Collaboration on an international level is an essential constituent of continuous progress that each company must pursue in order to remain relevant and popular in the target market. Therefore, creating international links is an indispensable step for American companies to expand and gain greater traction in the global market. However, partnering with companies overseas implies having to address multiple cultural issues and facing a range of cultural misunderstandings unless a suitable communication framework is developed. Despite noticeable and quite dramatic differences between American and Italian corporate cultures, which make them seemingly incompatible, the U.S. company under analysis can collaborate with Gucci productively as long as key differences are acknowledged and settled and the corporate values are introduced.
Before delving into the analysis of differences between American and Italian corporate culture standards, defining several concepts will be required. First, the notion of culture shocks needs to be elaborated upon in greater detail. The phenomenon of culture shock is typically defined as the sense of confusion and disorientation that one is likely to experience when being placed into a new and unusual cultural context (Dai, 2021). Specifically, Dai (2021) suggests the following definition for culture shock: “culture shock could be considered as an overarching concept to conceptualize people’s sense of unfamiliarity in cross-systems or cultural navigation” (Dai, 2021, p. 37). Therefore, the notion of culture shock can be applied to the context of an organization partnering with an overseas firm and facing significant challenges in advancing the dialogue with the target organization’s members.
Impact of Cultural Integrity on Organization
Maintaining the principles of cultural integrity in the organizational context is also often regarded as one of the principal strategies for an organization to adhere to, especially when entering a new economic setting. Ahmad et al. (2021) emphasizes the critical; a role that cultural integrity plays in the company’s promotion to the global economy, including the advantages such as the rapidly increasing support of its loyal customers, the increase in the number of new ones, and the overall rates of the corporate performance. Specifically, the issue of particular importance is represented by cultural integrity within the organization. The concept of cultural integrity can be summarized as people’s “ability to maintain their tribal and cultural traditions while in higher education institutions and using their culture as an anchor and catalyst to succeed” (Oxendine, 2015, p. 108). Therefore, adhering to the organizational cultural identity implies keeping the company’s very essence intact.
In other words, cultural integrity has an enormous impact on an organization, encouraging it to develop the ability to maintain consistency in its values and approach toward building organizational behavior and standard (Ahmad et al., 2021). Helping a company to locate and build its identity, cultural integrity can also be seen as a basis for improving relationships with members of other cultures, which is central to successful global performance. Namely, by encouraging staff members to develop cultural awareness, competence, and integrity, one is likely to create the setting where conflicts based on cultural misunderstandings will have been fully eradicated.
Human Resources and a Cross-Cultural Organization
In a cross-cultural company, the focus on human resources must be regarded as the core framework for promoting the required incremental change. In a cross-cultural organization, human resources will require a set of different approaches and policies form managers, therefore, creation breeding grounds for a conflict (Miao et al., 2018). Therefore, it is vital to adjust the system adopted at the target U.S. organization in order to meet the needs of vulnerable groups, particularly, staff members from culturally diverse backgrounds.
In a cross-cultural organization, the approach to shaping employees’ perspectives may encourage greater diversity through inclusion. Specifically, the application of an entirely unbiased approach is desirable, yet hardy possible to accomplish (Miao et al., 2018). Namely, the emphasis must be paced on minimizing disagreements in the workplace. Therefore, an organization needs to focus on building a team of devoted customers by minimizing cost caused by delays during arguments. Another prominent change that the adoption of the specified technique in the setting of an international company will entail is alteration in the employees’ behaviors and attitudes. Specifically, the emphasis on a rational approach toward cross-cultural misunderstandings along with the shift of priorities toward achieving corporate goals as proposed to attaining personal satisfaction caused by a confrontation deserve to be mentioned. Therefore, human resources shape the direction of a diverse organization’s development to a notable extent.
Cross-Cultural Barriers and the Means of Overcoming Them
However, apart from a plethora of opportunities, which the cross-cultural setting admittedly entails, the target organization is also likely to face several significant difficulties. Cross-cultural barriers that the organization is likely to encounter when approaching the organizational context of Gucci will need to be considered. Apart from representing a ruined opportunity to expand into new markets, the failure to expand and target potential customers from another culture suggests that the communication approach that the company has chosen for conversing within the selected cultural context leads to multiple confusions (Romani et al., 2018). Therefore, the threat of a misunderstanding and the resulting failure to adjust a company’s performance to a new cultural context can be seen as a symptom of a more severe underlying issue.
The unwillingness to accept the change that staff members must undergo when entering a different cultural setting also deserves to be addressed as one of the central concerns in HRM in modern organizations. For the target context, particularly, the cross-cultural setting where a significant range of employees suffer from underrepresentation, one must discuss the issue of creating the corporate culture that allows appreciating the nuances of any culture and creates equal opportunities for all staff members.
Management across Cultures: Comparing Italy and the U.S.
When comparing the approach to management in the organizational settings of the U.S. and Italy, one should mention the presence of multiple differences, most of which can be attributed to cultural dissimilarities. For instance, the concept of the hierarchy must be listed among the first issues that the Italian organizational setting does not allow overlooking.
The observed issue clashes with the presence of significantly greater flexibility for all parties involved, which the Italian setting can boast. The presence of a larger choice of decisions for an individual to make in the Italian organizational setting has end an important part of Italian culture and especially the approaches toward leadership and running a business.
Finally, when determining the vital characteristics of either of the cultures., one will also mention that the American one is significantly less sociable than the British one (Romani et al., 2018). The described difference of opinions informs the inconsistencies between the organizational contexts created in the U.S. and abroad, specifically, in Italy. By allowing the opportunity to collaborate in a cross-cultural setting, a company leader creates premises for tending to to staff members’ needs, which can encourage their professional development. Therefore, employees’ loyalty to the company will also improve.
Potential Issues to Be Expected
However, while the introduction of the described changes into the sociocultural context of the target country may turn out to be detrimental to the U.S. in the long term it will lead to certain challenges for a significant umber of people.
The presence of bureaucracy can be viewed as the core political factor impeding Italian businesses from flourishing. Indeed, studies show that the continuous problem of bureaucracy in the existing thalian power structures undermines the performance of its multiple companies (Romani et al., 2018). Along with bureaucracy, corruption represents a major obstacle on the way to becoming an effectively functioning global economy for Italy (Romani et al., 2018). However, political indifference observed in the target setting remains the most egregious phenomenon that has contributed to the current socioeconomic situation to the greatest extent (Romani et al., 2018), the observed factors can be mitigated by creating the platform for the company to become less dependent on the state support and, instead, gain significant resilience. The specified goal can eb achieved by partnering with Gucci and establishing t5eh corporate standards that allow Gucci to deviate from its current model of using corruption to the benefit of the organization.
Finally, one needs to touch upon political indifference as one of the central concepts that does not allow Gucci to grow. Also being unfortunately emblematic of the target country, the issue of political indifference will not win Gucci any favors in the global environment., instead, it will make the organization unanimously ignored and despised by all parties involved.
Another type of concerns that one should note prior to creating the grounds for the future analysis, ethical ones represent an even more complicated issue since ethical issues define the audience’s attitudes toward the organization. In order to manage the issue at hand, one must focus on a specific issue or phenomenon that one might have. Examining the possible probability of workplace discrimination as the direct effect of the current policies and perceptions will allow removing the likely threat and, therefore, ensuring that it does not affect the company’s performance to a signficant extent
Finally, the ethical concerns associated with the collaboration between the U.S. organization in question and Gucci will have to be considered closer. The problems that the U.S. company and its members are likely to face in regard to the legal processes are linked directly to some of the current standards for legal justice and the attitudes toward it displayed among the residents of Florence, where Gucci headquarters are located. Namely, the presence of corruption mentioned above coupled with a rather rigid taxation system and a rather dissatisfactory judicial system deserves to be mentioned (Romani et al., 2018). The described legal context suggests that managing legal concerns and the associated issues in the context of the Florence business environment will be nearly impossible. Therefore, building awareness co0ncerning the challenges associated with the legal framework and the management of the related issues among U.S. staff members is essential to prevent further complications from taking place.
Overall, the target setting in which the members of the Gucci Company and their U.S. partners will have to interact is not as removed from the American cultural context as one might have thought. The presence of similar cultural markers in the communication framework, as well as significant similarities in the key cultural signifiers, will allow avoiding a range of potential causes of conflict in the workplace. However, it is still critical to keep the focus on the potential sources of disagreement, including the inconsistencies in the perceptions of social and workplace hierarchy, as well as the differences in the extent of flexibility and openness to communication.
Additionally, overcoming the challenges associate with the legal concerns and ensuring that Italian employees align with the U.S. legal standards rigidly as opposed to the current relaxed attitudes toward laws observed in the Italian business context will be ital. Ensuring complete alignment with legal standards will be vital since it will prevent a range of misconceptions from taking place and, therefore, lead to avoiding multiple legal problems.
The training process must start with the focus on the fundamental corporate values as the core principles with which staff members must align. Specifically, the U.S. staff members will have to be introduced to the key communication standards associated with the |Italian culture, particularly, the Florence social context, so that Gucci employees could feel comfortable in a new setting. Simultaneously, it will be vital to introduce employees to the concept of workplace hierarchy present in the Gucci company as an Italian organization, while ensuring that staff members do not internalize the specified concept or transfer it into the U.S. corporate setting. Finally, the key communication differences must be conveyed to the U.S. staff members so that they could converse with Gucci representatives without creating the sense of emotional detachment or coldness. Specifically, the active use of nonverbal communication along with the emphasis on a more relaxed approach to the workplace dialogue will have to be taught to the U.S. staff members. Finally, the legal nuances of the Italian economic context will need to be introduced to the UI.S. employees to avoid confrontations and mi8sunderstandings between Gucci staff members and the American ones.
The key lessons to be learned form the case under analysis include the importance of addressing cultural differences on multiple levels and the role of training in helping staff members adjust to new settings and modes of interactions. Specifically, the significance of aligning economic, political, and legal issues with cultural ones has become apparent in the course of managing the specified task. Overall, the assignment has shed a significant amount of light on the issue of cross-cultural communication in the economic environment.
Though American and Italian approaches to building corporate culture, as well as the values on which it stands, are quite different, opportunities for collaboration can still be sought by introducing training sessions based on building cultural competence and the ability to negotiate with the focused on compromise in mind. The specified approach is expected to help reconcile some of the seemingly unmanageable differences between American and Italian corporate cultures. Thus, companies [partnering in the global market can build a stronger competitive advantage by reinforcing their business ties and overcoming cultural differences, as the case of Gucci proves. With the emphasis on compromising and seeking solutions as opposed to engaging in conflicts, the U.S. company in question will be able to collaborate with Gucci on an international level.
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Oxendine, S. D. (2015). Examining the impact of institutional integration and cultural integrity on sense of belonging to predict intention to persist for Native American students at non-Native colleges and universities (Doctoral dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro).
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