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Although many people around the globe have widely ignored the issues of managing cross-cultural aspects, it is important to acknowledge the need to learn ways of handling cross-cultural aspects to ensure appropriate intersociety association. From an organizational perspective, it is clear that due to the deeply rooted cultural traditions, it is never easy to initiate a successful change without some levels of resistance. As a result of this, leaders and subjects are always advised to have high level of cross-cultural knowledge to help in managing situations of change. Any leader within an organization is supposed to rate high in terms of cross- cultural competency so as to increase the success in managing various groups and cultures. The research analyzes the effective management of the remote multicultural workforce.
Culture is perceived as an important element of any community around the world; through culture, one community traces its identity. Despite the diversity presented by cultures, it is important to note that people need much interaction and accommodation to serve each other regardless of culture and country of origin (Hurn, 2007). However, achieving this level of interaction and accommodation is only possible with strong cross-cultural knowledge.
Multicultural management can be defined as the acknowledgment and valorization of dissimilarities. It entails appreciating the fact that every individual in the society is unique in his or her way. Differences among individuals arise along various dimensions including, among others, political views, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, physical abilities, and age (Lee, 2009). Multicultural management entails the exploration of the above differences in a positive, safe, and cultivating environment. It involves moving from simple tolerance to accepting and celebrating the scopes of multicultural diversity in every person as opposed to only complying with the laws relating to equality. Multicultural management has become integral to the success of companies and organizations.
There is a general opinion that multicultural teams are hard to manage as their members may disagree on many things (Gatlin-Watts, Carson, Horton, Maxwell, & Maltby, 2007). However, it is never recognized that the differences can be used to benefit the team (Hurn, 2007). Equally, it is about it is important to understand how the differences can be handled for better. Essentially, the management in a company or organization must ensure proper diversity management if it is to realize the great benefits arising from the diversity in relation to team performances (Lu, Watson-Manheim, Chudoba, & Wynn, 2006).
Many societies have seen the need to ensure diversity management in organizations in order to deal with the issue of inequality or discrimination. As such, governments have enacted laws that prohibit firms from engaging in activities that promote inequality or any form of discrimination. Any firm that is believed to discriminate an individual based on, for instance, skin color, age, or religious background is exposed to prosecution in a court of law (Gatlin-Watts et al., 2007). Inherently, diversity management enables organizations to avoid lawsuits being filed against them.
Culture has much influence in a number of management aspects; it is important to note that these are management aspects that have great impact on vital business operations within organizations both locally and globally. One key area, which must be considered in cross-cultural knowledge, is the marketing department. Marketing operations are expected to cover wide areas both geographically and technologically; to achieve this coverage, an organization must be familiar with different practices, which require much understanding and accommodation on the part of management. Therefore, this means that marketing department in any international organization or firm must consider cultural knowledge right from recruitment point to field operation (Hurn, 2007).
There are a number of reasons why multicultural management is integral to the success of companies and organizations. For one, it leads to improved performance in an organization. Companies that work with diverse employees can hire individuals with different talents. Such employees can work with one another to ensure the accomplishment of a common task (Monalisa et al., 2008). They can apply diverse knowledge and skills to ensure a task is completed in the best way possible. In contrast, some companies may lack multicultural diversity considering the fact that employees will only use the same skills; hence, their performance may be unsatisfactory as compared to the case when it is handled by people with different skills (Burchell & Gilden, 2008). As such, it is imperative for companies and organizations to ensure multicultural management if they are to achieve the right level of productivity (Gatlin-Watts et al., 2007).
Globalization has resulted to conversion of the world into a global village. Different people from diverse geographical regions and backgrounds can consequently interact with each other. Modern means of transportation and communication have further contributed to enhancement of social relationship among people and countries. In fact, the majority of companies find it unavoidable to employ staff from diverse backgrounds. This will bring in the much needed pool of skills and cultures that are crucial in shaping the overall organizational image as perceived by the public. In addition, this will bring in diversity at workplace, which is very important not only in shaping organizational image but also in improving overall organizational performance.
However, managing diversity at workplace is rather challenging and causes difficulties at various management levels. This is explained by the fact that diversity will make cooperate people from different cultures and backgrounds; thus, their opinions and views on various issues affecting the organization will similarly be different. Converging diverse opinions and aligning them towards the achievement of organizational goals is challenging. If diversity is not well managed at workplace, the overall performance may decline as a result of delayed decision making. Therefore, it is inevitable for an organization to manage diversity at whichever costs.
The modern business environment has made it critical for organizations to tailor their work arrangement to meet the needs of the diverse workforce. The trend has affected organizations both in developed and developing countries. In addition, both private and public organizations have been forced to revolutionize their workplace arrangements due to the shift from industrial based to information based working environment that is characterized by diversity in workplace.
Diversity can bring in more challenges to organizational operations if not well managed. Potential conflicts emerging can possibly delay decision making and consequently impact on operational inefficiencies. In turn, this may negatively affect overall performance if the management fails to introduce sound and realistic HR strategies, which tackle potential challenges. Such strategies should align with overall organizational missions and objectives.
Diversity at workplace can trace its roots to moral arguments that it is unfair to exclude a person based on demographic or other grounds not related to the task to be undertaken. Critics argued that this constituted discrimination, which was condoned by all stakeholders in the business world. However, management plays the greatest role in ensuring diversity in the organization is properly addressed. Therefore, management should be charged with responsibility of ensuring superior performance in attainment HR strategies targeted at creating diverse work force.
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According to Metcalf, Bird, Peterson, Shankarmahesh, and Lituchy, (2007), diversity among organizations can be credited for increased creativity as well as problem-solving. because the reason for this is the fact that it enables people with diverse minds to work with each other when solving a problem. As a result, they can introduce more than one solution to a problem as opposed to when individuals with similar minds work together (Aviel, 1990). Taking this into consideration, the best solution is chosen from the many that will be proposed. This also implies that a problem is solved in the best way possible. The company or organization in question is also able to avoid the issue of making rush decisions that may negatively affect its operations in the future. As a matter of fact, increased creativity is required during innovation (Aviel, 1990). Currently, no country can survive in the market without innovation. Thus, it is always imperative that the management in organizations introduces new ways to handle issues (Zhu, McKenna, & Sun, 2007). This can only be achieved through the innovation process. Continuous innovation is largely dependent on access to a variety of ideas. On the other hand, access to ideas is achieved through creative thinking, which is something that multicultural management guarantees an organization (Metcalf et al., 2007).
Similarly, multicultural management has enabled many firms to attract the best talents on the market. Research has shown that many individuals in today's world prefer working with organizations that have diverse workforce (Hambley, O’Neill, & Kline, 2007). In the end, the company's ability to compete effectively on the market is affected. This also shows that it is in a company's best interest to ensure multiculturalism or recruit people regardless of who they are or where they come from (Hambley, O’Neill, & Kline, 2007). In addition, customers also tend to consume products and employ services provided by companies that have embraced multicultural diversity. Customers work under the assumption that such companies offer the best products and services (Hurn, 2007). As such, failing to ensure proper multicultural management can lead to a company failing to attract the best talents on the market. In the end, its productivity is affected since the performance of its employees will be wanting. Ultimately, the organization in question will be unable to attract and retain customers. As a result, it will register low sales, which in turn will lead to its inability to compete effectively on the market.
It is also imperative for organizations to ensure proper multicultural management to deal with the issue of cultural intelligence (Hambley, O’Neill, & Kline, 2007). Poor cultural intelligence has hindered many companies and organizations from serving their customers in the desired manner, especially in the cases with multinational companies. For instance, this may happen when they fail to understand customers’ needs thus providing products that are unacceptable for consumers. However, this is a problem that can be solved through multicultural management (Santangelo, Stein, & Jacobs, 2007). In this case, the company deals with different employees who possess appropriate knowledge in the field of marketing and are able to predict what customers want (Cuervo-Cazurra, 2008). As such, the company will be able to develop commodities that reflect on the distinct needs of consumers hence ensuring high level of customer satisfaction. Understanding other cultures also enables companies to expand from one market to another with ease. This is accounted for by the fact that the management can learn business culture in other markets even before it enters them. Considering this, the organization can save time that it could have spent on studying the new market at a later stage. Companies that accept multicultural diversity are accepted on a market with ease in contrast to those organizations that prefer working with their home country employees only. Employees in a multicultural organization must be encouraged to air their issues and concerns on diversity at all times. They must be able to communicate on whether or not they are satisfied with the implementation of diversity strategies. It is essential for the management to ensure that employees can do the same without facing any form of intimidation. This is the only way employees will be willing to communicate honestly. The management must provide a safe and supportive environment where people can air their opinions freely.
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Multicultural management can be viewed to be a simple task. However, it is an issue that any organization will have to address effectively for it to succeed. If mismanaged, it can lead to a total disaster. Organizational diversity implies that different people cooperate to handle common tasks. Their way of thinking may differ significantly. It is essential that their different ways of thinking are harmonized for the best. Equally, they should also be willing to work with one another (Hunsaker & Hunsaker, 2008). It is easy to manage differences among people thinking alike as opposed to handling conflicts involving individuals from diverse backgrounds and thus thinking differently. In fact, stereotypes in a diverse organization are very common. It has been widely stated as one of the major problems that are associated with diversity. It is essential for the management to introduce strong strategies on how to handle such issues to fully benefit from diversity (Macduff, 2006).
Managing remote multicultural workforce influences a great variety of industries such as hospitality and technological industries. Such companies as Starbucks, MacDonald’s, Samsung and Apple are some of the industries that face the challenges of multicultural workforce as they expand globally. Workplace cultures differ from one society to another. There are societies that might value certain practices while others may not. For example, the Japanese are known to embrace punctuality as their way of life. Specifically, punctuality is the practice the Japanese people value while executing their roles and duties in the workplace. In contrast, people in the Middle East care less about being punctual at work. This has led to the Japanese viewing Middle Easterners as untrustworthy. This is a clear indication that they may also view people who do not practice punctuality as unprofessional.
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Language barriers could be a major issue. There is a great number of countries where the national language is not English. In addition, the academic calendar may vary from country to country; hence, the required program cannot be executed for the desired countries at the desired time. Some countries are challenged with the issue of political unrest yet educational facilities receive increased numbers of visitors and students from them. There are also countries where some cultural traditions are very strict, for example, mode of dressing. Any contradiction to their practices may warrant an arrest or even death penalty.
Therefore, it is essential for leaders, especially those from other countries, to learn the practice of, for instance, being punctual if they want to survive the Japanese working environment. They must ensure that they are able to make this their way of life not just while at work but also outside their jobs. Providing the role model easily makes their subordinates emulate, which promotes creating of a working environment where every individual embraces punctuality.
Diversity may either positively or negatively contribute to organizations’ performance. If diversity is well managed in the workplace, this will indirectly boost overall performance. To achieve this, the organization should make efforts to create a better working environment where every employee will feel accommodated disregarding diverse personal backgrounds. Diverse opinions should be harnessed in the best interests of the organization. The effects of globalization have made it mandatory for organizations to adopt diversity in the workplace. All efforts should be focused on ensuring such an environment is effectively managed. Potential challenges should be converted to benefits.
It is of great importance for an organization dealing with diversity in the workplace to define it broadly. Many companies and organizations that have successfully managed diversity define it beyond the known dimensions such as gender and race. They monitor all the dimensions to ensure that every individual is involved in diversity management. It is imperative for all employees to understand all the dimensions of diversity. This means that they must be aware of all the experiences and characteristics relating to it (Burchell & Gilden, 2008). This needs to be done in order to ensure that they do not engage in any activity that may hamper the development of the organization. It also aids in making them appreciate their diversity as well as show willingness to work with one another towards the accomplishment of common goals. Along with that, this helps deal with the issue of stereotyping. An employee may be stereotyping even without realizing it. However, proper understanding of diversity ensures this question does not arise (Ma, 2007).
Multicultural management also implies great commitment on the part of management, especially the top management. Numerous organizations find it problematic to handle diversity because they lack the support of the top management (Macduff, 2006).
Diversity goals as well as objectives must be aligned with organizational goals and mission. There are companies that have been able to embrace diversity; however, they were unable to align diversity goals with organizational ones thus failing to guide their business operations in the right direction. This means that diversity in the workplace does not guarantee absolute success on the market if not addressed properly (Syed & Kramar, 2009). Spang and Ozcan (2009) also argue that managers should always consider developing diversity as a strategic objective or core value of their respective organizations (Cornelius, 2002).
This research is supposed to improve the understanding of culture among employees so that they show better performance in terms of service delivery. The employees are also supposed to improve their perception of their own cultures. Consequently, they will acquire an enhanced comprehension of themselves. Through the project, the employees are supposed to view culture in a different perspective. They should not segregate others on the basis of their culture but rather appreciate them. Additionally, culture does not make anyone inferior or less humane. Diversity will entail such aspects as the work-force comprising all races, gender and ages. The project also considers other modern aspects such as socioeconomic and cultural diversity.
As a result, this will impact on creating a mix of workforce from diverse backgrounds, which will highly contribute to shaping overall organizations’ image as perceived by the public. This step is very important as will affect organizations with the public and other interested stakeholders. In fact, a company, which employs its workforce based on aspects other than individual mix of skills and competences, tends to be uncompetitive in the modern business environment (Hamilton, Knouse, & Hill, 2009).