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Problems associated with cultural differences faced by the German GAM Company in South Africa Essay


Competent human staffs are essential in effective management of the human resource, which is a crucial aspect in a firm. Human resource management becomes more essential in managing cross-cultural barriers that are common in multinational corporations, which has ventures in foreign markets.

Failure for multinational corporations in manage cross-cultural challenges effectively may result to reduced performances or collapsing of foreign ventures. Thus, multinational companies should recruit highly competent human resource staffs to incorporate effective human resource strategies that will enhance cross-cultural communications (Bucher & Bucher, 2009).

The Germany managers and South African associates differ in their views because of their different cultures. For instance, the Germans managers are formal in the manner in which they interact with the South African associates. Their greetings are always formal and they emphasis on titles and rarely use personal names when addressing each other. In job environment, Germans show great differences to various people in various job authorities.

Germans communications are formal and establishing and maintaining strong relationships in businesses, as well as in the workplace is rare. Germans often experience problems in relating with fellow workers because of the tendency of their communications being direct to the point that seems blunt. As an alternative of using straight negotiations, Germans opt for written communications. For Germans decisional making is hierarchical with the passing of decisions left to the executives.

Once the executives pass decisions, the implementation is as per the decision made with no alterations. On the other hand, South African people do not emphasize on formality in business or workplace communications. Unlike the Germans, South African people stress on the importance of building business and workplace relationships, which they highly value for networking purposes, where they use the offices to establish cordial working relationships.

South African people avoid direct and blunt communications. South African people are very careful with their communications. They prefer using analogies and metaphors, in passing important points rather than giving direct points. They prefer face-to-face communications rather than written communications, which they regard as being impersonal.

Therefore, the cultural difference that is present between the Germans and South African people is the one to blame for the indifferences they are facing that is affecting performances in GAM plant in South Africa adversely (Muhs, 2001).

The GAM’s model that entails learning on the job is not a suitable strategy in managing cultural diversity and particularly in sensitive international markets, where cultural diversity is sensitive such as in South Africa. The GAM reintroduced its operation in South African following the termination of apartheid in the country. Therefore, the Germans GAM personnel required prior knowledge about the South African culture before the deploying process.

However, because of GAM strategy of learning on the job, instead of learning from formal training programs, they lacked appropriate skills to address the cultural differences that exist between the Germans managers and South African associates, which hindered proper performance greatly.

The poor performance witnessed at GAM plant in South Africa was avoidable through offering the Germans personnel formal training program of South African culture before deployment. This could have ensured good performance instantly after starting the operations.

Multinational corporations that adopt a global human resource management strategy rather than a local strategy for ventures outside their home base face many challenges. They experience many challenges because people in different regions have diverse cultural orientations that influence how they relate to each other, as well as to foreigners.

Because of the different cultural differences that exist across the world, it is very difficult for a multinational corporation to establish a universal strategy that is applicable to manage all its operations across all the regions it has ventured.Thus, those corporations that do so are likely to fail. People in various regions possess differing cultures that influence how they interact. They greatly differ in their communications, as well as the values they possess.

Therefore, companies should have local strategies to manage local ventures to have great level of success for foreign ventures. Adopting local strategies to manage local ventures is important in managing cross-cultural communication barriers that are prevalent for foreign ventures as the one witnessed by the GAM Company is South Africa.

Dr. Kriek’s approach and actions was a very appropriate move in identifying the underlying problem at GAM plant in South Africa. The strategy was a very professional approach that entailed visiting the area and collecting important data from both parties to identify the root cause for the poor performance of GAM operation in South Africa.

The initial information given by the management indicated that the associates employees recruited from South Africa were lazy and unmotivated and required a motivational talk to arouse their drive. However, the study conducted showed that the problem for poor performance was not the associates being lazy and unmotivated, but there was a cultural misunderstanding between the Germans managers and the South African associates, which contributed to the poor performance.

Therefore, Dr. Kriek’s approach and actions was an appropriate approach and concern that identified the root cause of the problem at GAM plant in South Africa (Diller, 2010).

The proposal by Dr. Kriek’s for the cultural awareness and sensitivity workshop for management at GAM plant in South Africa is an essential strategy in resolving the underlying problem. The Germans managers at the plant require training on the best manner of interacting with the South African associates to avoid misunderstanding that is hindering proper performance.

The Germans tendency to act formal in how they interact, as well as communicate with the South African associates is to blame for the existing confusion between the groups. The South African people adore work relationships and are cautious in their communications to avoid sounding rude. However, the Germans are official and are direct and to the point in their communications, which the South Africans misinterpret as rudeness.

Thus, Dr Kriek cultural and sensitivity workshop the Germans managers will be imperative in managing the situation. Dr Kriek will create awareness and sensitive the Germans about the differing cultural orientations and advise them accordingly on how to interact effectively with the South Africa associates to ensure harmony in the workplace.

The shortcoming of the process is that it will consume time meant for production, as concerned people will dedicate some time to get appropriate trainings. However, the training will be important for the mangers, as they will be in a better position to understand and handle the South African associates in future endeavors accordingly to facilitate high performance.

In conclusion: effective human resource management is imperative for multinational firms. Failure to have competent human resource management results to reduced performance and sometime collapsing of foreign investments because of cross-cultural barriers that hinder effective communications.

Nonetheless, managers should get proper trainings before deployment in foreign countries to equip them with necessary skills to manage cross-cultural barriers to enhance performance. Firms should avoid deploying personnel without creating enough awareness and sensitize them about possible cultural barriers they are likely to face to increase the success of these ventures. This will avoid wastage of resources through unnecessary conflicts as the one witnessed between GAM managers from Germany and South African working as associates.

Reference List

Bucher,R. & Bucher, P. (2009). Diversity Consciousness: Opening our Minds to People, Culture and Opportunities. New York: Prentice Hall.

Diller, J. (2010). Cultural Diversity: A prime for Human Service. New York: Prentice Hall.

Muhs, K. (2001). Cultural Differences between South Africa and Germany. Retrieved from

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IvyPanda. (2019, May 9). Problems associated with cultural differences faced by the German GAM Company in South Africa. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/problems-associated-with-cultural-differences-faced-by-the-german-gam-company-in-south-africa-essay/

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"Problems associated with cultural differences faced by the German GAM Company in South Africa." IvyPanda, 9 May 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/problems-associated-with-cultural-differences-faced-by-the-german-gam-company-in-south-africa-essay/.

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IvyPanda. "Problems associated with cultural differences faced by the German GAM Company in South Africa." May 9, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/problems-associated-with-cultural-differences-faced-by-the-german-gam-company-in-south-africa-essay/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Problems associated with cultural differences faced by the German GAM Company in South Africa." May 9, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/problems-associated-with-cultural-differences-faced-by-the-german-gam-company-in-south-africa-essay/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Problems associated with cultural differences faced by the German GAM Company in South Africa'. 9 May.

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