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Cross Cultural Awareness For The International Manager

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INTRODUCTION

It is time for a fast-developing Bulgarian company to go international. According to carefully conducted marketing research the most favorable conditions for expansion at this point are in Germany and Brazil. Unfortunately "Noname.Co" is a new entrant in the global market and is quite inexperienced in dealing with countries of unfamiliar culture. The differences between Bulgaria, Germany and Brazil are not only estimated by means of square meters, but also by ethnicity, religion, temperament and many other cultural characteristics.

The cultural uniqueness of a society is manifested in terms of the values, behavior and attitudes displayed by its members. Culture and its normative characteristics are crystallized in the values that they hold about life and the world around them. The latter in turn affect people's attitudes about the form of behavior considered more appropriate and effective in any given situation. The purpose of this coursework is to find out how the cultural values of the German and Brazilian people are linked to their work values because national and organizational cultures are two different things. Namely, what will be the possible conflicts, moral problems and inefficiencies that may surface the companies' relationships? In turn how managers could handle such problems. How headquarters' rules and policies will be interpreted by the host ventures' members? What management style and communication style will most suitably be applied for both nations, and how they could be motivated?

I will provide an information pack to the Bulgarian company's CEOs advising them on anticipated Germans' and Brazilians' national characteristic resulting from rigorous study of various dimensions (or micro-aspects) of their cultures. These dimensions will relate to the basic problem areas which both human societies face and have found solutions for in their own various ways. The same micro-aspects will be used to reflect common beliefs that either define what is right or wrong or specify general preferences. Furthermore, how the latter influence individuals' selection from available models, means and ends of actions, as well as what are the people's preferences in terms of management style and work environment. In order to identify how both countries differ culturally I will weigh against the Geert Hofstede's five dimensions: Individualism versus Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, Power Distance, Masculinity versus Femininity, and Long-term versus Short-term Time Orientation.

Table 1

Table 2

INDIVIDUALISM versus CILLECTIVISM (Individual and Group)

Individualism (IDV) focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective achievement and interpersonal relationships. A High Individualism ranking indicates that individuality and individual rights are paramount within the society. Individuals in these societies may tend to form a larger number of looser relationships. A Low Individualism ranking typifies societies of a more collectivist nature with close ties between individuals. These cultures reinforce extended families and collectives where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group.

Table 3

It could be inferred from the table that the German company's staff members are individualistic by nature Ð'- approx.67%. These people are likely to require large amount of independence, initiative, and self-responsibility, which does not mean incompatibleness with cooperation. Being individualist, a German worker is expected to be influenced by other individual rather than a group and to cooperate with other people rather than a team, because what is important for him is the individual achievement than the one of the society. Generally, it could be anticipated for these employees to believe that each person must earn his living, must earn the love and respect of his peers, and must earn the self-esteem and the happiness that make life worth living. He would value personal time, freedom and challenge.

If the Bulgarian managers see positively the high individualism expressed in the German people - then it could be a basis for creativity and achievement. If they view it with disapproval it could be considered disruptive to group harmony and cooperation. It is a matter of executives' interpretation and strategy how to take advantage of this. A positive tactic for Bulgarians would be to nurture strong private opinion expected from everyone. Individualistic subordinates expect to be assessed by what they do and what they know, and the results to be expressed in terms of extrinsic motivators such as material rewards (money) and other employee benefits (promotion, formal recognition). The scores from Table 4 support this conclusion thus individual PRP (Performance Related Pay) would be appropriate for employees with such characteristics. Serious conflicts may take place if, for example, a project fails due to some members being passive or not performing well, and this hurts the salary of the entire department, including those who worked hard.

Table 4

Variable Important aspects in a job-Good pay Important aspects in a job-a job in which you feel you can achieve something

BASE=2036 Total Total

Not mentioned 25,3 48,2

Mentioned 74,7 51,8

Total 2002 (100%) 1955 (100%)

Table 5

Brazilian people IDV index is 38% which means they are expressed collectivists-people belong to groups that are supposed to look after them in exchange for loyalty. When they win they all win, when they fail they all fail which inspires teamwork, therefore Bulgarian management should assign them tasks that require joint efforts. Such employees would not hold individuals accountable for the choices they make, although they do not disparage responsibility, which is only to be expected of the productive and consists of doing one's part of the whole.

Brazilian subordinates could be better motivated by intrinsic rewards like informal recognition, personal growth etc. However, results from the World Values Survey (Table 6) show that the nation value money and non-financial benefits almost equally maybe because of the high percentage of poverty in the country. Concerning incentives, they should be

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