Discussions on implications leading globalization of the business environment, Bird and Stevens (2003, p.397) confirm that there is and immergence of a new group of individuals participating in economic changes within the country but the impacts of the globalization on cross-cultural have not been discussed to the details. Past studies show that the cultural background of relating individuals remain a key factor determining how they interact and conduct business. With reference to Marr (2009), interpersonal communication (IPC) is conceded a verbal or nonverbal interaction and exchange between/among two or more individuals on a face-to-face basis. Interpersonal Interactions among individuals from different cultural background may prove a hard task due to the differences in ideas, believes, values, fashion and most importantly verbal interpretations of language.
When interacting with persons from the same country as ourselves, we automatically assume that they resemble us in many way since we have simple things in common (i.e. language, food and drinks, fashion and also values and ideas). This proves as a great icebreaker when interacting because we share the same cultural background to a certain percentage even if not every little detail. The case is different when it comes to interaction between individuals from different counties or cultural background since they might be very few things in common or in some cases nothing in common. Below are some of the reasons why it might prove a hard task to manage individuals from different cultural backgrounds;
Language barrier when conducting a meeting involving members from diverse cultural backgrounds, it is a hard task to choose the appropriate language to use because some might not be fluent in English or worse they might not appreciate their common language being used.
Differences in values and believes in some cultures it is a cultural rule to avail yourself on time for planned and agreed meetings, and if one is late they should offer an apology or an explanation but in other cultures a 30 minutes late arrival is totally appropriate. This and other differences in values make it had to bring these individuals together to serve a common goal.
Negative or inaccurate stereotypes before a face-to-face interaction with an individual from a different cultural background or country there is always what we believe we know about them. These stereotypes are more often wrong than right, they make individuals have a pre-created attitude about others and instead of learning about the individual difference in character, many of us tend to still to what we know.
Difference in social-economic cultures different cultures have different social-economic background and this plays a big part in how individuals behave. Individuals origination from low social-economic cultures tend to be intimidated by their counterparts. They also are rush to advance interests and more often are direct with short term social and economic demand aimed at improving their status. To individuals from high social-economic cultures this may be viewed as rude.
As a leader managing this diverse group of individuals, it is important to learn their differences in cultures and believes. This gives me an upper hand when it comes to handling how they interact with each other and also how to bring them together to serve a common goal. By doing this am able to establish rapport which works as an ice breaker since it is easy to interact and communicate with people you like more than those you dont.
It serves a lot if benefit to explore the cultural practices and the national historical backgrounds of my members individually. This gives me a whole new view of them since al be able to understand that they hold dear and what they consider bad. It will also work well when trying to create rapport. Methods through which to explore the cultures and history practices are as follows;
Reading books on historic and cultural backgrounds and their differences this gives me an idea on the kind of individual to expect and also know is we have historical similarities. Books such us Shake hands by Terri Morrison ad Wayne Conaway (Adams Media 2d ed. 2006)
Interpersonal communication (IPC) this creates rapport and also breaks the tension due to differences in ideas. By face-to-face communication a common ground is easily established.
Allowing self-expression my members are given a chance to state their personal view on activities being carried out this gives them a sense of belonging which eliminates the cultural difference for a moment
To appropriately manage my and ensure results, the method of interactions should be flexible and scalable to ensure each of my members from the different cultural background fit in and the tasks to be carried out by the group go on as planned. Methods for a better presentation are;
Encouraging interaction between members - This is mostly achievable by creating an activity or tasks that requires everyones participation.
Creating sub-groups tasks should be not be deployed to individuals but to sub-groups consisting of individuals from different cultural background.
Creating awareness on the differences in historical and cultural backgrounds between members thus members can learn and respect the differences they have.
Creating understanding and respect between the members based on their differences in values and believes will break the strong stereotypes members have on each other thus making them open minded and enabling the establishment on a common ground.
Research shows that the best way to understand other peoples cultures and believes is to understand your own. So as to improve my understanding of my members and their cultures, I should not only understand mine but also make each individual understand their own after that they will be at a position to understand other peoples cultures. The questions below formulate a way to understand and accept different cultures based on the answers;
Do you know your culture? Do you have more than one culture and if so can you elaborate a little bit of your culture?
Do you believe in your culture and believes? What makes you believe in the culture background that you do?
What do you think about the other different cultures that are existence? Do you appreciate that they are different from your own?
How is culture important to the society? Do you think there is need for establishing a diverse community?
Why is understanding and accepting other cultures important?
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