Research paper: Challenges faced by managers of multicultural workforces and recommendations for management training

Today, the growing number of large, medium and small companies actively enter the foreign market, engaging into export activities, licensing, joint venturing, direct investing, management consulting. The number of mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances and unions is also growing, which is usually preceded by cross-cultural negotiations. There is a growing number of multicultural organizations whose workers must recognize and respect differences, interests of cultural and social groups, exercise political correctness and rejection of discrimination (Anheier & Isar, 2008).

In these circumstances, it is the development of cross-cultural communication of managers that can improve the efficiency of management in a modern society under conditions of globalized economy and internationalization of production. In other words, understanding of the basic cultural principles of foreign partners or employees may be the central link to achieving success.

On the basis of collected and systematized information, since the early 1980’s attempts have been made to classify the types of business cultures, and allocate classification parameters or characteristics. The most widely used classification parameters today are the ones formulated by the Dutch scientist Geert Hofstede (1991), the American scientist Edward Hall (1990) and Dutch scientist Fons Trompenaars (1997). These classification parameters and characteristics (in spite of their methodological incompleteness) form the basis for practical recommendations aimed at preventing cross-cultural conflicts.

For the success of cross-cultural communication and managing multicultural workforce, the preliminary training of staff is crucial. Particular importance is attached to a cross-cultural training carried out on the basis of several approaches at a time, which will allow managers to form practical skills of intercultural interaction and increase the chances of getting a positive outcome of business activities.

However, the development of organization’s abilities consists not only in training employees, but also increasing their competence level. Thus, the collective experience of working together to implement innovations in a different cultural environment is necessary. For this purpose, it is important to gain experience in an experiment on changing the “repertoire” through the reconfiguration and recombination of resources and routines (understanding routines as the standardized means of employees) (Brock & Siscovick, 2007). Such experiments help increase the company’s ability to master new knowledge and transform the organization under the impact of globalization processes, which force to pay more attention to the analysis, understanding and optimization of cultural differences.

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