Globalisation has greatly influenced the way companies run their business over the past decade. Companies have been increasing their presence in other countries all over the world. On the other side, domestic companies have had to contend with the foreign companies that have set up shop in their countries…
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The opportunities presented by globalisation are immense. The access to a global marketplace has been a big boost to companies’ efforts to expand their business empires. However, aside from the consumption side with access to more buyers, companies are also benefitting on the production side with regards to their capabilities to produce at lower costs. This has been made possible by their access to cheaper labor in the developing economies. This, however, presents companies with more challenges since these are people who, although like machineries are inputs for production, are much more difficult to handle. Hence, Mendenhall, Oddou and Stahl (2007) emphasizes the need to be able to handle the challenges presented by having a global workforce for managers in firms that operate globally. Companies must be able to face up to the challenges presented by the different culture of the different people that will be working with them.
More so, the concept of having global operations in different countries will present HR practitioners with an array of culture and people necessitating the capability to be able to handle the different issues that will arise from such workforce diversity. This, however, is easier said than done for Hofstede (2001) warns that there are more chances for conflict than synergy when different cultures are mixed. Cross-cultural management therefore is very important since this is a pressing reality that companies wanting or are operating globally must face and succeed if they are to survive and thrive in the global business environment. Cultural Challenge According to Hofstede (2004), there are five cultural dimensions that HR practitioners and managers faced with cross cultural challenges can use to somehow understand the differences that are characteristic of their global workforce. One of the possible sources of conflicts that must be understood properly is the way people may view how power is distributed. Hofstede calls this the Power Distribution Index (PDI) whereby there is a bottom to top view of the inequality of the distribution of power. Hence, usually easterners identify strongly with their ethnic groups meaning they find power in their groups or by being collectively identified with each other while westerners are more individualistic. Thus, this shows that these people must be treated differently. Also, there are the poles of masculinity and femininity which reflects to a person being assertive or modest. Looking at a countrywide perspective, there is a significant difference among men towards women. Thus, companies operating globally ought to be sensitive to the inclination of their employees towards power as well as with the actuations associated with the poles of masculinity and femininity. The myriad of personalities that they will be handling can spell the difference between the success and failure of their global endeavor since these employees are central to their business successes. It would be unwise to hire cheap labor if the company cannot get them to work harmoniously raising the risk of attaining poorer quality and even defects on their products. When conflicts abound in an organization, the results are seldom fruitful. Also, there is the tendency to be risk averse or to be cautious and avoid uncertain situations. Hence, for cultures that have these tendencies, there are usually stricter laws and regulations in order for them to mitigate such risks and uncertainties. On the other side, there are cultures that are more lenient who are generally more relaxed and displays a high level of tolerance. Finally, there is the long term orientation (LTO) vis-a-vis short term orientation displaying the various tendencies of
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