December 1, 2018
Intercultural Points of Competency for Successful Overseas Expansion and Integration
Through the process of expanding the corporate footprint there are times that new ideas and techniques need to be revisited to gain the most return from sales managers and other levels of management. Upon initial integration it is in the best interest of the firm to train and expand the intercultural competency of its human assets. Human Resources will take action to build higher competency to prevent a majority of issues that can arise when adapting and interacting with the new culture.
The following summarization will lay the foundation for all levels of management and sales operatives to create a basic means of communication and culture melting for successful growth and expansion in the Latin American branches.
Cultural Differences Between the U.S. and a Latin American Country
Cultural differences arise, and patterns can be difficult to notice firsthand. The patterns within our own cultures are even more difficult to assess until we are confronted with one that is likely to show something wrong or completely incorrect according to (Diemer, 2013).
In America the atmosphere for business communication and specific details take priority. Majority of communications, including all types are transitory and direct to get ideas a crossed. In Latin America there is a wider opinion that includes tailored factors like relationship, circumstances, timing, and socially appropriate interaction with others. The literal meaning behind words and gestures typically on the hierarchical status each person or group with whom they are involved. These same situations or conversations can be swayed by the degree of trust they share, or whether communications take place in public or private business. An awareness of the framework and the capability to clearly interpret subtle rules and ques in a specific situation are crucial to the Latin American businessperson.
Latinos may seem equivocal or evasive to the American counterparts. Many times the American counterparts portray a demeanor that seems impersonal, overly direct or too blunt. According to Geert Hofstede who conducted a study on cultures, the United States of America is the most individualistic culture among 40 countries studied. Th U.S scored a 91 on a 100-point scale. Self-reliance and accountability are valued in business settings. Expressing ones opinion openly and concisely are usually and acceptable and often admired trait. Actively pursuing ones personal interests is considered natural and legitimate. This concept is analogous to individuals interacting with each other. In contrast to the U.S., Latin American countries were rated much lower on the same scale of the Hofstede study with results ending with (Argentina 46, Brazil 38, Mexico 30, and Chile 23)
The exercise of networks, connections, exchange of information and favors, and the commitment toward extended family are foundational pieces in the structure of the Latin American society. According to Wedersphan (2000), this culture is one that bequests parties to be indirect, diplomatic, non-confrontational, and vigilant in communicating with others because there is a positive or negative effect to social or business transactions. Wederspahn states that good interaction may gain one or multiple allies while a negative encounter has the potential of creating numerous opponents for oneself.
Communication is key to prosperity or businesses warfare and these differences can be catastrophic to either side. The U.S. party can sometimes feel the Latin American business person is overly diplomatic this boasts insincerity in the United States. On the other hand, the U.S. business person who displays individualism may be perceived as being selfish and overly pompous.
Cross-cultural Issues in the International Organization
Organizational issues that could arise include Americans creating an individualistic view for succeeding and taking credit on a personal level rather than building up and growing as a team. Latinos rely heavily on each other to succeed and dont take a me approach to reaching outcomes and goals. Americans tend to lack competency compared to the Latin culture embracing it. Competency in leadership development engrained in the idea that some characteristics and behaviors are more coherently demonstrated by great leaders and that these competencies can be identified, assessed, and developed is a theory based from (Brownell 2006).
Another potential problem could be the interaction differences with building clientele in the new region. Americans like to jump to the sale and be literal and blunt while only displaying or correlating few details and coming off to blunt. Latin Americans incorporate a wider scape that contains situational factors such as relationship, circumstances, timing, and social appropriateness to reach the business goal. Adler has stated that culture is built from values, attitudes, and behavior. In the cross-cultural setting we respond consistent with the values, attitudes, and behavioral norms of our own culture. Our counterparts respond along with the values, attitudes, and behavioral norms of their own culture. In the event anything goes awry in the cross- cultural interaction and it becomes unsuccessful it will be that neither side considers a cultural explanation for the confusion: (Adler 2008, p.19). Both sides must show an openness to collaboration and take the drive for closing the sale and the tactics for creating lasting relationships in the culture into account for building a strong business.
Interventions to Solve the Cross-cultural Issues
Addressing and banning over critical behavior that makes those feel excluded or unwanted within the company will help stop stereotypes and disparaging jokes or remarks toward either party. The first step involves accepting differences by either side. Research and observing local customs will build understanding and allow for answers to questions to occur. Additionally, our cultures vary on how much either gives value to the individual or the group and the perceive time. This needs to be addressed through group projects by combining strengths and focusing on the outcome. Both also vary based on reaction to authority, how personal space is treated, and how they gage emotion and negotiate. It would be in the best interest for individuals from both sides to team up on a two-managers to a group basis and discuss the methods each would take in these instances. HR can help with mediating for both sides and allow for comparison and best practices to be created that is a combination from both cultures.
A focus on observable behaviors and demeanor is required for all employees to ensure continuation in a productive environment. Words should be chosen carefully, no assumptions about intentions, everyone must feel accepted and cared for. This will ensure everyone learns to negotiate efficiently through all levels of ethnic backgrounds. Human resources ability to encourage employees to take a personal inventory of their communications skills, using online surveys and one on one interactions will allow managers and employees to identify their own areas for improvement and strengths.
Strong managers assist in building a productive team culture through inspiring employees to diminish differences and focus on reaching the company’s overall tactical goals. Employees who accept each parties variances and alter their behavior to fit the pattern of another culture typically produce results faster. By engaging in aspects of other cultures into their own, employees enrich their cultural identity and ability to strive in any situation and open new doors for future endeavors.
Justification for the Interventions
Operative leaders must establish rules for acceptable behavior and follow disciplinary guidelines when a lack of compliance occurs. It should be in the companys best interest to make sure everyone feels safe at work. Gathering diverse groups together in social situations and allowing employees to have a first-hand experience on how differences are not threatening, management can assist teams to work together more closely. Creating intercultural communication only works and generates change when everyone is involved in the process. Conducting workshops and simulation games will all them to experience what it’s like to operate within different rules and learn to reconcile disagreements in order to work together productively.
Allowing employees to first-hand experience the differences in behavior and attitude will build strength and confidence for working closely with new employees from the new culture they will be immersed into. Compare and contrasting will make differences stand out but will also show areas that new employees need to be aware of that could be weaknesses they arent ready to take on or need more communication or understanding. This is another time where research will come in as a helpful tool. Intercultural collaboration skills like foreign negotiating skills or cross-national conflict resolution cover intercultural interaction skills. These abilities can grow over time as one learns the methods of cultural nuances and how they affect their interactions with individuals from different cultures (Caligiuri, 2006).
Positive companies that expand to new countries operate with a sense of diversity through legal and moral obligation. There are typically great benefits included such as improved morale, creativity and productivity. All parties involved gain respect and trust one another as a result. The company then broadens its ability to adapt even more with expansion. Human resources will work with managers and executives and ensure they understand that varying sums of professionals solve everyday problems in different ways. Also, persons come to value their changes and appreciate the different approaches when they can communicate respectively. Competency is the foundation of success and learning how to interconnect and interact with individuals from other cultures through one-on-one situations, small groups and large teams. Enlisting a diverse work culture allows all employees to feel safe, maximize their efficiency and building strong professional relationships. As long as the company provides ongoing training in all techniques to their employees it will create global competency one member of society at a time.
Adler, N.J. (2001). International dimensions of organizational behavior (4th edition). South-Western: Cincinnati.
Brownell, J. 2006. Meeting the Competency Needs of Global Leaders: A Partnership Approach. Human Resources Management 45 (3): 309-336. doi:10.1002/hrm.20115
Caligiuri, P. (2006). Developing global leaders. Human Resource Management Review, 16(2), 219-228. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2006.03.009
Diemer, T. T. (2013, January 25). Retrieved December 1, 2018, from
Wederspahn, G. M. (2000). Cross-Cultural Communication Between Latin American and U.S. Managers. Retrieved December 5, 2018, from US-mgrs.html