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Case 3 - Crossing Borders

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Case 3 - Crossing Borders

1. What competencies are appropriate to ensure greater effectiveness of U.S. employees operating in a maquiladora or other non-U.S. organization?

The competencies appropriate to ensure greater effectiveness of U.S. employees operating in maquiladora, or other non-U.S. organizations, are as follows:

* The ability to understand the need for an environmental scan, and interpret what the environmental scan highlights, before reaching their work destination. This can help to better prepare employees entering a new culture, revealing to them what they might have to expect. This can also be said for conducting and interpreting demographic research.

* Employees should arm themselves with cultural intelligence, (they must undergo training and orientation of the foreign culture). This will give them a better understanding of the local population and in turn assist in allowing effective communication with them.

* Employees must possess a global mind-set, (the ability to develop and interpret criteria for business performance that are not dependent on the assumptions of a single country, culture or context and to implement those criteria appropriately in different countries, cultures and contexts).

* Employees must be able to balance the needs for global consistency and local responsiveness. Employees must be able to show sensitivity to the culture in which they are operating, and yet be able to operate, (perform their function as an employee), effectively.

* Employee must attempt to overcome the language barrier, either by gaining knowledge of the local language, or having a means of interpreting the local language. This can be vital since communication is key to the effectiveness and success of any operation. Employees may at the least want to determine as to whether they are facing a low-context culture, or a high-context culture.

* Employees need to determine the time orientation of the culture, (if they are polychronic culture or monochromic culture), as this will determine how they direct their subordinates, and in turn how they run the operation as a whole.

* Employees need to familiarize themselves with the religion. This will assist in the employees sensitivity to the different culture, possibly even effecting the ethics the employee practices on the job.

* Employees must posses the ability to find a balance between cultural relativism and ethical absolutism.

* Employees should have the flexibility to travel, and adjust to different cultures, (meaning that it may be helpful for them to have fewer commitments at home, such as family, etc).

2. What are some of the costs of not understanding diversity? What could the organization have gained by approaching the plant with greater cultural understanding?

Some of the costs of not understanding diversity are as follows:

* Poor of communication between expatriates and the local workforce. This can cause misunderstandings, effecting job performance, a lack of respect from the workforce, the expatriates inability to motivate the workforce, etc. in turn, the workforce would demonstrate poor performance and productivity, effecting profits and possibly even costing the organization financially in the long run.

* The local workforce and population may become resentful towards the organization. This may cause friction between the workforce and the organization. In turn, this may also make the expatriates job harder and their morale lower, effecting negatively their motivation and performance and in turn the overall performance and profits of the organization.

By approaching the plant with greater cultural understanding, the organization might have gained the following:

* Minimal initial cultural shock of the expatriate. This would enable the expatriate to take care of business sooner and more effectively.

* Better relationship between the expatriate, the workforce and the local population. This would make it less likely that the workforce is unhappy or resentful towards the organization, and more likely that they will be better motivated



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