Management of cultural diversity is essential for success of corporation in the 21st century. Different cultures possess diverse perspective on essential workplace issues such as teamwork, respect for authority, responsibilities as well as time management.
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In addition, different cultures may result to conflicting interpretations of ethics, methods of communications as well as reluctance to give or receive feedbacks.
It is noted that when clients as well as co-workers operate based on different beliefs and conflicting attitudes, it results to barriers to effective and efficient job performance. An organization that has a diverse community requires to breakdown existing cross-cultural barriers in order for the organization to run smoothly and harmoniously.
Lately, it has been established that cultural diversity has the tendency of bringing different cultures together that results to increased creativity and effectiveness. Thus, it has been noted that business are nowadays regarding cultural diversity as a resource and are employing it to bring innovation, efficiency as well as competitiveness.
Thus, cultural diversity is nowadays analogous to the traditional perception associated cultural differences. Cultural difference can enhance rather than serve as a barrier to engaged workers as well as clients.
However, whether cultural difference is regarded as an obstacle or a competitive advantage that can be exploited, it remains a major challenge that requires to be overcome. Effective management of cross-cultural differences is imperative for organizations success (Knights & McCabe 2000;Lukas 1974;Lalcau 2005).
There are various methods that are used for management of cultural differences within a workplace. Cultural differences can be managed through conflict avoidance, conflict management as well as through diverse forms of cross-cultural facilitation mechanism. It is belied that culture is a complex concept.
It has varied attitudes as well as workplace practices that differ from one context to another. Thus, managers are required to be knowledgeable on how they can capture the dynamics of culture within a given workplace and turn them into important resources.
Management should use problematic dominant approach to cultural differences in order to change perception of viewing cross-cultural difference as obstacles, but consider it as a valuable resource that can be exploited to create a competitive advantage for the entity over its rivals.
Similarly, managers should be conversant with the identity, difference and negativity in post-structuralist political theory that is also essential for effective management of cross-cultural diversity in workplace.
Similarly, systems thinking as well as complex theory that try to address organizations as a holism entity are very effective in managing employees’ cross-cultural diversity in the workplace (Staccy 1996;West1997).
Effective management of cultural diversity is imperative in service industries and particularly in the restaurant industry. The high proliferation and adoption of fast foods has resulted to an increased emergent of fast food restaurants both in developed as well as in developing nations.
As a result of the current high globalization that has resulted to integration of various economies and wide spread adoption of international trade, there has been an increased cultural diversity in many organizations.
Globalization has encouraged many companies to extend their operations to foreign nations in order to expand their market niche. This has resulted to integration of different cultures that has called for effective strategies for cross cultural managements.
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Proxy restaurant is a chain of fast food restaurants with its head quarters in United States of America. In its strategy of expansion through Direct Financial Investment as well as franchise strategy, it extended its operations last year in United Arab Emirates in order to maximize its profits. United Arab Emirates is a major tourist destination that attracts many visitors across the globe.
United Arab Emirates have tourists from U.S. Europe, Asia as well as Africa. Therefore, Proxy Restaurant is operating in a cosmopolitan location. Most of the employees of Proxy restaurant are of African origin, although it has some employees from Asia as well as U.S and Europe.
The human resource department at the restaurant has ensured that it has recruited very qualified, experience as well as competent workforce in order to meet the high standards requirements for its target clients who are mainly tourists who have visited the destination for business reasons as well as for holiday purposes.
However, despite the existence of a very competent workforce, the restaurant has a high rate of employees turn over and frequent instances of customers’ dissatisfaction which has greatly affected its performance.
The management has constantly increased employees’ remunerations as well as ensuring that the restaurant recruits only very experienced and qualified workforce as a strategy to enhance its performance to no improvements.
The performance of this restaurant is contrary to how the other restaurants are operating in other areas. In an effort to establish the real cause of this problem, I opted to review the qualifications and remunerations of the employees who work at the restaurant.
After reviewing them, I noticed that those employees Proxy work at the restaurant are highly qualified with majority of them being university graduates. In addition, many of them have extensive experience having worked in multinational restaurants such as McDonald as well as King Fisher Food restaurants. In reviewing their backgrounds further, I noticed that the management has hired employees from different backgrounds.
It is from this perspective that the researcher anticipates to explore how effective management of cross-cultural differences can affect performance of an organization. The researcher will try to find out how Proxy Restaurant which is located at United Arab Emirates can use its cross-cultural diversity as a competitive advantage rather than being an obstacle to its performance.
The main aim of this study is to determine the main cause of poor performance of Proxy restaurant and recommend appropriate solutions to enhance its performance. The research will use the following specific objectives;
1. To determine the cross-cultural differences of the employees of Proxy Restaurant
2. To determine the cross-cultural diversity of Proxy Restaurant clients
3. To recommend appropriate solutions for proxy Restaurant
Problematizing Dominant Approach to Cultural Difference
This approach towards cultural diversity views cultural differences as a potential valuable resource rather than an obstacle. This new perspective towards cultural diversity in organizations has shifted the management of culture from conflict management to knowledge management, wherein cultural difference becomes an element of knowledge sharing as well as source of innovation.
This perspective ensures that cultural diversity is subordinated to cross-cultural management of knowledge sharing, networking as well as learning of collaborative activities. This new perspective of cross-cultural diversity has been greatly adopted in various management fields such as human resource management.
There exists a great concern on how organizations should effectively address the issue of cultural diversity in the context of multinational corporate workplace. Conflict avoidance, conflict management as well as the use of different forms of cross-cultural facilitation mechanisms plays very important roles for effective management of cross-cultural diversities in workplace.
Identity, Difference and Negativity in Post-Structuralist Political Theory
This theory is traced back in late 1960 as well as in early 1970s that resulted to philosophically-potent oppositions. This opposition came to be considered being responsible for insidious propagations of power hierarchies as well as the cause for gender as well as cultural oppositions.
The progress from a structural understanding of society towards a post-structuralist political theory entails affirming a negative social ontology.
The most interesting aspect of this theory is how culture is viewed as an instrument that prevents the contestation of essential organizations norms, but instead becomes an instrument for a competitive advantage for an organization (Sarangi 1995;Smith 1990;Staccy 1996;Spencer 2007;Solderburg & Holden 2002).
Systems Thinking and Complexity Theory
This theory provides essential guidance in understanding about effective management of cultural diversity. The chief perspective of systems thinking entails viewing a system as a whole that is interacting with its environment rather than viewing the system in parts.
The theory of systems thinking regards a system to consist of interrelated parts and subsystems. The theory stresses on the importance of regarding the subsystems as importance as the whole system and treat them equally.
The complex theory on the other hand views an organization as a complex interrelation of a number of interrelated elements, where interactions at a lower level form the emergent at a higher level. The key element in complex theory is that complex systems are difficult to control, but they can be effectively managed as they move towards the edge of chaos (Braudel 1993;Buckley1968;Churchman1979).
Culture and Diversity as Complex Systems
Complex theories as well as systems thinking do not consider employees working in organizations as rational actors who can be controlled for the best interests of organizations. These theories consider tasks as separate from each other. All irrationality as well as unpredictability in strategies are considered as irrelevant by management scientists as try to look for linear truths about organizations they are studying.
This is contrary to the perspective and day-to-day experience of managers and employees in organizations who follow unpredictable and chaos-like nature of organizations where holistic is imperative in order to act successfully.
Thus, the systems thinking as well as complex theory is importance in enabling organizations to have a clear picture of the challenges associated with management of organizations, instead of limiting managers to theoretical concepts that lack practical implementations. Therefore, systems thinking as well as complex theory are essential in ensuring that effective management solutions are realized in organizations.
This will entail accepting formal as well as informal behaviors as important aspects of organizations. It also entails accepting overt as well as covert behaviors in groups and also embracing conscious as well as unconscious minds of individual employee (Rietbergen 1998; Ritzer 2000;Sarangi 1995;Sackmann 1994).
Culture as a Complex System
Culture is considered as a complex system that comprise of more than two actors that are interrelated as well as interacting. Culture forms a key characteristic of human system and therefore it is very importance to understand its operations. Since culture evolves separately as well as differently depending on the nature of its members and environment.
Thus, culture reflects key conditions of complex systems that entail being sensitive to initial conditions. A culture will evolve into a different type of culture depending on its original conditions and environment. Irrespective of the existing diversities of cultures, all cultures share some common elements.
For example, all cultures are based on values and assumptions that are expressed in individuals’ behaviors and communications. However, researches have shown that cultures differ on certain common dimensions such as all cultures employ the concept of power structures and hierarchies, although they use them differently. In addition, all cultures organize their societies into structures.
Moreover, cultures affects societal and religion beliefs systems that their members embrace. Therefore, such aspects makes culture to adapt the form of system thinking in that such aspects are more inclined to relations than ‘the parts’ of culture. In respect to the complexity theory, culture is known to converge towards unknown structures.
Similarly, cultures are formed of diverse subcultures such as global cultures, regional as well as national cultures. National cultures take the characteristics of immigrants’ cultures, tribal cultures as well as city cultures. Corporate as well as industrial cultures are embedded in national cultures.
Thus, the thinking systems as well as complex theory is used to explain and understand the various multitudes of cultures present as part of natural complexity as well as the system of society and culture (Abbasi & Hollman1991;Adler1986;Allport 1954;Albert & Dobbs1970;Allan1987;Allen1983;Allen& Wilder 1979;Aiello & Jones1971; Abowd & Freeman, 1991).
Nature of Culture
Culture is considered as being dynamic rather than static in nature. Culture changes with time both within as well as without depending on prevailing conditions. The multifaceted aspect of culture makes it to adapt to the ever changing environmental conditions. Taking a systematic perspective of culture makes us to be in a position to see, appreciate as well as learn dynamic elements of culture.
By using the systems thinking and complex theory, management of cultural diversity can greatly improve through expressing the consequences of cultural diversities financially. The failure to quantify cross-cultural effects of culture financially is the one that has contributed to current high burnout of organizations.
A holistic management of an entity regards the management of the organization as a whole that involve management of its environments, interest, its workforce as well as their concerns. Through that approach, cross-cultural management as well as appreciation of individual diversity becomes essential. In line to this, the managers realize the difficulty associated with cross cultural setting of uninitiated staff.
In relation to the current global context, that enables people from all over the world to interact, systems thinking as well as complex theory are essential in providing viable solutions for cultural diversity that will result to tapping the benefit that accompany cultural diversity.
In respect to system thinking and complex theory, diversity expands beyond cultural differences to consider natural state of an organization and a competitive advantage. All the theories discussed advocates for people as the carriers of holism and complexity, who are known to perform to their best when they are given a favorable environment to do so.
Thus, diversity promotes enrichment of relationships that are essential to complex systems (Allport 1954; Braudel 1993;Anderson & Stewart 1983;Anderson 1993;Anderson 1981;Ackoff & Emery 1972;Berry 1992;Amott & Matthaei 1991).
Proxy Restaurant that is operating in United Arab Emirate has performed below its expectation as a result of poor management of cross-cultural differences. A study of the population of its employees as well as customers reveals that the restaurant consists of employees as well as clients from different backgrounds.
The human resource management has failed to manage the cross-cultural diversity of their employees to become a competitive advantage. The management has failed to engage the individual differences of its employees to enhance the performance of the restaurant.
The management should adopt the problematizing dominant approach to cultural difference that views cross-cultural differences as resources rather than obstacles. Through this perspective the management will shift there approach from conflict management to knowledge management. Through this approach the management uses cross-cultural differences as an element for knowledge sharing as well as innovations.
In addition, the management should realize the importance of systems thinking as well as complex theory in effective management of cross-cultural diversity. Systems thinking advocate the management to view the organization as a whole entity where all parts plays an essential part for the overall performance of the organization.
Therefore, the management should realize that as much as the experiences as well as competency of its employees is essential for good performance, failure of offering employees a good working environment will result to poor performance. Similarly, the complex theory that regards organizations as composed of subsets of interrelated as well as interacting components is imperative in the management of cross-cultural diversity.
The management should keep in mind that the individual performances of employees are essential in determining the overall performance of the organization.
Thus, the management should try to understand the various characteristics of cultures present in the restaurant and employ appropriate solutions using the above mentioned theories to ensure there is harmony in the organization in order to guarantee innovation that the restaurant can use as a competitive advantage.
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