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BUS7049 Cross-Cultural Management Assignment sample

Pages Pages: 10

Words Words: 2524

BUS7049 Cross-Cultural Management Assignment sample

Introduction

This essay is mainly aimed at studying about the leadership and management practices followed across different cultures. The essay should primarily be concerned about the leadership and management styles that are practiced across the UK as the base country and for more other countries Germany, Mexico, and China. A general discussion about the difference in culture, beliefs and politics shall help the readers in understanding how the whole mechanics of cross-culture can operate and influence the functioning inside of an organization at a microcosmic team level. The decisions and the subsequent actions of the team members which shall be highlighted in a better way with this discussion. The overall experience that was gained by me on account of leading and managing the team and getting directed and managed by them shall be documented here. Any cross cultural issues that had arisen while the whole team was functioning jointly shall be highlighted along with the precise measures that were taken to set the order in its right position. To provide a literary and practical approach to the whole work, theories and general practice across countries and organizations shall also be sourced and used from different secondary source material such as reports, websites, articles, etc.

Leadership and management styles for own nation/culture and other nations represented within a team

Leadership and management style can be said to be a mixture of elements such as traits, characteristics, behaviour, and skills that leaders adhere to in order to communicate and direct their subordinate team members. Leadership styles vary from country to country based on the circumstances, their culture, politics, history, economic conditions as well as academics. Our team members mainly belonged from China, Mexico and Germany.

Figure 1: Cultural Comparison between UK, Mexico and Germany

(Source: Hofstede Insights, 2020)

As per the Hofstede's Cultural Index (Fig.1), my country UK has a lower score in the power distance Index. Which means that people generally believe that inequalities between people should be reduced. This is one of the primary reasons for the leadership style to be more casual, tactful, reasonable, helpful, creative and Democratic (Fig.2). Another reason for leaders to be casual, creative and opportunistic is that they have a high score of 89 in the Individualism mark (Chamorro-Premuzic and Sanger, 2020). An average score of 35 in Uncertainty Avoidance also proves this fact because British managers are ready to take up challenges and risk and for this they need to be helpful, diplomatic and democratic in nature. Gaille, 2018 argues that Democratic style encourages individual creativity and learning, improves problem solving skills and job satisfaction and in this, any good employees can act as a leader being appointed by the organization. On the other hand, as per Puni and Bosco, 2016, the team members or employees have to be self-aware and need to be aware of every detail about the functioning of the organization. If such is unknown, there is a high chance of occurrence of errors, and may lead to wrong decisions and actions. To solve this, managers need to be cautious about the final steps that are being taken by the employees. They may be given individual spaces for action and decision making, however final actions need to be reviewed and decided upon by the leaders and managers.

Figure 2: Leadership style in UK

(Source: Lubin, 2014)

It is almost the same as Germany where societies are decentralised and are mainly influenced by the middle class. So an overall equality prevails in society. The Power Distance Index for both the countries are same and this fact also points out towards the leadership style in Germany is more opportunistic, flexible and oriented towards a (Hierarchy + Consensus) based style which works on the principles of fair play and ensure equal treatment of members even within a hierarchical order (Fig.3). Leadership style and the functioning of team members in Germany is more individualistic but compared to the UK it is less. As suggested by Martinuzzi, 2019 Coaching leadership and management style followed up in Germany aids in Manager/leader to give options and choices to employees for considering any decision before finally taking it. The leaders consider employees to be a reservoir of talents and help in unleashing them as well as guiding them through a structured approach. However, Miller, 2020 opines that it takes huge time for a leader following Coaching style of management to get accustomed with all the work force and be able to effectively guide them. The leader also needs to be highly efficient and should need to mix freely with the employees in order to be able to guide them. These challenges can be drawn advantageous if the organizations in Germany take note of certain basic communicative qualities in leaders and managers while appointing them. With better communicative abilities, they would be able to freely mix with the workforce and direct them.

Figure 3: Leadership style in Germany

(Source: Business Insider, 2020)

While in Mexico, the presence of equality among members can be less noticed in society as well as in a team. With a high score of 81, rigid hierarchies exist with the functional structures of society.

Figure 4: Leadership style in Mexico

(Source: Business Insider, 2020)

Mexican families are highly patriarchal/paternalistic and are directed by their eldest male members on good catholic terms and beliefs. A leader in such a sense needs to be a manager, a defender, an advisor, a father, and needs to be accountable for all employees and their extended families (Fig.4). As suggested by Hofstede 2020, their low level of individualism at 30 proves that fact that new and small members are led by the male elders and this harms individual creative abilities of other younger members in organization and society in general. 

Figure 5: Leadership style in China

(Source: Business Insider, 2020)

China on the other hand has an Autocratic form of leadership and authoritative management style which can be proved from the fact that there is a high level of inequality in the society and in organizations. With a high score of 80, the Chinese Society functions equally on disbalance of power like in Mexico. Further, a low level of individualism at 20 suggests the similar factors of the management style of the leaders to be more Paternalistic in nature. As suggested by Business insider 2020, the leaders give collective guidance to the members and are influenced by Government, directors, rules and regulations. Jackson, 2016 opined that the biggest challenge of Paternalistic leadership style is that the employees become too dependent on the leaders and the management. Along with this, there are also high chances of infringement of individual freedom of the members due to more management interference at every level. Thus their individualistic creative abilities and problem solving skills get stagnated. On the other hand, Luenendonk, 2020 suggests the fact that Paternalistic style of management as a parallel of authoritative leadership style focuses on the welfare of employees and tries to ensure overall success of the organization. It can be said that a more liberal approach of paternalistic style that is a more Laissez Faire form of leadership and management style needs to be adopted which would increase individual employee creativity as well as efficiency. 

Own experience of leading and managing the team, and being led and managed by other team members

Our team mainly consisted of members from the nation of China, Germany, Mexico apart from some of us belonging from the UK. Since The Chinese members were subjected and accustomed to an Authoritarian autocratic form of leadership in their own country's political domain, they were not ready to express criticism in face to face meetings and kept reserve. They were more patient during each of the problems and helped in giving advice however were reluctant to take the final decisions on their own. When we had an issue of selecting a source for collection of information for our given task, the Chinese counterparts helped us to see through the problem and influenced our decision, however asked for our own decisions and expressed their opinion to work according to that. They laid stress on cross cultural collectivism in order to be able to function to achieve a given task. Since I was from the UK along with some other members who were from my home country, we accepted the Chinese members' proposal. Since we believed in a democratic form of team management and leadership, when I took the leading role, I declared that the way in which the Chinese students suggested the way of data collection needed to be appropriated. So it was easy and appropriate to be influenced by the Chinese Members however manage them rather than be directed by them. The German members believed highly in cross cultural trust and eager and responsive to take actions for the god and betterment of all the other team members. They were helpful and proved to be good leaders. One of the German members took the lead of our team and helped to mitigate communication gaps between the members. Since the members came from different countries and English was not the primary language of Germany and China, the German leader knew some Chinese and he helped to patiently communicate with members and make them aware of what the Chinese or other German members were saying or trying to communicate. Since he also knew English, we could easily communicate through him easily with the Chinese and Mexican members of the team. When I had taken the lead of the team, I had tried to jot down our Action plan/register which would determine each of the steps for our research and information reporting work. I had given the members to maintain each of their work registers and report it to me so that a consolidated work report could be maintained. The Chinese and German members duly listened to my directions and could easily maintain and report their records on a daily basis. Since Mexicans are accustomed to a paternalistic coercion model of management and leadership, they fail to properly do this work on their own. They were highly dependent on me to do their reporting on behalf of them. However, when I tried to teach them the particular format and mechanism to do the reporting, they could adapt and learnt it very easily. The Mexicans proved to be ineffective leaders in our team since when one of their counterparts made the team leader, the person failed to give us proper directions and problem resolution strategies. 

Any cross-cultural issues which arose and how they were dealt with

The maximum issues which arose while working in the team was communication gap. Since the language of the Chinese members and the German members were different and had no match with English (which was used by us the members of the UK and the members from Mexico), and so, there arose a huge communication gap between us. This led to wastage of time and many errors while I was trying to direct the team in the initial phases. The lead from me was taken over by the German member who knew a little bit of Chinese and so he helped us to be able to communicate with each other through him which solved many of the issues and enabled quick decision making. At times, the other UK members of the team refused to listen to every direction being given by the German managers. Since people in the UK are very individualistic in nature and hate power inequality, at first they were not ready to take directions from any other member. However, I worked on behalf of the other members and took measures to persuade them so that they can understand the true advantages offered by the leader of the German people and easily have acceptance towards them.

Conclusion

The report has been mainly made based upon the study of the cultural differences and features of the three countries other than the UK, that is Germany, Mexico and China. A hosted Cross cultural study model has been applied along with other management and leadership theories in order to be able to reflect on the culture and practices. Aligning with them, my own experiences working with those members in a team has been documented. The problems that were come through and the solutions that we took can be said to be effective and highly rational from the study.

Reference List

Business Insider, 2020. These Charts Reveal How To Lead People In 50 Countries. [online] Business Insider. Available at: <https://www.businessinsider.in/strategy/management/these-charts-reveal-how-to-lead-people-in-50-countries/slidelist/47589288.cms> [Accessed 10 December 2020].

Chamorro-Premuzic, T. and Sanger, M., 2020. What Leadership Looks Like In Different Cultures. [online] Harvard Business Review. Available at: <https://hbr.org/2016/05/what-leadership-looks-like-in-different-cultures> [Accessed 10 December 2020].

Gaille, B., 2018. 19 Advantages And Disadvantages Of Democratic Leadership Style. [online] BrandonGaille.com. Available at: <https://brandongaille.com/19-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-democratic-leadership-style/> [Accessed 22 December 2020].

Hofstede Insights, 2020. Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights. [online] Hofstede Insights. Available at: <https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/china,germany,mexico,the-uk/> [Accessed 10 December 2020].

Jackson, T., 2016. Paternalistic leadership: The missing link in cross-cultural leadership studies. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 16(1), pp.3-7.

Luenendonk, M., 2020. Paternalistic Leadership Guide: Definition, Qualities, Pros & Cons, Examples. [online] Cleverism. Available at: <https://www.cleverism.com/paternalistic-leadership-guide/#:~:text=The%20major%20advantage%20of%20paternalistic,will%20have%20on%20the%20employee.> [Accessed 22 December 2020].

Martinuzzi, B., 2019. The 7 Most Common Leadership Styles (And How To Find Your Own). [online] Business Class: Trends and Insights | American Express. Available at: <https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/the-7-most-common-leadership-styles-and-how-to-find-your-own/> [Accessed 22 December 2020].

Miller, K., 2020. Coaching Leadership Style Advantages, Disadvantages And Characteristics. [online] FutureofWorking.com. Available at: <https://futureofworking.com/coaching-leadership-style-advantages-disadvantages-and-characteristics/> [Accessed 22 December 2020].

Puni, A. and Bosco, D.K.J., 2016. Leadership style, corporate culture and organizational performance. Research Journal of Social Science & Management, 5(10), pp.83-90.

Schoetz, A., 2018. Different Countries - Different Leaders? Leadership Styles And National Cultures. [online] Linkedin.com. Available at: <https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/different-countries-leaders-leadership-styles-national-schoetz/> [Accessed 10 December 2020].

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