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I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. (我以為讓愚蠢的人自暴其醜, 正是最大之言論自由所以是最安全的主因)


非官方發佈資料 Unofficial Release

Cultural Management and Globalization

by P. M. Y. Cheng
Aug 28, 2009


UM Blogger 網誌編輯組

Sept 10, 2009

The following study report  on cutural management and globalization was written by Ms P. Cheng, who is the marketing officer of our company.  The issue can be viewed from a number of perspectives.  Under the influence of the overwhelming Anglo-American culture which has been dominating the world in the past few centuries, it seems that it is the main-stream of human thought and represents the highest level of human civilization for the time being. With their political, economical and military power, many western MNCs (multinational Corporations) have tried to enforce their value system in other countries, which caused numerous cultural conflicts among local people and foreign managers. Moreover, coutural conflict may be precipitated and evolve into warfair between countries or even races within a country. The writer had introduced the findings and theory of Professor Geert Hofstede to readers for thinking about another approach instead of a violent intrusion of one culture into another. It sounds convincing but practically, we suspect if the western people are able to free themselves from the arrogance stemming from the sense of superiority. The enforcement of UN Global Compact by a number of MNCs is exactly a counter example for the recognition of the diversity of culture.


  1. The Irrevocable Process of Globalization and the Need for Cultural Management

  2.  Study of Cultural Management as a Means for Problem Solving More Than A Ready Answer.

  3. Cultural Management & Organization Ethics in MNCs

  4. A Practical Application of Cultural Management in International Trade Negotiation

  5. Conclusion

1. The Irrevocable Process of Globalization and the Need for Cultural Management

Cultural management arises because of globalization, especially after WWII, while all countries were interacting with each others increasingly in trade and communication. It gave rise to the emergence of MNCs which had strong incentive to set up universal standards in all dimensions as a quest for easy management across the borders.

Cultural Management plays a very important role in the process of globalization. Culture is a society's system of shared, learned values and norms. Therefore, cultural management involves the microscopic study of individual and family as a basic unit of the society and the macroscopic study of the geography, history, races, religions, language, education, communication, social structure, political framework, collective belief and values of a society as a whole.

As we all know, the world is moving towards globalization. The big challenge right before the managers of an international corporation is whether they have prepared themselves for facing the resultant dynamics. Global changes are taking place on every field of business due to the recent development and findings of the organizational theory, management philosophy, information technology, & etc. With more knowledge of management, practitioners and theorists are increasingly aware of the practice as an international activity. Now global managers are required to enrich their knowledge of management in the adaptation to the context of the global economy accordingly.

2. Study of Cultural Management as a Means for Problem Solving More Than A Ready Answer.

Cross-cultural management study can not simply give a manager a ready answer for handling cultural management problem in its ever widening and complicating international environment. All international managers not only need to know “what” to learn, but also need to know “how” to learn. Under globalization, leaders must be able to cater for differences, use an adequate system of values for achieving “convergence” in order to minimize the differences and conflicts among different culture. As a leader, when handling the “motivation”, “Context Theories” such as Maslow's “hierarchy of needs” only provides an analytical tool. In different country, the priority of “self -actualization”, “esteem needs”, “social needs”, “safety needs” and “physiological needs” are not the same.

In practicing the international management, one must learn and apply different types of management style such as “Authoritarian”, “Paternalistic”, “Participative” and “Laissez-faire” tactfully in coping with different people having different cultural background.

Before I explored more deeply into the issue of cultural management, I had been pre-occupied with the thought that a manager should has its own management style and stick to it once he was in his position. Now, I am quite sure that a successful manager should have a more flexible management style to fit himself in different cultural contexts in dealing with various type of people. A successful global leader should adjust his management style, attitude and behavior. He should well understand the different combinations of culture within the context and be capable of analyzing the resulting impact on the cooperation. For most of the time, he has to shape the context to a certain extent and lead the team in a smooth way, for example, there may be people of different culture within a work-group like Chinese, American, Japanese or else. As a leader of an MNC in a multinational context, he must maintain flexibility while keeping certain fundamental values and principles which are commonly acceptable to all team members. He should recognize the fact that no more pure culture is found in the world but differences are objectively present in everywhere and be properly equipped with the technical knowhow to deal with it.

In light of the fast growing of virtual world on the internet, a multinational corporation manager is also required to possess the knowledge to handle the cultural differences in the virtual world which has play a more and more important role in the world of communication. Though there is no physical contact between two persons before the desktop on the internet, they are communicating or negotiating with each other. No matter whether they are trading rivals or business partners, cultural management is applicable in the process of communication.

Conclusively speaking, the higher is the level of a manager, the more demanding is his knowledge and skill in handling cultural problems.

3. Cultural Management & Organization Ethics in MNCs

When dealing with the international business, some MNCs have their company's proprietary mission, ethics, and integrity policies for the staff to follow in the home country as well as in host countries. However, when the leader communicate with the local staff, both sides may find that the norm they observe may conflict with each other. For example, it is not guilty and prohibited for the employer to employ the kid as employee in Africa while it is illegal in America.

In the poor country, legitimacy for child labor is regarded as an employment opportunity for poor people. In fact, child labor in Africa is positively accepted because it may help to improve the family's financial situation and keeps children away from those gangsters or street fighters. However, child labor is strictly forbidden in America by law or the ethical rule of American firms. Child labor is considered and regarded as unethical in American culture. In this case, American managers holding their point of view will be confronted with the local Africa manager. Both of them are dealing with the same issue but respond to it in different ways.

In the past two centuries, as the Anglo-American culture has dominated the world with the aid of their supreme military power and economic power. The MNCs of Britain and America have tried to established their values in the host countries to overwhelm the local values. A typical example was the IBM culture, which had once been considered as an overwhelming national values. However, Hofstede's study found that work related values were not universal and national values may persist over MNCs' efforts to create a universal culture crossing the geographical and political border.

Despite a lot of studies and evidences have proved that the existence of cultural differences, it seems that MNCs have never given up their effort to create a universal set of values. The latest development is the establishment of various protocols through the framework of United Nations. For instance, under the influence of the western countries, United Nations drafted the “United Nations Global Compact”, which is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. A wider acceptance is anticipated as the creation process was carried out within the United Nations. According to its official release, “the Global Compact is a purely voluntary initiative. It does not police or enforce the behavior or actions of companies. Rather, it is designed to stimulate change and to promote good corporate citizenship and encourage innovative solutions and partnerships.” (Source: Obviously, the cultural management was taken into consideration in the formulation and promotion of the “UNGlobal Compact.”

4. A Practical Application of Cultural Management in International Trade Negotiation

“Daniel Workman” tried to apply the cultural management concept in the international trade negotiation. He set 6 rules for international managers who may engaging in negotiation with trading rivals of other countries and culture.

Rule #1: Culture Drives Negotiations

Prudent negotiators first research a foreign culture to find out whether negotiations require a formal or informal approach.

Rule #2: Manage Time Wisely

Rule number two is that negotiators must use their time wisely. This is much trickier than simply showing up on time. Prudent time usage means being sensitive to how the opposing side wants to spend their hours, minutes and seconds.

Rule #3: Respect Negotiation Opponents

Rule number three is universal: to be respected in international trade negotiations, one has to first respect his or her opponents.

Rule #4: Listen Before Making a Point

Rule number four is to be a good listener. The most successful negotiator isn’t necessarily the person who talks the loudest or the longest. By listening well, the negotiator shows that he or she is seeking to understand and will accept a reasonable compromise.

Rule #5: Lead Discussions Humbly

Rule number five is to be humble but assertive. That way, the negotiator shows the other side a willingness to enter into meaningful discussions that often lead negotiations to win-win solutions.

Rule #6: Trust Opponents but Do Homework

The foundation for all relationships is trust. Negotiators must be as accommodating as possible, particularly in face-to-face meetings. After all, the only way that negotiations can move forward is if all parties trust each other.

(sources: <>)

5. Conclusion

The history has taught us a painful lesson that cultural management cannot be neglected. The MNCs of western countries pre-occupied with the feeling supremacy had tried to establish a overwhelming culture that had a casting power over the local culture of the host countries. The process was carried out by both coercive measures and temptations. However, the managers of MNCs had never successfully built up a unified set of values universal to all people of different cultural backgrounds. Instead, this approach had caused resentment and resistance from the people of non-western culture who saw all their activities as an invasion of the host countries' culture. Then a lot of scholars like Professor Geert Hofstede taught us to view the issue from a different perspective and brought us a different approach to handle the problem. Perhaps a chinese old saying which says that we should recognize and respect the “divergence” in the pursuit of “convergence”(求同存異) is very close to the philosophy of Hofstede's approach. Due to the cultural differences, vision other than charisma and competence was regarded as the most important attribute of a good leader leading a multinational team of workers. This change conveyed us a message that persuasion is better than coercion. A good leader should be capable of isolating the universal values that are commonly accepted by all people from those distinctive local values that are withheld by local people. To conquer will always induce confrontation and resistance. Globalization is by nature a process of unification which brings all people of different culture backgrounds together but a good leader should have the vision to see the fundamental differences among them and possess the ability to reconcile these cultural conflicts with high level of proper skill.

- END -


- 10/1/2009 -

As our web hosting service provider had upgraded their server recently, the speed and stability of <> was much improved. Now it is operated simultaneously with <>. To share with our views as a member of SMEs, just click either url as  shown above.

由於網站伺服器已獲提升,原明心齋博客網誌之網站<> 連接速度及穩定性均大幅改善, 與另一並行網站<> 同時運作, 點 擊上面之超連結進入我們博客的內心世界, 分享他們作為中小企成員的感受和意見.

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