Managing Cross-Cultural Staff
1. Managing Cross-Cultural Staff
Cross-cultural management is the study of managing people from different cultures in organizations (Mead & Andrews, 2009). It is a relatively new field which has emerged due to the globalization of business and the increasing number of multinational organizations. In today’s business world, it is essential for managers to have an understanding of different cultures in order to be effective in managing a diverse workforce.
The term “culture” can be defined in many ways, but most commonly it refers to the shared values, beliefs and norms of a group of people. Culture is transmitted from one generation to the next and shapes the way we think, feel and behave. It is important to note that culture is not static; it changes over time in response to the needs of the members of a society.
There are many factors that contribute to the diversity of workforce cultures, including nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, age and social class. In order to effectively manage a diverse workforce, managers need to be aware of these differences and how they may impact on worker behavior and attitudes.
2. The Importance of Managing a Diverse Workforce
The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse as organizations expand their operations globally. This trend is likely to continue as the world becomes more connected and globalized. As a result, managers need to be prepared to manage people from different cultures with different values and beliefs.
There are many benefits to managing a diverse workforce. Firstly, it can lead to improved performance as workers from different backgrounds can share their unique perspectives and ideas. This can lead to creativity and innovation within the organization. Secondly, managing a diverse workforce can help an organization to become more flexible and adaptable as different workers bring different skills and knowledge to the table. Finally, managing a diverse workforce can improve an organization’s reputation as it shows that they are an inclusive employer that values diversity.
3. Cultural Barriers to Quality Management
One of the most important aspects of managing a workforce is ensuring that quality standards are met. Quality management is the process of setting standards and ensuring that products or services meet these standards. In order to be effective, quality management must take into account the cultural differences between workers.
There are many cultural barriers to quality management. One of the most significant barriers is language barriers. If workers do not share a common language, it can be difficult to communicate quality standards effectively. Another barrier is social norms. In some cultures, there may be a norm of not speaking up or challenging authority figures. This can make it difficult to identify problems or raise concerns about quality issues.
4. TQM Standards and Social Norms
Total quality management (TQM) is an approach that emphasizes continual improvement in all areas of an organization (Baldrige National Quality Program [BNQP], n.d.). TQM aims to provide customers with products or services that meet their needs and expectations. To do this, TQM focuses on setting standards and measuring performance against these standards. TQM also emphasizes teamwork and communication between all members of an organization in order to continuously improve quality.
In order for TQM principles to be effective in a culturally diverse workforce, managers need to be aware of social norms that may impact on worker behavior. For example, in some cultures it may be considered disrespectful to challenge authority figures. As a result, workers may be reluctant to raise concerns about quality issues or suggest improvements. In other cultures, there may be a norm of working long hours. This can lead to workers feeling pressured to work overtime in order to meet quality standards.
5. Language Barriers
Language barriers can pose a significant challenge to quality management. If workers do not share a common language, it can be difficult to communicate quality standards effectively. This is especially true if the workforce is located in different countries with different language spoken.
One way to overcome language barriers is to use translation services. This can be done by hiring a professional translator or using online translation tools. Another way to overcome language barriers is to use visuals such as charts and diagrams. This can help workers to understand quality standards even if they do not share a common language.
6. Dialects and Accents
In addition to language barriers, dialects and accents can also pose a challenge to quality management. If workers have different dialects or accents, it can be difficult for them to understand each other. This can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding of quality standards.
To overcome this challenge, managers can provide training on how to effectively communicate with workers who have different dialects or accents. This training can help workers to understand each other and reduce the risk of miscommunication. Additionally, managers can use translation services or visuals to help workers understand quality standards.
7. Equal Opportunities for All
Equal opportunity is the principle that all people should be treated fairly and given the same chance to succeed (Equality Commission for Northern Ireland [ECNI], n.d.). This principle is important in the workplace as it ensures that all employees are given the same opportunities regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age or social class.
Equal opportunity is often enshrined in law. For example, in the United States, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC], n.d.). In the European Union, the Equal Treatment Directive prohibits discrimination in employment on the grounds of race, ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (European Commission [EC], 2000).
8. Cross-Cultural Skills
In order to effectively manage a culturally diverse workforce, managers need to have cross-cultural skills. Cross-cultural skills are the ability to understand and appreciate the differences between people from different cultures (The Cultural Orientation Resource Center [CORC], n.d.). These skills are essential in today’s globalized world as they enable managers to communicate effectively with workers from different cultures and backgrounds. Additionally, cross-cultural skills help managers to resolve conflicts and build trust between employees.
There are many ways to develop cross-cultural skills. One way is to take courses or attend training sessions on cross-cultural communication. Another way is to travel to other countries and experience different cultures firsthand. Finally, managers can also develop cross-cultural skills by reading books and articles about other cultures.