As the world advances in technology and globalization, the likelihood of having people from different cultures working in the same place has increased significantly. This case is not different from Huawei, an international technology company that originates from China. Huawei has established long-term partnerships with over 100 countries where they work with telecom operators. The company has produced products that benefit millions of people globally and has grown spontaneously. It has become more internationalized hence accommodating employees from numerous cultures (Drahokoupil et al., 2017). To achieve an effective environment in a company with employees from so many diverse cultures, the management should have competent employee intercultural management strategies.
However, the management in Huawei, especially in France, has exhibited poor intercultural management of employees. This has led to internal misunderstanding at the offices resulting in negative consequences such as high employee turnover, poor communication between employees and the leadership, poor employee motivation, and lack of work-life balance (Wu et al., 2020).
A person’s culture refers to how a person perceives the world around them according to the values, attitudes, norms, and behaviors they acquired from their original community. People from different cultures ought to have diverse views and behavior, which may be a source of conflict. To avoid such cultural-related conflicts, a company’s management should enact policies for intercultural management (Wu et al., 2020).
Conversely, the Huawei company management fails in doing so, hence, has numerous instances of employee conflict. This paper analyzes the employee’s employees intercultural management in Huawei in France using Hofstede’sHofstede’s cultural dimension theory and recommendations on how to solve them. This paper uses theories such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance index, masculinity, and feminism to understand cultural diversity in the company.
Power Distance is the level of social inequality portrayed by people living in a particular setting. Hofstede perceived power distance as the level to which the less influential members of society agree on the degree of the power difference between them and the most powerful. In an organization, power distance occurs between the management and the subordinate staff (Kamama & Ogendo, 2018). A high power distance organization does not encourage social interaction between the employees and the leaders, while the reverse is true in a low power distance organization.
In the case of Huawei in France, power distance is felt differently according to the culture and ethnicity of the employee and the management. Notably, Huawei hires most of its managers from China and allocates them to a different parts of the world across their branches. Huawei also hires some French managers who work with their fellow Chinese (van de Bunt et al., 2019). Managers from the two ethnic groups practice different levels of power distance to their employees. The Chinese managers are well known for practicing high power distance, while their Dutch counterparts are less power distance. However, Chinese managers seem to relate and interact more with Chinese employees than other ethnic groups.
The Chinese managers at Huawei in France are more oriented to results than the means the employees use to achieve them. They practice a strict high hierarchy between themselves and employees and do not discuss work progress but rather demand results (Kamama & Ogendo, 2018). Chinese managers force their employees to set targets that sometimes seem unrealistic and order for results, failure to achieve them may result in discrimination or termination of the contract.
On the other hand, the French managers are concerned about the work in progress. They require employees to meet regularly to report their progress as they gather ideas on how to achieve their targets (Guanmei, n.d). The difference in power distance affects employees differently as some prefer a high power distance working environment while others want a less pressured environment.
The difference in power distance at Huawei in France could lead to employees employees’ job dissatisfaction or the creation of a poor working environment (van de Bunt et al., 2019). To resolve this issue, the company company’s management should conduct regular training for both the managers and employees. The training should aim at educating them on how the difference in culture could lead to the difference in power distance. It should also assist them in adjusting their attitudes and beliefs about power distance to promote effective communication among them.
Diverse cultures possess different levels of uncertainty appetite. Some cultures have the habit of undertaking activities that are filled with uncertainty or in which the results are not predictable. However, other cultures do not feel comfortable when dealing with different circumstances in which the results are not well defined. Hofstede noted uncertainty avoidance orientation as being either high or low (Minkov & Kaasa, 2020). In an organization setup, managers with high uncertainty avoidance tend to be specialists and micro-managers. They do not feel comfortable when delegating duties to others as they fear the occurrence of failure, while low uncertainty avoidance managers delegate most of the duties to employees.
The difference in uncertainty avoidance in Huawei, France, is also dependent on the culture of the managers and employees. The French managers encourage working in teams to deliver a particular project to deliver the project as they believe that it is hard for a group of experts to fail (Minkov & Kaasa, 2020). They constantly demand progressive results as they want to be sure that everything is going as planned. Conversely, the Chinese managers wait for the final results, which should be provided after a given period after task allocation.
This could be associated with their cultural differences, where China has a low uncertainty avoidance orientation while France people are low-risk takers (Gallego-Álvarez, I., & Pucheta-Martínez, 2021). The difference in culture can also be observed in employees, where French employees prefer to work in teams to mitigate the impact of failure. They argue that failure in an individual project has more severe consequences than in a group project. This difference may lead to poor working relations between employees and managers from the two cultures.
To solve the issue of uncertainty avoidance among Huawei employees and managers in France, a rewarding strategy should be adopted. Employees should be rewarded for their success alongside their managers. In case of failure, the employees should be offered an opportunity to correct their mistakes without being threatened or pressured. The fear of failure is derived from the consequences that one might face from the management (Guanmei, n.d). Employees should be offered a conducive environment where they are constantly encouraged and offered room for mistakes.
Masculinity vs. Femininity
Masculinity versus femininity refers to the attitude that society has toward the achievement of its goals. In a masculine society, gender roles are defined distinctively, and people are more concerned about building wealth and material possessions (Drahokoupil et al., 2017). Conversely, in a feminist society, gender roles are not strictly adhered to; they have a nurturing attitude, and people concentrate mostly on the quality of life than material possessions. In an organization setup, a masculine attitude is expressed when the management is willing to do anything in their power to grow and develop. The opposite is experienced in a feminist organization where they only do what is within their power while considering the well fair of employees.
Cultural differences distinguish the display of masculinity and femininity in Huawei, France. The Chinese managers express the “wolf culture” as encouraged by Huawei’sHuawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei. He supports that employees are allowed to bend certain internal laws as long as it is for the benefit of the company and not-self. Chinese managers also hold that employees must sacrifice for the growth of the company (Guerrero et al., 2021). This would mean working for long hours and engaging in incorporating behavior such as offering gifts to clients to promote sales, among others. To the Chinese managers, employees’employees’ welfare is not the company company’s priority. To promote the culture, the managers purchase some mattresses for the employees who would use them for a nap break after long working hours.
The “wolf culture” is not appreciated by many French employees as they believe in the quality of life. They find the company company’s culture a distraction from their personal life (Fan, 2021). They also complain of discrimination from their counterparts who engage in unlawful deals such as corruption for the benefit of the company. Employees who refuse to engage in such acts are threatened or fired unlawfully from the organization.
The best remedy for such actions would be to report illegal activities to the country’s authorities. Despite the cultural differences, employees should not be forced to engage in illegal behavior to promote their companies. The company should also be responsible for its employee’s well-being (Tao et al., 2016). In addition, Huawei managers should be taught and advised on the importance of employees employees’ satisfaction and its benefit to the organization.
Drahokoupil, J., McCaleb, A., Pawlicki, P., & Szunomár, Á. (2017). Huawei in Europe: Strategic integration of local capabilities in a global production network. Web.
Fan, Q. (2021). An Analysis of Hofstede’s 5 Cultural Dimensions Functioning in Ren Zhengfei’s Intercultural Communication with BBC Reporter. In 6th Annual International Conference on Social Science and Contemporary Humanity Development (SSCHD 2020) (pp. 131-134). Atlantis Press. Web.
Gallego-Álvarez, I., & Pucheta-Martínez, M. C. (2021). Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and R&D intensity as an innovation strategy: a view from different institutional contexts. Eurasian Business Review, 11(2), 191-220. Web.
Guanmei, M (n.d). Cross-cultural communication challenges in Africa: a case study of Huawei Mali. Web.
Guerrero, R., Lattemann, C., & Michalke, S. (2021). Huawei. In Digitalization Cases Vol. 2 (pp. 141-164). Springer. Web.
Kamama, K. J., & Ogendo, L. (2018). Influence of Language Barrier and Religion on the Strategic Business Growth of Huawei Technologies Company Limited. Journal of Human Resource & Leadership, 2(4), 1-18. Web.
Minkov, M., & Kaasa, A. (2020). A test of Hofstede’s model of culture following his approach. Cross-Cultural & Strategic Management. Web.
Tao, T., De Cremer, D., & Chunbo, W. (2016). Huawei: leadership, culture, and connectivity. Sage Publications Pvt. Limited. Web.
van de Bunt, S., & Chang-Howe, W. (2019). Developing Chinese economy overseas: Cross-cultural dilemmas in Chinese–Dutch mergers and acquisitions. In Globalization and Development (pp. 243-267). Springer, Cham. Web.
Wu, X., Murmann, J. P., Huang, C., & Guo, B. (2020). The Management transformation of Huawei. Huawei’s R&D Management Transformation. Web.