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Organizational Structures: Working and Cultural Environments Essay


Abstract

Understanding structure and peripheral operation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) across the globe demand for explicit analysis of their matrix functionality. NGOs are reputable organizations in terms of international affairs and commitments. The NGOs’ objective is to promote social services internally and nationally as defined by the UN establishing charter. NGOs have an important influence on human society. Furthermore, they are neutral communities that encourage development policies. However, NGOs sometimes experience challenges of social, regional, and environmental conflicts.

Culture normally influences the usage of technology in organizations. This implies that organizational inclination toward national attitude is influenced by the culture of that setting. National culture varies across the globe. For example, the effects of collectivism are different from individualism. This is visible in the way of life between Africanism and westernization. Management concerns people. Organizational management depends on the cultural values of people in their geographical location. This paper reflects on the culture, attitude, and management structure of NGOs located in different geographical boundaries.

Introduction

This paper shows justification for the structure of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). Though NGOs are reputable actors based on international affairs, these structures have not been described clearly to what pertains to NGOs (Martens, 2002). There are two essential components of interpretation of NGO: juridical view focuses on the legal condition of NGO and its implication according to international law and local (national) context. Sociological perspectives are aimed at social factors that attempt to analyze the functions and compositions of NGOs.

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) is an expression that is based on Post-World War II. The term was introduced by the United Nations organization (UN). In 1945, the UN charter got implemented thus stated that Non-Governmental Organizations are accredited as consulting functions to the UN (Martens, 2002). NGO is a term that was used to refer to social actors that are international societies, which engaged and operated under the UN context. In the 1980s, NGOs became famous for social services nationally and internationally outside the framework of the UN.

The term NGO has been used to mean international pressure society, private organization, or voluntary agency. Currently, the term has broadened to include national liberation societies or multinational firms. NGOs have captured considerable attention from academic research, and play an important role in world issues (Martens, 2002). Such international relations have built beneficial effects on world politics. Its sociological views are focused on the international phenomenon to examine the effects of social transnational aims.

According to sociological and juridical perspectives, a typical-ideal feature of NGO can be termed as a societal professionalized formal independent organization that focused primarily to enhance common objectives aimed at international and national levels (Martens, 2002). NGOs promote the public interest and get resources from official organizations as private donations and membership fees.

Non-governmental organizations in African states

The NGOs came into being due to the global recession of1973 that resulted in retrenchment and unemployment. Most nations were handicapped and could not care for their citizens. Poverty was so severe that it turned into a crisis because of a serious shortage of goods and services for an extensive period. In response, the establishment of NGOs acted as development partners. The spread of NGOs became unavoidable and contributed to the welfare and development of programs for societies. Reflectively, NGOs are non-commercial societies that normally get funds through voluntary donations.

Interestingly, some NGOs fund smaller NGOs by raising resources from governments and other official organizations. Besides, Support NGOs provide aid to help people or support organizations that give aid at the local level. Moreover, Intervention technical NGOs provide development projects. NGOs perform vital roles such as economic and social empowerment, food distributions, medical care, policy formulations, humanitarian aid, and advisory to governments. They are neutral societies that emphasize on the development implementation policies. These organizations represent people by acting on their behalf to governments. They monitor the usage of public resources. NGOs aim at integrating persons from various cultures to accept one another despite cultural differences.

NGO’s field experience

Even though NGOs have the right intention to support human life, they encounter many environmental forces and interest group conflicts. For example, many foreign personnel is faced with communication barriers and cultural differences especially in remote parts of Africa. Besides, suspicion of NGO’s activities has become dominant especially the religious-based organizations that the locals perceive as decadent and exploitative. However, after the successful incorporation of aid policies to the community, acceptance, and sense of security surfaces with minimal negative forces. According to Wong (2001), some communities might not be willing to embrace change because of their conservativeness (Wong, 2001). Moreover, Westerners are still viewed as neo-colonists in such communities.

NGO is focused to transform such communities through providing different relevant activities such as free medication, resource provisions, building schools and hospitals, water projects, and irrigation schemes. NGOs are determined to support communities to adopt mixed farming, as opposed to the unsettled nomadic life. NGOs also have enlightened the local people to know their rights. Furthermore, these NGOs are persistent with their mission to enlighten and endure various problems. Unfortunately, cultural conservativeness is a barrier to the progress of receptive communities. The local persons must appreciate cultural differences to allow positive transformation in their places.

NGO features and organizational culture

There is a relationship aligning organizational culture, national culture, and information technology. Organizational and national cultures influence an individual’s options of communication means in handling different scenarios. This is to say that organizational cultures influence managers to achieve organizational objectives (Aston, 2001). Culture has influenced the usage of technologies in organizations. This depends on the firm’s inclination on the national attitude. Cultural organization influences work implementation policies. Also, behavioral, cultural, economic, and market factors have a direct link to technological acceptance in a nation.

Reflectively, a manager may conceptualize three things when encountering cultural and technological incompatibility. First, he/she may decide to ignore new technology and seek that which is compatible with national and organizational cultures. Besides, he/she may alter such technology before the implementation process. Also, the manager may fully adopt certain technology irrespective of resistance within the organization.

Effects of national culture to an organizational culture

National culture refers to the attitude that is predominant in a nation. On the other hand, organizational culture is a state of affairs that an organization adopts for its operation as an alternative solution to challenges. For example, various nations carry out different businesses. These depend on the values adopted by that nation. This is because of the cultural values practiced by such nations. Reflectively, the above concept is an indicator of how easy multinational corporations can adopt a national culture wherever they operate their business. For example, Japan has a famous economy in the world and has a collective culture in solving its challenges and decision making.

Moreover, the country emphasizes on its citizens to conform to social regulations within the set protocol. At the macro level, this culture is adversely risky because of the collectivist nature. Furthermore, the strict rules of the nation are stringent for people who can be questioned for accountability (Willetts, 2000). In Japan, most firms tend to recruit masculine applicants. This is observed in a hierarchical setting that embraces paternalistic culture which is a society, where the father is the leader who protects and commands subordinates. On the other hand, Japan encourages group interactions and forming mutual relationships. This means that regulations (rules) shape issues to modify social conditions.

Japanese posses enriched cultural explanation of people‘s actions in daily life. Furthermore, Confucianism teaching encourages respect for unequal interaction (relationship) and promotes the importance of group relationships. Comparatively, American has not been victorious in cases where the economy of the Japanese has succeeded. US organizational culture has not been in a position to established effective workers’ strike, form long term goals, and assembly lines. Such challenges are encountered in several organizations due to ineffective relations between the government and organizations.

Japanese culture has achieved success because of its collective responsibility while the culture of the United States is not efficient since its culture is based on self- gratification, materialism, and capitalism. This is different from Japanese culture which promotes collectivism in solving challenges and making decisions. The culture of the United States promotes individualism that encourages people to utilize inner insight in deriving decisions. American encourages gender equality contrary to Japanese culture.

Geographical thought

A non-governmental organization in Africa creates an environment that is unique and distinct from other models in the world. These organizations encourage collective responsibility in which persons nourished themselves through group objectives of social relations. They encourage complexity, flux, resonate and holism, and economic liberation known through embedded relationship to the environment. They perceived objects as inseparable and part of the wide environment. This culture is different from the western way of life which emphasized individualism.

Economical, cultural and social factors can influence cognitive behaviors. For example, the western mind builds objective, individuality and personal freedom of thought. This is because of ecological factors that encourage social and economic structures like hunting, shipping, and trading which promote individualism (Trompenaars & Hampden, 1998). This is contrary to African ecology which is an agricultural community that encourages the interdependent system of social interaction. This is aimed at interconnectedness that enhances a holistic and flux society. Such cultural perception can be right when tested experimentally through field dependence, to view things as integrated or isolated.

African perception of self is different from the western view. African NGOs’ have encouraged group participation that is contrary to selfishness and individualism. Such organizations view people as malleable and are unique according to their occasional events. Individual persons in African society prefer being incorporated in a harmonious system of social supportive interaction, and united in attaining collective focus.

This is compatible with the nature of Africans who prefer to be guided by an authority. They like to be involved in negotiation processes and considering issues collectively (Saer, 1997). Such is different from westernization that embraces autonomy of self, preference of resolving conflict legally, and binding contracts. Western culture encourages persons to be responsible for obeying and knowing legislation. African language is unusual and unique compared with western language. For example, Western people prefer to engage in rhetoric augmentations that suite educational, science, law, and business affairs. Rhetoric augmentations are rare in an African language, who likes to engage in negotiable agreeable negotiation for seeking a solution in law or business.

Africans usually identify objects from what is made of and views this as same since they share similar substances although such objects have different functions and shapes. This is contrary to Americans who identify things through their shapes. Westerners can see firms be made up of discrete components while employees have distinct duties. On the other hand, Africans perceive work as a holistic task where a network of persons works together to fulfill their aims.

Western people are more fact- and- object-oriented than Africans, whose citizens are more aware of social and environmental context (Martens, 2002). They define things contextually while western people define things as independent of environmental context. Africans are adept at perceiving things in the relationship among themselves. American citizens belong to the ideology of independence, self-sufficiency, and have control over the environment. They are confident that they can control life. This is different from Africans who accept several issues to be beyond their capability.

Africans emphasize their causal justification on context basis while Americans use the concept of individual personalities to justify their impacts and action. Africans tend to raise justification which emphasizes environmental context. Such is a true perception that shows that Americans are ascribed to properties of things while Africans view environmental context to influence lives (Nisbett, 2003).

Westerners focus on the focal object while Africans focus widely on the field. American believes that object cause events. On the other hand, Africans are inclined to wider influence on the context. Africans tend to believe in the multiple complex natures of activities in any condition. Westerners prefer to classify objects categorically while Africans like to define things based on relationships. This shows that children from western nations learn nouns quickly than verbs. In comparison, African children learn verbs quickly than nouns. These make westerners categorical while Africans to be contextual. This shows that language and culture effect thought patterns.

Moreover, Africans and westerners have diverged logic views. For example, Africans seek solving the problem through the use of middle ground while westerners commonly decide one side of the proposition. This shows that westerners are not comfortable with contradictions. Social ramification differs between the perception of Africans and westerners. African medicine aims at balance and prevention while western medicine aims at intervention and cure. Westerners focus on logical and linguistic devices in seeking single truth. On the other hand, Africans seek decisions with the aim of flexible, cooperative and holistic resolutions. Africans’ way of solving conflict promotes cooperation and social relation.

Management problem (organization and culture)

Most literature claims that processes of a management change after some time. Such literature also claims that management processes are applicable everywhere in the world. If they do not function somewhere, then it is the fault of people who can not implement principles of management (Russett, 1996). This is not true because management processes cannot change over some time. Management refers to coordinating people’s efforts to achieve an objective aim.

Management involves peoples, and work that no can be engaged by some people is not management but a technical task. The essence of management is a concern with human nature which is stable in history. For example, management between 21st and 20th century are not different. The same management challenge has existed so long as human communities exist. Many problems that face modern management are no longer new; they are just dilemmas that each generation must cope with.

Management concern people, therefore, it involves people’s culture in a society. Culture is a collective way of life that distinguishes a certain group of people from the other. Value is the core cultural element. Values are tendencies such as certain state affairs that are preferred by society to others. The relationship among people in a community is influenced by values, which form the collective way of life of people in such a community. Management is based upon cultural values.

Cultural values differ in various societies though, in a community, they are stable (don’t change) over some time. In this case, the management process differs from one community to another; though every community has a strong continuity of values. There is no proof that society, for example, French society is willing to alter its class nature (cultural values). It is a culture that is embedded within their family and institution structures, political and education systems.

In America, everybody is expected to be equal. The relationship between workers and management is contractual. According to contract limits, a manager can order work that subordinates will perform. In reality, some individuals are more equal and free than others (Hofstede, 1994). Egalitarianism and individualism are cultural features that are found in America. Master only needs their workers to execute rigorously and faithfully their contract, the master never expects love, devotion or respect from a worker, who should be honest and punctual. Employees and employers were equal in America than other nations like France. There is no proof that Americans are willing to change their culture toward contractual relationships. Its citizens have faith as a historical necessity that other nation in the world to imitate their culture.

The management process is different in the Netherlands

NGOs promote consensus and authoritative leadership. This expects more dialogue between superior and subordinate staff on what should be undertaken. In Dutch, every person respects facts. While in France power and status prevail than facts. American expects facts to provide moral principles. On the other hand, Dutch like to sign contracts; though, negotiation can be re-opened after a conclusion is reached when something new emerged. In Japan, the consensus is carried out by interested individuals in collective integration. It should be noted that there is no universal standard concept that provides management fad to show how culture in every nation follows historical line continuity which affects several community facets. The management process can never be single that fits for every culture.

Technical content can change and keeps on altering. For example, a kind of electronic communication has changed in the management processes. However, it can be claimed that the more objects alter, the more they remain the same. This means that there exist various orders that change. When looking at cultural manifestations, it is vital to distinguish values from practice. Values are wide tendencies that are preferred state affairs to others (Lewis, 2000).

They are not visible except in their impacts on the behaviors of people. On the other hand, practices are visible impacts. They are artifacts and interaction ways. Values are resilient and cultural that is against technological effects. Practice can exist as purely technical, mixed (technical-social) or purely social. Management can occur in such three areas: technical components of management never change, it made technical-social and social influences stand out. Technology changes but it influence management practices only, but not values. People in various nations use similar computer programs, though nations vary depending on the programs they thought of, but not computers.

Cultural differences at the national level mostly reside on values and not practices. Cultural difference in organizational level has different practices but of same values. Utilizing the word ‘culture’ for two levels portray that two types of cultures are identical though this is false. In an organization, values of employees differ according to education, nationality, and age than membership of the organizations. The values of key and founder leaders normally shape the culture of an organization, through how such cultures influence members who share practices. Leaders’ and founders’ values become a practice for members (Koopman, Den Hartog, & Konrad, 1999).

Since management practices shape organizational culture, the essence of cultural management is justified at a micro and macro level. Values are formed early in human lives through peers, family, and school. After 12 years, values are imprinted firmly and thus cannot change. Employers are not in a position to change the values of their workers. Employers can only promote their workers with suitable values. Employers must change the values of their works to change organizational cultures. The 21st-century management process cannot be different from that of the 20th century.

Individualism happens in a community where ties among individuals are loose and everybody is for him/herself. While collectivism is where people are integrated into cohesive strong groups, in which they protect and are loyal to the institution. It is known that wealthier nations are more individualistic than third world nations. There is a relationship between wealthy affluence and cultural individualism. All western nations are individualistic while Latin America, Asia, and African nations are collectivist.

Conclusion

It is agreeable that management problems can not change, though their resolutions change depending on different cultural features of various nations. Global business seeks management resolutions. Businesses in local nations have potential value to be functional for their corporate and effective identity. A multinational organization like UN organization has no local nation; this enables such organizations to experience poor effectiveness.

Multinational organizations only operate through values that are sourced from home nations. Such cannot be equally shared with their workers from another country. Multinational organizations are managed through shared practices, but not shared values. International firms are operated by incorporating various practices together, even if every employer fulfills his or her duties for different reasons.

Values are particular to the culture of a country and cannot be universal. There is one principle that can be used as a universal value for the multinational organization that focuses to provide global aim. This is called a moderation principle, aiming for a middle alternative. This middle way refers to a virtue which when extended becomes a sin. This principle can be applied in business concepts of executive compensation, privatization, total management quality, merging, and outsourcing, lobbying, downsizing and ‘teleworking’.

References

Martens, K. (2002). Mission impossible: Defining nongovernmental Organizations. International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 13, 3-4.

Aston, J. (2001). The United Nations committee on non-governmental organizations: guarding the entrance to a politically divided house. Eur. J. Int. Law 12(5): 943-962.

Hofstede, Geerte. (1994). Cultures and Organizations: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival: Software of the Mind. 2nd Ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers.

Koopman, P.L., Den Hartog. D., Konrad, E. et al (1999). National culture and leadership profiles in Europe: Some results from the GLOBE study. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 8 (4), 503-520.

Lewis, Richard D. (2000). When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully Across Cultures (revised edition). Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press.

Martens, K. (2002). Mission impossible: Defining nongovernmental organizations. International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 13, 3-4.

Nisbett, R. (2003). The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why. New York: Free Press.

Russett, B.M. (1996). World politics: A menu for choice, 4th Ed. New York: freeman.

Saer, F. D. (1997).Reality check: Human rights nongovernmental organizations confront governments at the United Nations. Third World Quarterly, 16 (3), 389.

Trompenaars, F, & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Global Business, 2nd Ed., New York: McGraw-Hill.

Willetts, P. (2000). From ‘‘consultative arrangements’’ to ‘‘partnership’’: the changing status of NGOs in diplomacy at the UN. Glob. Gov, 6(2): 191-212.

Wong, Kam-Cheung (2001). Chinese culture and leadership, International Journal of Leadership in Education, 4 (4), 309-319.

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