Friday, October 29, 2010

The Fifth Best Practice and Cross Cultural Resolution

Dear friends,

As Cyberweek 2010 comes to a close today we will bring cross cultural resolution to the one issue we chose to look at in our case study.

The Fifth Best Practice is all about cross cultural resolution which flows from adhering the first four Best Practices. Best Practice Number Five asks that a person create an awareness within oneself of the issue at hand and of the cross cultural concerns that exist among those who are involved in the issue.

Applying this to our case study, we have Maurizio who is responsible for procurement on the Monterrey jobsite. He was born and raised in Italy and so carries the national cultural values to his work. There are many ways to name and to assess a national cultural value. One way is to look at a culture's value of a manager as a facilitator or as an expert. Here the Italian value of a manager is far closer to valuing the manager as an expert and fairly distant from valuing a manager as a facilitator. So it is likely that Maruizio will see his responsiblity for procurement as flowing from his expertise. For Maurizio it is likely that he sees the group that reports directly to him as depending upon him for his expertise. Edwin, the Assistant Manager for Mexico is Norwegian and so carries into his work his Norwegian cultural values. Edwin then highly values the manager as a facilitator and manages all of those reporting to him as a facilitator, and not as the expert in each area. Aimee who is responsible for all engineering is Belgian and in carrying his Belgian cultural values to his work sees a manager more as a facilitator but as strongly as Edwin. Samir is from India and as he carries his national cultural values to his work sees a manager in nearly the same way or more strongly so as Maurizio. This means that for Samir a manager is the expert for those who report to him.

As the management team approaches resolving the one issue that we have raised from the case study, each team manager will then understand his role as a manager in an entirely different manner. To bring c orss cultural resolution to the delivery of low grade materials to the Monterrey jobsite, it is fundamental that each manager not only understand his own cultural value of a manager but also the cultural value of a manager that each person on the management team brings to the team. As Edwin strongly believes in his role as a manager-facilitator, he will empower Maurizio and each management team member to look at his part of the responsibility for resolution. This means, that Edwin will not challenge Maurizio's nor Samir's authority as that could bring a break in the communicatiuon within the management team. Edwin will choose words and behaviors that lead to empowering the team members to work collaboratively with each other toward quickly bringing in an appropraite grade of raw material and assuring the return of below grade raw materials likely at the vendor's expense.

The goal of the Best Practices is to create a cross culturally collaborative global work team which maximizes the present work opportunity for all on the global work team. Here our management team, as culturally diverse as they are learn to collaborate across their national cultural values differences to resolve issues on a daily basis. We did a very brief analysis here. For more time on this and perhaps other case issues you may see, please contact me.

It has been a pure joy to write this blog daily in support of Cyberweek 2010 at U Mass, Amherst. Our global work place requires a working population globally that is skilled in working through cyberspace.

Warm regards,


Jane Smith
LiSimba Consulting Services, Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success

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