Cross-cultural competence as an integral part of skills of the manager
Managers working with multicultural teams should possess an experience of working in sphere of cross-cultural interactions and communications in order to work effectively with people from different cultures.
In a daily life the competence is understood as ability of the person to effectively carry out the certain task. In multicultural formations, reception of the information from colleagues demands high level of competence of cross-cultural communication. Member of a team competent of cross-country-cultural communications is capable to establish interpersonal relations with foreign colleagues through an effective exchange both on verbal, and at nonverbal level (Terry, 2007).
The competence in the sphere of cross-cultural interactions raises probability of achievement of a high overall performance of a team because the members of the multicultural team possessing high level of the given competence are more able to easily communicate, express thoughts, and understand the colleagues. Decision-making process also becomes simpler, and abilities of managers to the decision of problems at global level improve.
Cross-cultural competence gives them at least 2 advantages. First, it helps the members of a team to understand behavior of their own command, and, secondly, it helps to patiently achieve the objective, despite the difficulties connected with interactions with other cultures and subcultures (Cox, 1993). Besides common cultural norms, there are still rules and norms which are developed by the team for management of its activity. High level of cross-cultural competence means that the person is capable to establish and define these norms and, accordingly, to follow them. But, cross-cultural competence means not simply blind following the rules and norms, it gives the chance to use them for the overall aim achievement. So, work of multicultural teams in the global and transnational organizations now is one of the basic questions occupying researchers in sphere of cultural diversity in the organizations (Human, 1996).
Criteria of selecting managers for work in cultures other than their own
The head of the company should carefully choose the manager who will be managing in cultures other than their own. Selection of managers for work in multicultural collective is the basic personnel decision of an international company. For the personnel of host country the manager is a representative of MNCs, the base country and corresponding administrative culture. The impression of it and its achievements remains in this country for a long time, even after the manager leaves (E Miller, 1999.).
What criteria to choose for estimation of suitability of a person for managing in cultures other than their own? Almost in all cases, 7 basic criteria for such managers are used:
1. Technical and administrative skills. The estimation of skills is formed on the basis of last achievements of the manager. Thus it is supposed, that successful use of technical and administrative skills by the manager at home allows him to cope with the task abroad.
2. Motives and aspirations. It is very important to understand the reasons why the manager is interested in foreign appointment. The ideal candidate should show special interest to host country and to a lesser degree react on financial stimulus (Sekine, 1987).
– Social skills. Ability of the manager to co-operate with people is also one of the important attributes of his activity. In host country he should understand people, know the norms of dialogue and form effective system of interaction both on professional, and social levels.
– Diplomatic skills. Ability of the manager to co-operate in host country with business associations, government officials and political leaders is estimated.
– Maturity and stability. The manager should prove himself as the mature person, capable to react to various situations rationally and make comprehensible decisions.
– Family factors. Achievement of success in MNCs in the foreign markets is often influenced by such factor as ability of a family of the manager to adapt to the new country.
– Other factors (sex, age etc.). The given specific criteria have smaller value in comparison with previous ones and can widely vary from country to country (or from one culture to another) (Abbas, 1995).
Keys to management of a multicultural workforce
There are several steps that managers should follow in order to form and superintend efficient and concordant cosmopolite personnel, which, according to the experts’ view, include:
– Lead the best way: this item can be of great value chiefly in small companies, where owners want to make a friendly atmosphere among multiethnic personnel, as they usually have a supervisory control over the fundamental ideology and ways of making business.
– Use written form of communication: such policies that explicitly prohibit superstitions and riotous conduct should be put in instructions, directions, regulations and other necessary guidelines for all the employees in writing. This and other analogous ways can be called as “internal dissemination of the multifarious information to make a general communication for the whole community of the company” (Aghazadeh, 2004).
– Participation in training and refresher courses: Training programs are necessary for the manifestation of the content and knowledge about the features and advantages of the multinational workforce have become very popular nowadays. According to Cox, the two most common kinds of learning are: the development of mind and skills. The developer names the theme of various ways of control which usually implies information about heterogeneity of the workforce, the idea of diversity, practical situations in order to make workers understand the subject matter and improve their own consciousness. Practical part includes familiarization with particular information about civil regulations in different groups and their effect on the company’s work as a whole. Orientation programs for new staff are also good for familiarizing employees with the company’s expectations with respect with colleagues, regardless of their culture and race.
– Awareness of personal characteristics: Rob Goffee’s article in The Complete MBA Companions reports that different kinds of human relationships are divided into groups in compliance with specific factors which include: the distribution of power; admitting of inequality in power; wish for keeping order; desire to be among majority and others (Multicultural Work Force, 2011). Taking into account these factors, the researchers describe the general differences of various origins. However, businessmen, supervisors and other executives should see and understand that each person has his individual characteristics, which may often make it hard to determine cultural group. You shouldn’t think that any difference is surely related to the culture and ethnicity, as many of them are related with the personal abilities, competence and character. Therefore, the assumption that all the identified differences occur against cultural backgrounds is erroneous. Unfortunately, lots of managers find the easiest explanation to that, considering behavior or performance are related to ethnicity, religion or gender of worker. All this shows misunderstanding of the situation and not taking into account all the information and features on the ignorance of the executive rather than his mentality (Tuchman, 1977).
– Value the contribution of minorities: it is necessary to get points of view of minority groups and to make them participate in major labor conciliums as it is advantageous not mostly due to the possible input from their side, but because this kind of initiatives show how appreciated they are in the organization. Working in such conciliums and participating in making decisions in important questions will make them feel as a part of the company. And otherwise, involving minorities in too many conciliums and works can cause inappropriate positions of one group in contrast with another.
– Rewards policy: every company should correlate the quality of work with appreciating and should strengthen the necessity of efficient control over different classes, which means ensuring that the minority group has same chances for aggrandizement as others (Danon‐Leva, 2005).
– Participating in social events: organizations should arrange different social events with indoor and outdoor games, parties, visiting places of interest and others, which will be extremely helpful to gathering representatives of different groups and give them chance to know each other.
– Working with flexible conditions: it is noted that arrangement of flexible work has a great impact on all the employees especially on those who belong to the minority group, as their attitude to solving problems and making decisions are more likely to be of rather new standards.
– There should be no resemblance in views: according to Goffee, some people tend to think that other workers think same way, which happens because of lack of authentic information. If it happens, it shows on worker’s wrong position in company and this cultural similarity can be extremely destructive for the executives of heterogeneous company.
– Constant checks: It is recommended for executives to conduct researches of staff’s needs using special surveys and with the use of monitoring systems, which would show if the situation is beneficial for all the workers and company’s policies are followed properly (Multicultural Work Force, 2011).
To sum up, business owners should use the opportunities of ruling the multiethnic company to get more profits with minimal inputs. This requires an absolutely friendly working atmosphere, where all the workers would feel needed and valued, the minority would participate in making important decisions and there would be no discrimination or superstition. In the performance of these items, the company will be strong, as its employees would work flat out.
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