¶ … Tourism Management
The impact of technology and the increase of international travel and exploration, the global environment has provided a landscape that depends on the knowledge of other culture. The differences among the human race are everywhere and the denotation of such individualities create challenges for those wishing to attain a successful career based in international exposure.
The purpose of this essay is to explore various themes and ideas that relate to cross-cultural management theory applied in a practical and pragmatic manner. This essay aims to answer the following question:
Which international skills, knowledge, behaviours and experiences will be advantageous in the development of my future career?
My future career selection is not quite clear at this time but I have narrowed it down to becoming involved in hotel management in Central America. This essay will first examine the basics of culture to help give a theoretical background to my proposed set of characteristics that involve the successful execution of my career. The essay will then describe and highlight how to practically apply those skills etc. To the situation at hand to eventually produce an argument that suggests that a firm understanding in the ideas and theories related to cross cultural management are integral to becoming proficient and successful in their practical application.
The subjective nature of culture is at the heart of this discussion and provides many of the varying approaches to its definition. In order to understand the idea of culture, the word itself must be further analyzed to determine the root impulses of its application. "Culture" stems from the Latin root "cultura" meaning cult or worship, (Branine, 2011). So what is a cult? A cult can be defined in many aspects but essentially there are several key characteristics of a cult.
Cults are based upon a single idea or guiding point that directs the nature of the cult. Cults are products of groups and collective ideas. Cults are insulated and contained abstract organizations that attain to principles and ethics that are based upon a certain item or not. Some cults are materialistic and worship real and hardened material items. Other cults are more spiritual in nature and worship certain gods or deities or sets of gods and deities.
The impact of religion and culture is an area that is strongly enforced in approaching an understanding of culture. The mysterious nature of life itself and the unknowable forces that surround us need to be incorporated in our lives and religion as a cultural expression allows this irrational and often emotionally charged human impulse. The ability to understand the similarities in all of these approaches attempts to standardize culture in some ways as well.
Culture can exist at many different levels and cults may be large, small or even personal. The cult or worship of oneself is a practice that can be displayed in the overly-narcissistic attributes that are part of Western culture in many ways. Regions and geographical areas all are blending or protecting their cultural barriers from one another and viewing this from a macro-view, national cultures eventually develop and produce a somewhat useful model to apply theory and ideas towards practically approaching the cultural differences that are to be expected within an international career.
National culture provides and interesting viewpoint to examine the inquiry that is the subject of this essay. Mead & Andrews (2009) explained this concept to help in approaching such a task. They wrote "the relationship between internal and external factors is complex, and problems of responding to external factors are further complicated when the company is making international investments and is operating in more than one national environment. National culture is only one of the factors involved, and the manager needs skills of distinguishing when it is, and is not, significant."
Culture cannot be understood as a thing itself. It is merely a reference frame in which to generalize a certain group of people. The nature of culture is to collectivize and then normalize certain behaviors to a desired ideal or principle. These end game principles are the key to understanding how a group of people can identify with the culture. These points of interest contain the emotional and attitudinal influences and controlling factors of the group in question. This baseline fact is important to understand when delving into any new culture or environment that one is not familiar with. This type of awareness is essential to developing useful skills that will provide value and worth in an international career situation.
Morality is often contained within a collective group's culture and the temptation to project one's own moral authority onto someone else in different culture creates a schism in communication. Differences in approaches to life must not only be expected but also tolerated in some fashion or another. Accepting people for who they are as an individual can help in understanding a personal culture. Respecting the individual is not a common practice within most cultures or religions. Some Eastern philosophy based on Buddhist ideas do promote a more personal culture but even these ideas become skewed when hierarchical monasteries promote a collective culture all of their own. The inherent prosecution of the individual within the Judea -- Christian and Mohammad -- based religions suggest that these cults also favor a more collective or group-based ideal that sacrifices individual freedom for the better of the group.
Regardless of the details of any given culture the idea of certain shared values are included within the definition. "The implication is that the religion practiced by the group expresses a system of ethical belief, and is essentially idealistic. This means it may not be descriptive of how they actually behave. The international manager needs a basic understanding of the religious beliefs of the people whom he/she is managing, and to look for instances when behavior does express these beliefs, and when it does not, "(Mead & Andrews). Religion does play a heavy role in any given culture, even the absence of a religion suggests a spiritual ideal that must transcend material reality. This abstractness represented in religion is the source of much of the abstract quality of culture itself.
Values is another concept that contributes to the idea of culture. Values are also subjective in nature but provide a shared manner in which to approach the human problems that nature presents to us. Values shape shift and alter all the time as new leaders present new concepts that call for such transformation. Understanding that culture is malleable and can be crafted and altered through certain methods responds to the necessary understanding of cross cultural management that relates to the essence of culture itself.
Cross Cultural Management Theory
Cross-cultural management theory is based largely on the combination of several fields of study. Business and management, human resources management, sociology, anthropology, psychology, theology and philosophy all contribute to the larger framework of the subject. Since the idea of culture is inherent within the discipline this broad area of inquiry breaches many other types of academic areas as well. The essence of this subject is to understand how national cultures impact the management practices that can be applied in many different aspects. Being able to compare and measure the similarities and difference between different cultures has allowed this management practice to blossom and become a practical tool. The ability to control and predict outcomes at a global scale becomes the focal point for cross cultural managers looking to make successful advances in their chosen career path.
The literature pertinent to this subject suggested many important aspects that can be helpful in deciphering the many models and approaches that have been created in recent times. Applying cultural issues within my chosen career filed of hospitality presents its own unique challenges. Duncan (2005) addressed some of these challenges in her work regarding the global parameters of this area of commerce. She argued that certain areas of concern were poignant in grasping the challenges of this industry and highlighted employment issues, taxation levels and environmental issues as major concerns.
The more general research on the topic of national culture and how it can be applied can be difficult to understand in its totality. "Since Hofstede introduced his approach to understanding cultural differences through dimensions of national culture, various authors have presented their own dimensions, sometimes similar, sometimes different, and sometimes partially overlapping. The status quo in the development of research on cultural dimensions can now be qualified by two words: enriched and messy. Some scholars have attempted to bring the most likely common denominators of the dimensions together in an overview, but these attempts were based on ad hoc considerations and common sense, " (Maleki & de Jong, 2014).
It appears that many theories and/or models may apply in this field of study as long as it is aligned with some theoretical basis. The implications of…
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