. This is done by letting them provide regular reports on the implementation of anti-racial laws in their respective states. The members also normally meet in Geneva to evaluate their standards concerning the implementation of laws and draw possible solutions to racial problems affecting the member states. Besides, the Committee publishes the interpreted content of provisions concerning human rights.
These organizations are formed to check to annihilate the impact of the building impact of the culture gaps in the effective cross-cultural interactions and relationships. These organizations and bodies are in the form of the multinational corporations because they operate in the international society and community (Brittany, 2011). The establishment of systems for operations throughout the societies is important for business enterprises, especially those that operate in the international markets, including the multinational corporations. It is important to bridge the gaps to increase the cross-cultural effectiveness.
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