This is the question we look at today. Why is the delivery of below grade raw materials at the jobsite in Monterrey a cross cultural issue?
The simple anwer is that the mixture of national cultures and their widely varying values means within the mangement team alone, the individuals on the management team will very likely see and understand the issue from very different sets of work place values. The workplace values of a Norwegian will lead Edwin to easily bypass workplace hierarchy for himself and for those that work with him, in order to get the answer to why the below grade materials are being delivered. The workplace values of Maurizio the Italian member who is responsible for procurement will guide Maurizio to see the that hierarchy in the workplace is extremely important and to be followed in all situations. The workplace values of Samir the head of engineering for the project will guide Samir to see that hierarchy is always valuable and that all details must be channeled through the appropriate individuals. The national cultural workplace values seen very simply in these three gentlemen demonstrates the wide range of cultural workplace values that exist. Thus if the manager of procurement handles the matter in his way, his way could create a lack of understanding from some of his fellow mangement team members, and also perhaps from some of the entire workplace employees. The lack of understanding created through one workplace behavior as compared to what another employee on the global job site may choose as a behavior leading to a solution leads to a global work opportunity where there is little understanding, poor real communication.
The poor communication and low level of understanding among the individuals at the jobsite is actually a low level of TRUST. Trust is fundamental to a successful global work site. Best Practice Number Four asks that each person at the global jobsite have an awareness of his cross cultural communication skills. The required "awareness" is created through knowing one's own national culture workplace values and those of each national culture present at the same global worksite. Cross Cultural Trust is built and maintained through the required "awareness" of the national cultural values functioning at the global jobsite and then choosing workplace behaviors that communicate "Trust" to each person at the jobsite. At times the trust creating behaviors will be different as is seen in the contrasting values of hierarchy at the jobsite. Cross Cultural Trust is the goal of Best Practice Number Four. Cross Cultural Trust is also fundamental to resolving the one issue we have singled out of our case study. The delivery of appropriate grade materials will be achieved through each management team understanding what is a cross cultural trust creating behavior for the members of the team and for each person at the jobsite.
I look forward to hearing from you on your thoughts as we have looked, ever so briefly at this case study during Cyberweek 2010 at U Mass, Amherst.
LiSimba Consulting Services Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success