The following report revolves around Al Ansari Exchange, a leading UAE company operating in the exchange market. It was founded in 1966 and managed to achieve serious success, transforming into a giant multinational organization with 2.500 employees. The diversity of workers increases the topicality of culture as one of the factors affecting the work of companies. For this reason, the case gives much attention to the concept of culture, its definition, main aspects, and how it can promote positive and negative effects within the organization. Using the example of Al Ansari, this aspect is analyzed as the factor that should be considered to avoid failures.
The possible problems might include the growing diversity of demands, inability to consider Hofstede dimensions, global management issues, and cultural values. The proposed solutions revolve around the creation of the shared vision and corporate value system vital for forming a new collective with similar views on how the cooperation should be aligned and how to respect each other. Furthermore, it is critical to select an appropriate leadership style that will help to resolve possible conflicts and help employees to feel free in their decision-making and work. At the end of the report, a conclusion is provided.
The growth of big multinational companies operating in various regions impacted the business world and increased the topicality of global management. Leaders now have to work with employees representing many cultures and nations, meaning their visions, values, and beliefs can be different. Under these conditions, the significance of culture and its dimensions also grows as it becomes the factor that should be considered when organizing the work of a particular unit.
Regarding the effectiveness of the chosen approach, culture can serve either as a facilitator of positive change or a barrier to attaining success. For this reason, multinational corporations need to consider the existing differences and create an environment favorable for all employees regardless of their race. The following report revolves around Al Ansari Exchange, problems it faces, and possible solutions that can be implemented to ensure its further evolution.
Al Ansari Exchange is a leader in the exchange market of the UAE with a developed and large branch network. It was created in 1966 in Abu Dhabi Central Market to meet the foreign exchange and remittance needs of various parties (History, n. d.). The growing demand for such services, along with the fast evolution of the state and the increasing clients’ requirements, created the basis for the successful firm’s rise and its transformation into the most popular exchange company in the UAE (History, n. d.).
At the moment, Al Ansari Exchange has about 190 branches with 2,500 employees representing different cultures (History, n. d.). It also offers services to about 2.5 million clients every month (History, n. d.). The company is responsible for 80,000 transactions per day and holds the 31% of the UAE market share (History, n. d.). In such a way, today Al Ansari is a powerful multinational company with the opportunities for the further rise and participation in the international discourse. However, the fast expansion promoted the emergence of several issues, including the cultural ones, that should be resolved.
Findings and Core Issues
Analyzing Al Ansari’s case, it is possible to state that culture is the central factor that should be given attention. The multinational character of the company, multilingual staff and the plans for future expansion might increase the risk of deteriorated relations between all team members and their inability to cooperate. In terms of organizations, culture is a pattern of shared assumptions learned by the group as the way to respond to particular situations and stressors (Kaasa, 2021). It affects the way workers think, feel, perceive, and cooperate. For this reason, its consideration is vital for establishing an effective and favorable environment. For Al Ansari, most relevant and possible problems can be linked to the lack of understanding promoted by belonging to various groups.
Speaking about the core function of management, for Al Ansari, this topic also remains relevant. The core idea of business change is promoting increased multiculturalism and moving towards increased cultural adaptation skills (Lee and Chung, 2020). It means that global managers should be ready to cultivate inclusion and recognition of various cultures as a way to boost the effectiveness of the company and ensure it evolves (Kaasa, 2021).
The management of Al Ansari correctly realizes the challenge and proclaims integrity and teamwork as the central values needed for future successes. The brand focuses on the creation of a shared vision peculiar for all employees as the way to resolve some problems in cooperation and ensure there are no cultural barriers (Eleven per cent of Al Ansari Exchange workforce, 2019). However, it demands specific solutions to the most topical problems.
The Iceberg Concept of Culture
The most important factors influencing the appearance of cross-cultural challenges are linked to the iceberg concept of culture. It states that surface culture or things are seen to everyone can be easily considered by management; however, they are not the most important ones. Instead, the deep culture and unconscious rules should be viewed as the elements affecting the behavior and performance of an employee most of all, meaning that any company should try to work with these issues and consider them to create an environment favorable for most individuals (Beugelsdijk and Welzel, 2018).
Unfortunately, information about these hidden traits might demand additional effort to investigate the staff and outline the most important peculiarities of culture impacting workers (Lee and Chung, 2020). For Al Ansari Exchange, it means the need for better data collection and monitoring to remain informed about central cultural issues.
Diversity of Demands
Another problem arising from being multilingual and multinational is the diversity of workers’ demands. Lee and Chung (2020) state that that movement towards multiculturalism is a vital aspect of any company’s work as it guarantees the increased number of new ideas and visions. However, it also means that a company will face the constantly growing diversity of demands linked to the fact that employees represent various cultures with different beliefs of how the working process should be organized. For Al Ansari, with the 190 branches working in regions, the problems become extremely topical as it is vital to guarantee that all specialists will have the chance to fulfill their needs and evolve both personally and professionally (Eleven per cent of Al Ansari Exchange workforce, 2019). The company should create the conditions promoting this aspect and give attention to it.
Hofstede Cultural Dimensions
Other core aspects that should be given attention are related to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and their impact on the functioning of companies. The fact is that any culture has its unique system of value influencing the attitude to such issues as individualism-collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance, masculinity-femininity (Beugelsdijk and Welzel, 2018). These differences play a fundamental role in the interaction between people and should be considered when organizing the work of a specific unit. For instance, for Al Ansari, the issues with power distance are relevant as the company has hierarchical structures vital for its functioning. At the same time, representatives of different cultures might have their vision of subordination, meaning that there is a need for a shared perspective on how such structures can function and how power is distributed between specialists.
The individualism-collectivism dimension is also vital for Al Ansari as the company has representatives of various nations. The correct understanding of the need for interdependence or independence is necessary for the work of collectives (Kaasa, 2021). At the same time, the company should determine the degree of autonomy available for every specialist and find the balance between individualist and collectivist values (Kaasa, 2021).
For this reason, for Al Ansari, it is critical to realize the prevailing culture and create a new, shared vision characterized by the absence of tensions or misunderstandings about the personal space or conditions needed to make specific decisions (Kaasa, 2021). Currently, the multinational staff is managed using the approach introduced by management; however, it can be reconsidered to create a more favorable and understandable environment.
Finally, there is a specific element linked to the stability in the company and the fear of change. Following Hofstede’s idea, uncertainty avoidance is a factor influencing people’s attitude to challenges, insecurities, and volatility (Beugelsdijk and Welzel, 2018). In other words, some workers can value the change to alter their schedule or approaches used to perform particular tasks. For management, it is vital to understand the fear of uncertainty and adopt risk-taking attitudes among the members of the staff to ensure they feel comfortable and no pressure might deprive them of the chance to demonstrate the best possible outcomes and achieve the desired results.
Global Management Issues
Al Ansari is now a big multinational company with about 190 branches, meaning that global management issues are also relevant. Global management presupposes working with people from across national and cultural boundaries to attain existing goals and align their cooperation. For Al Ansari, with the plans for further evolution and growth, it might be the source of instability and a serious challenge as the income of new workers will promote diversity and precondition the need for additional management tools (Eleven per cent of Al Ansari Exchange workforce, 2019). For this reason, the company demands a practical solution that will help to work with multiple cultures’ representatives and ensure they feel not isolated and share the common culture. Global management issues will become more topical with the further rise of the brand and its becoming more multinational.
Finally, speaking about core aspects, it is vital to emphasize cultural values. Every nation has its visions and attitudes formed under the impact of language, customs, and traditions (Kaasa, 2021). For this reason, big multinational corporations are often focused on the creation and promotion of a shared culture that will be adopted by all workers regardless of their nationality and ethnicity (Eger, 2021).
It will help to minimize the risk of conflicts and ensure that employees’ values will not serve as the source of instability. At the moment, Al Ansari Exchange has an established corporate culture emphasizing the need for cooperation, inclusion, and diversity (Eleven per cent of Al Ansari Exchange workforce, 2019). However, with the further rise of the brand, it might fail to meet new demands because of the income of new workers. Under these conditions, there is a need for consideration of all cultural values.
Solutions and Recommendations
Because cultural issues are the background for most problems mentioned above, the proposed solutions and recommendations are focused on the ways to mitigate the negative impact of this factor and use it to help the company evolve. First of all, it is vital to create a tolerant corporate culture free of cultural stereotyping, biased attitudes, or the inability to accept the values of other people (Napitupulu, 2018). For global managers, the establishment of such a framework is one of the pivotal tasks helping to promote multiculturalism and ensure there are no conflicts based on this factor.
Cultivation of a Unified Approach
It is also vital to address the cultural dimensions outlined above and ensure they are considered to create a positive framework. Thus, resolution of cultural differences can be attained by teaching workers to accept the existing hierarchical structures, interdependence between all workers, and emphasizing the stability of the company and its employees. It will help to provide all specialists with guarantees of their future employment and consider the differences in their visions (Beugelsdijk and Welzel, 2018). It is critical to establish a shared culture incorporating all values and beliefs of other people and emphasizing the need to consider them to move forward and avoid cultural conflicts.
The cultural problems mentioned above can also be resolved using appropriate leadership models. Most researchers agree that enhanced management, cultural issues, and the stable work of companies are interdependent and can be affected by using potent models by top management (Mahatma and Geetanjali, 2020). In other words, for Al Ansari, most of its problems linked to poor cooperation between departments can be resolved by using appropriate transactional leadership models encouraging people to respect other cultures, and adopt the corporate framework (Kaasa, 2021). It will help to avoid conflict situations and inspire workers to engage in better cooperation with each other.
Mutual Respect and Shared Vision
Finally, shifts to multiculturalism presuppose the elimination of cultural frictions or cultural clusters as an attempt to establish a new environment deprived of discriminative or biased patterns and attitudes. For this reason, Al Ansari should invest in creating a shared vision for all employees as a major demand for better performance and cooperation. The existence of such a framework will help to simplify the interaction between workers with various languages and values and help to avoid misunderstandings that might arise because of the differences in cultural dimensions. Under these conditions, the establishment of mutual respect and a new perspective on multiculturalism is vital for the organization.
Altogether, as any giant multinational company, Al Ansari faces multiple risks coming from the culture. It is one of the most important factors affecting the work of big organizations. The existence of various customs and values can serve as the source of conflicts. For this reason, the company should establish a shared vision to promote better cooperation between workers, elaborate a unified approach to working with cultural dimensions, and encourage employees to interact by employing effective leadership methods. It will help to create the basis for future improvement and avoid critical deterioration of the situation in the future.
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Eger, E. K. (2021) ‘Co-constructing organizational identity and culture with those we serve: an ethnography of a transgender nonprofit organization communicating family identity and identification’, International Journal of Business Communication, 58(2), pp. 254–281. Web.
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