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The aspect of globalization makes it critical to manage human resources in an organization because of cultural diversity that exists among workforce. This creates human resources management issues for the corporation by which company faces difficulty in achieving long as well as short term objectives. It is very important to study that impact of inter cultural communication on corporation expanding at global level. The reason behind studying issues is to expand business without any kind of barriers and creating competitive edge at the global space. At this juncture, it is very important to consider integrative approach so that management can reduce differences with regards to cultural values and languages (Kutz, 2013). Furthermore, study is being done to assess the potential impact of cultural diversity on the productivity and profitability of business expanding. In this regard, African and western culture are considered. It facilitates to differentiate both culture and assess its potential impact on the foreign subsidiaries.
The current study will be completed in five sections such as introduction, literature review, methodology, findings and conclusion. These sections will cover detail information related to the topic of cross culture communication so as to ensure the successful expansion of corporation in the marketplace (Maude, 2011). Apart from this, last chapter of report will consist information related to tactics through which inter-cultural communication can be enhanced in foreign subsidiaries. Similarly, recommendations will be provided to ensure the smooth flow of communication in case of foreign subsidiaries. Therefore, study facilitates to propose valid suggestions to expand business with the increased rate of return. Furthermore, study will be done in accordance with the following aim and objectives-
The aim and objectives of report has been prepared through which detail information can be gathered in a right direction. It aids to collect sufficient information and access quality sources for assessing inter cultural communication in foreign subsidiaries.
To analyze the intercultural communication in foreign subsidiaries.
The above formulated objectives contribute towards producing a valid outcome and reaching at the aim of the study. This in turn, researcher can access number of sources of information. Thus, formulated research objectives serve as the path of study.
Culture is the combination of unique values and set pattern of people which are different from one to another group. This brings cultural diversity at workplace when corporation starts to expand itself at the global level. Here, company needs to ascertain the impact or influence of cultural diversity at workplace. In this regard, first research objective is how cultural values and languages affect inter cultural communication in multi-national organization (Al-Deen, 2013). Under this, it can be said that set of primary, secondary and tertiary variables affect the cultural dimension of any society. Here, primary variables include race, ethnicity etc. and they are highly influenced by secondary variables such as geographic origin, thinking style and religion as well as different belief systems. Not only this, cultural dimensions also get affected because of politics, economic realities, history and judiciary. It depicts that values and different languages have direct impact on cross cultural communication.
On the other hand, second research questions is about the different communication barriers that are associated with cross cultural communication. It shows that both Western and African culture have different language, religion and set pattern of working. Owing to this, problem is faced at the time of expanding business (Stringer and Cassiday, 2009). Here, African culture depicts that employees perceive that corporation is concerned for their own wellbeing and they will be provided benefits by working in the particular organization. On the other part, western culture focuses on individualism concept to take risk and work with the growth and direction of company with different kinds of expectations. Here, communication barriers are faced when western based HRM practices are sent to Africa then communication barriers are faced (Wellein, 2008). It creates fear among people that are the residents of Africa as western culture has casual aspects. Thus, cultural barriers, different religion and thinking style create communication barriers for the corporation at the time of expansion. It lays emphasis on humanists aspect by which cross cultural could be managed and corporation can get increased the rate of return in the marketplace.
As per the view of Kutz, (2013) there is huge difference between culture of western countries and local African nations (Kutz, 2013). One of the major differences in the management style between the two is that Africans believe more in collectivism whereas western countries are always given preferences to individualism. It can also be stated that majority of people in Africa consider themselves as a member of a group rather than treating them as a separate individual. Maude, (2011) has explained that people in group which prefer collectivism culture always expect that other people of the group will be taken care of them and protected them (Maude, 2011). This clearly explains the fact that people who belong to African culture are more focused towards the groups. Another difference which has been observed in western culture and African culture is that people in African culture never see themselves as or equal to management. On the other side of this, people which belong to western culture always consider themselves as a part and equal to management of an organization. As per the view of Al-Deen, (2013) cultural values of Africa highlights the fact that people always prefer that organization should interfere in their personal life also (Al-Deen, 2013). According to the western cultural values, individuals have maintained a clear gap between their personal and professional life. Further, they do not want organization or management to become a part of their personal life or interfere in the same. While working in MNC, people of Africa always seek for work quality and try to develop better relationship with other people in the organization. Further, It has been explained that African employees always expect that organization should develop effective communication system (Dalglish and Evans, 2010). Eden, they are keen to become aware about what is going or happening in the organization. On the other hand, such characteristics are not observed in western culture as people of this culture do not have any kind of interest in the news of management. Along with this, they are more focused on doing the assigned work in an effective manner. The model of Hofstede which was developed to understand the framework of cross cultural communication can be used to identify the impact of culture and its values on communication. On the basis of Hofstede study, cultural values are analyzed in major parts which are uncertainty avoidance and power distance, individualism and collectivism, masculinity and femininity. As per the view of Stringer and Cassiday, 2009, power distance is termed as the degree to which less powerful members in organization feel that power has been distributed equally (Stringer and Cassiday, 2009). On the other hand, culture of individual reflects that loss ties among society whereas collectivism demonstrates a strong relationship and bond between all the people of society. Some culture have uncertainty avoidance index which indicates that people always stay prepared regarding any kind of unexpected and unwanted events. Wellein, (2008) has explained that as per the masculinity and femininity, strong preference is provided to the achievement and material rewards to the society (Hurn and Tomalin, 2013). Further, women are empowered and always stay competitive (Wellein, 2008). Therefore, cultural values and knowledge have great impact on the entire process of inter-cultural communication. Different people belong to different culture and they have their own set of values and beliefs which they use at time of communicating with each other.
The limitation of Hofestede model are in term of methodological weakness because use of this model is doubtful as it lays emphasis of national culture. The study was done on specific sample which cannot be representative of overall population of nation. However, in the model is was considered that population is homogeneous which is not correct in reality. Furthermore, Hofstede model states that all country has their unique culture whereas it is not real in actual scenario because of geographical context. Also, the model do not reflect the actual behavior of individual.
As per the view of Dalglish and Evans, (2010) people often find it difficult to interact and communicate with a person which belongs to another culture (Dalglish and Evans, 2010). Along with this, at the time of cross-cultural communication, understanding speech and behaviour of a person are considered as one of the most complicated tasks for an individual. Most of the time, these challenges and issues in cross cultural communication are faced in organizations. Globalization has made the entire world as a very potential market place. Al-Deen, (2013) has explained that due to unlimited opportunities of growth and development, many businesses have expanded their operations internationally (Al-Deen, 2013). Further, one of the major challenges which has been faced by an organization is related to understand cross cultural communication. However Wellein, (2008) argued that high and low context culture are considered as the major problems which have been faced during cross-cultural communication (Wellein, 2008.). Low context culture is focused on individualism and trust among members that do not play an important role. On the other hand, in high context culture more and more value is placed to trust. As per the view of the barrier in cross cultural communication is language. Although English is considered as the common language all across the world. Every culture or nation does not use the language on daily basis (Dalglish and Evans, 2010). Thus, when the language of one person differ from another one then, effective communication between them is not possible. On the other side of this, has explained that it is not the language but the cultural barriers which create obstacles in cross culture communication. Further, every culture has its own set of rules, values and ethics which person follows. Some signs or symbols can be considered as bad in one culture and good in another one. Even, gestures and facial expressions are also differ from one culture to another. Along with this, e presentation style is also a major problem which can be faced at the time of cross-cultural communication (Fujimoto and et. al., 2007). It can be stated that people in culture have different style of interpreting and understanding the information. Effective communication can be done only when receiver understand the message of sender as per his wants. Therefore, it can be evaluated that language, cultural barriers and presentation styles are considered as three major barriers which are associated with cross cultural communication. Organization are required to take corrective steps to overcome these barriers in cross cultural communication process. As per the view of Stringer and Cassiday, (2009) one of the best ways to overcome barriers in communication is by arranging meetings at regular basis (Stringer and Cassiday, 2009). In such meetings, employees can be made aware about the barriers and can be exposed to other cultures. This will directly result in overcoming the cultural differences and enhancing communication process between all of them. In addition to this, organizations can also conduct activities such as a silent day in office which will demonstrate people that how much dependent they have become on their respective languages (Kutz, 2013). Businesses are also required to provide all its employees with tips and suggestion regarding how they can improve their entire process of communication (Hsieh, 2011). Regular monitoring of the process can also be a very good option to overcome these issues and barriers in cross cultural communications. Thus, it can be stated that developing effective cross cultural communication can be challenging for businesses and they will be required to put lots of efforts for the same.
Cultural differences can also be demonstrated with the help of Trompennars that also serve as the achievement vs ascription. Here achievement culture depicts that how people are performing their function. Here main focus is laid on status whereas ascription culture is also status based which reflect that what and who a person is. In this regard western culture is known as achievement where workforce are known for their competence. Furthermore, main emphasis is laid on colleagues so that their achievement can be counted effectively. On the other hand, in African culture people are valued just because of maturity and their age. Africans tend to possess ascription culture where they remain unhappy because of their job profile. However, job profile matters a lot as employees spend their much of time at workplace. In addition to this African country follow the foreign HRM strategy which is different from values and of African.
Here, people working in African culture do not like to adjust in new situation but still they are asked to follow the western based HRM program. Similarly internal orientation is high for African culture where there is low external control. It is because people do not accept the sudden changes at workplace and management cannot force them to follow the new practices. At this juncture, management try to change their strategies in accordance with African values only instead of adjusting as per western based HRM programs. Furthermore, individualism vs communitarianism wherein communitaranistic culture like Mozambique like to work in group. They are not happy with working condition because of unfavourable working condition.
Here, management also do not feel themselves liable for the working conductions. In the same way African want management to take care of their family's health and safety. Furthermore, by focusing on issues of African corporation introduced medical aid and saving scheme. On the other hand, individualism concept is adopted by western culture. Likewise, Neutral concept is adopted in western culture whereas African people have high emotional culture Apart from this, western culture is moderate specific and diffuse culture is high in Africa. Not only this, but Western culture follow sequential culture where African tend to focus on synchronic aspect. The limitations of Trompennars can be considered by understanding that model takes into account behaviour aspect of people rather than value. It lays more emphasis on what people mind is holding and what is in their sight. Thus, it may be unrealistic at some point of time.
Different marketing strategies such as Enthocentric, polycentric are also used to management to business in African culture. Here, the first one is ethnocentric under which staffing is done by taking competent personnel from home country. This process is done just to fill the important position of corporate by which manpower can show interest of the home office so as to align workforce of foreign offices and home headquarter. It facilitates to reduce the additional cost and remove cultural barriers that exist among group of people. In addition to this, Poly-centric approach is that corporation hire host country nationals for some of the important positions. However, this model is useful only in develop countries so that employees with high education and appropriate training can be located. It aids to generate position attitude among employees as local workforce generally has more capability to handle buyers. On the other hand, polycentric approach may not be profitable for broader aspect of corporation. Therefore, Western based culture was accepted by African with procedures and planing so as to makes employees happy and comfortable with work environment.
A single method has been employed to analyze the intercultural communication in foreign subsidiaries. Here, emphasis has been laid on the number of secondary sources such as journals, books and published materials. These all sources are contributed towards gaining in-depth knowledge regarding the concept of cross culture and its potential impact on HRM development in the multicultural context. In this regard, descriptive research design has been selected to present the outcome of study in an effective manner and draw valid suggestions in the same direction (Yeganeh, 2011). Furthermore, the key focus behind the selection of this method is to analyze collected data by using thematic analysis through which valid outcome can be derived in an effectual manner. On the other hand, case study method has been used where in case has been referred while competing the overall study. Main reason behind selecting the case study method is to consider on certain aspect like HRM practices in context of multicultural by considering African and Western culture. Apart from this, case study method facilitates to develop alternative solution in the context of given scenario and providing valid suggestions accordingly.
All formulated three research questions, secondary data and case study method have been referred by which detail discussion can be done for the selected cultural aspect. Similarly, explanation will be provided in detail for each research questions in order to reach the aim of study in a right manner.
According to the collection of secondary data, it has been found that cultural values and language have direct impact on intercultural communication in multinational organization. This is because African tends to focus on flexible culture whereas Western culture wants to strong organizational culture. However, Western culture believes that management must have rules and regulation with regards to culture by which employees do not face problems when they come across global (Dalglish and Evans, 2010). For this purpose, cross culture is maintained effectively to enhance the level of satisfaction among employees and motivate them to work with integrity. However, cultural differences are invited in every organization where conflict easily takes place. The reason behind the same is that employees do not find favorable working condition and work satisfaction. Owing to this, companies suffer from issues like low productivity, high employee turnover and customer dissatisfaction. Thus, it is very important for corporation to assess the barriers related to values and languages of employees and accordingly diversity is needed to be maintained. This in turn issues faced by firm can be minimized to a great extent.
According to the give case scenario and different secondary sources, it has been found that there are several communication barriers. It consists of language barriers, cultural differences and presentation styles. The most common issue is related to language is that all people who belong to different country and region tend to speak other type of language. It is the reason that employees cannot accomplish their objectives on right time (Barriers to Cross-Cultural Business Communication, 2015). However, English as common language is needed to be set in order to reduce the impact of such kind of barriers. In this regard, several practices are used by corporation expanding at global level so as to integrate workforce. On the other hand, every culture has its own business ethics, accepted behavior, decorum and set of values. In fact, facial expressions and gestures are also different for all religion owing to this people face communication barriers. For example, to shake hand it quite common in Western culture but the same may not be accepted in every culture. However, it might consider wrong in some situations. Apart from this, presentation style is also the fact which creates communication barriers among respondents. Here, separate group or country has different way of presentation and asking questions. For example, American like to have brisk pace whereas Latin American like speech with high emotional appeal. In this way, different communication barriers are associated with cross culture.
The collected information depicts that corporation expanding at global level should put efforts to reduce barriers related to communication. At this juncture, language translator could be used at the initial stage. This aids to support African even after adopting Western culture. English as common language needs to be adopted at workplace which in turn employees can work with integrity. Further, regular meeting and effective mode of communication like telephone and mail should be used on the regular basis (Cross-Culture Communication, 2015). It will support employees to adjust with situation and cope up with changing scenario effectively. In addition to this, awareness needs to be developed among employees and understanding must be developed with regards to cultural diversity. In short, emphasis is laid effective communication so as to enhance the level of motivation and satisfaction among the existing workforce.
The entire study being carried out has supported in knowing that cultural difference has direct influence on the communication. Further, it is well known fact that culture and religion of individual plays a significant role especially at the time when any individual interacts with other. Moreover, it acts as a hurdle as sometime individual may not able to speak the language which is understandable by all. This directly leads to rise in situation such as communication barrier where individual may not prefer to interact with each other. Apart from this, companies which are operating at global level hire individuals who are from different background and areas. Due to this reason, their way of interacting and other things are considered. In every business enterprise, it is one of the main issues such as how to deal with multicultural workforce for the betterment of company as adoption of one single language is beneficial but it is quite difficult to manage. On the basis of culture and religion, individual may speak different language and working style may also be different. Therefore, in this cultural difference acts as a barrier due to which individual may not prefer to be a crucial part of the communication process. Apart from this, different theories along with models applied such as Hofstede model is effective enough to understand about the cultural dimensions. This model relies on six dimensions which are associated with national culture such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance index, long term vs short term orientation, masculinity vs femininity etc. These dimensions support in knowing the overall behavior of people living in the society and how they interact with one another. In short, this model has enhanced the efficiency of the entire study and has supported to accomplish the aim of study. Through this, concept regarding cultural differences has been better understood.
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