Cross Cultural Management Skills: How Culture is Acquired and Learned in Global Business Environment
Recent globalization of business has engendered an increased complexity in the role of a manager. To be an effective global manager, one needs to be responsive to major fundamental cultural values that exhibit implications for organizational functioning and business relations.
Humans acquire culture throughout their lives, consciously and unconsciously, from their parents, inmates, schools and also religious teachings. In the early stages, the foundational features of their culture would be internalized and as they grow, these foundations would thoroughly get elaborated through socialization. Culture is not instinctive or genetically not transmitted as it is acquired through experience, sense, skills, habits, knowledge and values. Out of consciousness, it is acquired through our exposure to judgments, actions and speech of others.
If you live in a diverse cultural environment or come frequently in contact with individuals of different culture, we would also pick up few aspects of them and incorporate in our lives, which are commonly referred as acculturation. An organizations’ culture is a blend of all the life experience that each employee brings. It is characterized in a group through language, decision making, legends and stories and everyday work practices.
Hence, it is important that culture needs to be learned to avoid intercultural misunderstandings. It helps in easy communication and understands symbols so as to develop complex thoughts for sharing with others. Employees learn culture through interaction. A global manager needs to posses cross cultural management skills to converse and deal with employees’ of different culture by five simple steps:
To facilitate ongoing interaction, you should have a centralized and integrated system that is easily accessed by all employees. This system needs to be basically designed to embody strategic imperatives and knowledge, skills and processes to support each other.
Culture is easily learned through engaging oneself in interactive games, surveys and quizzes.
Informing your employees through easy access continuous improvement tools and information management systems would enable them to understand culture
Metrics acquired by the activity on this system helps you to identify the strengths and weakness. Once, they are identified, schedule a training program that is relevant and cost-effective to learn culture
Greater association with employees would lead to larger retention and thus greater profits once they learn culture.
Nevertheless, learning is a continual process and you constantly would acquire cross cultural management skills in every facets of life.