Globalization on the Home Front
World economy brings new pressures and demands to management
By Harold Torrence, Supervisory Management Instructor
Dakota County Technical College
Globalization has radically amplified the level of economic interactions and business relationships between nations. As a direct result, management teams are racing to develop the skills and competencies needed to comprehend and appreciate an onslaught of values, assumptions, beliefs and traditions that are fundamentally different from their own. Because globalization also means greater competitive pressures, fast-track learning is essential.
Through our Multicultural Management program, DCTC has taken on the responsibility of preparing students for the momentous realities of global commerce. In an article written for the Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, Alan Gregory Cant, a management professor at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., reports that skill development must include cultural competencies that allow students to understand and apply new synergistic approaches designed to embrace and leverage cultural differences.
Cant’s competency model, which is paraphrased below, is simple yet effective.
- Cultural Awareness: By developing sensitivity to other cultures, you will better understand the influence of your own cultural conditioning
- Cultural Consciousness: By operating outside the comfort of your own culture, you will raise your cultural perceptions to a more global outlook
- Leading Multicultural Teams: By collaborating with people with different cultural perspectives, you will develop the team-building skills needed for culturally sensitive outcomes
- Negotiating Across Cultures: By creating new negotiation styles, you will be equipped to foster more effective intercultural cooperation
- Global Mindset: By doing business on an international scale, you will recognize and appreciate the strategic implications of global commerce
As organizational structures become more and more multicultural, the critical need arises to develop a concrete and holistic concept of a given organization’s overall culture. This approach ensures peak organizational performance and learning while maximizing the organization’s competitive advantage.
Globalization has changed the organizational landscape, making multicultural organizations the norm. Today, employees work personally or virtually with people from all over the world. You might work next to an immigrant from Asia, Europe, Africa or South America, or with someone from Minnesota, but with a different ethnic, cultural or racial background.
Awakened to globalization, organizational leaders will quickly uncover existing competitive strengths when they tap into the resources of a diverse workforce. Writing in the International Journal of Management, Mary Trefry, the chair of the Management Department at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., notes that organizations with superior multicultural awareness create environments that welcome integration, creativity, innovation and learning.
Trefry goes on to point out the benefits for organizations and individuals that see multiculturalism as an important asset:
- Organizational Advantages
- Larger possibilities for matching with diverse base of customers and clients
- Greater ability to apply knowledge of different cultures to business projects
- Better decision-making and problem-solving through consideration of different perspectives
- More creativity and innovation in products, services and organizational processes
- Individual Advantages
- Expanded personal ability to cope with the unexpected
- Broadened perspectives on any given issue
- Increased tolerance and acceptance of others
- Improved flexibility in personal behavior, communication and interaction styles
- Enhanced self-insight
The businesses and organizations of Dakota County, like businesses and organizations across the state and the country, are irrevocably linked to the world economy. Our prosperity depends on our ability to compete successfully on an international playing field. Understanding and appreciating the diverse cultures of the many people we meet during a typical business day is a crucial step in making headway in a global marketplace without time zones or national boundaries.
In future columns, I will drill down and cover specifics regarding globalization, supervisory management and multiculturalism. For more information about the college’s Supervisory Management and Multicultural Management programs, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org¾or visit, www.dctc.edu.