Impacts of Globalization on the Understanding of Culture and Cultural Management

Cultural distances between geographical regions are considered to affect the way business is conducted in such realms. The constituents of culture that affect managerial practices have however attracted diverse and at times opposing advancements. Whereas an ecological perspective contends culture to be an adaptation to the systems in place; an ideological perspective advances cultures to be “cognitive, structural and symbolic systems” (Bird & Fang 2009, p. 139). With globalization trends affecting traditional ways of doing business; evaluation of culture as a factor influencing managerial practices across boarders has gained impetus. The impacts of globalization on the cross cultural management in respect to understanding of national cultures and cultural change are thus discussed. The concept of national political culture as a method of culture evaluation with regard to management practices is also considered.

In the 1980s Hoftede’s formulation of culture dimensions introduced measurable attributes of culture (Bird & Fang 2009). Accordingly different nations could be evaluated to an overall index based on norms and values hence facilitating development of national culture concept and comparison of different nations’ cultures (Bird & Fang 2009). Through Hofstede’s propositions cultural values were identified as an integral determinant of managerial approaches (Bird & Fang 2009). As such the diversity between countries’ cultures was advanced to necessitate different management approaches for efficiency in business processes (Bird & Fang 2009). The main undoing of such value conceptualization to build a national culture was however in cases where sub-cultures may exist within one nation (Chevrier 2009).

With globalization trends the role that value based national cultures play in influencing managerial practices has further become ambiguous. The weakening of cross-boarder barriers has for instance resulted into increased labor mobility resulting into multicultural workforce within organizations. Technological advancements such as the Internet may also have created a greater awareness of different cultures’ across the globe leading to emergence boarder-transcending cultures (Bird & Fang 2009). Such contention has presented a challenge to the use of nations, the Hofstede’s approach, as the units on which cultural evaluation is framed.

Secondly, what compounds the challenge to structuring cross cultural management aspects on the basis of national culture is the cultural change concept. Through globalization forces different cultures have come into contact in areas where businesses are conducted. To mitigate the clashes that may occur between different cultures “cultural learning of values and practices” may be an ongoing process (Bird & Fang 2009, p. 140). Unlike the cultural ecology perspective where cultures are proposed to be distinct as influenced by the prevalent environment; cultural learning envisages a process where differences between cultures are slowly being eliminated to result into a synchronized global culture (Bird & Fang 2009). The idea of a determinable national culture is thus becoming more ambiguous with the cultural changes promoted by the interaction of diverse cultures under the globalization wave being a common occurrence. Go to part 2 here.

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