Cultural difference can be a slow poison for the organisation as it result in business failure and hinders the growth of the business. The following assessment explained the cross-cultural dimensions of the business world along with the importance of communication. For a the purpose, understanding, a case study was chosen. It was figured out that cultural issues between two countries can affect the effectiveness of a successful leader in a few day. This could be seen in the case of the newly promoted Global Head of Deronde International. To elaborate more on the issues, the Hefstede four dimensions theory was employed in the text in order to bring a better understanding. It was determined that attitude and effective communication and poor understanding of the international market were some factors affecting the SVP very badly. Once all the discussion was over, a few recommendations were enlisted that suggest that training can help the company and its employees. One of the major advice given to the Global head is that he should understand the basic business dynamics. One should not be biased and unfair towards lower level subordinates. They should be encouraged to take training and carry out innovation.
In today’s day and age, organisations are aiming to become multinational. However, this requires a deep understanding and knowledge of multicultural aspects of business. Sometimes even the giant organisations fail in the international market due to their poor understanding of the different culture and customers. In the following case study, some of the cultural issues have been discussed that are being faced by Yang Jianguo, Deronde International’s newly appointed Global Head of Product Development. Being a native of China, he is full of new and successful ideas but he feels that the senior management and leaders are not giving much interest in those ideas. The case study highlights the cultural difference between two different countries, namely China and France and also among the business professionals belonging to those nations. In the following assessment, such conflicts are discussed and some recommendations are provided for the same. In addition to this, management competencies quintessential for 21st Century managers in VUCA countries are also elucidated.
The Deronde International is an organisation that is known worldwide for its unique perfume and other fragranced products. It operates in France, North America, China, and rest part of Asia, Europe, and Latin America. There exists the differences in business cultures between two units of same organisation: This issue posed a significant amount of challenge for Jianguo in the new working environment.
The company promoted YangJianguo to global head from country manager in China. In most of the companies in China, there is a well-established organisational culture and hierarchy. This means employees have to report to their superiors. Department manager is accountable to general manager and so on. On the other hand, businesses in France, follow a flat organisational structure (Starkey, 2012, p.12). This means that the General Manager is approachable to everyone in the organisation. Jianguo might not be knowing this fact and when he found that his subordinates are not reporting to him. This loosely defined structure was new to him and hence, posed a great challenge to him. To understand this better, Hofstede Six Dimension Theory can be applied. The Power Distance Index (PDI) is one dimension that says the PDI score is high in centralised organisations that have very complex hierarchies (Sia& Chauhan, 2015, p. 675). In addition to this, there is large gap in power of the leader or manager in comparison to the lower subordinates. Also, there is a noticeable gap in the respect, authority, and respect too (Chao& Yao, 2015, p. 79). In China, organisations usually have high PDI score, whereas in France, the score is low.
Jianguo, being from a country where organisations have radically different culture. Chinese believes that having a title means the authority to make decisions. The leaders expect other people to not to interfere with their job and Jianguo is perceiving the same with his colleagues’ behaviour (Chao& Yao, 2015, p. 80). Hofstede IDV score can be used to explain this. A high IDV score means poor interpersonal connection and people take little or no responsibility for the actions of the other. French managers fall in this category (this is a generalisation) and due to this cross cultural difference between the two leaders in the same organisation, the issue has occurred.
Obviously, Jianguo lacks the set of skills to accept those changes and adapt to them easily. This might be due to his autocratic leadership style that is reflected in the case study as he was highly concerned for the results and production rather than the people working in the company (Scott, 2012, p. 43). Also, it was also determined that he is a self-decision maker and want people to respect his decisions and reluctant to any advice. This might be due to the organisational culture in China. Joining Deronde’s Paris branch might be a great opportunity for his career but he must first train himself for the role. The CEO is too involved in every business decisions and usually keep his hands in everything. He found that the roles are blurred due to lack of the well-defined structure.
No doubt that the he is the winning leader for the firm in China due to his thinking and leading abilities, but in France, he should try to understand that his role is no longer stick to China anymore. He is the global head and therefore, he is required to accept and absorb the culture and preferences of all the regions Deronde is operating in. This was missing in his role as a global head. Another issue that was seen in the case was the ineffective communication. No matter how smart and capable leader Jianguo is, his new winning ideas are less effective in convincing the CEO and other leaders to make final decisions about the growth of the company. He was not good enough in promoting himself and his plans for the growth of the company. Also, his interaction with the lower level subordinates was not much interactive and healthy as he doesn’t listen to their ideas and suggestions. The worst part was that his attitude that made him fail in penetrating his ideas to the superior. It is important to understand the character of the superior and audience while giving presentation. He failed to see that the CEO and other leaders are feeling uneasiness to his idea.
Lastly, one of the prime issue identified in the case is that Jianguo’s strength is the great and deep understanding of Asian market and customers. After being promoted as the global head, his decisions are based on mere anecdotes and intuition. He also called his niece instead of referring to market study and research data.
Thinking from the business analyst perspective, having conflicts and different perception is quite common in the business world, especially in the top level management. However, a good leader should understand how to deal with the problem (Starkey, 2012, p.11). The problem should be viewed from two aspects: In case of Jianguo, one of the key issue identified was that he lacks the skills to demonstrate open communication and collaboration (Wiengarten, et.al, 2014, p. 374).
Examining the dynamics of the new business environment:It is advised to the Jianguo that he should understand, examine, and learn the current dynamics of the business in order to learn how to succeed in the organisation while following the French rules. It is pretty much true that China is one of the fastest growing economies of the World and Jianguo is the market expert of Deronde in Asia. But, when he was promoted, his skills needed an upgrade too. What strategy worked in China might not work in France. Hence, it is required from him to examine the business dynamics.
Training for the Multicultural Working Environment:Jiangua was naïve and inexperienced for the post of the Global Head of the organisation. Therefore, he appeared to be ineffective not only to the CEO but to the lower management level employees. Hence, it is suggested that he should opt for a basic training of multicultural working environment. This would be helpful in embracing different values and culture (Boluk, 2014, p. 1).Jianguo would be able to carry out groupthinking sessions where he can be exposed to new and innovative ideas & perspective. In addition to this, it is also suggested that Jianguo should support the training programmes on regular basis for honing the skill sets of the employees.
It is advised to the organisation’s CEO and other leaders should also acknowledge the status of Jianguo as a new leader. The CEO might try to delegate as much as possible and try to involve Jianguo as much as he can in the decision-making. Jianguo has to first understand the business market from the perspective of the customers belonging to different regions in which the company is planning to grow. Jianguomust be coached in order to make him fit in different scenarios of different markets around the world. He is required to build a basic understanding of the market first (Starkey, 2012, p.12). Then only, he will be able to walk on the roads of the new arena. This would help him in improving his bonds with local clients in France and the subordinates in the company.
Providing the necessary guidance to the Jianguo from CEO’s side can help him fitting to the job easily and effectively. Only then he can be able to make his ideas a huge success. Since the company lacks some immersion process and cultural appreciation, these issues can be faced by any person belonging to other nationality.
Last but not least, Deronde International must also bring some changes in its working culture and environment. If the CEO is passionate about making a global triumph, then he should make some adjustment in order to take the whole team all along. This can be done by some immersion and appreciation processes. He should make efforts to bring the company above the stereotyping and biases.
Neither a company’s leadership nor its business strategies are spared in modern VUCA world. The leader’s dogmas, experiences, and paradigms are required to be put under scrutiny. As a manager, it is required to define the parameters that are required to operate an organisation. The increase in complexities, uncertainties, volatilities, and ambiguities that business faces require positive and new approach to management (Bernal, et.al, 2014). The VUCA world challenges the organisation to find their way. The following competencies are required in the 21st Century leaders:-
Vision:In the modern world, it is expected from the managers that they paint a picture of the future growth of the company. It is required from the manager to have a clear vision with an exact judgement that can be made with the ability to adopt changes. It is required to respond with utmost care to unfold the situations (Shapero, 2013, p. 1).
Providing Clear Direction: Directing the subordinate and planning the strategies for the organisation as per the shifting priorities of business scenario. The managers are required to make use of new virtual modes of communication wherever necessary. Jianguo is required to have a make use of some innovative communication tools in order to communicate his winning ideas to the senior management. It is also required from the manager to emphasise on important aspects of business, develop trust among shareholders and senior leaders, and bring transparency in the working structure of the environment (Dabić, et.al, 2015, p. 275).
Anticipate Risk: It is one of the quintessential quality that is required in a manager in the VUCA world. The manager should require to anticipate all the possible risks in the domestic and international market. Jianguo is required to consider the market risk by referring to the market research data (Scott, 2012, p. 44). It is also suggested that one should not completely rely on the past success or experience or solutions as the market is continuously changing. Apart from this, the manager can increase the value on a new, unique, innovative, and temporary solution in order to respond to the unpredictable climate (Dabić, et.al, 2015, p. 279).
Agility and Adaptability:It is required from the manager to scrutinize the organisational structure and processes. Also, it is the duty to promote a healthy culture where people from all the levels of management should provide their inputs in the decision-making process (Chao& Yao, 2015, p. 80). Jianguo should interact with each and every of his subordinates transparently. Also, respecting their innovation and helping them and the organisation in building up the resilience and abilities to adapt change can also benefit the organisation (Bernal, et.al, 2014).
Effective Communication:the modern business world is heavily dependent on Information Technology (IT) where useful information can be exchanged and stored via Internet. It is required from the organisational leaders to make the decisions regarding the regular up-gradation of the technology used within the company. People from different ethnicity should be provided a proper training in order to bring them on the same platform as of other people in the organisation (Jaffer, et. al, 2013). They should promote the use of social intranet or specific apps for communication in an effective and faster way. This would also establish a bilateral communication between different levels of management. This was completely missing in the case of Jianguo and his leadership style.
Embracing Innovation:As it was seen in the case study that due to autocracy of Jianguo, the subordinates were incapable of putting their innovative ideas in carrying out their mundane routine work. Under the leadership of Jianguo, people were not creative as they are constantly directed to follow the guidelines and were working under constant pressure(Chao & Yao, 2015, p. 83). In today’s world, people working in the company has to be innovative and the leaders in MNCs should promote collaborative working culture where people from different culture can come can give their innovative suggestions. The 21st century leaders should incorporate Authentic leadership principles, thereby establishing collaboration, openness, innovative thinking, and constant learning environment.
Cultivating a Global Mindset:It is required from the 21st century leader to have a global perspective and keep equal focus on both international and domestic market simultaneously. This was missing in the given case study. It is required from managers and leaders to be open-minded and embrace cultural diversity to have a better understanding of the cultural differences (Jaffer, et. al, 2013). People from different countries can work together and can be able to explore different market place from different perspective, thereby providing a wide range of ideas for a common business issue.
If Jianguo could adopt a few of the aforementioned competencies, then he would be able to carry out his tasks effectively.
In this assessment, the cross-cultural dimensions of the business world were outlined. For a better understanding, a case study of Deronde International was taken, wherein the cultural issues and other issues faced by the newly promoted Global Head were discussed. The Hefstede four dimensions theory was employed in the text in order to bring a better understanding. It was determined that lack of multicultural training in the organisation is one of the significant reasons for the conflicts and misunderstanding. Once all the discussion was over, some recommendations were also given. One of the major advice given to the Global head is that he should understand the basic business dynamics. One should not be biased and unfair towards lower level subordinates. They should be encouraged to take training and carry out innovation. Apart from this, the major competencies required in the 21st century leader in the VUCA world were elucidated in detail.
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