Working with Different cultures
Organizations must work with people from diverse cultures in today’s globalised economy. Diversity brings new perspectives, experiences, and skills, making organizations more dynamic and innovative. However, working with people from different cultures can also present challenges, including communication barriers, misunderstandings, and cultural clashes. This case study examines a scenario where a team of professionals experienced difficulties working with individuals from different cultures.
Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity, drive innovation, make businesses more competitive, attract and retain the best talent, offer a broader and more adaptable range of products and services, and create greater opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, integration can be difficult due to prejudice or negative cultural stereotypes. (1)
Different cultures can have radically different leadership styles, and international organizations would do well to understand them.
British managers are courteous, helpful, and open to compromise, and they actively seek to be fair. American managers, on the other hand, are aggressive, assertive, goal- and action-oriented, vivacious, upbeat, and flexible. Whereas Swedish managers are decentralised and democratic, French managers are more likely to be dictatorial and paternalistic. Top Japanese executives are not heavily involved in day-to-day operations of the organisation, while German managers seek to develop a faultless system. Leadership in the Netherlands is based on merit, skill, and achievement, while it is frequently given to a resident Chinese professional class in Indonesia. Australian managers must sit in the ring with their “mates” and exert much more influence than their Swedish counterparts.
Leaders in Finland and Spain are authoritarian and charismatic, whereas nepotism is common in traditional Indian businesses. The employer is in charge in democratic Norway, and employees have access to them. Lithuanian managers still have a ways to go before fully shedding their bureaucratic traditions, but the next generation of leaders is embracing a more dynamic approach. Polish authorities continue to cherish traditional romance. Chinese advancement is dominated by mentorship; Black South African communities are clan-based; Kemal Ataturk has an impact on Turkish managers; Estonians are individualistic; Latvians regard firm, confident, competent leadership; and Israeli society celebrates achievement and dynamism.(2)
You can approach cross-cultural conversations at work better by paying attention to RICS Recruit’s top ten suggestions for doing so.(3)
- Begin with you – Go inside yourself first to examine your thoughts and behaviours before turning your attention outward. It’s critical to recognise how your assumptions and unconsciously performed behaviours affect other people. Instead of continuing to act automatically, take some time to think about your reactions to various situations.
- Be impartial – Keep in mind that every method of working has benefits and drawbacks. How may you benefit yourself or others in a new situation by using a different strategy, like collectivism or a relationship-centered
- Be open to change – The fact that the globe is constantly changing makes working across cultures extremely difficult. Rapid adaptability to changing situations is essential. When people interact with one another and with ever-evolving technology, cultures adapt and change. Be cautious when assuming things about the individuals you are working with, and be prepared to change your opinions as you gain more knowledge
- Have an open mind – Every civilization has a particular frame of reference and a limited viewpoint on the world. We can only broaden our perspective on the world by continuing to be curious and open to learning. A lack of interest might come across as dismissive or contemptuous very fast. To show that you are eager to learn, ask precise, open-ended questions and pay attention to the responses.
- Ask if you’re unsure – Never be hesitant to clarify something if you don’t understand it or even if you believe you do. You can discover that your presumptions were inaccurate since you failed to take into account the viewpoint of the other individual. For instance, some words might not translate into other languages, just as other cultural norms might not translate
- Compassion – Even within the same cultural context, it can be challenging to view the world from someone else’s perspective. Yet, you must attempt to collaborate effectively. Sit down with others to learn how they handle business-related issues like sharing information, communicating, and making decisions. Even if you don’t agree, it’s still important to take the necessary measures to comprehend.
- Be amiable – In many cultures, developing relationships is crucial, which makes it essential to be liked and trusted as a person. Try to develop a personal relationship with everyone you meet. Although it may seem obvious, try to avoid being sarcastic or rude. Achievement in different cultures can frequently come down to like people
- The virtue of patience – Expect to learn and achieve results more slowly than you normally would. When things don’t move as quickly as we’d like, it is simple to become irritated. Nevertheless, this leads to burnout, which finally causes us to retreat back into our own culture as a safe haven. Give people with talent more time to succeed in unfamiliar cultural contexts
- Use your insight Cross – cultural working won’t succeed if you can’t distinguish between people’s differences and commonalities. Get into these interactions with an open mind and be prepared to observe cultural differences. You can’t adapt if you lack perception.
- Develop your fortitude – Last but not least, crossing cultural boundaries can be demanding. It takes a lot of focus and effort to be constantly aware of a new culture. You can succeed and get through tough situations with a decent sense of humour