Managing Across Cultures Business Management Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Need theories discover the kinds of needs that motivate people but it lacks to explain how people decide to behave in a certain manner for the satisfaction of their needs (Campbell, 1983).

b) Process Theories: These theories explain the thought processes. These thought processes guide certain behaviors through decisions and action to be applied in response to satisfy certain need. Two significant approaches are Vroom's expectancy theory and Adam's equity theory. These theories are helpful in understanding human action that responds to their needs. However it fails to understand continuous people behavior in a certain way.

c) Reinforcement theories: These theories identify the rationale behind people's behavior and examine the influence of consequences on behavior and suggest that people behavior is directly related to the consequences of their action. In the reinforcement theories the law of effect states that behaviors with pleasant consequences are more likely to be repeated then the behaviors with unpleasant consequences.

Rewards systems are designed in organizations to encourage employees to work for the attainment of short- and long-term goals. Reward system can take the form of salary increase; gain sharing, profit sharing and employee stock ownership. In many organizations employees have given liberty to choose the reward system for them. Brief perspective of these theories is discussed below with their necessary implication on the case (Baumeister, 2004).

McClelland's Acquired-Needs Theory

McClelland's acquired need theory was developed by psychologist David C. McClelland. It states that needs are acquired or learned through life and some people are more oriented to certain needs than to other needs. McClelland had identified three types of need in particular:

i. need for achievement

ii. need for affiliation iii. need for power


In the diversified cultural environment managers need to understand what needs employee pursue to fulfill from their job. If their specific need is fulfilled then they function best for the development of the organization. People who exhibit high level of need for achievement should be involved in the creative team and new product development team. Managers can stimulate motivation in employees with strong need for affiliation by creating the work environment that emphasize social teaming and foster team work. There are two type of power influenced on individual need. One is the personal power and other is the institutional power. People showing need for personal power will work for their own sake however people with institutional power have the concern for organization and will work hard and even make compromises to solve organizational problems. Therefore, managers need to identify people with institutional power and place them on managerial positions because they will be more effective then people with need for achievement (McClelland, 2008).

Adam's Equity Theory

Equity theory specifies that employees in an organization are primarily concerned with being fairly treated in relation to others. This theory was first given by J. Stacey Adams. The equity theory in brief postulates that people compare their ratio of their input like the number of hours work, their experience or training and their outcomes like promotion, salary and leaves with the ratio of inputs and outputs of people functioning in similar capacity (Carver, 2001).


Company like Ford when operating in global market place where teams are components of people with different cultural backgrounds having different set of needs and values, managers in order to motivate employees towards team efforts and productivity should encourage employees and make them assured that their efforts will lead to performance, that performance will lead to rewards and that these rewards are attractive for the employees. If employees are satisfied on this notion that others are being rewarded according to their input in the organization then they are more likely to be motivated and enthusiastic in achieving their objectives (Mintzberg, 1990).

Conclusion and Recommendation

Charismatic Leadership for managing across cultures

Modern researchers and management gurus are conducting studies that widen the horizon of leadership from the trait, behavioral and contingency theories to more transactional and transformational leadership. Some of the roles performed by a leader in an organization in his/her capacity of being manager are:

i. Interpersonal Role: Managers must take initiates in performing formal interpersonal duties towards their employees. Greeting them formally, being responsible for the duties of their work groups, influence their actions through motivation and leading direction and lastly making a collaborative effort in building strong relation with the employees that drives their actions towards the achievement of organizational objectives (Robert, 1990).

ii. Communication and information passing role: Managers are concerned to be the brain center of the organizational unit. From this center all the information disseminates in various functional units therefore it has to be very much active, well informed and unbiased in its distribution function. Monitoring the outcomes, evaluating the performance and keeping in close intact with the teams are core to this role of manager.

iii. Decision Taking Role: information without its formulation into some policy action is of no use. Therefore managers are required to process this information into meaning decisions that are in benefit of organizational strategies and is functioning according to the needs, motives and goals of the work groups (Bovee, 2000).

Global companies like Ford when understands the motivating factors of the work groups from diversified cultures are then able to design the organizational culture which functions in the best interest of all and is always directed towards the achievement of organization corporate goals and objectives. No matter where the business operations are conducted organizational culture remains unified in all.

SC Johnson Culture: Another example of organizational values and culture

Nowhere is the sense of family values more prominent as in the culture of SC Johnson which is a privately owned firm that projects an image of close knit family. This image is highly reflective of the kind of culture that exists in the organization. Family is always given top priority and the company not only gives importance to its own family members but treats its employees the same way as well. There is a strong sense of family coming first as "a sense of family is an anchor of the SC Johnson culture." (Burchell, p. 92)

SC Johnson promotes a friendly culture in the organization where everyone is on first name basis. The company and its employees are no stranger to the community of Racine and enjoy a healthy relationship with the community. Fisk Johnson, the current CEO of the company, allows others to address him by his first name as Kelly Semrau, the vice president of global public affairs acknowledges: "Sam was Sam. H.F. was H.F. We're very first name basis, very informal. Fisk gets uncomfortable if anybody treats him formally." (p. 92)

Semrau explains how personable the company is and how very well respected it is in the community. SC Johnson is well aware of its responsibility towards five group of stakeholders namely employees, customers, hosts and neighbors, the general public and the world community at large. It has thus adopted a policy of caring which is contained in a blue booklet titled "This we believe" and this has been the guiding principle of the company since its inception in 1886.

Employees are very vocal about SC Johnson's caring spirit and they take pride in their association with the organization. One employee in Burchell's case study explained how the company took care of her needs while she was expecting her twins. She was allowed to work part time which instilled in her a sense of deep commitment and loyalty to the firm. The company understands that it is actions like these that create a stronger bond between the people and the organization and leads to overall success of the firm.

There is further proof of this caring spirit in the form of the following:

SC Johnson's Childcare learning center is a massive 45,000 square feet facility that cares for more than 500 children of SC's employees. This center provides children with many activities like gym, aquatic center and a park and is located at a convenient location close to JMBA fitness center which is also a facility owned by SC Johnson for its employees. The childcare has consistently expanded over the years to accommodate the growing number of children and to make sure that no child ever goes on the waiting list.

The company also owns a beautiful resort on Fence Lake in Wisconsin which serves as a comfortable and luxury vacation spot for its employees who have access to all the facilities available on the resort. It is also open year around and can be used by retired employees of SC Johnson as well.

In the words of Kelly Semrau then, the culture of SC Johnson is unique: "… because it truly puts people first and profits come second. Profits are important to us, obviously, but it's very centered on the well-being of the person. The individual is respected here. You feel like you are connected to the top. Fisk takes emails and answers questions from everybody. We…

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