Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Developing Cross cultural Capability

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Doing business is a very complex activity. At first it was known that business is one area where figures, facts and reports would occupy most of the international and national managers time but now a new idea which is fundamentally important for the success of both the organization and the manger is called culture. Thomas and Inkson have particularly carried out a detail analysis over this issue and revealed their findings by giving practical advice to not just local managers but international managers as well in successfully dealing with people from different cultures.

International managers deal with global business therefore they come across various cultures. By being flexible and understanding towards the new culture, will the manager learn from the attributes and thus reshape his/her approach the next time the international manager is made to come across a similar situation of different culture. In effect the international manager carries out work more professionally as cultural framework becomes a part of his/her job specification.

Culture has become so important, particularly for international managers that the book ‘Cultural Intelligence: People Skills for Global Business’ by Thomas and Inkson is organized in two sections. The first part included learning fundamental cultures and the second part concerns application of these fundamental at work place, while providing illustrative examples of how one comes across daily cultural barriers.

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Body In today’s linguistic society, world managers are required to do business at all fronts, enabling them to deal with different kinds of culture irrespective of being at home turf or abroad. That is why whether such managers like it or not, they are required to learn about the culture of Developing Cross cultural Capability P 3 the individual or group with whom the manager is going to conduct business.

There are many books or information widely available online to learn how to do business in other countries but it’s not possible for managers to learn each and every detail of the traits and customs that will be followed by different cultures in the path of conducting business. It is solely due to the refinement between different cultures that make it diverse and variable amongst many ethnic groups. That is why it is necessary to have an organized approach towards dealing with many communications that business people have in their everyday routine.

To deal with this matter, a new term was introduced called the Cultural intelligence (CQ). It is defined as the competency that one possesses in understanding unknown background to adjusting to the different or new cultural framework. According to Martha, Cultural intelligence enables a person to look at things from both the business and cultural aspects as a whole, rather than individual heads. Therefore it influences diversity in the organization which is essential for success and prosperity.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be international but also national, corporate and vocational cultures. It helps develop a paradigm which can be used in different countries and the challenges that businessmen come across from around the world. No doubt CQ takes time to develop but through CQ will a manager understand how cultures vary, how it affects the practice of business, associated behavior, attributes in greeting people and a ranger of business skill which only add value to them and their services in conducting work practice. (Source: Cultural Intelligence in International Business Negotiation, Editorial Review, Cultural Intelligence, Managing Diversity in IT department through Cultural Intelligence)

Developing Cross cultural Capability P 4 It is often that cultural intelligence is considered to be the same as emotional intelligence but what people don’t realize is that cultural intelligence starts where emotional intelligence ends. Emotional intelligence makes each human being different from one another while cultural intelligence holds those features that are true for a particular group, leaving the gap between the two known as culture.

It was evidenced in a test where an American immigrant manager was mentioning his ideas to two German engineers, who dint pay a heed to his thoughts thus leaving the manager to conclude that Germans are offensive and belligerent. If the expatriate manager had even a small amount of cultural intelligence he would have been able to distinguish the real issue rather than making such a remark and being emotionally driven (emotional intelligent). This is because Germans were simply being themselves while the expatriate manager presented his ideas in a way he would usually do, which is not in line with the Germans.

Had the manager realized the cultural difference, he would have been able to present the idea in a different manner but making the same point across them. One important element here which relates both cultural intelligence and emotional intelligence is the susceptibility to postpone the judgment so that one is able to think before acting, according to psychologist Daniel Goleman. That is why a person with high cultural intelligence will start registering quickly than from a low culturally intelligent person.

It is only once the person is able to digest different patterns of attitude and behavior which enables him/her to predict the next step and effectively make the conversation much more meaningful. (Source: Cultural Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence) Conventionally, the understanding of culture with respect to international business has been influenced by certain number of factors. Firstly the cultural distance that exists in different countries in which the business is being carried out. It is possible that the same business being

Developing Cross cultural Capability P 5 carried out in one country might be difficult to be carried out in another. Secondly the direct impact culture of the entities business on different departments such as marketing rather than on corporate finance. And thirdly where a firm is dominated by workforces who are emigrants, the entity will be required to give particular attention to the recruitment, selection and training of those employees so that they are able to not just adapt to the cultural environment but also excel in their careers.

This can be evidenced by the observation of Mike Vizard, Editorial Director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise that Russians and Indians like to work alone, while Caucasian workforces create their own groups based on sex, age and civilization. Asians on the other hand form their groups on national and ancestral basis and now Afro-Americans have started their own circle. Therefore it is imminent that cultural intelligence is related to the organization and international managers in one way or the other. (Source: Cultural Intelligence: Put it (High) on the Asian HRM Agenda, Managing Diversity in IT department through Cultural Intelligence)

Cultural Intelligence is important on certain obvious moments particularly when conducting business with foreign clients. It can be with respect to communication barrier, be it verbally or non-verbally, or a hold up in having the same outlook in understanding the way one is dealing with another with different cultural background. Therefore managers will realize that they require some sort of information which will help bridge this gap and hence make the communication process of sending signals with the client easier to digest.

Cultural Intelligence is also important when dealing and negotiating terms with a prospective joint venture international partner. This is because no simple relationship exists as a long term relationship is expected to be materialized therefore the risks and Developing Cross cultural Capability P 6 rewards are a lot higher than before. Issues and motion between the set parties is significantly raised as possible misunderstandings due to cross cultural differences exist.

This is why it is usually expected that international joint ventures will most probably fall, whose reasons are closely related to deficiency in cultural intelligence between the parties. (Source: Cultural Intelligence: Put it (High) on the Asian HRM Agenda) Quite often international managers are required to have professional relationships with emigrant and local contemporaries. That is why it is now understood for expatriates to have high level of cultural intelligence in order for them to achieve the desired results.

Also firms often send employees abroad for training purpose and in order to work successfully with both the local and emigrant workers, it is necessary that training in cultural variety needs to be addressed on an ongoing basis. (Source: Cultural Intelligence: Put it (High) on the Asian HRM Agenda) Cultural intelligence also acts as a source of motivation for both local and expatriates co-workers as different things motivate different people. Most international managers are familiar with the fact that rewards have to be tailored to meet the requirements of the local workers.

There are however a difference in the compensation that expatriates receive than that of locals therefore in order for locals to have that level of benefits then it is necessary for them to have a high level of cultural intelligence. (Source: Cultural Intelligence: Put it (High) on the Asian HRM Agenda) Cultural intelligence also helps resolve intercultural issues. Hall pointed out that cultures of different context require different ways of dealing with them. High context culture use indirect means to resolve disputes, usually by involving a third party, whereas Developing Cross cultural Capability P 7 those of low cultural context use direct methods (confrontation) of settling differences.

Both of these aspects require the use of cultural intelligence while international managers are specially required to possess such skills. (Source: Cultural Intelligence: Put it (High) on the Asian HRM Agenda) But with the recent trend towards globalization, cultural differences pertaining to national level are now seen to reduce as now more and more emphasis is being given for better understanding of different cultures.

Globalization will further enhance the level of interactions with people in different cultures, giving rise to further cultural differences. Gaining the knowledge about another culture will give a basic understanding of cultural intelligence and yet another effective competency in dealing with international business affairs. Further training will be required for cultural intelligence as more and more challenging international tasks will push the managers in search for new horizons.

In line with this phenomenon quite a few government have created opportunities for developing the local communities by innovating their existing culture with policies of multi-culture. Thereby creating national identities who will stand out in an international level and continue to sustain the international competition in this age of globalization. (Source: Abstract, Managing Diversity in IT department through Cultural Intelligence, International Cultural Difference) In Asia, this is more problematic as less importance and value is given to cultural skills by both the local and foreign firms, which is vastly seen in local workforce.

That is why a serious threat is posed as their performance is being compromised. For success, it would be a lot better if such organizations and individual as well, possess this collective Exploring the Legal Profession P 8 intellect as it would enable them to force their way through every barrier related to culture. No doubt this will be a difficult act but being mindful (one of the components of cultural intelligence) will definitely separate an individual (even an organization) from the crowd.

Therefore as globalization continues to get in the root of labor, those who will harness the way to communicate and be culturally sensitive will definitely prosper. That is why international managers are not just required to have knowledge of cultural intelligence but also focus on the repercussions for human resource management. (Source: Abstract, Managing Diversity in IT department through Cultural Intelligence) People with the diverse backgrounds can productively and effectively contribute in organizational operations for which management is required to create a culture in an organization.

Instead of just diversifying superficially example skin color, training programs offered by the HR management will help in collaborating diverse employees to make the most of them. Even though managers might not be so fond of it but by making it mandatory in the policies of the company, managers will be forced to follow for the betterment of the organization. By keeping such attitude the productivity level will most certainly fall of the manager therefore it is in his/her own self interest to actively pursue cultural intelligence so that not only does the entity progress but one’s skills also enhance.

(Source: Managing Diversity in IT department through Cultural Intelligence) Experience, like in any other case, counts heavily as well as in cultural intelligence. Managers with more business practice are likely to have a higher level of cultural intelligence as they become familiar and as a routine deal with culturally diverse workforce. As talented and educated a lower level manager is, he/she cannot handle such situations as cultural intelligence is Exploring the Legal Profession P 9 not innate rather, it’s nurtured and ingrained by practice and experience.

That is why higher level managers are expected to already have this quality since in some organizations; it used to be known as ‘global business practices’. (Source: Echeat) Conclusion Epitomizing, in is highly dynamic environment and global market where mergers and take over have become really common, it is important for an international manager to amalgamate easily in new cultures. Proper planned strategies are being laid down to recruit and train managers with this global aspect as a part of administrating business.

Therefore cultural intelligence assists not just managers but organizations as well. By halting the initial perception about their culture and learn to pay attention to the fine details in a creative manner, this will enable them to send and receive the right signals thereby achieving the quality of making the right form of communication at a given situation. An effective international manager is one who is culturally intellect, therefore connecting with people of different culture with fairly ease and buoyancy.

This is because an international manager can easily understand what and why a particular activity is taking place in all sorts of environment. This gives considerable competitive advantage and those ignoring this fact are certainly taking a big risk (Professor Hong Hai). Decision making will become more effective, negotiating skills will further enhance across different cultures and hence be lead and motivate by example in cultural diverse environment in order to administer their international career in a positive manner. (Source: People Skills for Global Business, Center for Leadership and Cultural Intelligence)

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Developing Cross cultural Capability. (2018, Feb 24). Retrieved from

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