Intercultural Management in Organizations

Introduction

Intercultural management can be defined as the process of combination of various skills, knowledge plus the combination of insights so that one can be in a position to interact with the regional and the national cultures all over the world, and the various differences in these cultures at the several management stages in an organization. You find that globalization has come up with so many things which involve dealing with so many cultures in the global market. This is because globalization involves a common/market village where there is an exchange of goods and services by all nations of the world with no restrictions. It is due to this that you find so many cultural groups from all the nations meet so that they can conduct their business hence the need for intercultural management in this case. (Milton, 2000).

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It is due to the issue of border crossing alliances, the global and the ventures relocations plus the rise of the e-business, which has led to the major changes in the international relations with the customers plus also the intercultural diversity management. So, it is out of the globalization process that so many managers operating in the different companies are supposed to have proper good management strategies which will try to help them to run the business so well due to the cultural differences. So with this, intercultural management is one of the key factors by these managers who operate the big companies so that they can be in a position to have things well done effectively across the borders. So due to the increased contact by so many customers from different or even diverse corners of the world, intercultural management is one of the management skills which many managers are supposed to have at their fingertips and also to try and manage the diverse perceptions, values, the behavior corporations among others. Intercultural management coupled with intercultural communication is very much important in any particular organization hence it’s a disciplinary human resource field that is said to be concerned with the various management issues in the organization. In order to try and understand intercultural management and how it is effective in an organization, a semi-structured interview schedule was made to the manager of Hilton hotel in the UK which is one of the international hotels in the country since this particular manager has been working in the hotel for ten years now. Since this is one of the international hotels whereby many people from all cultures have to meet, there was the need for intercultural management. So the interview was done and the best method of data collection which was used in this case is the questionnaire since it was seen as more effective when compared with other methods of collecting data. It also helps in avoiding biasness when getting the results. (Milton, 2000).

Background of the manager

The manager in this hotel is one of the most competent managers since it’s through his hard work that the company has been in a position to do well. He has applied his management skills in trying to develop intercultural management in this hotel. He has skills in organizational management and this is why he was chosen as the manager for the hotel who would properly the hotel as well as he has been doing. He has good management skills since he has worked in the company for ten years now. Let now see at the work-life of this manager. (Jacob, 2003).

The work-life of the manager

This manager is the manager of Hilton hotel in the UK which is one of the best international hotels in the world hence the need for intercultural management so that the hotel can be in a position to do better in the future. As a manager, he has come across so many developmental needs, opportunities, and also challenges in trying to manage the hotel. You find that trying to work effectively in a hotel that involves diverse cultures coming into your hotel, requires a different approach plus broad-ranging skills which will lead to the success of the company. This manager has been in a position to interact with so many people from all corners of the world hence the need to well interacting with them through cultural management. In order to build a successful relationship with your customers, it’s important to try and understand them in terms of their many languages, values, and cultures. Building a successful relationship is one of the key competencies to a successful corporate environment. The positive relationship, in this case, will involve the manager to try and interpret the languages, respect their cultures since there is no particular culture that is important than the other, try to also understand their customs and the audience. (William, 2004).

So this manager has tried to interact with his customers so much in trying to understand their norms, beliefs, values, and their cultures so that he can be in a position to plan so well what the customers want most. He has also communication skills plus the appropriate business strategies that are said to be applicable in any given country or even a religion. The manager can never escape the need to buy, sell or even work with various people from different cultures. This is because most of these companies rely mostly on the foreign markets and also the foreign customers since most of the services and even the various products which are made by the company no longer rely on the native audience or even the domestic customers in the country but hugely rely on the foreign markets. (William, 2004).

In order to improve employee performance through effective development, the manager has taken the initiative of training his employees. This is because many consultants see training and learning as one of the key competencies hence need to be applied to ensure that employees have knowledge on how to tackle the cultural differences in the hotel. It’s through this learning that the manager has been in a position to lead to great profits which are accrued by the company. (William, 2004).

Intercultural management for it to be done effectively, the manager said that he has tried to work in partnership with the employees in the organization since working in partnership is one of the essentials of giving a successful work. So this manager explained how he has tried to have a strong relationship with his employees in trying to ensure that intercultural management has been done effectively. During his work life at the hotel he has come upon so many challenges in trying to establish cultural management and some of the challenges which he has experienced include the following. (William, 2004).

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Why the increasing demand for intercultural management

The manager explained that due to the issue of globalization, there has been a growing demand for intercultural management. You find that most of the companies have experienced so many losses as a result of mismanagement of most of the international companies. For example at Hilton, the manager said that before the company could realize how important intercultural management is to the company, it experienced some problems in trying to cope with the global competition by most of the international hotels in the world. It was until the company incorporated intercultural management that it was in a position to have proper management of the organization. So, many international companies make huge losses and some of these losses can be seen to be clearer when one considers that in statistics over three-quarters of its international acquisition can be seen to fail due to cultural differences. Intercultural management is one of the soft tissues which can be seen as more difficult to quantify financially hence the need for most managers in these international companies to consider most of these cultural issues more properly when trying to deal with some international venture since due to the cultural differences many people from all over the globe, can lead to great losses in the company since the customer’s values and their cultures have to be put in place when trying to make our management strategies. For example at Hilton hotel, this issue is very much important since the hotel deals with people’s foods and due to the many cultures and beliefs of these people, they have to be served the food they love eating so much. So the traditional foods have to be made depending on the different cultures of the people. (Penny, 2000).

Challenges faced

In trying to adapt to intercultural management, the manager said that he has faced so many challenges. Like any other management strategy, the manager has to come across some challenges as far as the costs are concerned. This is because in trying to adapt the strategy, financial costs need to be planned for the strategy so that the manager can be in a position to try and apply it correctly to the customers. Some of the challenges the manager faced are the following. (Jacob, 2003).

Training costs

Intercultural management requires communication skills by the manager and also by the employees. This is because they deal with people from diverse cultural backgrounds that might need an interpreter to try and understand their language. So, in this case, the manager has to meet extra costs of employing more staff who can be in this case taken as language interpreters. It is through these people that the customers can be in a position to try and communicate so well with them. So the manager ensures that he has employed such people so that they can be in a position to have effective work done in the hotel through avoiding the cases of language barriers between the staff and the customers. So the manager has to incur extra costs to meet such expenses. So he has to try and balance these costs since you will find that when these costs are more than the profits, this might lead to a competitive disadvantage realized by the company. (Hall, 1998).

Developing skills and also various approaches in order to deal with cross-cultural and also intercultural issues is also another challenge which is faced by the manager. You find that the manager has to coach on coaching skills some of which may include good communication skills, time management, conflict resolution, and also assertiveness. The manager has to ensure that the employees have good communication skills are not rude to the customers. This is because most of the employees sometimes may respond rudely to the customers when there is some form of misunderstanding which may include some form of abuse. So in this case the manager has to ensure that he has coached his employees so that they can be in a position to understand the other cultural differences. It’s through this that the hotel will in the end have a competitive advantage. (Hall, 1998).

Building a cultural competence

The manager in this case faces the problem of trying to build cultural competence. The issue of globalization has led to many cultures mingling together in business hence many cultures coming together. It is due to the many cultures that the manager in this case has faced the problem of meeting all the customer’s needs due to the different needs and demands. You tend to find that some of the cultures have a strong custom and tradition which might lead to the manager adapting so many competencies some of which the manager might find hard to apply. So with this, the manager has the problem of adopting the cultural competencies so that the demands of all the customers can be met. So in trying to develop his intercultural management has faced the problem of building the cultural competencies which will meet the demands of all the customers. So in order to overcome these challenges, the following competencies have been developed. (Jacob, 2003).

Competencies and skills needed to develop

Competencies can be defined as the general descriptions of a manager’s behavior plus the underlying characteristics which are needed by the manager in order to be in a position to try and perform his management role. The manager said that these competencies are very much important for the manager since it’s through the competencies that he can be in a position to measure the performance of the company hence be in a position to have things done effectively when assessing and also monitoring the performance of the company. This is because if the competence has been applied by the manager, he will use this competency to try and also measure how the business is going on. It can also she used as a self-driving/assessing tool which so many managers can use in order to identify their strengths and also their development needs. It can also be used by the manager in order to try and develop a closely targeted individual development. It is due to this fact that the various competencies will be needed so that he can be in a position to have his competitive advantage. Competitive advantage is one of the essential factors which are needed by most organizations who want to excel. So in order to be in a position to have a competitive advantage, it was important for this manager to have intercultural management, unlike other businesses. This is one of the various ways in which so many managers in company’s try to differentiate themselves from the other companies since you tend to find that intercultural management is a soft term which many managers have not been in a position to adopt yet. So one of the competencies by the manager, in this case, is customer focus competency. (Lamg, 1999).

Customer focus

Customer focus in this case can be seen as trying to understand the various needs which are needed by your potential customers. So in trying to understand the customer’s behavior, it is very much important to try and interact with these particular customers so that you can be in a position to know what they need. This is because most of the goods and services which are produced by these hotels have their targets and the targets, in this case, are the customers. So it’s very much important to try and focus on your customer’s needs. In this case, the manager has been in a position to have proper management of the international hotel simply because of the intercultural management in trying to have a focus on his customers. He focuses so much on the many behaviors of the customers in trying to understand their various tastes and preferences. This is because so many customers have different tastes and preferences due to cultural diversities. You tend to find that some groups of cultures have still maintained their particular cultures and have their own beliefs and values on such foods. So for the manager to try and overcome the many challenges he has faced in intercultural management, he developed the customer focus strategy since it’s through this strategy he will be in a position to try and understand the various demands and needs of his customers hence leading to a competitive advantage by the hotel, unlike other hotels. (Elashmawi, 2000).

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Working in partnership

This is another competency which this manager developed as a way of trying to overcome the many challenges he faced in his intercultural management. Working as a team in order to build productive relationships with people in the hotel is very much important in order to be in a position to understand the business requirements. The manager in this case shares various information concerning the v company with the team members in the company. It’s through working together that they will get or even have shared goals since most of them will try to work towards achieving the goals of the company as far as international management is concerned. He is also open to the ideas of others in that he is one of the managers who accept the decisions of others since one’s decision is not always enough hence the need for other people to try and advise you on how to properly manage the company. You find that for any organization to succeed there is the need to work in partnership with the others in running the organization. This is because people’s decisions are very much good since you may not know it unless you encourage other people to advise you. Working in the partnership involves working as a team in trying to make various decisions for the hotel. So the manager, in this case, works in accordance with the staff in trying to overcome this problem. You find that the company employees different members of staff from different cultures and groups according to their skills and experiences in the foreign language. This is because you will find that most of the customers in the hotel need an interpreter hence it’s these members of the staff who will be included in trying to interpreter the many languages. So in partnership with the staff, the manager has been in a position to overcome the intercultural challenge when trying to adapt it. This is because this competency is very much important in trying to describe the customer’s behavior. You find that so many customers have different behaviors and the manager can not be in a position to manage the hotel alone hence the need to involve other people to try and overcome this problem. (Elashmawi, 2000).

Demonstrating interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are another competence which the manager has highly adopted. He has communications skills which is one of the essentials in intercultural management. This is because if you have good communications skills, it means that you can be in a position to address people so well. So in this case the manager has interpersonal skills coupled with interpersonal relationships with the customers. Communication is very much important in any organization in that it’s through proper communication that people can be in a position to understand the other. Effective communication helps the manager to deal with the many cultural groups. As I said earlier that he is customer-focused, he uses his interpersonal skills in trying to understand the customer’s behaviors and their various needs as far as the products and services are concerned. It’s through studying their behaviors that the manager has been in a position to try and learn them hence leading to intercultural management. It has also led to the increased profits by the hotel and also the realization of its competitive advantage. (Gibson, 2000).

Taking responsibility

The manager has the responsibility of ensuring that the customer’s needs have been met effectively through intercultural management. It is the responsibility of the manager to make any changes related to the customer’s decisions. So in this case after studying the needs of his customers, then he takes the responsibility of ensuring that the changes which are necessary have been met so that the company can be in a position to realize its competitive advantage. This is because people keep on changing as the new technology comes in. So in this case, the hotel doesn’t have to sell the same food from January to December. Changes have been made as the technology is still growing and people are very much sensitive to the new technology. They adapt so much hence the need for the many to try and learn the behaviors of his customers so that he can be in a position to understand the various changes which are happening in our economy. It is through this that the company will be in a position to realize its competitive advantage. (Gibson, 2000).

The manager also overcomes the intercultural management challenges through taking the personals responsibilities in making the progress inequality and also in diversity. Here, you find that the manager ensures that there is equality in the management of the company and there are no particular groups that can be favored at the expense of the other. This is because you will find that some of the cultures tend to be seen as primitive, unlike others. Take the example of a Maasai which is one of the tribes in Kenya which has remained on its traditions. So you will find that when this Maasai comes into Hilton Hotel with his traditional attire, this person might be in a way ignored and this is the problem am talking about. So the manager ensures that there is equality in the way activities are done in the company through understanding all the groups’ cultures and values. It’s through this that the company will be in a position to have increased profits which will lead to the growth of the hotel. Also, you find that when recruiting employees, the manager ensures that all groups are represented but not dependent on a particular tribe. It’s through the mixing of people’s tribes that they will be in a position to overcome the cultural differences which might be a problem in trying to manage the intercultural differences in the hotel. (Hall, 1998).

Self-development plan

The self-development plan is very much important since it’s through the development plan that the manager can be in a position to properly manage the company while at the same time developing one’s career. It’s through the self-development plan whereby the desired goals should be established and in this case, the desired goal is the intercultural management strategy, the objectives to be met, and resources if any to be used by the manager, challenges to be met. The following is a self-development plan which can be used by the company. (Hall, 1998).

Business goals

In this section, what is important is trying to define the direction you would wish to go, and in our case is intercultural management.

What I need to learn …………………………………….

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Whom I can learn from………………………………….

My action plan………………………………………….

Due date…………………………………………………

Developmental needs

Here you need to include the various developmental steps you will need in trying to realize your business goals. In this part, there are two steps which are undergone and the first step is clarifying your developmental needs, and step two is clarifying the competencies you need to develop.

Various competencies ………………………………….

How I will develop them………………………………..

My action plan………………………………………….

Due date………………………………………………..

Conclusion

Intercultural management is very much important to any organization since it’s through intercultural management that the company can be in a position to run effectively. This is because you find that due to the globalization process, many companies have been involved in global activities hence diverse cultural groups can be found. So in order to try and run the business so well, then there is the need for cultural management in that the management of the company has to ensure that there is a strong relationship between the customer’s needs and the management of the company. It’s after understanding the many behaviors, attitudes, values, and beliefs of your customers that the manager, in this case, can be in a position to know what the customers need hence leading to the realization of competitive advantage.

Reference

Milton, J 2000, basic concepts of intercultural communication, Intercultural press. London.

Penny, C 2000, bridging the cultural gap. Kogan page.

William, B 2004, an approach to intercultural management, McGraw-Hill. New York.

Elashmawi, F 2000, Multicultural management, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas.

Gibson, R 2000, Intercultural business communication, Cornelsen and Oxford, Berlin.

Hall, E 1998, Understanding cultural differences, Intercultural press Inc, Boston, and London.

Hickson, D 2001, Management worldwide, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.

Hofstede, G 2005, Cultures and organizations. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Jacob, N 2003, Intercultural management, Kogan page, London.

Lamg, N 1999, Intercultural management in China, Gabler, Wiesbaden.

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