The purpose of this report is to analyse the cross-culture management issues which the company would face at its new plant located in Nigeria and providing the appropriate solutions and recommendations for ensuring smooth functioning of the company in a new country. These issues identified are because of the cultural differences between European Managers and Nigerian employees. With the help of the critical analysis, this report is intended to help Trendsetter Company to successfully overcome the issues and advance towards the goals of Globalisation while ensuring sustainable development.
Centred on the cultural aspects of various models, this study discusses the three most important culture-related management problems that arise at the Nigerian factory. The first problem is the insufficiency of autonomous decision-making of workers, which is induced by the high power gap, high ambiguity aversion, and perception in hierarchical relationships in the Nigerian society. The second problem is the low degree of staff productivity owing to the at ease style of employee participation prevalent in the Nigerian community. The last issue identified is miscommunication due to the potential communication gap between the European company and Nigerian Culture.
To address the above three problems respectively, this study recommends three proposals out of several potential approaches, including arranging training and development sessions for enabling the workers for making autonomous decisions, offering different employee benefits to boost workplace motivations, and recruiting managers who are culturally competent and scheduling cultural training for minimizing miscommunication. Recommendations are selected based on feasibility and employability.
This article further outlines the implications of the implemented recommendations. The managers and the human resource personnel will be implementing the first recommendation will be based on the employment of human resources and capital. The second recommendation will be based on the costs incurred in hiring the labour and their training and development. The third one will be based on the implementation of the operations for smooth functioning at the new Nigerian Plant.
Table of Contents
1.1. Aim of the Report
1.2 Scope of the Report
1.3 Background of the Case
1.4 Report Outline
2. Analysis of the Culture-Based issued faced by the Managers
2.1 Insuffciency of Autonomy in making Decisions
2.1.1 Analysis of issue
2.1.2 Possible Solutions
2.2 Low employee commitment towards the work
2.2.1 Analysis of issue
2.2.2. Possible Solutions
2.3 Communication problems because of cultural diversity
2.3.1 Analysis of issue
2.3.2 Possible Solutions
4. Implementations and Implications of the recommendations
Nowadays, with the growth of globalization, the international organization's employee management is met with further problems arising from the assimilation of various cultures (Soderbergh & Holden 2002). Cross-cultural management is an important factor that needs to be properly done to maintain an organization's day-to-day activities. The goal of this study is to objectively examine, on behalf of the management of the Trendsetter Company, the potential management problems that may be caused by the cultural variations between Europe and Nigeria. This report will analyse the three most essential issues which the management can face and will suggest the appropriate recommendations and solutions for the same. Eventually, this report is intended to help the Trendsetter Company in the successful management of the new unit which is being established in Nigeria without having any cross-cultural problems. The main purpose of the report is facilitation of smooth functioning of the Trendsetter Company in Nigeria.
The report 's scope focuses largely on three main management problems which are: decision-making capability, staff motivation, and communication. These three situations significantly impact the Trendsetter company's performance and therefore its long-term growth. The problems which are not included in this report but should be included in the future studies include but are not limited to gender inequality, work environment, employee engagement, workplace conflict management, and so on.
This study is designed for Trendsetter Company, a world-renowned European auto manufacturer whose co values and competencies are exceptional quality, high performance, and continuous technological advancement (Trendsetter Company 2020). The company is currently having many manufacturing and assembly plants across Asia, South America, and Asia. Trendsetter Company has made great efforts as a multinational company to enhance cross-cultural management, an important criterion for success in the international market. Recently, the organization has planned to expand its business by establishing a fully-owned manufacturing plant in Nigeria, and the organizational structure, systems, and management practices are to be designed for the management of the company. The key players in this new venture are: European managers, Nigerian employees, intercultural manager, and HR. There are differences in the culture between Nigeria and Europe, so to thrive in the growth project, it is important to determine the potential management problems resulting from the cultural gaps for efficient planning to mitigate the issues before they occur. The cultural problems which are significant and the company should develop strategies to avoid it are in the areas of decision-making, employee commitment, and communication.
The whole report is organized as follows: Section 2 will critically evaluate three possible organizational problems created by the differences in culture between Europe and Nigeria, Section 3 will advocate a few recommendations according to the analysis, Section 4 will describe the implementation and implications of the suggested solutions, and finally, the Section 3 will conclude the complete report based on the recommendations and the entire analysis.
This part describes the three most important management problems Trendsetter Company can face in the new unit in Nigeria. It explains the causes of these problems, and it also presents the relevant solutions and recommendations.
It could be anticipated that perhaps the Nigerian workers will not be able to make all the decisions themselves.
2.1.1 Analysis of Issue
This problem can be explained with the Kluckhohn Strobeck’s Activity dimensions (1961) which is about how people act because of their cultural values. The Nigerian management style is based on hierarchy, which states that they place a lot of importance to the hierarchy in the organisation. The Nigerian employees prefer to obey the orders from their managers, for they think that the people in charge should make the decisions. Besides, Hofstede's power distance dimension (1980) is also helpful in understanding the problem. The power gap relates to the degree of acknowledgment of unfair allocation of control within an organization, which can be demonstrated in employee attitudes against management (Hofstede 1980). The Nigerian employees have a culture of comparatively high power distance. As a result, the Nigerian workers are more likely to obey their bosses' orders and also avoid involvement in decision-making.
Furthermore, considering the risk avoidance paradigm (Hofstede 1980), European and Nigerian people often have differences. The Nigerian workers come from a high-risk avoidance background, they are very cautious and cannot handle uncertainty. And the European supervisors have low-risk avoidance because of which, the Nigerian employees prefer instruction and are mostly afraid to make a mistake, leading to inaction. Therefore, because of the gap in relationship dimensions and power gap, the Nigerian employees would be hesitant to make decisions even though the European superiors would want them to. This is categorized as an issue because there is indeed a need for a certain degree of autonomy so that employees can make their own decisions in case of small issues which require decisions to be taken quickly, this would impact the core competencies of the company, because inability to make decisions could lead to issues related to quality and employee performance (Sprig et al 2000).
2.1.2 Possible Solutions
For addressing this problem successfully, European managers and Nigerian workers need to express their interpretation of the situation and to find consensus on the significance of workplace decision-making which would help them resolve the issues related to quality of the product and employee performance as they will be able to take decisions on their own and there will be no delays in the production activities. Some possible solutions for resolving this issue are:
First, the managers can develop a guideline that would specify in what situations the employees are expected to make autonomous decisions (Gruman & Saks 2011). The guideline essentially educates the employees on what decisions they can make.
Besides, by communicating across the organization, managers can also share their exciting vision and expectations of creating an equal, encouraging, and creative workplace (Menon 2001). Expectations should state that the employees are expected to make the decisions when they can without waiting for the instructions from the managers. Clear communication about the expectations should encourage the employees to take control of their work.
Lastly, conducting employee empowerment programs is another solution (Gómez & Rosen 2001). This training would build awareness among the employees about the importance of making autonomous decisions in some situations and would thereby be targeted to reduce the sense of high-power distance in them.
The guidelines may be ineffective as they may not include all the possible situations in which the employees are expected to make autonomous decisions. Further, it may not be possible to regularly change the specifications in the guidelines. Considering the sharing of the vision and expectations by the managers to the employees would consume a lot of time and energy, for ensuring that the employees believe the vision and expectations of the managers. On the other hand, the training programs would increase the acceptance of autonomy by the employees and also would encourage them to make their own decisions for small issues. Thus, employee training and development programs would be a better solution.
The second problem that European managers can experience could be the low morale of the Nigerian employees.
2.2.1 Analysis of issue
The probability of this problem is high and can be explained in the Kluckhohn Strobeck model (1961), which is based on the mode of activity dimension. This would represent the behaviours of individuals for their work. The mode of the activity element of the Nigerian Employees is 'being culture'. It suggests that they believe it's enough to only 'be' and there's no need to do big stuff to make their lives more worthwhile (Kluckhohn & Strobeck 1961). It is believed by them that individuals can only achieve success if they strive hard and that the success of individuals is indeed a significant indicator of their success (Kluckhohn & Strobeck 1961).
Because of this culture, the Nigerian employees have low morale, and thus do not pursue high-quality work and get satisfied by completing the task being asked. Such a risk would prove to be destructive for the operations of the Trendsetter Company. Low employee morale can lead to low productivity, employee dissatisfaction, and a high rate of employee attrition, according to Abbott (2003). This would impact the key competencies of the company because such behaviour is detrimental to the health and growth of the company. Such behaviour would be problematic because the employee performance could be questioned for not being able to give hundred percent to the work.
2.2.2. Possible Solutions
Some possible solutions for improving the morale of the employees are:
Firstly, the managers should design the job more rationally by providing the workers with some easy and achievable objectives (Grant 2007). Effectively meeting the objectives, the workers would feel good and have a sense of achievement and self-fulfilment and would be motivated to do better in their work. This would help the managers in improving the employee performance.
The managers should adopt a leadership style that is supportive and reasonable (Hopkins 2002). They treat employees as peers rather than subordinates and use other strategies to improve workplace loyalty, such as personal charm, encouragement, individualized empathy, compassion, honesty, and accountability. With this, the managers will be able to maintain an amicable relationship with their employees and thus, motivating them. Hence, ensuring adequate employee performance.
At last, the managers should develop competitive salary packages for their employees, provide them with growth opportunities, and keep training and development programs and adopt rewards and recognition practices (Bowles & Cooper 2009). The extrinsic factors would make the employees to work with greater zeal to complete their tasks in time with quality. Along with encouraging the employees to do better for progressing in their career. Short-term but would motivate the employee to give their best performance.
When considering the solution for hiring the employees for easier jobs can make them comfortable in doing that, and may make it difficult for them to do more challenging jobs. Thus, it should not be selected. Further, if the managers focus a lot on being supportive to the employees, they would not only be spending a lot of time and energy in this but would also
make the employees dependent on them. Thus, employee morale will decrease in the absence of the managers. While providing the employee with the benefits and opportunities for growth and development would increase their morale and help the company in having a highly motivated workforce with would help the company in working up to their full potential, and help in ensuring quality of the product, and employee efficiency.
Miscommunication is a third problem that can occur because of the cultural differences between Europe and Nigeria.
2.3.1 Analysis of issue
Miscommunication is, in fact, a matter of widespread concern in a multinational organization with a diverse cultural labour force. Predicting the problem of poor communication is based on the context dimension of the model by Hall (1976). The Nigerian culture is high-context. This means that the Nigerian employees sometimes have more hidden information in their messages than they express. According to them, the method of communication is more important than the words themselves and thus tend to leave many things untold, and other people have to figure out the implicit meanings based on the communication context (Hall 1976). The managers find it challenging to understand the true intentions of the employees as a consequence of this cultural disparity, whereas the employees are not used to communicating themselves. Thus, the communication problem is likely to occur. Miscommunication is neither good for managers nor the workers, it significantly weakens communication capacity and may often contribute to confusion and even confrontation, thus reducing the performance of the parties thereby impacting the quality of products at Trendsetter Company.
2.3.2 Possible Solutions
Possible solutions for avoiding miscommunication are:
Because the Nigerian employees have high-context culture and use non-verbal communication more, making it important for the managers to give attention to the non-verbal messages as well. Because the gestures, facial expressions, and body language may express some other message than what is being communicated verbally.
Managers can hire cultural interpreters who are well aware of the European and Nigerian Culture (Mirdal 1988). With the help of the cultural interpreters who act as the cultural bridge, the managers can understand the meanings of their high-contextual employees.
Managers through the team meetings should assign mentors to the employees for being able to understand the hidden messages of the employees. Additionally, Open door communication should be adopted.
All the solutions effectively resolve the issue of miscommunication. The main purpose is to ensure quality of the product and employee performance. Since the Nigerian employees may use more of the non-verbal communication, the managers will be able to effectively communicate. It is suggested that the managers undertake the training of the Nigerian communication culture for having a better understanding of the non-verbal messages (Zukerman et al. 1981). On the other hand, using cultural interpreters will help the managers to smoothly transit from unfamiliar to familiar communication of the Nigerians (Bowee et al 2014). This is already being done by the cultural interpreter appointed by the company. Additionally, mentorship programs and open-door communication culture can help the employees and the managers in understanding the issues which are being faced by the employees, thus ensuring productive employee performance.
Based on the critical analysis of the case study the following points are suggested:
1. Training programs should be organized for employees which would encourage them to make their own decisions. So, that eventually there would be no delays for making minor changes in their job activities and product quality and employee efficiency and productivity can be ensured. It is also mentioned by Hofstede dimension of power distance and uncertainty, with the decrease in the power gap the employees are more likely to enhance their performance and quality of the products being manufactured because now there would not be delays in making minor decisions (Hofstede 1980).
2. Managers should stimulate rewards and recognition programs for the employees for improving their morale, as they help the employees to elicit a sense of belonging to the company and would encourage them to give their best to their work and improve their employee performance. The masculinity dimension of Hofstede, which states that the monetary rewards give the employees a sense of ambition is important for ensuring that they give their best performance (Hofstede 1980). Additionally, because the Nigerian workers, believe in the individuality dimension of Hofstede (1980), they tend to look after themselves and their family, thus providing the rewards and recognition would motivate them to give enhanced work performance and quality products.
3. It is recommended that the European managers take communication training, which would not only help them build communication channel but also would help them in the long run, as they would have to communicate with their employees on the regular basis. Further, similar communication trainings can also be provided to the employees, for better communication practices within the organisation. This, would help the managers and employees alike to come to a common ground, where the managers are able to understand the high contextual messages being delivered by their employees. This is in tandem with the High cultural and context dimension of Hall (1976), which states in this people use a lot of indirect communication to convey a message
4. Implementations and Implications of the recommendations
The first recommendation for organizing training programs will be implemented within three months after the establishment of the plant. This implies the effective utilization of the human resources and the time in the project.
The HR manager will be implementing the second recommendation of implementing the rewards and recognition programs for the employees. This implies that the company would incur high labour and training costs.
The third recommendation will be implemented by the HR managers who will be responsible for hiring language trainers who would train not only the European employers but also the Nigerian employees.
The analysis helps the company to conclude that the three most important issues that can occur in the business are employees not being able to make independent decisions, low employee morale, and communication problem. The countermeasures such as organizing training programs, rewards, and recognition of the employees who are meeting their objectives and language training programs would help the company to be prepared for the challenges in the new territory. Following the recommendations, would help the company in ensuring that the key values and competencies of the company is not compromised.
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