• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : HI6005
  • University : Holmes Institute
  • Subject Name : Management and organizations in Global Environment

Cross-Cultural Teams: People Issues in Global Business

Table of Contents

Management Summary 

Introduction 

Key issues faced by expatriate manager 

Communication 

Stress 

Individualism versus Collectivism 

Power Distance 

Skills and abilities possessed by successful international managers 

Self-Management 

Acting strategically 

Being an effective communicator 

Foster creativity and innovation 

Have a vision for future 

Create lasting relationships 

Manage Complexity 

Understand the difference among different nations 

Use of multivariate analysis in the recruitment of international managers 

Acculturation issues in expatriation and repatriation of international managers 

Conclusion 

References 

Management Summary

The purpose of the report is to identify, understand and tackle the challenges that are faced in the recruitment and management of personnel in global business organizations. Various challenges are faced by the management in recruiting and effectively managing the people who belong to different cultures. When a manager works in another culture, several cultural issues are confronted by him. It is found that key issues that are faced by the expatriate manager are the language barrier, work stress, mental and physical health issues and individualism versus collectivism which change in different culture and power distance. Furthermore, acculturation issues are faced in both expatriation and repatriation. Expatriates put efforts to adjust in the new culture and when they return to the home country, again the same efforts are required to adapt to the home culture. Thus, stress and adjustment issues become enlarged. Both expatriation and repatriation create distress for the manager and the occupation becomes problematic. The work performance and personal life both get impacted due to the problems that are experienced during the entire course. An international manager possesses several abilities which embrace self-management, complexity management, having a far distant vision of the organization; foster creativity within the organization; and many more. Further, it was also identified from the findings that multivariate analysis plays a noteworthy role in the recruitment process directed by the business so that the best international manager in the organization can be selected. The report will be helpful for global businesses to understand the issues in a better way and tackle them through effective strategies. 

Introduction

Managing a cross-cultural team refers to the consideration of different cultures, values and practices in a global or international business perspective. Generally, the organizations which operate in more than one country employ people from different cultures. However, those companies which operate in only one country can also employ people from different cultures. It is possible due to the movement of labours across boundaries. In both of these cases, it becomes imperative for the companies to manage the cultural differences effectively and give equal opportunity to everyone at the workplace. Various challenges are faced by the management in recruiting and effectively managing the people who belong to different cultures. The aim of the report is to identify, understand and tackle the challenges that are faced in the recruitment and management of people in the global business.

The report will be helpful for global businesses to understand the issues in a better way and tackle them through effective strategies. A manager confronts a number of cultural issues, for example, language barrier, difference in culture, an absence of social life, changed work environment and family issues, when works in different culture. The structure of the report includes key issues that are faced by expatriate managers, skills and abilities possessed by successful international managers, use of multivariate analysis in the recruitment of international managers and acculturation issues in expatriation and repatriation of international managers. Managers face the issue in the recruitment, training and management of the employees while working in different cultures. Similarly, difficulties are also evident when managers are recruited to manage the operations of different business units. Thus, the study will shed light on all these areas. 

Key issues faced by the expatriate manager

An expatriate manager is the one who lives and works outside of the home country with the objective to accomplish a particular project of the organisation or client. The managers possess the citizenship of another country but they work in any other country which is allocated to them by the management. These managers face several issues in a new culture different from their own. The issues can be described as follows:

Communication

It is a significant skill that must be possessed by a manager especially while working with cross-cultural teams. An expatriate manager needs to learn the local language of the country so as to deal with the staff. A manager cannot work and manage effectively if he does not possess the knowledge of the local language. Apart from that, in every country, several regional languages are prevalent. However, sometimes it is not possible for the manager to learn regional language(s) while in different area. Moreover, for a manager it is difficult to understand the conversation among the colleague if it is in regional language (Doherty & Dickmann 2013). Moreover, the meaning of non-verbal communicational forms also differs in different cultures (Rizk 2013). However, even if the manager possesses good communication skills, the employees may not like to communicate with the management team and managers. It is general practice in corporate that bosses come at last among the people with whom the employees want to communicate. Thus, the esteem for management is at low point and it causes lack of communication which creates a great problem for the expatriate manager (Drucker 2003).

Stress

Studies reveal that expatriate managers face much stress while working in different countries. It is one of the crucial factors taken into consideration because it impacts the mental and physical health of the managers. It results in deterioration of the manager's performance which in response causes performance issues among the employees. The causes of this stress can be considered as a differing culture of the host country, higher expectations of the employer due to the budget spent on the manager’s training, visa and other facilities and difficulties in managing the personal life. When a manager is moved to another country, specific training is provided to him/her so as to adjust effectively in the new country. But, his family members do not receive any kind of training due to which they experience culture shock (Mullins 2016). Thus, all these causes collectively cause physical and mental stress for the manager. According to the Global Relocation Trends Survey Report (2011), the expat projects have grown to 61 per cent in 2011 which causes an increase in the number of expatriate managers (Rizk 2013).

Individualism versus Collectivism

Individualistic culture is more prevalent in countries like North America, Australia and Europe. The managers from these countries are more independent, autonomous and self-contained. They are more result oriented in terms of employee relations and have value for achievement and individualism. Whereas, in collectivism culture which is prevalent in regions like Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East, family relations and loyalty at the workplace is of more value (Mullins 2016). The culture focuses on harmonized group as opposed to individualism and acceptance of disagreement. Thus, managers who are not open to work in different cultures find difficulties in adjustment with the contrary culture. 

Power Distance

It has been identified that sometimes the power distance can create the chances of conflicts in the organization. In such kind of situation, the manager tends to use the autocratic management methods in the organization to communicate important information. This kind of method often decreases the openness and informality in the organization. A high level of informality is practised in the organization. Thus, an unequal distribution of the power is very important while dealing with the employees who are present at high power distance (Mullins 2016). 

Skills and abilities possessed by successful international managers

There are various skills and abilities which must be possessed by international leaders.

Self-Management

It has been observed that leaders find it very difficult to manage others when they fail to manage themselves. Self-management helps the leaders to prioritize their goals and objectives. An effective leader must possess this skill as it helps in regulating the time, attention and emotions while making the person aware of the strength, weakness and potential sources. The leader must be able to manage their personal and professional life. They must have self-control and discipline in their actions (Binder 2016). 

Acting strategically

Leaders, in order to maintain a hold among its employees, must have the ability to adjust strategies planned by them (Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough 2015). Leaders possessing this skill always maintain a positive outlook throughout. They try to capture and increase their business in a wider environment. Moreover, they should be able to coordinate the resource of the organization in such a manner that their utilization can result in best outcomes. The coordination includes planning, organizing, directing and controlling the resources. Both vertical coordination and horizontal coordination are essential for strategic actions. Vertical coordination includes the formal system of control and the horizontal system includes lateral techniques in which the efforts of individual and the entire unit are coordinated (Jones 2004).

Being an effective communicator

Powerful leaders have the skill to effectively communicate to their employees. They explain tasks as well as organizational goals which are to be achieved by the organization. These kinds of the leaders understand the importance of communication important things to the employees because they know any lag in the communication can make the employees fall short. This is why international leaders communicate all the specific information to the entire staff through emails and conference meetings (Binder 2016). They continuously pay attention to improve their verbal and non-verbal approaches by communicating with different kinds of people all across the globe. 

Foster creativity and innovation

The best part about international leaders is that they emphasize their organization towards creativity and innovation. This helps them to make their organization reach new dimensions in the international business market (Yashkova et al. 2016). They always encourage their employees to take a risk and pursue the goals with an open mind. They inspire the employees of the organization to spend some time exploring new ideas with the help of brainstorming and prototyping. 

Have a vision for future

International leaders have the ability to look into the future of the organization. They are confident, optimistic and have the enthusiasm to create the concrete goals of the organization. They are therefore sometimes known as a visionary (Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough 2015). They manage the change within the organization by maintaining a balance between stability and growth. The leader always asks their employees to remain agile during the work and accept and implement new strategies in the organization by adopting a new business model. International leaders request their followers to evolve with time.

Create lasting relationships

It has often been observed that international leaders not only inspire their followers they but also motivate them to strive for the organization's goal. They know that the employees who feel appreciated are ready to put extra efforts to make a difference for the organization. Outstanding international leaders are well aware of their responsibilities (Hickman & Silva 2018). They not only adjust their careers but also provide benefit to the organization. The aim of international leaders is to establish an impactful relationship with customers, clients and leaders. The manager should also be able to conduct a systematic evaluation of the employees so that their efforts are rewarded and a lasting relationship is created effectively (Jones 2004). 

Manage Complexity

International leaders of the organization have the skill to solve some complex problems of the organization. They even take the most accurate decision based on the situation and circumstances (Tong & Arvey, 2015). They have the grace to lead in the complex environment. The best quality of the international leaders is that they analyze the entire situation properly before concluding anything from the available information. 

Understand the difference among different nations

Though it is said that globalization has made life easier and it is facilitating free trade among the countries, various challenges come along the way. An international manager must understand that differences exist from country to country and the differences can be in the form of inequality, income differences and economic stability of the country, tastes and preferences of people and social and cultural differences (Giddens 1999). 

Use of multivariate analysis in the recruitment of international managers

Multivariate is the best technique to retain and recruit international managers in the organization. It has been identified that companies are evaluating candidates for international managers on the basis of multivariate analysis. It helps in analyzing more than one statistical outcome from the recruitment process. It is the best technique in comparison to univariate because it helps to observe different aspects and skills required for becoming an international manager of the organization. It can also be carried to retrieval of the documents and applications of a large number of candidates who are eligible for the position of international manager. The data must, therefore, required to be well organizing and indexing properly. It is used to identify the relevant amount of information for taking the most accurate decision.

Data mining and data processing models are used to carry out the analysis. The recent study conducted to find the best candidate on the recruitment portal suggested that multivariate analysis is very crucial for the selection of the candidate (Petraitis & Dudgeon 2015). There are various studies published to understand the qualification of the data through applications of data mining algorithms which include decision tree, clustering and association rules. This study cannot be applied for social networking platforms and university platforms. Text mining is also used to analyze a large amount of employee’s data from the entire organization for the selection purpose (Adela et al. 2016). The goal is to identify the keywords which are essential for the role of the international manager. 

The very first things while recruiting a person for an international manager is to identify the roles and responsibilities. The multivariate analysis helps the organization to judge the candidate's skills based on the roles and functions defined. It will reduce the complexity which can arise and will also help in selecting the best candidate. It is the best technique to identify the strength and weakness of the candidates who are eligible for the role of an international leader. Some of the dimensions of the multivariate analysis can be the test scores, education level, acquired skillsets, grade point average, experience to handle the international issues, network stability, enthusiasm towards work, confidence, passion to achieve success and other related stuff (Petraitis & Dudgeon 2015). The recruiting team tries to understand the different aims, vision and background of the candidate by conducting different forms of multivariate analysis. 

This analysis is done to understand the relationship between skillsets and education of the candidate. All the analysis is conducted in such a way that they can be easily related to one another at the time of results. It has also been identified that sometimes using too many dimensions can also result in losing the real identity for which the deserving candidate was about to be selected (Petraitis & Dudgeon 2015). Thus, it is very important for the organization to examine each and everything properly. Thus it can be stated that multivariate analysis plays a very important role in the selection of the international manager in the tough business environment.

Acculturation issues in expatriation and repatriation of international managers

Several acculturation issues in expatriation of international managers exist. These issues can be described as stress, sense of loss, sense of becoming an outcast, confusion, feeling of surprise and anxiety and a sense of powerfulness. In the effort of adapting to the new culture, the expatriate managers go through various difficulties. Numerous hurdles come their way and they find it difficult to adapt to the changes. Their personal life gets changed and family issues also arise (Cole & Nesbeth 2014). The most important thing which is the major cause of stress is workplace problems. In the new culture, it becomes difficult to collaborate with new employees who belong to the different culture. Communication is one of the most troublesome factors that cause stress for managers (Feldman & Orlikowski 2011). This stress results in mental and physical issues which in turn impact the performance at the workplace.

The second significant acculturation issue is a sense of loss in which the person does not have personal relations with anyone. It takes time to build good relations with people from different culture. Thus, the previous status that the person had with his friends, family, possessions and other people in the home country are gone. The sense of becoming an outcast suggests that the expatriates start to reject others which in turn results in ostracization by those people. Confusion also takes place regarding one’s own identity, values, feelings and culture (Nikolaeva 2010). The difference in culture causes the feeling of surprise and anxiety due to the new things that come from the other culture. The new culture presents difficulties which become tough to deal with. The person has a sense of powerlessness and sometimes the situations also become hostile. The stress arises from various causes which are organizational processes, working conditions, organizational structure and design and administrative policies and strategies. All these stresses affect the job and performance of personnel (Luthens 2004). 

The acculturation issues that are faced in the repatriation of international managers are also many. When the manager lives in a different culture in another country, he/she puts many efforts to adapt to that culture and learn the practices. However, when the person returns to the home country and works again in the previous culture, adjustment may become difficult (Feldman & Orlikowski 2011). People even take repatriation courses so that they can deal effectively with cultural issues. Companies also offer repatriation courses to their managers because if not provided the issues can impact the productivity of the manager at the workplace. Reverse cultural shock is also a major issue that is faced by international managers. They suffer from psychological, physical and emotional symptoms which make them feel like a foreigner in their home country (Baruch, Altman & Tung 2016). Due to which they develop coping strategies so that they can readjust in their home country. However, the entire process becomes troublesome and they feel like going through a difficult stage twice in their life.

Apart from the manager, the family members also suffer which develops negative and hostile feeling for the cultural changes. Moreover, political, social and economic changes are also faced by the manager. The policies, norms, rules, regulations and services get changed due to which the manager needs to learn everything again about the home country. These concepts get changes with the change in culture therefore adaption takes time (Ganapavarapu & Sireesha 2015). Moreover, the culture of the concerned organization may also differ in different cultures based on the rules and regulations of that culture. The expatriate himself/herself also gets changed and the changes can result in both positive and negative impact on the person when it comes to the change in the country. Repatriation is like a double cultural shock experienced by the international manager (McEvoy & Buller 2013). Another issue is the management of human resources by the manager for those employees who also come to home country after international projects. Thus, the acculturation challenges are vast for the managers (Parker 2005).

Conclusion

It can be concluded from the report that a manager finds it difficult to adjust to the new culture. Several issues are faced by an international manager when he/she moves to another culture and another work environment. It can be seen that these issues are explained as the language barrier, work stress, mental and physical health issues, individualism versus collectivism which changes in different culture and power distance. When a manager moves from one country to another, the surrounding gets changed. Problems are faced not only in work life but also in personal life. If the manager lives without family, it creates stress and loneliness. Whereas, if the manager lives with family, the family faces issue to adjust in the new culture. Thus, it is suggested that the entire process is troublesome.

Acculturation issues are faced in both expatriation and repatriation. Expatriates put efforts to adjust in the new culture and when the same person returns to the home country, again the same efforts are required to adapt to the home culture. Thus, stress and adjustment issues become enlarged. Study observed that there are various skills and abilities which must be posed by the international managers to become successful in the competitive environment. These include self-management, complexity management, having a far distant vision of the organization, foster creativity within the organization and many more. Further, it was also identified from the findings that multivariate analysis plays a very significant role in the recruitment process conducted by the organization for the selection of the best international manager in the organization. It is revealed that since the responsibility of the international manager is very large, it must be analyzed on the basis of different important dimensions to get the best result out from the huge datasets of the candidates. 

References

Adela, BÂRA, ȘIMONCA, I, Belciu, A, and Nedelcu, B 2016, Exploring data in human resources big data. Database Systems Journal, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 3-10.

Giddens, A 1999, Globalization, viewed 23 January 2019, http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/reith_99/week1/week1.htm

Baruch, Y, Altman, Y, & Tung, RL 2016, ‘Career mobility in a global era: advances in managing expatriation and repatriation’, Academy of Management Annals, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 841-889.

Binder, J 2016, Global project management: communication, collaboration and management across borders, Routledge, London.

Cole, N & Nesbeth, K 2014, ‘Why do international assignments fail? Expatriate families speak’, International Studies of Management & Organization, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 66-79.

Doherty, N & Dickmann, M 2013, ‘Self-initiated and assigned expatriates: talent management and career considerations’, in V Vaiman, and A Haslberger (eds), Talent management of self-initiated expatriates, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 234-255.

Drucker, P 2003, Managing in the next society, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. 

Feldman, MS & Orlikowski, WJ 2011, ‘Theorizing practice and practicing theory’, Organization Science, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 1240-1253.

Ganapavarapu, L K & Sireesha, P 2015, ‘Cross-culture issues in global work place expatriates at global work place’, Journal of Business and Management, vol. 17, no. 8, pp. 22-26. 

Hickman, CR & Silva, MA 2018, Creating excellence: managing corporate culture, strategy, and change in the new age. Routledge, London.

Jones, G 2004, Organizational theory, design and change, 4th ed., London, Pearson. 

Luthens, F 2004, Organizational behaviour, 11th ed., New York, McGraw Hill. 

Mayfield, J, Mayfield M & Sharbrough III, WC 2015, ‘Strategic vision and values in top leaders’ communications: Motivating language at a higher level’, International Journal of Business Communication, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 97-121.

McEvoy, GM & Buller, PF 2013, ‘Research for practice: The management of expatriates’ Thunderbird International Business Review, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 213-226.

Mullins L.J. 2016. Management and Organisational Behaviour, 11th ed., London: Pearson

Nikolaeva, TG 2010, ‘The challenges of expatriation & repatriation’, Department of Management, Aarhus University, viewed 21 January 2019, http://pure.au.dk/portal/files/11038/The_Challeges_of_Expatriation_and_Repatriation.pdf

Parker, B 2005, Introduction to globalization and business, 2nd ed., London, SAGE. 

Petraitis, PS & Dudgeon, SR 2015, ‘Variation in recruitment and the establishment of alternative community states’, Ecology, vol. 96, no. 12, pp. 3186-3196.

Rizk, H 2013, ‘Cultural challenges for expatriate managers operating within projects’, viewed 21 January 2019, https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/69006

Tong, YK, & Arvey, RD 2015, ‘Managing complexity via the competing values framework’, Journal of Management Development, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 653-673.

Yashkova, EV, Sineva, NL, Shkunova, AA, Bystrova, NV, Smirnova, ZV & Kolosova, TV 2016, ‘Development of innovative business model of modern manager's qualities’, International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 4650-4659.

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