Purpose of the Study
In today’s civilization, organizations have emerged as one of the most important pillars of human development. Indeed, it is difficult to find communities that are immune to the actions of organizations or their proxies. The impact of corporate governance on modern society stems from the fact that many organizations are part of multinational global alliances, which have advanced data processing and telecommunication capabilities (Bijaoui 2016). Similarly, most of them have diverse and multicultural workforces that help them to achieve their financial or non-profit goals (Tarnue 2017). The growing influence of multinational corporations (MNCs) in the global society can be harnessed through cultural synergies because of the presence of a multicultural workforce (Bijaoui 2016).
We will write a custom Essay on Marriott Hotel’s Promotion of Intercultural Synergy specifically for you
301 certified writers online
According to the Management Association and Information Resources (2014), organizational synergy occurs when managers bring two or more cultures together to improve efficiency through combined strengths and skills. Alternatively, according to Smiraglia (2014), synergy is a combined action that occurs when two or more people who come from diverse backgrounds choose to work together in an organizational context.
The goal of creating these synergies is to increase the effectiveness of their operations through shared perceptions, insights, and knowledge. However, synergy is not only limited to the achievement of common goals; it also allows groups to become effective through enhanced innovation which occurs when colleagues work together (van Zomeren & Louis 2017). From this model, managers harness differences in the world’s population to promote mutual growth through increased cooperation among partners (Bijaoui 2016). Therefore, organizations could benefit from increased efficiencies and success when they allow employees to share their opinions freely.
In most cases, cultural synergy manifests through the reproduction of a new cultural form, which differs from their parent cultures (Gopalkrishnan 2019). Regardless of the processes that lead to the creation of cultural synergy, globalization is likely to force many organizations to strive for intercultural synergy. This is why globalization literature, such as Tarnue (2017) and Mihaela (2014), often includes discussions about the concept of cultural synergy. The purpose of this study is to identify strategies for promoting intercultural synergy at using Marriott hotel as the context and lens for the research.
Description of Study Context
Hancock and Algozzine (2016) claim that case studies are among the best ways of getting reliable empirical information. Consequently, this dissertation is a case study of Marriott Hotels and Resorts. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the company has been in operation for more than 60 years (United States Securities Exchange Commission 2019). Besides, its global operations span more than 110 countries around the world (Marriott Rewards 2016).
In these markets, the company operates approximately 6,500 properties and more than 1.3 million rooms (Statista 2019). Marriott’s vision is “to become the premier provider and facilitator of leisure and vacation experiences in the world” (Comparably 2019, p.1). Furthermore, the company’s mission is “to enhance the lives of its customers by creating and enabling unsurpassed vacation and leisure experiences” (Comparably 2019, p. 1).
Marriott also focuses on promoting an intercultural workforce, as seen through statistics, which show that minorities hold about 26% of its management positions. Besides, women hold about half of these positions. The company’s mantra emphasizes the need to respect cultural diversity because it is the link between the company’s past and future (Marriott 2019).
The current study aims to promote intercultural synergy at the hotel by identifying unique ways for advancing intercultural competence by assessing the need for intercultural communication and evaluating the role of leadership in achieving this goal through organizational change. By understanding these insights, it would be easier for the hotel’s managers to cope with the intercultural challenges that exist in its global business environment. The research aim, questions, and objectives of the study appear below.
To identify strategies for promoting intercultural synergy at Marriott Hotel
- Is there a need for intercultural communication as a strategy for promoting synergy at Marriott Hotel?
- What is the role of leaders in promoting intercultural synergy at the Marriott Hotel?
- Establish whether there is a need for intercultural communication as a strategy for promoting intercultural synergy at the Marriott Hotel.
- Find out how to involve leaders in promoting intercultural synergy at the Marriott Hotel.
Significance and Justification for the Study
The findings of this study will focus on how to create intercultural synergy in the workplace. Doing so may help organizations to solve intercultural conflicts that affect their operations. This study is timely because it appeals to the current global business environment. After all, managers of multinational companies should be versant with the methods needed to promote intercultural synergies in the workplace (Smiraglia 2014; Mihaela 2014). Also, they must be competently involved with cross-cultural communication (Smiraglia 2014).
Previous research studies, such as Fonseca (2014) and (Maria 2019), have alluded to this fact by demonstrating that the effectiveness of multinational companies in the global marketplace is predicated on their ability to be culturally competent. Therefore, the findings of this study are timely for managers of multinational companies who have trouble realizing intercultural synergy in their organizations.
Indeed, as Barmeyer and Franklin (2016) point out, managers can benefit from learning how to promote intercultural synergies in their workplaces. Doing so may allow them to create a culturally diverse workforce that has many capabilities, perspectives, and attitudes. Such managers are also likely to benefit from enhanced problem-solving skills and an increased familiarisation of techniques to develop unique solutions to cross-cultural problems (Barmeyer & Franklin 2016).
Particularly, the findings of this study will be relevant to managers in the hospitality sector because the case study is contextualized in the Marriott Hotel. Therefore, the findings of this study are relevant to today’s post-modern era where there is a need for organizations to be managed by people who understand how to promote intercultural synergy. Lastly, insights developed from this current study may have a level of transferability to other contexts such as government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and non-profit companies engaged in international trade. The same is true for cross-cultural organizations challenged with complexities relating to the adoption of new technologies.
Structure of the Dissertation
This dissertation is classified into five distinct sections:
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
- The introductory chapter, which provides a background to the study and a justification for why the researcher should conduct it. This chapter also introduces the research context and its purpose. The research aim, objectives, and questions guiding the study are also provided.
- The literature review will contain a description and analysis of what other researchers have written about the research topic.
- The research methodology outlines the techniques used by the researcher in answering the study questions. Therefore, issues about the research design, research methods, data collection techniques, and data analysis methods are described.
- The findings and analysis chapter will present the analysis of the research data and findings obtained from the implementation of the strategies highlighted in the methodology chapter.
- The fifth chapter will represent the conclusions and recommendations of the study after summarizing the main findings and suggesting ways to fill existing research gaps.
Specialised Terms and Concepts
- Synergy – When there is an attempt to bring two or more cultures together to create an environment where efficiency can be improved through combined strengths or skills.
- Culture – A set of beliefs, norms, and values followed by a distinct group of people.
- Parochialism – An individualistic view of the world.
- Simplification – The equality of employees, regardless of their experiences when interacting with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds.
This section of the study highlights what other researchers have written about the study topic. The analysis is informed by the research aim, which is to understand how to promote intercultural synergy at the Marriott Hotel. The materials reviewed in this chapter are mostly books, journals, and credible websites because of their high level of credibility. The researcher got the articles from reputable online databases, including Sage Journals, Google Books, and Emerald Insight. This literature review also reviews the theoretical contributions of notable scholars in the field of intercultural management, such as Hofstede. The key words used to obtain relevant materials were intercultural synergy, Marriott Hotel, cross-cultural management, and theories.
The conceptual framework for this study will be based on the most developed conceptual framework for understanding intercultural synergy – Hofstede’s six dimensions of cultural exchange. They include power distance, long-term/short-term orientation, pragmatism/”normatism,” masculinity/feminity, uncertainty avoidance, indulgence/restraint, and individualism/collectivism. These six dimensions of cultural exchange will be discussed in the theoretical analysis below.
Nonetheless, the documents that will be included in this review are books, journals, and credible websites. The researcher will use these three sources of information because they are credible and reliable sources of data for academic research. Research materials that the researcher excluded from the study include those that are older than five years (pre-2014) because of the need to include updated information.
For many decades, researchers have investigated the role of culture in the development of a sound business environment. Cross-cultural management research studies have also taken different shapes and forms in recent decades (Mihaela 2014). Initially, they were characterized by parochial studies focused on one culture when evaluating synergies in organizational development. Today, they encapsulate the intrigues characterizing two or more cultural groups working in the same organization (Mihaela 2014). Also, they have used different metrics to evaluate cultural differences and similarities (Stamenova 2018). However, the use of different metrics in evaluating cultural metrics has made it difficult to find a common set of evaluative criteria for assessing different cultural cohorts (Ryan 2015).
Hofstede (as cited in Maria 2019) is among the most recognizable scholars in the field of intercultural studies because he identified different cultural dynamics characterizing nations. In other words, he reviewed the concept of intercultural synergy through an understanding of cultural differences among countries. Relative to this assertion, the scholar said that national and regional cultural differences manifest when businesses acquire an international stature (Mihaela 2014).
He also emphasized the need to manage cultural differences in organizations because they are among the most challenging issues to address in a global business environment (Mihaela 2014). Hofstede highlights six key categories for understanding cultural differences among nations. They include; Power distance, Long-term/Short-term orientation, Pragmatism/Normatism, Masculinity/ Femininity, Uncertainty avoidance, Indulgence/restraint, and Individualism/Collectivism (Mihaela 2014). Table 1 below summarises these six dimensions of intercultural exchange.
Hofstede says that the concept of power distance refers to the extent that one person can exert their power or influence over another (Dahlen 2018). For example, in many organizations, experts analyze power distance based on the extent to which leaders influence employees’ behaviors (Dahlen 2018). The idea behind power distance is predicated on inequality among individuals in society. Experts have also analyzed the concept in reverse where power distance becomes the extent to which employees accept unequal power relationships in an organization (Mihaela 2014). Therefore, the concept stems from the fact that employees accept inequalities in power relationships, as much as leaders try to impose it on them.
The concept of individualism stems from the degree that people are independent even when in groups. Hofstede Insights (2019) argues that this concept is broadly defined by whether people attribute their self-image to their individual or collective identities. Therefore, in individualistic societies, people tend to look after their welfare at the expense of other people. Comparatively, cultures that promote collectivism look up to communities (or groups) to cater for their welfare in exchange for unquestionable loyalty (Dahlen 2018).
A masculine culture thrives on the principles of competition and achievement. For example, some researchers attribute the British society as largely masculine because success is based on competition and achievement (Stamenova 2018). This type of culture is also premised on the philosophy of the “winner-take-all” approach. Many western countries subscribe to this culture.
The concept of uncertainty refers to how well organizations manage future uncertainty (Fonseca 2014). Therefore, in this context, managers often have a problem determining whether they should try to control future organizational outcomes or refrain from doing so and be subject to natural forces of trade (Fonseca 2014). Therefore, the extent to which an organization would feel threatened by the inability to control future outcomes dictates the type of score they would get in managing uncertainty (Maria 2019). organizations that have high uncertainty avoidance are often more open to new ideas and innovation compared to those that score low on this index (Hofstede Insights 2019).
Long-term orientation refers to how well an organization aligns its culture with the future, relative to the challenges it experienced in the past and the present (Fonseca 2014). People who have a normative culture are always suspicious of the need to change. However, to prepare for the future, companies that have a high score in long-term orientation tend to adopt a pragmatic approach when managing their operations (Maria 2019).
Hofstede says that the concept of indulgence refers to how well people can control their impulses or urges (Maria 2019). A tendency towards the weak control of impulses is associated with a high score of indulgence, while the advanced ability to control human desires is attributed to a low level of indulgence. In some quarters, this type of behavior is associated with restraint (Hofstede Insights 2019).
The extent that people subscribe to this value is largely influenced by their childhood socialization (Fonseca 2014). For example, Americans believe in the principle of “work hard and play hard,” which highlights their tendency to indulge. The indulgence culture in the US also explains why its drug addiction numbers are higher than in many other western countries. Broadly, Hofstede’s six dimensions of intercultural exchange are discussed below.
Table 1. Hofstede’s six key dimensions of cultural exchange (Adapted from Mihaela 2014).
|Power Distance |
The extent that lower-level employees agree that there is an unequal distribution of power in an organization
|Individualism vs. Collectivism |
The degree that employees pursue personal goals at the expense of group goals
|Masculinity vs. Feminism |
The degree that an organization celebrate aggressive values at the expense of softer skills, such as compassion and care
|Uncertainty Avoidance |
The degree that employees feel uncomfortable with their inability to control future outcomes
|Pragmatism vs. Normatism |
The degree that employees acknowledge their inability to explain much of what goes on around them
|Indulgence vs. Restraint |
The ability of employees to control their impulses and emotions
Stamenova (2018) provides a practical example of the implementation of the above-mentioned cultural dynamics through a review of two countries – China and Ireland. A comparison of the two nations, according to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, suggests that China scores highly on the power-distance scale compared to Ireland (Stamenova 2018). Many countries can be analyzed in the same manner but leadership influences the outcomes of their cultural inclinations.
Role of Leaders in Promoting Intercultural Synergy
As highlighted in other parts of this study, new intercultural dynamics have influenced business strategies for multinationals in the global corporate environment. Therefore, researchers claim that it is not enough for managers to recognize that cultural differences exist in their business environments because they have a responsibility to transform these variations into business opportunities (Mihaela 2014).
Besides, there is a need to reshape the mindset of many managers who work with multinational companies, at least through cultural adaptation and bridging the gap between different sets of employees (Smiraglia 2014). Therefore, to build a global mentality in organizational management, it is essential to understand the role of managers in promoting intercultural synergy (Smiraglia 2014).
It is important to evaluate the similarities and differences between cultural cohorts when managing a multicultural workforce. Stated differently, management views employees as similar in their basic nature and relationships. This management view highlights the need for managers to integrate different cultural backgrounds in their administrative practices (Mihaela 2014). This need is linked to proper succession planning outlined in an ethnographic study authored by Ryan (2015). It also emphasizes the need to be open to cultural diversity. Managers who value integration and openness are likely to score highly in promoting intercultural synergy, while those who do not embrace these values score poorly on the same index (Smiraglia 2014).
Some researchers view cross-cultural management as a systemic leadership strategy because it strives to maintain equivalence across cultures and promote knowledge sharing (Smiraglia 2014; Mihaela 2014). In line with this view, researchers have also formulated models that show the influence of social cultures on organizations. The Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness Research (GLOBE) model described in figure 1 below is an example.
Figure 1 above shows that cross-cultural leadership is a product of societal culture (norms and practices) organizational contingencies and leadership attributes. Different researchers whose works have mainly pivoted in the areas of systems theory and complexity sciences have also investigated the role of these leadership factors in cross-cultural management (Affolderbach & Schulz 2016).
For example, Professor Norbert Wiener addresses the concept of synergies in the workplace by referring to the field of cybernetics, which is applicable in artificial intelligence, to implement leadership strategies in cross-cultural management (Kimppa et al. 2014). He says that managers can introduce the concept of organizational synergies by understanding information processing systems, feedback, and communication systems (Kimppa et al. 2014).
Based on the above views, Kimppa et al. (2014) apply information systems theory to organizational models by arguing that companies are only able to survive in harsh environments if they minimize uncertainty through retrospective decision-making. Furthermore, Kimppa et al. (2014) argue that leaders should disregard what they think they know about management, question traditional practices about workplace dynamics and instead think about new ways of improving performance in a globalized society (Kimppa et al. 2014).
Pundits in the field of complexity science also share this view by advancing the complex systems theory beyond causal constraints of dynamic engagements (Affolderbach & Schulz 2016). Therefore, to understand how organizations should achieve synergies, it is important to discuss vital issues relating to systems theory and complexity science.
One issue that warrants mentioning is the principle of interdependence, which suggests that the viability of organizational systems (especially for multinational companies) depends on a network of relationships, which link different and interrelated parts (Affolderbach & Schulz 2016). Stated differently, for one part of the system to function properly, another one has to be supported. Most synergistic groups understand this principle and comprehend the need to work together to achieve mutually beneficial goals.
The principle of permeability is another concept that warrants mentioning in this context because it refers to how materials and information flow in an organization (Kimppa et al. 2014). This principle connotes the need to have quality systems within organizations to allow for a higher sharing order system (Kimppa et al. 2014). Through such a framework, there should be a distribution of human assets, data, and capital. However, researchers have pointed out that trust is the single most important factor that allows permeability to work (Affolderbach & Schulz 2016). Nonetheless, synergistic groups require adequate time to assess all available information and act on them before such outcomes can suffice.
Cultural Synergy and organizational Change
The importance of understanding organizational change in the development of intercultural synergy stems from the expansion of globalization in the international business space. Indeed, many countries are starting to experience the effects of internationalization based on the consistent breakdown of national borders in different parts of the world. In light of this progress, different organizations are not only reporting an influx of foreign workers but also experiencing the need to undertake organizational change to accommodate these trends (Stephan 2016).
Therefore, globalization influences the changing business landscape that validates the need to understand the link between organizational change and cultural competence. From these findings, there is an emerging field of cross-cultural studies, which pair the concept of cultural exchange with organizational change. Integrating organizational theory and the comparative management field has partly influenced this development.
One of the main themes emerging from previous works that have explored the concept of cultural synergy in organizations is change (Sardana 2015). Several researchers mention the concept of organizational change in intercultural synergy development because when two or more cultures merge in an organization, change is likely to occur (Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). The organizational change also affects employee performance by causing disruptions in everyday processes (Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). Therefore, it is not always associated with positive organizational growth.
In most cases where organizational change occurs, organizations either adopt high synergy or slow synergy levels. High synergy levels are achieved when companies choose to view organizational problems through a cultural lens, thereby increasing their cultural sensitivity to workplace issues (Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). Comparatively, low synergy organizations are characterized by an authoritarian leadership style where managers believe that they are the only ones who can understand its problems or solve them (Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016).
A review of most research studies, which have explored the concepts of cultural synergies and organizational change, suggest that cultural synergies improve employee wellbeing (Affolderbach & Schulz 2016; Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). Furthermore, they emphasize the need to promote cultural synergies during change processes (Affolderbach & Schulz 2016; Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). Nonetheless, it is important to point out that employees often resist organizational change because it is unfamiliar and uncomfortable (Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). It is possible to lose synergies in such contexts.
Researchers admit that the few studies have explored the impact of organizational change on intercultural synergies (Affolderbach & Schulz 2016; Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). Therefore, the relationship between the two concepts is often loosely described. In instances where mergers or acquisitions have occurred, the need for negotiation is paramount because managers have to figure out how to mix and match two or more cultures.
Power relations and interaction logics are often renegotiated in such contexts (Sardana 2015; Stephan 2016). When such change occurs, social rhythms within the organization may be desynchronized, thereby harming employee wellbeing (Sardana 2015). Relative to this assertion, it is important to understand that many studies attempting to understand the link between organizational change and cultural synergy, only provide exploratory findings because their main goal is to inspire the process and draw a link between organizational change and cultural synergies.
Cultural Competence and Cross-Cultural Communication
According to Barmeyer and Franklin (2016), it is important for managers operating in multicultural environments to be conversant with cross-cultural communication. According to Miroshnik and Basu (2014), cross-cultural communication refers to an understanding of how well people from different cultural backgrounds talk to one another. Research studies focusing on cross-cultural communication borrow extensively from the fields of cultural anthropology with a special emphasis on areas, which have established communication channels (Barmeyer & Franklin 2016).
Extensive research has also shown that cross-cultural competence is essential in improving organizational performance (Miroshnik & Basu 2014). This competence stems from the fact that cross-cultural organizations attract an array of skills and competencies, which (if correctly harnessed) can influence the effectiveness of global operations (Chawinga & Chipeta 2017).
Researchers have also shown that a culturally diverse workforce could easily outperform an organization that has homogenous groups, especially in problem solving and creativity (Barmeyer & Franklin 2016). A study conducted in Russia and America reported that cross-cultural communication accounts for most of the variance in organizational performance (Mihaela 2014). These influences also manifest through high levels of productivity. The same studies show that most organizations, which understand how to accommodate employee teams from varied cultural backgrounds, can maximize their strengths and minimize the associated costs (Mihaela 2014).
The contemporary global business environment encourages managers to develop high synergies by fostering win-win relationships with partners (Barmeyer & Franklin 2016). This system encourages cooperation for the realization of a mutual goal. A research study authored by Mihaela (2014) suggests that cross-cultural communication is an interdisciplinary process because it involves the infusion of interdisciplinary concepts through anthropology, psychology, and cultural studies. This field of study has also encompassed aspects of interethnic communications and the communication strategies used by a majority of workers (Chawinga & Chipeta 2017).
Broadly, the global rise of international trade has necessitated the importance of managers to understand intercultural communication because it is unavoidable for different cultures to meet or for people from different cultural backgrounds to interact with one another. People from varied cultural groups often find it difficult to achieve this level of integration because of language barriers and differences in communication styles (Chawinga & Chipeta 2017).
This literature review was an investigation of different aspects of intercultural synergy that organizations undertake to improve their productivity in a global business environment. Key sections of this chapter have shown that globalization has not only forced managers to understand intercultural communication but also prompted them to accept organizational change because it helps them to better develop the capacity to manage a multicultural workforce.
Hofstede’s works have formed a key part of existing theories and concepts involving cultural exchange among different groups of employees. Consequently, it forms the basis for the conceptual framework, which the researcher will use to guide other parts of this study. Most of the findings represented in the works of literature sampled in this review have only generally explored the research topic. Therefore, there is a lack of specificity needed in making intercultural synergies actionable. Particularly, few works of literature have focused on understanding organization-specific dynamics for promoting intercultural synergy in the workplace.
Concisely, few researchers have investigated how to promote intercultural synergy in the hospitality industry. Furthermore, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no study has investigated how to promote intercultural synergy at the Marriott Hotel. The current study aims to fill this research gap by providing a case study example of how to promote intercultural synergy in the giant multinational hotel. Based on this framework, the current study will investigate whether intercultural communication can promote synergy and find out how to involve leaders in generating intercultural synergy.
This chapter identifies and justifies the research methods used to undertake this study. Key parts of this section highlight the research philosophy, approaches, and strategies adopted in this study. They also provide justifications for the use of the selected methodological approaches, the study design, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques. Lastly, this chapter will highlight the ethical considerations in the study.
According to Khanna (2018), there are three types of research philosophies in research. They include positivism, realism, and interpretive techniques. Researchers often use the positivism approach in structured studies that contain large numbers of respondents (Li 2015). The quantitative research approach aligns with this philosophy because it often includes a larger sample of participants. It is also possible to use the qualitative method in this context (Khanna 2018). Researchers who use the positivism approach in their investigations are often concerned about the reality or facts of the research problem (Khanna 2018). Typically, their investigations are about observable social realities (Li 2015).
Comparatively, researchers who seek to understand human relationships and their role as social actors in the community use the interpretive philosophy (Brinkmann 2017). Such studies also strive to interpret the social role of other actors within their environments. Based on the in-depth nature of such relationships, most researchers who employ the interpretive approach use a small sample of respondents (Brinkmann 2017). Most of these investigations are qualitative.
Lastly, the realism approach is premised on the development of scientific inquiry based on a researcher’s version of the truth (Fox et al. 2014). This research philosophy is based on the use of scientific methods to develop research knowledge because it supports the view that research objects have an independent existence from human factors (Fox et al. 2014). Consequently, the realism approach allows researchers to fit their methods of study within their study contexts. In other words, the methods chosen in the study have to fit the subject matter. In such assessments, there is no specific preference for either the qualitative or the quantitative approach (Khanna 2018).
The interpretive philosophy was best suited for the current study because the study focused on intercultural relationships and human beings are social actors in the analysis of such relationships. Indeed, an investigation into methods that promote intercultural synergy at Marriott Hotel insinuates that people are at the center of the investigation because the culture is a collective human attribute. In other words, it refers to the norms, values, and beliefs about a group of people that affect an organization. The interpretive approach helped to address these underlying issues of organizational performance because it was attuned to understanding human relationships in the workplace.
According to Ary et al. (2018), there are two main types of research approaches: inductive and deductive. Freytag and Young (2017) say the inductive approach is aimed at developing a theory because it uses new evidence to generate relationship patterns that could be used to make future inferences about research variables. Comparatively, the deductive approach uses research evidence to test theories (Dawson 2018). Therefore, while the inductive approach is based on the exploration of a new phenomenon, the deductive approach is focused on understanding causality.
The researcher used the inductive approach in the current research because he developed recommendations using new knowledge that represented organizational dynamics at the Marriott Hotel. Besides, by using this technique, the researcher set out to investigate the research phenomenon without any preconceived ideas about the issues under investigation. After developing the study’s findings, the researcher evaluated the new theory alongside pre-existing ones to establish areas of similarities and differences. This process aided in positioning the new theories within the research discipline.
The justification for using the inductive research approach was based on the nature and characteristics of the study. Stated differently, the researcher was cognizant of the fact that different organizations have their own unique cultures and operational dynamics that influence the development of intercultural synergy in the workplace. Therefore, it was fair to approach the research issue with an open mind to gain insight into the operational dynamics of the Marriott Hotel and develop a holistic strategy for promoting intercultural synergy in the organization. Furthermore, the inductive approach was aligned with the qualitative research method, which formed the overriding framework for undertaking this study.
Researchers use different strategies in undertaking empirical investigations. Depending on the nature of a study, they could use experiments, surveys, case studies, grounded theory, ethnography, or action research to complete their investigations (Hancock & Algozzine 2016). The current thesis was a case study research because the researcher investigated one organization – the Marriott Hotel. This research strategy (case study approach) was used because of its holistic nature. Indeed, unlike standalone research methods, such as surveys, which generalize their findings, case studies are specific and provide a comprehensive understanding of the research issue (Hancock & Algozzine 2016).
Consequently, the researcher undertook a comprehensive review of the research issue within the Marriott Hotel. Therefore, there was a proper and thorough understanding of the hotel’s organizational processes and their effects on intercultural synergy in the workplace. Broadly, the case study approach provided a detailed understanding of how to promote intercultural synergy in one of the most profitable and known hotels in the world – the Marriott Hotel. Lastly, the researcher used the case study approach for review because it has minimal bias. Indeed, unlike other data collection techniques, such as surveys, the case study approach allowed the researcher to obtain a range of perspectives from the respondents.
As highlighted in this paper, data was collected using interviews. The researcher relied on the snowball sampling technique to reach the target participants. According to Kumar (2019), Cassell, Cunliffe, and Grandy (2017), this sampling strategy uses a chain referral method to reach preferred participants. In other words, the managers referred their colleagues to the researcher after taking part in the study. The researcher employed the snowball sampling technique in the study because it helped him to reach members of the hotel staff who were otherwise unreachable. The engagement happened when the researcher made contact with an employee of the Marriott Hotel who later introduced him to some of the company’s managers.
The small sample of respondents who took part in the study was advantageous to the researcher because it helped him to nurture close relationships. Consequently, there was an open and frank conversation about the research topic. The good relationship between the researcher and respondents helped to mitigate the reliability and validity issues of qualitative studies, such as researcher bias.
According to the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching (2019), once researchers identify a sampling strategy, they need to determine the number of respondents who take part in it. According to Klenke (2016), sampling often occurs in many qualitative studies until the researcher detects redundancy in the type of information collected. In other words, sampling often occurs until the researcher gains no new information in the study.
Based on this data collection criterion, the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching (2019) recommends that data collection and analysis should occur concurrently to enable researchers to detect when no new information is generated. However, researchers warn that the saturation rate may be reached when researchers sample a small group of respondents (Klenke 2016).
As highlighted in this chapter, the researcher interviewed six respondents who worked as employees of the Marriott Hotel. A sample size of six people is adequate to get quality information in a qualitative study. Two renowned researchers in the field of research methods (Creswell and Morse) support this view because they say that qualitative studies should have sample sizes of between 5 and 30 people (Statistics Solutions 2019). Although Statistics Solutions (2019) suggests that saturation could occur when researchers have interviewed about 15 respondents, the researcher was limited to six respondents because of time constraints and the busy schedules of the hotel managers. Therefore, time and access constraints were limitations in the study.
The Institute for Work and Health (2015) says that most research investigations adopt two types of strategies that include cross-sectional and longitudinal research. Both types of research techniques are observational but the latter is often undertaken over a long period (Institute for Work and Health 2015). However, researchers complete the cross-sectional study at a single point in time. Therefore, the information collected relates only to this specific period.
The current study was cross-sectional research because the researcher collected data at one point in time. Therefore, unlike longitudinal studies, which may take years of data gathering, the information collected in this report was only relevant to a specific period in Marriott’s business lifecycle. The researcher used this study design because it allowed him to collect information relating to several types of variables in one period. The main disadvantage associated with this type of technique is its failure to show causality or cause-and-effect relationships (Institute for Work and Health 2015). However, this issue was not of concern to the current investigation because it was exploratory.
Stated differently, the study was not focused on understanding cause-and-effect relationships. Therefore, this limitation did not affect the overall quality of investigations. Lastly, it is important to point out that the researcher did not use the longitudinal study design in the current study because the university’s academic calendar limited him. In other words, it was impossible to undertake a study that would not fit within the university’s academic calendar.
Data Collection Method
According to Morse (2016), the main types of data collection techniques in research include secondary data, interviews, observations, and questionnaires. Secondary data involves the use of published research information to answer research questions. Comparatively, researchers collect data using observations when they act as observers who watch research variables without influencing their behavioral dynamics. Comparatively, questionnaires are standardized data collection instruments. Most of them require research informants to answer a series of questions or prompts, which are later used to assess their views of the research questions.
Comparatively, the interview technique is used to collect information from a small sample of people. Most interviews often have open-ended questions that allow researchers to collect in-depth data. According to Klenke (2016), there are three types of interviews in research. They include face-to-face, phone calls, and online conversations. Virtual conversations may involve the use of different online applications, such as Skype and Google Hangout.
The researcher interviewed six respondents who held senior management positions at Marriott Hotel through phone interviews. Appendix 1 shows the interview protocol used by the researcher to facilitate engagements. To recap, the goal of the study was to provide an in-depth understanding of strategies for promoting intercultural synergy at the Marriott Hotel. Therefore, there was a specific need to target individuals who understood the company’s operational dynamics and workplace dynamics. This reasoning informs why managers were profiled as the preferred respondent group. Phone interviews were also used as the preferred mode of engagement because the respondents had busy schedules that made it difficult to schedule face-to-face interviews.
According to Klenke (2016), qualitative research studies may yield a wealth of information that could overwhelm a researcher. Therefore, it is important to understand how to make sense of such information. As highlighted in this chapter, the current study was a qualitative research investigation. Therefore, the information obtained from it was subjective. To analyze such data, the researcher relied on thematic and coding techniques.
As its name suggests, this type of data analysis technique focuses on generating themes from the research responses and categorizing them into unique codes for analysis. The researcher developed the themes and codes after recognizing patterns within the information provided by the company’s managers. These themes were broadly categorized into two types that generate content for answering the research questions. The justification for using this data analysis method is its good record in the analysis of qualitative data. In other words, researchers and experts have hailed it as one of the best methods for analyzing qualitative information (Klenke 2016).
The data analysis process will be based on the steps defined in the thematic model proposed by Mortensen (2019), which suggests that researchers should complete six phases of data analysis. The first one entails familiarising oneself with the data. In this stage of data analysis, the researcher adopted a broad understanding of the data by reading the interview transcripts to get a broader sense of the information available.
The second process of data analysis involved developing codes from the interview responses to describe the main points of the study. This process helped to categorize the data into two unique themes that represented the research questions. The third step of data collection involved the process of searching for themes that fit the codes described above. Afterward, the researcher reviewed these themes to understand pieces of information that were relevant to the research process, including their relationships with the codes and themes mentioned above. The fifth stage of data analysis involved a definition of the themes. As mentioned above, the process of defining the themes was based on the two research questions guiding this research.
The last stage of data analysis involved the production of the final report. The researcher followed the six stages of data analysis described above systematically and concisely because doing so helped to present the information logically. Table 2 below summarises the key stages of data analysis followed in this study.
Table 2. Thematic and Coding Method (Source: Developed by author).
|1||Researcher familiarises with the data|
|2||Assigning preliminary codes in the data|
|3||Searching for themes and patterns|
|5||Defining and naming themes|
|6||Writing the final report|
Reliability and Validity Issues.
According to Bryman and Bell (2015), qualitative data poses reliability and validity concerns because of the subjective nature of information obtained from it. However, as posited by Hair (2015), research findings need to be believable, consistent, and credible. Therefore, before reviewing how the researcher addressed the reliability and validity issues in this study, it is pertinent to understand the meanings of reliability and validity concerns.
Relative to this need, the Institute for Work and Health (2016) defines reliability as the consistency that a research investigation will reveal similar findings if repeated. Comparatively, validity refers to the accuracy and correctness of the information obtained in research (Institute for Work and Health 2016). The methods adopted by the researcher in addressing reliability and validity issues in the study are described below.
The Open Textbook (2019) suggests that it is difficult to achieve 100% validity in research. However, in this study, the researcher safeguarded the validity of the findings through effective coding and the minimization of researcher bias. Researcher bias was minimized through the snowball sampling method because the researcher had little control over who participated in the study. Effective coding also helped to improve the validity of the study because the researcher coded the information obtained from the respondents by minimizing ambiguities. Similarly, through this process, he made sure that the information coding process aligned with the research questions.
The researcher used the member-check technique to safeguard the validity of the research information collected. According to Hair (2015), this technique refers to the need for a researcher to cross-validate the information obtained from the research informants to make sure there is synchrony between what is presented in the study and what the respondents meant to say. Therefore, within this framework, the researcher shared the study’s findings with the informants to allow them to give their views regarding whether the information provided in the final report represented what they meant to say. The goal of adopting this technique was to improve the trustworthiness of information obtained in the study. Similarly, this technique helped to improve the accuracy and honesty of information obtained in the study.
According to Emmerich (2018), research studies that contain human participants should be ethically sound because researchers are supposed to protect their respondents’ dignity. In light of these concerns, the researcher made sure that no harm was done to the research participants and no prejudice existed in the data collection process. The researcher observed the following ethical concerns in the study.
Privacy and Confidentiality
According to Kruger, Ndebele, and Horn (2014), the privacy of respondents in research is dictated by a researcher’s attempt to delink the information obtained from the studies and the identities of those who provided them. Comparatively, confidentiality in research refers to the duty of researchers to keep the information they obtain from the respondents in private (Kruger, Ndebele & Horn 2014).
Relative to these definitions, the researcher did not disclose the identity of the respondents. Stated differently, the researcher did not attribute the information obtained in the study to any of the respondents. Similarly, he did not disclose the job groups and employee identification numbers of the researchers. In line with this goal, the researcher used pseudonyms and distorted identifying materials from the data collection process to safeguard the privacy of the respondents and the information they provided to the researcher. Glasius et al. (2017), who encouraged researchers to delink data from the informants and distort identifying materials, supports this strategy.
Beneficence (Do no Harm)
The principle of “no harm” stems from an understanding that people should conduct credible research to benefit society. To maintain this principle, the researcher evaluated all possible risks and benefits of undertaking the study and designed the investigation to maximize social benefits, while minimizing potential risks to the use of this data for the improvement of intercultural synergy in the workplace. At the end of the research process, the researcher undertook a debriefing process with the research participants to explain the study’s aim and the reasons for practicing full disclosure.
This process helped to address any potential discomforts that the respondents could have experienced when undertaking the study. Relative to this assertion, Jeffrey (2018) suggests that academicians should recommend professional interventions in cases where informants have experienced a high level of discomfort. Lastly, the researcher made sure that all the considerations made in undertaking this investigation were consistent with the university’s guidelines on thesis projects.
According to Woodfield (2017), informed consent refers to an informant’s willingness to participate in a research investigation voluntarily. The researcher observed this principle in the study because all the participants who took part in it did so freely. In other words, the researcher did not coerce them to participate in the investigation. However, before choosing to participate in the study, the researcher informed all participants about the study’s contents, aim, and purpose. The goal was to make them understand the contents of the investigation and the benefits they would gain from it, such as improved efficiency in the workplace environment.
The researcher furnished them with this information before their involvement in the study. He also told the informants that their failure to participate in the study did not come with any consequence and that they were free to withdraw from the study without any repercussions. These details were contained in the informed consent form, which the researcher emailed to all the respondents before taking part in the study (see appendix 2). All the respondents signed it.
Treatment of Data
Information obtained from the research respondents were stored in a computer and secured using a password. Only the researcher had access to the password. After completion of the project, the information will be destroyed to minimize the risk of a data breach.
This chapter shows that the current investigation was qualitative research, which employed inductive reasoning, interpretive philosophy, and the case study approach. Data was collected using phone interviews after the researcher talked to six managers of the Marriott Hotel who were recruited using the snowball sampling method. The thematic and coding methods were also used as data analysis methods.
Affolderbach, J. & Schulz, C., 2016. Mobile transitions: exploring synergies for urban sustainability research, Urban Studies. 53(9) pp.1942-1957.
Ary, D., Jacobs, L., Irvine, C. & Walker, D., 2018. Introduction to research in education. 10th Ed. London: Cengage Learning.
Barmeyer, C. & Franklin, P., (eds) 2016, Intercultural management: a case-based approach to achieving complementarity and synergy. London: Macmillan International Higher Education.
Bijaoui, I., 2016, SMEs in an era of globalization: international business and market strategies. New York: Springer.
Brinkmann, S., 2017. Philosophies of qualitative research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bryman, A. & Bell, E., 2015. Business research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Cassell, C., Cunliffe, A. & Grandy, G., (eds) 2017. The SAGE handbook of qualitative business and management research methods. London: SAGE.
Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching, 2019. Qualitative sampling methods. Santa Barbara: CIRT. Web.
Chawinga, W.D. & Chipeta, G.T., 2017. A synergy of knowledge management and competitive intelligence: a key for competitive advantage in small and medium business enterprises, Business Information Review. 34(1) pp.25-36.
Comparably, 2019. Marriott mission, vision & values. London: Comparably. Web.
Dahlen, N., 2018, Cultural impact on models of negotiation using the example of distributive negotiations. New York: GRIN Verlag.
Dawson, C., 2018. 100 activities for teaching study skills. London: SAGE.
Emmerich, N., 2018. Virtue ethics in the conduct and governance of social science research. London: Emerald Group Publishing.
Fonseca, M., 2014, Portugal and Germany: Geert Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions. New York: GRIN Verlag.
Fox, D., Gouthro, M., Morakabati, Y. & Brackstone, J., 2014. Doing events research: from theory to practice. London: Routledge.
Freytag, P. & Young, L., 2017. Collaborative research design: working with business for meaningful findings. New York: Springer.
Glasius, M., de Lange, M., Bartman, J., Dalmasso, E., LV, A., Del Sordi, A., Michaelsen, M. & Ruijgrok, K., 2017. Research, ethics and risk in the authoritarian field. New York: Springer.
Gopalkrishnan, N., 2019. Cultural competence and beyond: working across cultures in culturally dynamic partnerships, The International Journal of Community and Social Development. 1(1) pp.28-41.
Hair, J., 2015. Essentials of business research methods. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
Hancock, D. & Algozzine, B., 2016. Doing case study research: a practical guide for beginning researchers. New York: Teachers College Press.
Hofstede Insights, 2019. Country comparison, London: Hofstede Insights. Web.
Institute for Work and Health, 2015. Cross-sectional vs. longitudinal studies. Ontario: IWH. Web.
Institute for Work and Health, 2016. Validity and reliability. Ontario: IWH. Web.
Jeffrey, C., 2018. Research on professional responsibility and ethics in accounting. London: Emerald Group Publishing.
Khanna, P., 2018. ‘Positivism and Realism’, IN: P. Liamputtong (ed). Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences. Singapore: Springer, pp. 1-18.
Kimppa, K., Whitehouse, D., Kuusela, K. & Phahlamohlaka, J., 2014, ICT and society: 11th IFIP TC 9 international conference on human choice and computers, HCC11 2014, Turku, Finland, July 30 – August 1, 2014, Proceedings. New York: Springer.
Klenke, K., 2016. Qualitative research in the study of leadership. 2nd Ed. London: Emerald Group Publishing.
Kruger, M., Ndebele, P. & Horn, L., 2014. Research ethics in Africa: a resource for research ethics committees. Stellenbosch: African Sun Media.
Kumar, R., 2019. Research methodology: a step-by-step guide for beginners. 5th Ed. London: SAGE.
Li, Y., 2015. Expatriate manager’s adaption and knowledge acquisition: personal development in multi-national companies in China. New York: Springer.
Management Association and Information Resources (eds) 2014, Cross-cultural interaction: concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications: concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. New York: IGI Global.
Maria, P., 2019, Linking cultural dimensions and CSR communication: emerging research and opportunities: emerging research and opportunities. New York: IGI Global.
Marriott, 2019. Diversity & inclusion global fact sheet: Marriott international spirit to serve our diverse world. Bethesda: Marriott. Web.
Marriott Rewards, 2016. Marriott International’s expanded portfolio of 30 leading hotel brands sets new global standard for unrivaled travel experiences and expanded loyalty benefits. Bethesda: Marriott. Web.
Mihaela, H., 2014. A synergistic approach of cross-cultural management and leadership style, Journal of International Studies. 7(2) pp.106-115.
Miroshnik, V. & Basu, D., 2014, Corporate culture in multinational companies: a Japanese perspective, Springer, New York, NY.
Morse, J., 2016. Mixed method design: principles and procedures. London: Routledge.
Mortensen, D., 2019. How to do a thematic analysis of user interviews. London: Interaction Design Foundation. Web.
Open Textbook, 2019. Reliability and validity of measurement. New York: Open Textbooks. Web.
Ryan, G., 2015. Succession planning in industry. Dublin: Dublin City University. Web.
Sardana, G.D., 2015. Managing organizational transformation, South Asian Journal of Business and Management Cases. 4(1) pp.7-9.
Smiraglia, R.P., 2014, Cultural synergy in information institutions. New York: Springer.
Stamenova, S., 2018, Chinese and British consumer behaviour differences with reference to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions: marketing mix of project “Eden” in Qingdao. London: GRIN Verlag.
Statista, 2019. Number of Marriott international hotel rooms worldwide from 2009 to 2018. Hamburg: Statista. Web.
Statistics Solutions, 2019. Qualitative sample size. Florida: Statistics Solutions. Web.
Stephan, U., Patterson, M., Kelly, C. & Mair, J., 2016. organizations driving positive social change: a review and an integrative framework of change processes, Journal of Management. 42(5) pp.1250-1281.
TARNUE, J., (ed) 2017, globalization and the ethical responsibilities of multinational corporations: emerging research and opportunities: emerging research and opportunities. New York: IGI Global.
United States Securities Exchange Commission, 2019. Marriott International Inc, Washington: SEC. Web.
Van Zomeren, M. & Louis, W.R., 2017. Culture meets collective action: exciting synergies and some lessons to learn for the future, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 20(3) pp.277-284.
Woodfield, K., (ed) 2017. The ethics of online research. London: Emerald Group Publishing.
Appendix 1: Interview Protocol
- What does intercultural synergy mean to you?
- What kind of leadership style do you think is the practice at the Marriot Hotel?
- What is the role of leadership in promoting cultural synergy at the Marriott Hotel?
- How does cultural variation affect the operations of the Marriott Hotel?
- From a cultural perspective, what kind of communication problems exist among employees?
- What kind of cultural knowledge is needed in promoting synergy in the organization?
Appendix 2: Informed Consent Form
You are hereby invited to take part in a study that seeks to find out how to promote intercultural synergy in your organization. Please take all the time y7ou need to discuss this matter with your colleagues or any other groups of people whose opinion may be relevant to your decision. However, if you choose to participate in the research, please be aware of the following.
- Your decision to participate in the study is voluntary. There will be no monetary compensation or undue pressure to take part in the study
- You may withdraw your participation from the study at any point in the research process. You are not provided to explain your decision and no repercussions are attached to it
- The information you present in the study will be reported anonymously. In other words, your identity will not be revealed in the study.
- Before the publication of the research report, the researcher will provide you with a copy of the final results to allow you to verify that the information provided in the final report reflects your true opinion.
If you agree with the above terms, please sign below.