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Cross culture management refers to process by which work of team or employees can be management adequately. For this purpose, it considered difference in practices, cultures and preference of consumers in global business context (Stahl and Tung, 2015). In order to gain high profitability, every company seeks to expand business at international level. But, they have to face various challenges and issues to achieve this goal successful. A report is going to present on working in international teams which explored some main concepts. It includes managing cross-cultures in international teams, practice theories and build a strong team. In this regard, Apple Inc. is taken which deals in manufacturing sector and sells electronic, computer software and online services at marketplace. It has run business in many countries therefore, this report will describe process by which it manages cross-cultures environment.
Working in International Teams
Cross culture management refers to a comprehensive study of various culture at organisation which deals in international market. It describes how national cultural difference at workplace affect decision-making and business process in ethical manner. In context with Apple Inc., which is an international company of UK and has expanded its business in many countries. Therefore, it could be a perfect example for understanding the concept of cross culture management. The reason behind this is expansion of its business market at global scale. It has founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Woznaik and Ronald Wayne as well as headquartered at California, UK. Currently this company has near about 500 retail stores where more than 123,000 workers are working (Parke and Ladd, 2016). It serves a wide range of innovative products and services worldwide. It includes iPhone, macOS, Apple TV, iLife and more. Henceforth, it is considered as one of the highest successful companies which bucked notions of business or corporate culture. Its informal culture at organisation is taken as a key trait which differentiate it from rivals at same marketplace (Dupuis, 2014). With expansion of business, various opportunities and challenges have come in front of this company, which affects its strategies and policies in both positive and negative manner.
Team and teamwork are considered as main keys for success of a company. It can be defined as way of organising various people having different perceptions and goals into a group. When a firm achieve success in building an effective team then it will boost energy level of employers to achieve set goals and objectives in given period of time. For this purpose, managers of Apple is required to create an effective working environment which foster, expects and recognise teamwork (Kaynak and Herbig, 2014). They have given open environment to workers where people allow to freely express their opinion, thoughts and potentials for resolve a task. In addition to this, managers have provided entire information related to mission, vision and goals of business to team-members so that they can understand the importance of working in team and give cooperation accordingly. All these steps help in building an effective team who are able to do a specific task in set period of time. But while conducting business operations at international level, the main problem arise for team-building is diverse culture. As, it creates various problems in front of an organisation because any false consensus while dealing with people of diverse culture, may arise conflicts in team (Holden, Michailova and Tietze, 2015). People having different background, they have contrasted way of doing a work.
Cross-culture challenges in global business management, has become a major issue for international organisations. In context with Apple Inc., since international teams are more creative, dynamic and enthusiastic, therefore, when employees are spread in entire world, then it helps in improving reputation of business. But before transferring or sending employees to abroad or recruiting from other countries, it is necessary to provide effective training to them. It will help in reducing chance of business failure (Adekola and Sergi, 2016). In this regard, strategically developing and managing a diverse team, consider as one of the most integral aspects to build a competitive advantage. But while working with an international team, a company faces countless difference where developing effective communication seems to be failed at every stage. Therefore, challenges which might come in front of Apple while developing international team are- language barrier, cultural background, inadequate trust, perception, inaccurate biases and more.
Language Barrier - In developing an international team, one of the major problem is language barrier. So, under this condition, it is difficult for person to understand perceptive of each other. Along with this, it also creates a challenge in front of managers to develop collaboration in team and engage them in group-activities.
Culture background - People who come from different working culture sometime feel unable to work in collaboration. As they have different perceptions and ways to conduct a work. So, it arise conflicts between them as well (Reiche et al., 2016). Therefore, to get familiarize with new working environment at foreign place and adopt lifestyle or tradition of there, is a major challenge for people to work at international level. Furthermore, it also creates challenge for managers of Apple Inc. to create effective working environment and develop policies according to different culture of employees.
Inadequate trust - To gain trust of each people while developing an effective team and gain their loyalty, is another big challenges in front of a company. When people having different culture and language then it will be hard to develop and maintain trust among each other. Therefore, for expanding business at global scale, managers of Apple Inc. are required to adopt techniques by which they can develop trust among team-workers.
Perception - It is also considered as issue in creating international team. As people belongs to advanced countries thinks that members from developing countries are inferior as comparison and vice-versa. Therefore, different perception also refers as issue in front of managers of Apple for team-building procedures.
Inaccurate biases – This factor is based on decision making process at business. For example: People of UK generally make decisions in group while in context with other countries like China, they do not deliver on time. Therefore, it is considered as too generalized versions of different cultural prejudices.
False communication – Interaction between people belong to different cultural background often lead to create false communication also. Therefore, it arise various conflicts between team members. For example, during discussions on a certain topic, people of UK generally used to nod their heads as a sign of politeness, which reflects that they are agreed with an agreement. But it completely wrong as it is not necessarily to be true (Bird and Mendenhall, 2016). Therefore, it leads to develop false communication between people of UK and other countries with whom Apple Inc. is dealing with.
To face such challenges which might arise due to different background in international team, cross-culture management provides various ways. It includes promoting open communication, providing training, fostering strong relationship among workers and embrace diversity.
Open communication: To manage workers who come from different countries to execute an international project, it is necessary for organisations to promote open communication. Since ineffective or false communication is taken as root cause for failure of a project or workplace. For global organisations like Apple, level of communication at work-place helps in determining failure or success of a specific project. For an instance- Apple Inc. has branches in Malaysia, China and many countries, therefore, by adopting good system for communication, its managers can interact with international employees and clients more easily. It includes Google Apps, Skype, Podio, Basecamp and HitChat etc. Google provides may apps by which a company can communicate and collaborate with global team-members more easily. While creating a Skype account, group members live at distant place can either do video calls or conference calls with each other. Along with this, this app has ability to instant share messages and files. Similarly, Podio is a social networking sites which allows a company to create tasks for members. This app is also equipped with email service, contact list, calendar and chat app, through which team-members can interact with each other.
Foster strong relationship among team-members: Team-building is a most concern or overlooked aspect of business world. Developing meaningful or effective relationships among global team-members is important, for keeping everyone engaged in work and get cooperation in performing group activities more efficiently (Tjosvold, 2017). For this process, managers of Apple Inc. can develop various strategies like organising face-to-face calls with global team-members to get information about progress and further recommendation for change.
Minimise and manage differences: Under this process, Apple Inc. can recognise impact of cultural difference which lead to both pros and cons. By recognising that variation occurs only due to different perception of team-members, managers can manage the impact of cultural difference. As minimising such difference may often mislead workers while conducting group activities. Apart from this, by taking advantage of cultural difference in introducing creativity in task, they can convince people to work in collaboration. When cultural differences are managed in adequate manner by managers of Apple Inc., then it becomes more easy for organization to flourish in all cultures across the international.
Thus, to adopt these strategies more effectively, a company can adopt various theories or approaches. It includes Hofstede's Cultural Dimension, Kluckhonn-Strodthbeck, Trompennars and more (Hofstede's Cultural Dimension, 2018). Among these theory, managers of Apple Inc. has adopted Hofstede's theory to deal with cross-cultural challenges.
Hofstede' Cultural theory : This process covers various managerial activities which are directly related to different cultural issues. Company adopts Hofstede' Cultural theory provides knowledge of different cultural influences such as, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism versus collectivism, Masculinity versus felinity, short term orientation versus long term (Ang and Van Dyne, 2015). First dimension refers to power distance that measures to inequality among people. Secondly strengthen of mutual tie up with certain communities, IDV score indicate to weakest and strong connection between people. High IDV respects to privacy and enjoy challenges and rewards for better performance. On other hand low level refers to maintain harmonium relationship between group member and intrinsic rewards. Thirdly provides knowledge about distribution of duties and role between men and women. Similarly high MAS refer to importance of egos, money, and achievement. Low perspective defines to more focus on qualitative work life of people. Some major practices of this theory are:-
Power Distance Index (PDI): High and Low power distance is considered as extent to which members of an organisation having less authority in international team, used to accept that power is distributed unequally. Therefore, in those countries where employees are forced to follow instruction or decisions of their seniors, give less cooperation and contribution in achievement of business goals and objectives at global manner. But in organisational culture of UK, employers of companies like Apple Inc. distribute equal power to team members so that they can give high contributions in building global-team. This will lead to generate high success and reduce impact of cross-culture as well.
Individualism (IDV) vs. collectivism: Under this practices, in individualism, work of employees are recognised on individual basis and their performance or contribution in succeeding a specific goal. While under collectivism, success of a specific task is judged on the basis of group performance not individually (Karin Andreassi et al., 2014). Thus, in this regard, organisations where rewards and compensation are given to employees in individual manner, rise various conflicts. It will lead to demotivate those workers who do not get appreciation. Therefore, in Apple Inc. for building international team, this firm give rewards and compensation on the basis of team-work.
Masculinity (MAS), vs. femininity: The distribution of roles and responsibilities to team-members on the basis of gender, also create issues. In contest to working with international team-members, masculine or feminine culture, also create cross-culture creates barrier in building global team as well. In this regard, managers of Apple Inc. strictly follow Sex-discrimination Act and Right to Equality Act 2010. They give equal opportunity to workers and never differentiate them on the basis of gender, caste or other discrimination ratio. Thus, it will help in empowering employees to give contribution in building international team so that high success in business can be gained.
Thus, in order to reduce issues and barriers which may arise due to different culture and background, a company requires to understand the concept of cross-culture management. This would help in building an international team and bring collaboration among people belongs to different culture (Thomas and Peterson, 2017). In addition to this, by providing essential training to team-members, managers gain opportunity to reduce barriers in building global team as well. For this purpose, they can follow effective practices given by Hofstede's Cultural dimension for bringing efficiencies as well.
From this project, it has summarised that by increasing globalization, cultural differences at organisation are bound to be found more. It has become essential for managers of a company to handle complex issues or challenges appropriately, which arise due to cultural differences as well as mould the same into benefits also. In addition to this, at global level, people should respect culture and perceptive of each other so that managers become able to face challenges related to cross-culture difference. By developing strategies, they can manager and eradicate the differences more properly, which further leads to achieve pre-defined organizational objectives in set period of time. As dealing with cross-culture arise various challenges and issues in front of international companies. Therefore, company requires to adopt policies, theories or approaches by which they can develop international team. Furthermore, resources and organisational potentials must be utilized in optimum manner when there is no such differences. In addition to this, cultural differences in multinational organisation can be taken as positive factor which helps managers in building synergies. This will shape business of companies to equip the best for fighting against the competitors and get more competitive advancement as well.
Books and Journals
Thomas, D. C. and Peterson, M. F., 2017. Cross-cultural management: Essential concepts. Sage Publications.
Karin Andreassi, et al., 2014. Cultural impact of human resource practices on job satisfaction: A global study across 48 countries. Cross cultural management. 21(1). pp.55-77.
Tjosvold, D., 2017. Cross-cultural management: foundations and future. Routledge.
Bird, A. and Mendenhall, M. E., 2016. From cross-cultural management to global leadership: Evolution and adaptation. Journal of World Business. 51(1). pp.115-126.
Reiche, et al., 2016. Readings and cases in international human resource management. Taylor & Francis.
Adekola, A. and Sergi, B. S., 2016. Global business management: A cross-cultural perspective. Routledge.
Ang, S. and Van Dyne, L., 2015. Handbook of cultural intelligence. Routledge.
Kaynak, E. and Herbig, P., 2014. Handbook of cross-cultural marketing. Routledge.
Parke, R. D. and Ladd, G. W. eds., 2016. Family-peer relationships: Modes of linkage. Routledge.
Stahl, G. K. and Tung, R. L., 2015. Towards a more balanced treatment of culture in international business studies: The need for positive cross-cultural scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies. 46(4). pp.391-414.
Dupuis, J. P., 2014. New approaches in cross-cultural management research: The importance of context and meaning in the perception of management styles. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management. 14(1). pp.67-84.
Holden, N., Michailova, S. and Tietze, S. eds., 2015. The Routledge companion to cross-cultural management. Routledge.