Currently, there are thousands of existed markets and each of them has a specific characteristic, which has to be considered before entering it. And these markets differ with their culture, negotiation and business management styles. Therefore, more companies require managers, which can lead international projects and lead the multinational groups.
These leaders are required for different reasons, such as penetrating the market, merging with other companies or transferring the manufacturing process, but all of these processes are impossible without cross cultural leadership.
The main requirements for a person, who is an international leader are being effective, efficient, be able to work with such a diverse team. The first two factors can be met in every job description, however; the last one has much deeper meaning that it can look like. Working with a team consisted of individuals different nations automatically require the knowledge of the culture, personalities, history and the values of people working with you.
Cross cultural leadership problems
One of the biggest problems at the beginning that can be faced is communication. Before a manager start explaining any task or details, one has to be sure that the words, methods and definitions are same for both people, as it can turn out later that your expectations will be much different from the outputs.
There is a small story about cross cultural management, which sounds the next way – “One man has hired the worker from a different country to paint his porch near the house. He asked the man to colour his black porch by evening, when he will come back from restaurant. The builder just nodded with his head and told that everything will be done by the deadline. In the evening the owner of the house came back and saw that the porch is still black and nothing had changed. The man asked the worker, why the porch is still not painted. The builder just answered: ‘I have colored your Porsche and by the way it was not black, but white?’” This small story shows how the words and their pronunciation can turn the tide of the whole task.
Hoftstede’s cultural dimensions theory
Hoftstede’s cultural dimensions theory is usually taking into a consideration, as it is based on countries values and customs. This theory may help international managers to overcome the barriers and find the best approach to the employee. The theory is divided on six indices that show the effect of the culture on the behavior and values. The factors are next: Power distance index, Individualism vs. collectivism, Uncertainty avoidance, Masculinity vs. femininity, Long-term orientation vs. short term orientation and Indulgence vs. restraint index.
Power distance index shows the distribution of the power equally, this means how people are used to an authorities and what type of structure do they prefer. The second index is about working together in the team and having a common goals or rather being concentrated on the individual goals, and working alone. Uncertainty avoidance can be connected with the decision making process in management, how people react to ambiguity and how they perceive it.
Masculinity vs. femininity is about the values cared by women, which can be reflected in their behavior and competitiveness, for instance. Long term vs. short term factor is about the ambitions of the country, traditions that people save, and the role of these traditions in the minds of people. Indulgence and restraint factor can be observed as the factor of happiness in the countries. Treating all these indices with respect and with the proper use of all these information, a manager can build the perfect plan, atmosphere and conditions for cooperation in the specific country. In this case, the cooperation will be effective and efficient, bringing both parties satisfaction from the work.
Cross cultural leader role
Good cross cultural leader should know how to find the best approach to the specific country, how to analyze the values, behavior and motivation of the people. Depending on how the leader will try to destroy the barrier between the employee and himself depend the performance of the duties. It is highly important to be aware of the personality type of the person and his personal goals, as it can be used for supporting him in the project or motivating him to do the job better.
Cross cultural leaders are tending to be good in case if they have faced the cultural shock at least one or two times in their life. In this case, such a person is familiar of the traps can be prepared at the beginning of the cooperation. This leader has a vision of the main factors should be discussed and the most important what person should be hired. Human resources is very important in international projects, as manager should be confident about who one wants to hire and what advantages and disadvantages will this person have due to his culture and values. That is why cross cultural leader is significant in international business.
Cross cultural leader is a person, who knows the main issues can be face, knows how to overcome them, what people should be hired and how the people from different nations can be transformed into one team, which has a synergy.
- Faulkner B., 2018, Cross-Cultural Management & Leadership Styles
- Holch G., 2018, Cross-Cultural Leadership Skills Are Not What You Think
- Mindtools, Hoftstede’s Cultural Dimensions
Author: Nikita Shtemenko