Cross-Cultural Management

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Cross-Cultural Management

Cross-Cultural Management


Culture has been defined in literally hundreds of ways—a testament both to its importance and to its elusive and intangible nature. Anthropologists Herskovits and Harris define culture as “the man-made part of the environment” and “the learned patterns of thought and behavior characteristic of a population or society,” respectively. Huntington, a political scientist, distinguishes “culture” from “civilization”—both civilization and culture refer to a people's way of life, values, norms and modes of thinking; however a civilization is the broadest cultural entity. Among modern management scholars, Hofstede defines culture as “the collective programming of the human mind,” whereas Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner define culture as “the way in which people solve problems and recognize dilemmas.” Cultural intelligence (CQ)  is an individual's sensitivity to and ability to work positively with cultural differences. In today's globalized business environment this is an increasingly valued (and studied) attribute. This paper provides a comparison of two articles (by Earley & Mosakowski and Ward, Fischer, Zaid Lam, & Hall) relevant to Cross Cultural Management and the aim is to relate this to theoretical perspectives and practical implications covered during the course.

Literature review

The concept of “face” is ingrained in many Asian societies, and has ramifications for many facets of international business. In conducting negotiations, for example, Japanese buyers will rarely inform a vendor that they are not interested in his/her product, but rather that they “will think about it.” Americans, misinterpreting the response, will often complain that the Japanese are “beating around the bush,” that is, wasting time and effort by not providing a clear and straightforward answer. In the human resources area, “face” implies that negative performance feedback is rarely provided in Asian societies such as China except indirectly (e.g., through a trusted third person and not in the presence of peers and subordinates). (Ward 2009, 85-105)

Earley & Mosakowski

Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is any person's aptitude to efficiently tackle circumstancess differentiated by the mixture of any culture. We often notice that some individuals seem to have a knack for relating well to people from different cultures. The researchers have labeled this skill cultural intelligence, which is an outsider's natural ability to interpret an individual's unfamiliar gestures and behaviors in the same way that others from the individual's culture would. (Earley and Mosakowski, 2004)

Cultural intelligence is important because when conducting business with people from different cultures, misunderstandings can often occur, and, as a result, cooperation and productivity may suffer. There are four-factor assessment for assessing CQ. They were developed by Earley & Mosakowski (2004). The 04 components are:

Cognitive: Knowledge of practices, conventions, and norms in cultural background

Motivational: Drive, interest in adapting to cultural differences

Behavioral: Flexibility in carrying out verbal and non verbal behaviors, ability to adapt to cultural norms

Metacognitive : Cultural consciousness and awareness during interactions

New theories are beginning to address the cultural void in motivation theories. Cultural intelligence, for example, refers to “one's ability to efficiently get used to a new cultural contexts” (16:59). The three aspects of cultural intelligence—cognitive, motivational, and behavioral—help to explain ...
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