Managing Across Cultures Essay Example

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7MANAGING ACROSS CULTURES

Managing Across Cultures

Managing Across Cultures

Introduction

The modern world is indeed increasingly becoming globalized by the day which has resulted in the culture concept to be of vital importance and to obtain a new meaning. Traveling to new countries and regions has been made very easy which has resulted in many individuals going to new countries for different reasons like studying and working (Schneider and Barsoux, 2003). For example, I have traveled from China to Australia to study which is something that has made it necessary for me to live and interact with people from a different culture from mine. However, I have faced several challenges regarding my ability to adjust to these new cultures. It is evident that there are some differences which exist regarding various aspects of intercultural communication, but one thing that has been agreed upon is that when one becomes self-aware, then it becomes the starting point for one to be culturally competent (Spencer-Oatey, 2004). The aim of the paper is, therefore, to reflect on my cultural competency in this new cultural setting which is Australia.

Chinese Cultural Heritage and Background

The current culture of the Chinese people is the amalgamation of both the westernized lifestyle and the old world traditions. Additionally, the cultural history of the China consists of an enormous variety and diversity (He, 2006). It also boasts of a varied and vast geographic expanse and a profound and rich culture. The culture is unique and diverse, and it is at the same time blended harmoniously which makes it an invaluable asset globally (Comanaru and Noels, 2009). On the other hand, the national heritage of China is regarded as being both intangible and tangible which consists of natural historical and natural wonders sites with the ethnic festivals and songs included (He, 2006). Most of the social values of the Chinese people is primarily derived from Taoism and Confucianism. The concept of Taoism is based on religious piety as well as humility while Confucianism is concerned with the religious, humanistic, or a traditional manner of governing or the way of life of the Chinese people (Comanaru and Noels, 2009). These are some of the values and concepts that have the person that I have now become.

This Chinese cultural background and heritage have enabled me to appreciate the significant importance for me to understand and appreciate my culture so that I can appreciate the culture of other people. I have also come to appreciate the fact that learning and understanding my Chinese culture will prevent me from striving to project my values to other individuals who I interact with and originate from a different culture from mine. Additionally, I have learned that individuals from other cultures do not do stuff for the same reasons that I do them for but instead they tend to behave in ways that they know is right and what their cultures calls them to do. Thus, the social values that I have learned from my Chinese background have enabled me to appreciate that cultures are different and each one of them stipulates their people to behave in a certain way just like mine does. This, therefore, means that for us to live in harmony with one another and to be culturally competent there is the need to be ready to adapt and embrace new cultures for us to be culturally competent and live harmoniously in any part of the world (Deresky, 2017).

I have had exposure to other cultures as I have had to travel to Australia to study as well as for my daily living. My experiences in Australia have been somewhat interesting, educative, dynamic and at the same time challenging. My culture which is the Chinese culture and that of the Australian culture is different in various aspects like societal values, dressing, and celebrations as well as festivals among others. My Chinese culture can be said to be more traditional than westernized, family-oriented, as well as religious as compared to the Australian culture. Therefore, as I came to Australia, my starting point was to learn how I can adjust to this new cultural setting which began from learning their language, dressing, and what was and was not acceptable in the Australian society. In the beginning stages of my striving to adapt to the new Australian culture, it was very challenging for me but as time went by I slowly adjusted embraced it.

Cultural Convergence and Divergence

The aspect of convergence can be utilized to describe people who spend most of the time together like in a school or a workplace setting and then turn out to have the same philosophies, behaviors, and characteristics and in turn form a culture of their own (Jenkins, 2006). This is a means of people policing themselves where the norms that they develop work for them as a gravitational pull which may either violate them or exert some amount of influence on the individuals who are rebellious to bring them back in line to the new formulated cultural norms (Jenkins, 2006). Therefore, regarding convergence, I think that all the people regardless of the cultural backgrounds that they come from are somewhat all the same underneath. This is apparent because if people can spend time together and become more alike to each other, then there are some common things or aspects which bring them together. However, I also do appreciate that differences also matters significantly.

Divergence refers to the way people tend to become less alike to each other after a given period (De Mooij and Hofstede, 2002). Following the fact that the behaviors of a group tend to evolve which then distinguishes the various group members, the norms of most of these groups also change regularly to offer them the resistance of them being confused with other groups (De Mooij and Hofstede, 2002). I, therefore, think that divergence brings about differences which are necessary to keep the signal of affiliations among the group members to become valid. I also believe that divergence creates a strong sense of identity which is important when one is working towards being culturally competent. Just because I need to adapt to the Australian culture which I am currently a part of, it does not mean that I need to lose my cultural identity as a Chinese as these values are and will forever be deeply engrained in me.

My dislike when it came to me working with a difference was the fact that I experienced culture shock in the beginning as well as some antagonism with the people from individuals of this new culture. This was mainly because of the differences in the perspectives of various issues in the society like relationships, religious matters, and societal settings; what was acceptable and what was not. Despite this challenge, I slowly started enjoying my interactions with these people as I decided to try to build trust and commitment with them. I did this through the utilization of different elements of my cultural intelligence like intercultural communication and engagement (Earley and Ang, 2003) with everyone I interacted with which is something that I came to enjoy doing.

Suitability to Global Management

I think and feel that I am currently suited adequately to global management. This is because I appreciate the fact that myself, just like the rest of humanity was not born with a given culture. Culture is something that is learned from various sources like religious teachings, family, media, and society, among different other avenues (House et al., 2002). Thus, I attribute my suitability to global management to the fact that I could choose to learn more about my culture from these various learning avenues which will help learn about my identity as a person as well as how culture differed from the culture that I have been subjected to at a given time. Following this, the career path that is more appealing to me would be that of Social work. This is because social workers are people who deal one on one with people from a variety of cultures who mostly face culturally-associated problems which mean one needs to cultural competent (Earley, 2002) which I am working towards becoming. Taking this career path will enhance my self-awareness more and enable me to appreciate my cultural background as well as that of others.

Conclusion

The world has become highly globalized as it has become easy for people to travel to different countries and regions for various purposes like study, working or other reasons. I have come from China to Australia to study where I have been subjected to a culture which is different from mine. My Chinese cultural background and heritage is unique and diverse which is something has enabled me to learn how to appreciate my culture as well as that of other people. I think that all the people regardless of the cultural backgrounds that they come from are somewhat all the same underneath. On the other hand, differences matter a whole lot as well because it creates uniqueness and identity. In my opinion, I am adequately suitable in global management and the career path that would be most appealing to me would be Social work because it highly demands cultural competency which I feel is something I am good at.

References

Comanaru, R and Noels, K.A 2009, Self-determination, motivation, and the learning of Chinese as a heritage language. Canadian Modern Language Review, 66(1), pp.131-158.

De Mooij, M and Hofstede, G 2002, Convergence and divergence in consumer behavior: implications for international retailing. Journal of retailing, 78(1), pp.61-69.

Deresky, H 2017, International management: Managing across borders and cultures. Pearson Education India.

Earley, P.C and Ang, S 2003, Cultural intelligence: Individual interactions across cultures, Stanford University Press.

Earley, P.C 2002, Redefining interactions across cultures and organizations: Moving forward with cultural intelligence. Research in organizational behavior, 24, pp.271-299.

He, A.W 2006, Toward an identity theory of the development of Chinese as a heritage language. Heritage Language Journal, 4(1), pp.1-28.

House, R., Javidan, M., Hanges, P. and Dorfman, P 2002, Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: an introduction to project GLOBE. Journal of world business, 37(1), pp.3-10.

Jenkins, H 2006, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide, NYU press.

Schneider, S.C. and Barsoux, J.L 2003, Managing across cultures, Pearson Education.

Spencer-Oatey, H. ed., 2004, Culturally speaking: Managing rapport through talk across cultures, A&C Black.