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In order to motivate their staff, the successful expatriate manager will have to utilize the specific characteristics of the culture in which they are operating. A culture with a high degree of masculinity according to the Five Dimension would require a manager to exhibit this masculinity and a certain level of aggressiveness and direct dominance in order to motivate employees, for example (MindTools 2011). A highly affective culture, on the other hand, would require a great deal of emotional connection and exhortation to achieve the same degree of motivation amongst employees (Binder 2007). One or both of these needs might prove very difficult for a given manager based on their personal and cultural proclivities, but these models can help them identify where they are likely to face challenges and where changes in approach are needed.
Practical Applications: Training Expatriates
Research has shown that training soon-to-be expatriates can have an enormous impact on their success when working with other cultures, though this training does not always take place in the amount it ought to (Hutchings 2003). A great deal of individual as well as organizational success is derived from the training as well as from the work in another country and culture itself (Hutchings 2003). These benefits are greatly enhanced by a solid preliminary understanding of the culture, which leads to positive early experiences (Hutchings 2003).
This study actually makes mention of the Seven Dimension model developed by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner as one part of an effective training program utilized by certain Australian organizations increasing operations in China and sending personnel to the country (Hutchings 2003). Most frameworks give at least some codified manner in which different cultures can be examined and understood, and it is the application and adoption of a conscious approach -- pretty much any conscious approach -- to developing this understanding from which a great deal of the benefit in this type of training is derived, but the Seven Dimension model has many specific areas of consideration that this study found to be especially useful in the East-West differences that can be found in the Australian and Chinese cultures (Hutchings 2003). Learning to define one's own culture also helps one to understand the limitations and expectations of another and this model helps to achieve this understanding.
This model can also help managers working in cross-cultural situations develop ethical responses to various issues based on the cultures in which they are operating. Both of the models for understanding culture and identifying preferences also enable a clear determination of the values that are held by specific cultures. It is from a consideration of these values that ethical decisions should be made, and managers can use these models as tools to determine precisely what these values are and how they should be applied in various situations. It is both in preliminary and in ongoing knowledge that these models demonstrate a practical usefulness to managers and employees alike operating in different cultures.
At the same time, these models run some risk of leading to a certain degree of reinforcing stereotypes about many cultures, as without a truly detailed understanding of how these models work it is easy to see them as simplistic and relatively crude assessment tools rather than ways of negotiating the different ways in which power and interpersonal interactions take place. Working in multicultural environments requires not only an understanding of the values and power structures held by a given culture, but also the day-to-day intricacies and histories of the culture itself. It is through this latter understanding and appreciation that the assessment of different cultures according to the models described and defined above will reach a level of true refinement, extending beyond stereotypes to an understanding that is at once more objective and yet more immersed. Another way to ensure that multicultural awareness is raised while stereotypes gain no further traction is to lead individuals to understandings of their own culture using these models; the fact that all cultures have specific elements that are ultimately arbitrary in their selection yet hugely important in terms of cultural functioning helps to place everyone on even ground.
The decentralized marketplace of which our modern world is comprised requires a different approach to intercultural relationships than was needed in the past. Increasing the awareness and understanding of other cultures is essential for large-scale success in today's business organizations. The models described herein and indeed any educational or training program can prove highly useful in helping business organizations to achieve this goal.
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