Good managers combine culture with their organizations to create positive and synergistic environments inclusive of varying perspectives.
Distinguish the cultural concepts relevant to business operations
Most important to effectiveculturalmanagement is the ability to synthesize a complex sociological and psychological understanding in the context of organizational behavior and strategy to effectively integrate cultural diversity both internally to employees and externally to customers.
One of the most well-known organizational behavior researchers, Hofstede, organized business cultural differentiation into five dimensions: Power Distance, Individualism, Uncertainty, Masculinity, and Long-term Orientation.
Observing the cultural tendencies of an organization and finding ways to accommodate them, and their interaction with other cultural predispositions, requires experience, motivation and self-awareness (of one's own predispositions culturally).
Ultimately, understanding the complexities of different cultures alongside their dramatic effect on a given organization is a necessary skill for aspiring managers in a global economy.
Cultural intelligence can be understood as the recognizing and understanding of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors of a group of people and the ability to apply that knowledge toward the achieving of specific goals.
The behavior of humans who are part of an organization and the meanings that the people attach to their actions. Culture includes the organization values, visions, norms, working language, systems, symbols, beliefs and habits.
Studying Culture in Business
Culture, in the context of business, is an integral component to operating effectively in an increasingly multicultural and diverse economic climate. While culture as a general concept is broad and difficult to define concisely, within the framework of business and management there are a number of central considerations and implications. Most important to effective cultural management is the ability to synthesize a complex sociological and psychological understanding in the context of organizational behavior and strategy to integrate cultural diversity both internally to employees and externally to customers.
Understanding culture and the influence that it exercises on organizations, has motivated a wide variety of studies and perspectives working to define and examine what constitutes 'organizational culture'. Due to the complexity of the question and the differences of culture from company to company, a number of researchers in sociology, psychology, and behavior have attempted to identify commonalities across the board to shed light on the evolution and expression of culture within companies or organizations. A few specific studies and concepts merit further discussions:
Hofstede - Perhaps most well-known are Hofstede's studies took place at IBM, one of the largest multicultural companies in the world . With over 100,000 employees in 50 different countries, Hofstede had a strong population to analyze for global differences. Ultimately, Hofstede had two critical observations. The first is that changing behavior drives a change in 'mental programs' (contrary to the assumption changing perspectives would in turn affect behavior). The second is that national and regional cultural groupings affect behavior, which he organized into five dimensions: Power Distance, Individualism, Uncertainty, Masculinity, and Long-term Orientation.
Denison - Similar to Hofsede, Denison studied organizational culture in pursuit of idenitfying critical dimensions affecting internal culture. Denison's model has been typically leveraged to diagnose cultural issues within organizations, and focuses on: Mission, Adaptability, Involvement (team dynamics) and Consistency (values, integration).
Gerry Johnson - Johnson underlines the following cultural facets: The Paradigm (missions/values), Control Systems, Organizational Structures (hierarchies), Power Structures, Symbols, Rituals/Routines, and Stories/Myths. Through properly observing and interpreting these concepts, an individual can more accurately understand the cultural forces in play.
Integrating Culture and Managerial Implications
With this understanding of cultural dynamics within a business, the question of how to optimize managerial strategies to best integrate varying cultures with positive outcomes is a critical focal point for modern-day managers. Cross-cultural management requires cultural intelligence (sometimes referred to as 'CQ') along with an open-minded and empathetic mindset. Observing the cultural tendencies of an organization and finding ways to accommodate them, and their interaction with other cultural predispositions, requires experience, motivation and self-awareness (of one's own cultural predispositions).
Ang, Van Dyne, and Livermore described four 'CQ' capabilities:
CQ Drive - An individual's confidence and overall interest in interacting with culturally diverse environments. This tends to be something of a qualifier, as the desire (intrinsic interest) for cultural diversity and the recognition of the benefits (extrinsic interest) create the proper motivational framework for effectiveness.
CQ Knowledge - An individual's ability to understand the differing cultures represented (particularly the economic, socio-linguistic, interpersonal and political frames). It provides a strong platform for cross-cultural managers to be insightful decision makers.
CQ Strategy - An individual's ability to align culturally diverse experiences in a meaningful way. This includes high levels of awareness along with consistent planning and trial and error to create a working strategy of how different cultures function.
CQ Action - An individual's ability to adapt in cultural diverse circumstances, both verbally and non-verbally, based upon their surroundings. It is a powerful asset in preventing misunderstandings and ensuring the comfort of diverse participants.
Ultimately, understanding the complexities of different cultures alongside their dramatic effect on a given organization is a necessary skill for aspiring managers in a global economy. Through leveraging these models, managers can effectively marry culture with their organizations to create positive and synergistic environments inclusive of varying perspectives and backgrounds.