9 1 Achieving Organizational Success within Global Organization: Managing Divergent Cultural Paradigms

Achieving Organizational Success within Global Organization: Managing Divergent Cultural Paradigms – Case Study
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Fitchburg State University
Achieving Organizational Success within Global Organization: Managing Divergent Cultural Paradigms – Case Study
Cultural paradigms are formed through social environment, upbringing and the value principles built up through experiences. Differences can be observed in both verbal and non-verbal communication with the ability to influence organizational behaviors, that can make or break an organization. Divergent paradigms are driving forces of interaction, which can generate mixed reactions owing to their differences between the originator and the responder (Wang et al., 2019). Few such cultural paradigms existing in a large global organization have been explored and studied for their impact in the following section of this case study.
Cultural Paradigms and Organizational Impact
Matrilineal versus Patrilineal Descents
The association of descents with the development of paradigms can be interpreted in many ways associating with kinships, proprietorship, or response demeanor to specific situations. Based on psychological research on organizational performance capabilities, masculine cultures tend to emphasize on competitive achievement, and someone with the ability to perform on a higher level will anticipate the right to influence decisions and express their opinions in public about decisions to be made (Van den Bos et al., 2010). On the contrary, leaning toward feminine cultures, exhibit behavior of modesty as a virtue, nurturing people with lower capability, to ensure society’s weaker members will feel worthy of voicing their opinions and not be judged. The difference in behavior stemming from these paradigms reflects in everyday interaction, that requires considerable attention when employees from both side of cultural thoughts work towards the organizational objective. An employee with patrilineal attributes will push for competitive accomplishments and be vocal about voicing their opinions in a public forum which might be better if discussed within a closed group. Competition and drive to be in limelight can ruffle feathers within team members working towards the same objective and can lead to disengagement from peers. On the contrary, the matrilineal attribute of modesty and accommodating underperforming peers will tend to slow down the stride or add to performance expectations from associates with stronger performance in a team, which could lead to exhaustion and fatigue. When employees with two sides of spectrum come together to work as a team, it is important for management to understand individualistic descents that motivate employees and set guidelines for team performance and conduct.
Collectivist and Individualistic Perceptions
Collectivist cultures are team based and tend to materialize the needs of a larger group such as a team, organization, community, or country. Such culture exhibit traits of gaining and leveraging the strengths from many, towards accomplishing a significant undertaking. Individualistic thinking drives an employee to be less dependent on others, but more self-sufficient to make decisions and carry out tasks, taking full responsibility. Studies suggest that while labor intensive to organize the larger group, it is emotionally better rewarding with lesser fatigue and drain in collectivist perception compared to individualistic cultures (Mastracci & Adams, 2019). Challenges arise when employees with varying perspectives are expected to commingle and contribute. Accomplishing a significant milestone in an organization is usually credited to the team, which feeds the collectivist culture. In such instances, managers ought to evaluate skill sets of employees with dominant individualistic perspectives and ensure that the work delegated has challenges to leverage their specific skills. Genuine appreciation for such skills will help ensure the organization progress closer towards its objectives.
Hierarchy of command
Certain cultures are taught to respect elders and therefore not question the motive behind instructions and carry the order forward. When the social perception assimilates into the workplace, employees tend to carry out orders of management with less regard for a motive or questioning the rationale. While unethical, certain managers can use it to their advantage by delegating more work, that does not necessarily align with the organization’s values. In such a cultural trait, employees reflect less of a dominant role but more of a sub-ordinate role. Such a trait could be beneficial in command and control setting such as the military, where cooperation is necessary to achieve sustainable results (Kopelman et al., 2016). This works in contrast for employees desiring an elevated level of command. They could provide highly valued inputs and assume leadership for the task at hand. Recognition of such divergent paradigms can benefit the organization in identifying the right employees to fit for the right roles within the organizational hierarchy.
Gender Based Differences
While most global organizations have an all-inclusive and zero tolerance policy against discrimination of any kind, larger differences continue to exist in a competitive workspace (Gneezy et al., 2003). Such gender-based differences could be owing to multitude of factors such as variance in physical strength, pursuit of an aggressive goal regardless of means, prioritization of work vs family, to name a few. The impact could be observed in a visual sense where groupism occurs owing to gender affinity or gender specific communication. The impact of such difference would be lack of information flow among peers of opposite gender, which is crucial for an organization to achieve its goals. Provision of a level playing field with objectives achievable thru merit, will help achieving organizational success with employees representing all genders.
Achieving Organizational Success with Divergent Paradigms
Communication in Global Organizations
An organization leader should provide clarity of vision to all employees and ensure the vision drives the team’s behavior as opposed to individual paradigms. Owing to the upsurge of globalized workforce in the 21st century, organizations have largely frayed away from commercial structures based on geographical coordinates and turned towards establishing global business hubs (Hirsch et al, 2008). The impact of changing course and adapting to a globalized work environment presents the need for management to deal with a culturally divergent pool of employees. Guidelines towards an organization’s vision, periodic milestones, action plan, key performance indicators, technology stack, and information flow must be communicated out and the employee’s comprehension ought to be surveyed. Since COVID-19 had changed the workplace in most global organizations since early 2020, organizations have been adapting to virtual communication on a larger and rapid scale than anticipated. Studies reveal that managers and employees must bridge the gap in space, time, and cultural differences to successfully navigate the organization towards its objectives in an increasingly virtual work environment (Brotheridge et al., 2015). Increased training of managers over communicating the organizational strategy and periodic feedback from employees over alignment is a methodology to manage a culturally divergent workforce.
Ethics in Culturally Pluralistic Environment
Many global organizations have cultural diversity training for managers to effectively handle divergent paradigms among employees and maintain a harmonious work environment. In a culturally pluralistic environment, there are distinct ethical values at a group level while coexisting and performing functions with other teams and adapting to form a dominant culture (Winter, 2011). In such environments, organizational ethics are primarily driven by the value proposition offered for customers and the principles by which the organization produces and delivers the value. Finding an ethical balance in a pluralistic environment will drive the need to identify shared moral values and ethical codes such as equality, transparency, clarity, and communication that appeals all employees within the global organization. According to Kallen (Kallen, 1956), the goal for cultural pluralism was not assimilation, but to have a melting point of views with the best interest of collective society at its core. Managing an organization with culturally pluralistic groups would mean that ethical code of standards is set as the foundational principle and communicated across all groups. Adherence to such principles will ensure that cultural divergence can be leveraged to accomplish organizational objectives set forth.
Cultural divergence is organically evolving in organizations as the workforce is dismantling the geographical norms required in a conventional sense, largely owing to technological advancement. In a global organization, leaders require a deeper understanding of varying cultures and behavior motivated by divergent paradigms. In addition to scholastic education in cultural diversity and managing employees with distinct perspectives, it is recommended that organizational leaders gain vital experience through interactive communication among diversified groups. Binding the diversity into cohesive operational teams is imperative for organizational leaders. This requires adherence to universal moral and ethical code of standards, fairness, equality, and openness in communication. In conclusion, culturally divergent paradigms, if understood and channelized, can be aligned towards the organizational principles and therefore can immensely contribute towards accomplishing the organizational objectives.
Brotheridge, C., Neufeld, D. J., & Dyck, B. (2015). Communicating virtually in a global organization. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 30(8), 909-924. http://dx.doi.org.fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/10.1108/JMP-06-2013-0191
Gneezy, U., Niederle, M., & Rustichini, A. (2003). Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(3), 1049-1074. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25053930
Hirsch, P., & Shaukat, N. (2008). My country is different: Defining drivers of excellence in the global communications organizations of large multinationals. Corporate Communications, 13(1), 11-17. http://dx.doi.org.fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/10.1108/13563280810848166
Kallen, H. M. (1956). Cultural pluralism and the american idea. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Kopelman, S., Hardin, A. E., Myers, C. G., & Tost, L. P. (2016). Cooperation in multicultural negotiations: How the cultures of people with low and high power interact. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(5), 721–730. https://doi-org.fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/apl0000065
Mastracci, S., & Adams, I. (2019). Is Emotional Labor Easier in Collectivist or Individualist Cultures? An East–West Comparison. Public Personnel Management, 48(3), 325–344. https://doi-org.fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/10.1177/0091026018814569
Van den Bos, K., Brockner, J., Stein, J. H., Steiner, D. D., Van Yperen, N. W., & Dekker, D. M. (2010). The psychology of voice and performance capabilities in masculine and feminine cultures and contexts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99(4), 638–648. https://doi-org.fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/a0019310
Wang, J., Cheng, G. H., Chen, T., & Leung, K. (2019). Team creativity/innovation in culturally diverse teams: A meta‐analysis. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 40(6), 693-708. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2362
Winter, E. (2011). Us, Them, and Others: Pluralism and National Identity in Diverse Societies. Toronto; Buffalo; London: University of Toronto Press. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442663220