Understanding Cultural differences within M&S Assignment Sample

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1. Introduction Of Understanding Cultural differences within M&S

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1.1 Background

Culture is characterised as a collection of shared values, behaviours, rituals, and beliefs among members of an organization, regardless of their age, race or ethnic origin, religion or gender (Farooq, Hao and Liu, 2019). Additionally, variations in job patterns, schooling, and disabilities all lead to occupational diversity and cultural differences. Cultural complexity can have several detrimental effects on the workplace. Negative consequences can include miscommunication, barrier construction, and unhealthy adaptation habits. Staffs from varied cultural backgrounds have varying perspectives, thoughts, ideologies, conventions, customs, ideal, patterns, and rituals (Canestrino, et al., 2020). Cultural distinction refers to an organised and preserved set of socially acquired ideal, principles, and codes of conduct that influences the selection of acceptable activities that differentiate one societal category from another. Cultural diversity in the workforce has increased in popularity as a result of the world’s increasing globalisation. One advantage is that workers from diverse backgrounds often think differently and will therefore approach a problem from a range of viewpoints. Cultural diversity in the workforce can have both positive and negative consequences. Several negative consequences include dysfunctional tensions, decreased morale, and difficulties in achieving group cohesion. Positive outcomes include a broad knowledge base developed by a range of cultural interactions, an internal pool of international trainers and informers, as well as a stronger proclivity to extend the company into global cultures.

1.2 Problem Statement

The adverse influence of cultural diversity on the workplace is an increased proclivity for interpersonal confrontation among organisational staff. Workers from varied cultural backgrounds have varying perspectives, thoughts, ideologies, conventions, customs, ideal, patterns, and rituals. In light of these potentially infinite proportions, the analogy of an iceberg comes immediately, the apparent features of race, ethnic origin, gender, age, and disability correspond to the identifiable part of the iceberg and form the basis of most anti-discrimination laws worldwide (Stahl et al., 2017). These subterranean characteristics encapsulate the true nature of diversity. As culturally different employees are grouped to collaborate against a common purpose through collective effort and teamwork, these disparities of opinion and other variables may impede the creation of unity. Workers may engage in a dispute with one another for a variety of reasons which might or might not be linked to work. The reasons for this may range from the grave to insignificant. Regardless of the source, interpersonal tension results in decreased morale and the production of negative feelings by workers, all of which can be detrimental.This research would examine the challenges that remain within M&S’s organisation concerning its cultural differences.

1.3 Research Aim and Objectives

The research aims at the identification and comprehension of cultural differences and their impact on M&S business.

Objectives:

  • To understand the way cultural diversity impacts M&S business
  • To find out the effectiveness of M&S leadership and organisational culture in maintaining cultural diversity in the organisation
  • To identify challenges from cultural differences and their mitigation approach in M&S

1.4 Research Questions

  • What is the organisational culture of M&S?
  • How cultural diversity in the organisation impacts the business of M&S?
  • How effective M&S leadership and organisational cultureare to maintain cultural diversity across the organisation?
  • What challenges do M&S face due to cultural differences in its overall operation?
  • Which approaches are taken by M&S to mitigate challenges that emerged from cultural differences?

1.5 Purpose of the Research

Cultural differences refer to the diverse set of values, attitudes, languages, traditions, and phrases that are perceived to be peculiar to members of a certain ethnic group, caste, or national origin. Although indeed, workers often share more similarities than distinctions, the differences will sometimes overshadow the similarities (????????, 2020). Though these myriad disparities can contribute to a livelier workplace, they can also result in a slew of cultural clash-related issues. Though most of the time, the outcomes of organisational cultural diversity are measured by the effectiveness with which business executives manage it. Management can maximise the positive influence of cultural diversity in the workplace while minimizing the negative consequences by effective strategic planning. Though in the case of M&S’s corporate style has long been accused of being too hierarchical. Steve Rowe, the chief executive, acknowledged that it is a "top-heavy company" that was inward-looking and too "corporate". The purpose of the research is to look into the matter of problems that exist in the organization of M&S regarding its cultural issues.

1.6 Significance of the Research

The significance of the research on cultural differences refers to perceive the variety of beliefs, norm and customs that influence the way individuals of a company usually perceive, feel, communicate, behave and making a judgement. One of the greatest weaknesses of companies is their failure to recognise the critical nature of cultural differences when doing business (Canestrinoet al., 2020). The belief that cultures does not affect an organization’s success is incorrect. Since culture influences how a person or community acts, it can affect certain aspects of life. For instance, how organisations can successfully sell their products to a global audience or manage external stakeholder relationships. To summarise, cultural awareness benefits all key stakeholders. Promoting diversity and enacting legislation in favour of it would invariably result in the development of a healthy corporate community. Research like the one being proposed regarding the cultural differences in M&S is most likely to yield important information which would assist greatly in the process of developing a holistic understanding of the concerned subject matter.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Conceptualisation of Organisational Culture

Organizational culture has been acknowledged as an important element in the analysis of organisations. Cameron and Quinn (2005), stress that the performance of organisations is not only dictated by particular external factors like barriers to market entry, industrial rivalries and supplier/consumer control etc. The authors believe that some businesses have had less to do with market forces than they have with the values of organizations for their exceptional and sustainable performance. Whereas Hofstede et al. (1990) originally produced the dimensional pattern of organisational culture from a large number of narrative interviews and a consequential questionnaire test; Sagiv and Schwartz (2007) describe the structure of organisational culture based on theory. They claim that organisational culture is shaped by the world around it, the objectives of personal importance in organisations and the essence of the main tasks of the organisation.

Organizations are integrated into communities that can be characterised by certain national principles of culture. Sagiv and Schwartz (2007) claim that social pressures affect organisational performance. Organizations must also adhere to the standards, traditions and laws of communities to be welcomed into the community, thereby ensuring social and financial survival. Companies are the people who incorporate a value-added approach into the organisation and therefore shape to a degree the organisational culture of how people choose actions, assess individuals and incidents and justify actions and appraisals, as explained by Dauber, Fink and Yolles (2012). The authors eventually added that activities that a company needs to perform also shape its cultural values. It seems to be relevant with the perceived practises of Hofstede et al. (1990).

2.2 Impact of Organisational Cultural Diversity on the Business

Cultural diversity is an increasingly important phenomenon in the 21st century. The drastic increase in opportunities and the need for interaction with people who are diverse in culture is one of the vital effects of migration and globalisation. Therefore, according to Jonsson and Holmgren (2013), the thought of cultural diversity shifted and became an integral component of culture, from a melting pot to multiculturalism. This implies that companies will eventually need a worldwide workforce, and their ability to handle cultural diversity is of course crucial to their potential success.Wang and Wang (2019) claims that recruiting more employees in international companies is an inevitable trend in an increasingly globalised setting, which means more and more employees from various cultural backgrounds, are employed. Various countries have different cultures, and cultural differences affect beliefs, behaviours, work ethics, work hours, modes of communicating, valued hierarchy and other potential factors that could have a negative impact on team members’ experiences. Such behavioural discrepancies can influence individual work or affect team members’ communication and cooperation.

2.3 Interrelationship between Culture and Leadership in Business Organisations

While the business achievement of managing diversified firms under a leadership are economic benefits, lack of good leadership and successful culture leads to a failure of diversified enterprises. As opined by Tsai (2011), Management teams in the business lose control if the diversification in the group increases. Culture is learned and communicated socially by its members; it lays down rules of behaviour. In order to define organisational culture, the workers should be guided by traditions, beliefs, assumptions and knowledge as to what to do and what to ignore. An organisation’s core principles start with leadership, which then develops into the organisation’s style of leadership. These principles and leaders’ behaviour are to direct the subordinates so that the two parties’ behaviour can be more consistent with each other. Tsai (2011) has further stated that a stable organisational culture develops when good cohesive conduct, principles and beliefs are evolved. Leadership and management bodies must understand their role in preserving a culture within an organisation. In exchange, this will ensure consistent behaviour, reduce conflicts and create a safe working atmosphere for workers.

2.4 Importance of Managing Cultural Differences in Business

A cross-cultural interaction, comprehended to be a gathering of people of different cultures, with different customs and value hierarchies, who serve as representatives and customers, negotiators, supervisors and subordinates, co-workers, task and project group members, is a characteristic of globalisation and international business. In this context, Budzanowska-Drzewiecka, Marcinkowski and Motyl-Adamczyk (2016) have stated that cross-cultural skills may be considered as several three linkage elements including the capacity to comprehend other cultures, the ability to work together, and the ability to remain in an intense intercultural environment. On the other hand, cross-cultural communication is a social process that unfolds between intercultural interactions participants. It is essential to create individuals, phenomena and circumstances with different codes in communications.

A large majority of companies operate in the international setting, with an extremely important cultural element, which exerts an important effect on the performance of transactions and maintain good relations between counterparties or employees with a diverse cultural context, as stated by Adamczyk (2017). Recognition and comprehension of cultural differences are one of the most important competencies of the world economy, essential for the global market to achieve competitive advantage.

2.5 Challenges or Risks in Business due to Cultural Differences

Tedla (2016) has stated that managers have more difficulties in managing and controlling capital when an organisation becomes more multicultural. Cultural risks related to a company’s ability to operate in a country are concerning language gaps, customs, standards and preferences of customers. The global operations of developing organisations, whose social structure is distinct from the one in which the organisation originates, are carried out during expansion. The answer of all concerned is affected by this new social structure.Cumulative diversity may cause a lack of cooperation that will prevent teams from collaborating; hence, organisations must be efficient and create a workplace that promotes productivity and efficiency.According to Ghemawat (2017), a further potentially challenge could be perceptual. Tragically, they also carry preconceived stereotypes with them as culturally different communities come together.Inaccurate communication is another issue with various groups, which may happen for a variety of reasons. One is confusion due to speaker terms that other participants do not understand.

2.6 Mitigation Approaches to Overcome Challenges of Cultural Differences

Managers should work to ensure that their efforts and programmes to improve diversity at work are made from a point of view that guarantees and aims for equality and justice rather than merely benefiting from the company’s fundamental benefits, as per Frijns, Dodd and Cimerova (2016). Through a deliberate, purposeful approach to inclusion and diversity concerns, managers can minimise and maximise the advantages that a diverse workforce can deliver to a variety.Ely and Thomas (2001) have opined that members of a culturally diverse community of workers should make good utilisation their collective differences to objectively reflect on working problems, policies, goods and practices for them to succeed in their business activities. Such viewpoint values cultural identity and strong ties the group’s diversity to the company’s performance.Working groups who work in a variety of markets and with culturally diverse clients make it possible to gain access to a variety of markets and because its diversity gives them credibility in their attempts to obtain access to various markets. A workplace of this type is more a pragmatic type of diversity that does not try to incorporate or respect diversity into the core of the organization.

3. Methodology

3.1 Research Philosophy

The philosophy of scientific research is a method of research thinking that provides fresh and accurate knowledge of the subject of the research (ukauskas, Vveinhardt and Andriukaitien?, 2018). This means that the selection of a strategy of study, problem formulation, data collection, synthesis and analysis are at the heart of the research. The analysis model in turn comprises ontology, epistemology, and methods as well. Several philosophical approaches are possible to use in researches, based on the type of knowledge anticipated for the research. The four major research philosophies are pragmatism, positivism, realism and interpretivism. This research, to understand the cultural differences in a particular company’s (M&S) business, will follow the pragmatism research paradigm. Based on this paradigm, the philosophical method supports study through interview, survey and case study, while the ontological approach of reality is ambiguous, though based on the respect of history, language and culture. Alongside, as per ukauskas, Vveinhardt and Andriukaitien? (2018), the epistemological methodology under pragmatism supports the knowledge that is obtained from experience, and it is important to understand the experience of how cultural differences are impacting the organisation in this research.

3.2 Research Approach

The research methodology is a technique and method that begins with extensive inference phases and progresses through systematic data collection, study, and evaluation processes. Thus, it is dependent on the nature of the study being conducted. Perceptions of study vary according to context, and the method in which research is conducted is often wholly reliant on the individual and the subject. This particular research will follow the deductive research approach. The deductive method of science is the one that most people equate with scientific inquiry (Graneheim, Lindgren and Lundman, 2017). The researcher examines previous work, reads current theories about the phenomena under investigation, and then investigates hypotheses that derive from those theories. Deductive reasoning seeks to test a previously formed theory; inductive reasoning seeks to generate one. Deductive reasoning is used to test assumptions and ideas. In deductive reasoning, it can keep a hypothesis and guess the results based on that theory. That is, if the hypothesis is right, it would predict what the results should be.

3.3 Research Design

It is generally evident that study architecture can be described in a variety of ways. Thus, the study architecture applies to the data sources, the data processing and analysis processes, and the ethical concerns that are often adhered to accomplish the research goal, which is essential to draw a concrete conclusion. In order to achieve the following study’s goal, the researchers will use an exploratory research approach. The research design for research problems is done where the researcher does not have previous results or has a few sample studies (Taheri, Jami Pour and Asarian, 2019). Occasionally, this analysis is unstructured and casual. It is a preliminary analysis instrument that offers a hypothetical or speculative understanding of the research issue. Exploratory analysis will enable the researcher to be inventive to get the most insight possible into a topic. In that case, the researcher will have a high degree of adaptability and will be able to adapt to developments as the project progresses.

3.4 Data Collection and Analysis

In the mixed approach, data analysis was conducted using both qualitative content analysis and quantitative numerical methods. Qualitative content analysis is a systematic approach that entails the systematic classification of data and the identification of trends or trends to ascertain core consistencies and definitions. Quantitative data is concerned with the examination of numerical data (which involves both numerical and categorical data) with the use of various mathematical techniques. Statistics are divided into two major branches: descriptive statistics (Rutberg and Bouikidis, 2018). The analysis study will combine interviews and surveys to elicit reliable data and knowledge about the subject. The interview will be conducted with the company’s respective management to elicit details and information about their acknowledgement of the culture. On the other hand, the survey will be conducted among Marks and Spencer employees. The poll of workers would assist in determining their perceptions of their workplace’s culture.

3.5 Research Sampling

Sampling in research refers to the group that the research will choose to collect data from. The amount or number of sources for the sample is known as the sample size, while the procedure to select the suitable sampling group is called the sampling strategy, as Bhardwaj (2019) has stated. This research is focused on obtaining primary information through conducting both surveys among employees and interview among higher management personnel. In this process, for the research, 50 employees will be selected following the probability or random sampling strategy, while 6 management and leadership personnel will be selected through a non-probability or non-random sampling approach to gain in-depth professional information.

3.6 Ethical Considerations

Generally, ethical principles refer to the trait of developing the research’s framework and methods following particular rules and guidance. When undertaking research, multiple ethical rules must be followed, and study ethics is generally defined as a collection of guidelines and values that are followed to accomplish the study’s research objective. While conducting the study, the researchers will be aware of the ethical guidelines and will ensure proper security and safety during the data collection process. Special precautions would be taken to prevent the sharing of delicate content, thus preserving the dignity of the research (Clark-Kazak, 2017). The study conducted an analysis of morality and ethics under the research standards. The organisations conducting the survey will ensure that their mission is both practical and legal. Approval will also gain from customers about their views and viewpoints during the survey data collection process. The primary objective of ethical concern is to avoid impeding or upsetting respondents’ opinions during the interview.

4. Plan of Work/Research Timeline

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Activities

Selection of the Research Topic and finding the Problem Statement and Purpose

                   

Establishment of Selection Aim, Objectives and Questions and Selection of Research Methodology

                   

Reviewing the Existing Literature on the Topic

                   

Collection of Primary Data (Survey)

                   

Collection of Primary Data (Interview)

                   

Processing and Analysis of the Data Collected

                   

Discussion of the Analysed Data

                   

Reaching to a Conclusion and Formulating Recommendations Accordingly

                   

References 

Adamczyk, M., 2017. The importance of cultural differences in international business. Central European Review of Economics and Management1(2), pp.151-170.

Bhardwaj, P., 2019. Types of sampling in research. Journal of the Practice of Cardiovascular Sciences5(3), p.157.

Boussebaa, M., 2020. From cultural differences to cultural globalization: towards a new research agenda in cross-cultural management studies. critical perspectives on international business.

Budzanowska-Drzewiecka, M., Marcinkowski, A. and Motyl-Adamczyk, A., 2016. Cultural differences in business communication. Krakow: Jagiellonian University Publishing House.

Cameron, K.S. and Quinn, R.E., 2011. Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework. John Wiley & Sons.

Canestrino, R., ?wiklicki, M., Magliocca, P. and Pawe?ek, B., 2020. Understanding social entrepreneurship: A cultural perspective in business research. Journal of Business Research110, pp.132-143.

Clark-Kazak, C., 2017. Ethical considerations: Research with people in situations of forced migration. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees/Refuge: revue canadienne sur les réfugiés, 33(2), pp.11-17.

Dauber, D., Fink, G. and Yolles, M., 2012. A configuration model of organizational culture. Sage Open2(1), p.2158244012441482.

Ely, R.J. and Thomas, D.A., 2001. Cultural diversity at work: The effects of diversity perspectives on work group processes and outcomes. Administrative science quarterly46(2), pp.229-273.

Farooq, Q., Hao, Y. and Liu, X., 2019. Understanding corporate social responsibility with cross?cultural differences: A deeper look at religiosity. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management26(4), pp.965-971.

Frijns, B., Dodd, O. and Cimerova, H., 2016. The impact of cultural diversity in corporate boards on firm performance. Journal of Corporate Finance41, pp.521-541.

Ghemawat, P., 2017. The laws of globalization and business applications. Cambridge University Press.

Graneheim, U.H., Lindgren, B.M. and Lundman, B., 2017. Methodological challenges in qualitative content analysis: A discussion paper. Nurse education today, 56, pp.29-34.

Hofstede, G., Neuijen, B., Ohayv, D.D. and Sanders, G., 1990. Measuring organizational cultures: A qualitative and quantitative study across twenty cases. Administrative science quarterly, pp.286-316.

Jonsson, A. and Holmgren, D., 2013. Cultural diversity in organizations: A study on the view and management on cultural diversity.

Rutberg, S. and Bouikidis, C.D., 2018. Focusing on the fundamentals: A simplistic differentiation between qualitative and quantitative research. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 45(2), pp.209-213.

Sagiv, L. and Schwartz, S.H., 2007. Cultural values in organisations: insights for Europe. European Journal of International Management1(3), pp.176-190.

Stahl, G.K., Miska, C., Lee, H.J. and De Luque, M.S., 2017. The upside of cultural differences. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management.

Taheri, F., Jami Pour, M. and Asarian, M., 2019. An exploratory study of subjective well-being in organizations–A mixed method research approach. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 29(4), pp.435-454.

Tedla, T.B., 2016. The impact of organizational culture on corporate performance.

Tsai, Y., 2011. Relationship between organizational culture, leadership behavior and job satisfaction. BMC health services research11(1), pp.1-9.

Wang, T. and Wang, S., 2019. A study on the influence of cultural differences on the behavior of software engineers/managers between Chinese and Scandinavians.

ukauskas, P., Vveinhardt, J. and Andriukaitien?, R., 2018. Philosophy and paradigm of scientific research. Management Culture and Corporate Social Responsibility121.

????????, ?.?., 2020. Cross-cultural communication in business.

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