Cross-Cultural Awareness: A Plan for a Seminar

Subject: Management
Pages: 5
Words: 1563
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD


Often overlooked, such aspect of an organization as the identity and culture of the staff often gets overlooked despite the obvious significance of the issue. The subject matter, however, is recognized as essential when an organization starts expanding and, thus, is supposed to communicate with the representatives of another culture and the members of the partner organization. As a result, various misunderstandings are more than likely to emerge.

The given issues, however, can be easily avoided or, at the very least, efficiently dealt with once an appropriate strategy is put to use. By organizing a seminar in the course of which the members of the organization called the Project Millennium 2013 will be able to learn about the latest cross-cultural communication techniques adopted by the world’s leading corporations, the leaders of the Project Millennium 2013 will be able to handle the issues which they have recently been forced to face when communicating with their UAE partners.

Introduction: Cultural Differences in Organizational Setting

Unless a company starts expanding and working with the representatives of other cultures, the communicational aspect of its work does not seem to hit the top-ten list of priorities. However, as soon as a company starts expanding or, at the very least, increase the rates of diversity among its staff, the managers soon recognize an obvious problem concerning the cultural differences (Pulakos, 2009). However, solving such problems is not easy, mostly because the issues of this kind demand that the latest techniques should be applied and the examples of the greatest leading companies should be considered.

Despite the fact that the Project Millennium 2013 is relatively young, it has already started expanding. Offering recycling services to the companies that produce recycled goods, the Project Millennium 2013 has started expanding into other states. Although the Finnish company that the Project Millennium 2013 has started running business with seemed rather trustworthy, the slackened pace in which the work is carried out by the Finnish partners does not satisfy the American colleagues, which leads to numerous conflicts. In the course of the seminar, the approaches adopted by the Google company and IKEA will be taken as a model.

The Training Topic: Cross-Cultural Awareness as the Building Block for Modern Business

As the situation described above shows, the Project Millennium 2013 needs to be informed on the culture of the company that the organization is working with, as well as on the need to understand the cultural specifics of various nationalities in particular. Therefore, it will be required to embrace several topics in the course of the seminar. To start with, the definition of a cross-cultural communication must be discussed thoroughly.

Seeing how the very term “cross-cultural” touches upon not national, not ethnic, not social differences, but each of the above-mentioned, it will be necessary to come up with a viable definition, which will incorporate every possible combination that may happen to be an instance of cross-cultural communication. Thereafter, the theories of cross-cultural communication must be revisited. By considering the example of Google leaders, who managed to overcome a cultural barrier with China, the participants of the seminar will be able to learn about the motivational theory and see how, analyzing the motivations of the American and the Chinese employees, the managers were able to solve the problem (Hamilton, Knouse & Hill, 2008).

Consequently, the conflicts that may possibly emerge during a cross-cultural communications must be listed. While it is impossible to consider every possible variation of a cross-cultural conflict, an adequate taxonomy with clear descriptions must be provided. The next issue on the seminar agenda will concern the methods of cross-cultural conflicts solution. The latter can be reviewed by analyzing the principles of IKEA cross-cultural approach, which has its people and their interests in its focus (McEllany & Chernatony, 1999).

The last, but definitely not the least, the topic concerning the means to solve cross-cultural conflicts will be provided. It will be necessary to make sure, though, that all those attending the seminar should realize that the provided models are no silver bullet and that in each case, an individual approach must be undertaken to solve the problem.

The Training Medium: Teaming up to Embrace the Meaning of Corporate Culture

Discussing cross-cultural issues presupposes that people should be able to not only acquire theoretical information concerning the cultural differences and the means to overcome them, but also to interact with each other and possibly even with the representatives of other cultures that they are likely to meet in the process of business communication – or, at the very least, discuss the issue of cross-cultural communication in a group.

However, as one might have easily guessed, with different schedules and, probably, different time zones, the participants are unlikely to be able to attend the seminar. With that in mind, it is reasonable to organize a virtual seminar that will be carried out with the help of web cameras and other technical equipment allowing for communication in real time.

Length of Training: Reasons for Dealing with the Issue for Two Weeks Running

As it has been mentioned above, the seminar is going to be held over two weeks. The choice of the length of training was predisposed by the fact that not all participants will attend the seminar every single day; therefore, it will be required to revisit certain issues several times. In addition, the topics listed above are very numerous and quite vast. With six topics to be represented and discussed properly, it will take at least two days per topic, which altogether will make about two weeks.

The Target Audience: What Keeps Completely Different People Together

The problem of cross-cultural communication concerns not only employees. While the latter, indeed, have to converse with each other on a daily basis, managers are also to take account of cultural issues in order to assign each person with the corresponding task. Applied to the situation in the Project Millennium 2013, the given idea means that the slackened, laid-back attitude of the Finnish partners could be of great use in handling the communication concerning transportation, solving conflicts with clients, etc., while their more agile American partners will handle the production and delivery process.

Finally, the company leaders should also consider the given seminar, since they are supposed to handle the most complicated part of cross-cultural communication, i.e., the diplomatic agreement with the Finnish partners. Therefore, it can be assumed that all members of the company must be invited.

Monitoring and Measuring Progress: Essential Details and Ideas

The process of monitoring and measuring the progress that the participants of the given seminar will make is going to be rather complicated, since most of the activities will involve oral communication. Therefore, conducting quizzes or tests with multiple-choice questions hardly seems legitimate in the given case. However, when it comes to oral examination of the participants, defining the criteria for evaluating the participants’ progress will be rather problematic. Therefore, an elaborate system must be provided.

First and foremost, it is highly recommended that the monitoring of the participants’ progress should be carried out in form of models of real-life situations. An example of such model can be a cross-cultural conflict, which one of the participants of the seminar must solve. It is also important that the participant in question should be able to explain his/her strategic choice and comment on the methods that (s)he will be using to solve the problem in question.

As for measuring the progress, the participants must also be evaluated based on the results of their performance during the seminar. To be more exact, being proactive and able to apply the provided theoretical concepts to the modeled situations will be considered as the measurement principle. One successful performance in a modeled situation will count as one point (Adkins, 2006).

Probable Recreation of Training: If New Issues Should Arise

Naturally, it would be absurd to assume that the entire concept of cross-cultural communication can be embraced within such short amount of time as two weeks. In the curse of fourteen days, only the basics concerning cross-cultural communication within business setting can be learned. Consequently, certain issues might emerge even after the seminar is over. Moreover, several months after the seminar, new tendencies in cross-cultural relationships might emerge. Thus, the premises for conducting the second seminar will be created. The second seminar will presumably concern the discussion of the latest theories concerning cross-cultural issues in business, the most common problems and the means to address the latter.

Conclusion: When the Situation Can Be Handled Efficiently

Although at present, the Project Millennium 2013 does not seem to keep in pace with the latest cross-cultural communication strategies, it can be assumed that, with the help of the given seminar, the company will be able to handle the intercultural conflicts emerging among the staff.

The given seminar plan, however, cannot be considered the ultimate key to all the problems that might possibly emerge in a specific company, since one needs to take the organizational behavior specifics and the cultural values of a particular organization into consideration to analyze the situation in a particular company. Seeing how the theories mentioned above focus on the need to understand the motivations behind the actions of the opponent, it can be assumed that the given seminar will help nail the exact problems within a company own and figure out how these problems can be solved.

Reference List

Adkins, T. (2006). Case studies in performance management. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Hamilton, J. B., Knouse, S. B. & Hill, V. (2008). Google in China: A manager-friendly heuristic model for resolving cross-cultural ethical conflicts. Journal of Business Ethics, 86(3), 143–157.

McEllany, M. R. & Chernatony, L. de (1999). The evolving nature of branding: Consumer and managerial considerations. Academy of Marketing Science Review, 99(2), 1–26.

Pulakos, E. D. (2009). Performance management: A new approach for driving business results. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.