Part 1: Analysis of the organization 1) Organization of the work. a. Traditional teams. b. Network teams. 2) Roles of managers Part 2: Culture interaction in Promethee 1) Culture impacts business. 2) Organization culture vs. National culture. 3) Is working in a multicultural environment an advantage? 4) Conflicts in Promethee. Part 3: Managing multicultural human resources 1) Implementing a multicultural Human Resources Strategy 2) Training adapted to context 3) Communication/Atmosphere Conclusion Introduction
Nowadays, a lot of companies are multicultural and have to adopt a different management because of people who work together is coming from different country. In this case “Promethee” is a firm which is one of the main worldwide providers of news, financial information and technological solutions. This company has today 200 offices in 130 countries, with people who work in 19 different languages. Of course, in that kind of enterprise, several services are working together with people who come from everywhere in the world and who all have different culture, but they have the same objective.
In order to prevent conflict between different cultures, we are going to explain and understand in this study, the issues involved in the management of cultural differences and how to deal with them in order to improve management. In fact, by studying the several interviews with multicultural teams, the multicultural network team, and the human resources managers, we will have a method of observation and understanding of multicultural realities to answer to the problem. At first, we are going to analysis the organization, by reports to the composition of the team and the role of the manager.
The second part is about the enterprise culture of Promethee, and at last, we will explain the best practices for human resources in an intercultural enterprise like Promethee. Part 1: Analysis of the organization A. Traditional Teams |ITW 1 – 2 – 3 Sales team working in the | |company | |Function |Sales team manager : Mr Jacques | |Number of employees / Nationalities |5 / American, Belgian, Natives of Luxembourg, French |Communication |Informal | |Language |Write English, speak French | |Organization |Open & flexible | |Conflicts |No conflicts | |Culture |Many nationalities, many different culture ( stereotypes exists | | |All members of this team think the diversity is positive probably thanks commercial culture | | |facilitate relationship (for example they do sports together and the company organizes events for | | |the team) | |ITW 4 – Engineering team working in Luxembourg| Function |Engineering / provide technical services to our clients | |Number of employees / Nationalities |15 (only men)/ French, Belgians, Natives of Luxembourg | |Communication |Formal | |Language |English en a formal way and people from Luxembourg speak French together | |Organization |The engineers report to the manager Mr.
Martin and he tries to solve the problem, it’s his sole | | |responsibility | |Conflicts |Some conflicts it’s linked with personality not culture | |Culture |Engineers have a specific culture and they tend to go less to other, especially to their manager so| | |they don’t understand different culture | |ITW 5 – Training Group | Function |Client Training group | |Number of employees / Nationalities |8 / Four Nationalities Belgian, German, natives of Luxembourg and French) | |Communication |Communication direct and indirect (email) | |Language |Work in French and in English | |Organization |Not details, Eight trainers should refers to their manager who is also a engineer | |Conflicts |No conflicts but tensions due to different conceptions | |Culture |Different culture, stereotypes exist for example we say that Germans are forthright. Natives| | |of Luxembourg tend to group together | |ITW 6 – Engineering team | Function |Financial engineering | |Number of employees / Nationalities |10 / French, German, Belgian, Luxembourg and Chinese | |Communication |Communication direct | |Language |Work in French and in English | |Organization |No details | |Conflicts |Some conflicts between Flemish and Walloons and between Belgians and people from Luxembourg | |Culture |Respect cultural differences, everyone must adapt to each other. Local people don’t see | | |outside the expatriates. | B. Network team |ITW 7 Sales team working in network | |Function |Sales team manager : Mr.
Jacob | |Number of employees / Nationalities |2 in Luxembourg and 15 in Europe / No details about Nationalities | |Communication |Communication by email, conference call | |Language |Only English | |Organization |Manage at distance, manager travel a lot to see people individually | |Conflicts |There are conflicts but it’s linked to the characters like the first sales team. | |Culture |All members of this team think the diversity is positive and want to go out together more. | |ITW 9 – 10 Sales team working in network | |Function |Sales team manager : Mrs.
Morin | |Number of employees / Nationalities |6 people / No details about Nationalities | |Communication |Communication by email, conference call | |Language |Only English | |Organization |Manage at distance | |Conflicts |No conflicts | |Culture |The diversity is positive; understand customs and different cultures facilitate the climate | | |in the work. | |ITW 12 Risk management team working in | |network | |Function |Sales team manager : Mr.
Van Eetvelde | |Number of employees / Nationalities |6 / Dutch, British, Macedonian | |Communication |Communication by telephone, email, instant messaging | |Language |English | |Organization |Manage at distance | |Conflicts |Few conflicts | |Culture |Misunderstandings due to different cultural | |ITW 19 – 20 – 21 Marketing team working in | |network | |Function |Marketing team manager : Mr.
Saussure | |Number of employees / Nationalities |About Forty people / Several Nationalities | |Communication |Communication by email, meeting call | |Language |English and in France French | |Organization |Manage at distance | |Conflicts |Few conflicts | |Culture |Take account of cultural differences | Finally, we can notice that there are not many differences between multicultural team and multicultural network team. The main difference is more about the type of their work than their culture.
Indeed, engineers are more formal, less open minded than the sales people. Part 2: Culture interaction in Promethee. A. Culture impacts business. Culture is the collection of values, beliefs, behaviours, customs, and attitudes that distinguish one society from another. • Beliefs : about how the world works and how people should interact • Behaviours : including gestures , use of eye contact, facial expressions, manner of dress and rituals for greeting • Values : what’s considered important, such as family or personal life, religion, and social responsibility Characteristics of Culture • Culture reflects learned behaviour that is transmitted from one member of a society to another.
Some elements of culture are transmitted intergenerational, as when parents teach their children table manners. Other elements are transmitted intragenerationally, as when seniors educate incoming freshmen about a school’s traditions. • The elements of culture are interrelated. For example, Japan’s group-oriented, hierarchical society stresses harmony and loyalty, which has historically translated into lifetime employment and minimal job switching. • Because culture is learned behaviour, it is adaptive; that is, the culture changes in response to external forces that affect the society. • Culture is shared by members of the society and defines the membership of the society. Individuals who share a culture are members of a society; hose who do not are outside the boundaries of the society. Culture influences virtually all aspects of business: Communicating about business and non business topics; Building working relationships; Resolving conflicts; Defining work procedures and ethical behaviour; Making decisions; Greeting one another; Establishing deadlines and meeting times; Dressing; Entertaining and dining; Delivering presentations; Evaluating business ideas and proposals; Setting business priorities; Relating to authority figures; Selling and marketing to customers Culture has a large impact on the way business is done throughout the world. Indeed, business practices can be seen as extensions of cultures.
Thus, management is influenced by culture through: • Policy • Style • Structure of the organization • Behavior of stakeholders It is important to highlight that even though people are talking the same language in a company, their cultural references are not the same. Moreover, values and norms can differ. Thus, cultural differences in organizations dealing internationally have their greatest impact mainly in motivation, teamwork, negotiations and decision-making. Depending upon the organization, you can have different approaches to work in a multicultural environment: • Ethnocentric approach: our way is the best way • Synergetic approach: managing with diversity
So we can conclude that the basic elements of culture contains are: language, communication, religion, values/attitudes, etc. The interaction of these elements affects the local environment in which international businesses operate. In this case, we can see clearly how these elements have impacts on different department during company’s daily business. This part mainly focuses on the “conflicts”. So as a key dimension of culture, language is a significant fuse towards misunderstanding, which can easily lead to conflicts, as we will discuss later in this paper. However, corporate culture does not erase cultural influences. In fact, organization culture magnifies cross-cultural differences, rather than minimizing them. B. Organizational culture vs. ational culture, ICF vs. Hofstede: Promethee has a long tradition as an information provider; it opened its first office in London back in the 19th century. Today, Promethee has 200 offices in 130 countries. It employs a multicultural workforce of more than 15,000 people who work in 19 different languages. Thus, Promethee is not anymore an English company. It is global, international par excellence. The Integrated Cultural Framework of Mallinger and Rossy offers a tool to measure corporate culture. This method includes six dimensions. The following definition of each dimension has been found on this website: http://gbr. pepperdine. edu/011/culture. tml; • Ability to influence is the extent to which individuals are able to influence outcomes within the organization. A high ability to influence suggests that the organization is open to input from a wide range of members and is willing to consider and react to those suggestions. It is likely decentralized. A low ability to influence indicates a culture where most individuals have little chance to impact the outcomes. Decisions are made by a small group of individuals at the top who are not open to input from more than a select group of employees. Assessing questions include: • Comfort with ambiguity describes the extent to which the members of the organization are comfortable with uncertainty and risk taking. Achievement Orientation refers to the extent to which the members of the organization are striving to accomplish goals and improve performance. • Individualism vs. Collectivism refers to the extent to which the members of the organization are encouraged or given incentives to focus primarily on personal gain (individualism) versus considering first the interests of the group as a whole (collectivism) • Time Orientation measures the extent to which the organization’s missions/goals are focused on values from past, present or future. However, combinations of time orientation can exist. For example, an organization may demonstrate both present and future orientation (e. g. focus on bottom line, while also engaging in meaningful strategic planning) • Space Orientation refers to the extent to which physical layout is public, private or a mix of both. Hofstede’s dimensions of culture are the following: Power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation. As we can notice, some dimensions of ICF are influenced by national culture such as masculinity, long-term orientation with time orientation or comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty avoidance; are the same as Hofstede’s dimension. This shows that national culture influences a lot on corporate culture. C. Is working in a multicultural environment an asset or a disadvantage? |Assets of culture on business |Difficulties of culture on business | |Multicultural teams |Diversity seen as positive, it’s rewarding |Nationalities tend to group together | | |People like working in multicultural environment, |Lack of fluency in language creates frustration | | |impact on motivation. It’s seen as positive thing |No systematization, importance to adapt | | |Not difficult to work in multicultural environment| | | |No misunderstandings due to languages, but need to| | | |learn new languages | | | |Makes you stand back nd look at your own culture | | | |Skills overrides the question | | | |No systematization | | |Multicultural network teams |Rewarding, seen as positive |Heavy on the travelling | | |Professionalism is more important than culture |Not an obstacle but need to be prepared, be aware of | | |Easier if u understand customs of others countries|cultural differences and then it’s just a question of | | |Can meet different people and that creates |adapting | | |opportunities |Misunderstandings due to languages | | |Travel a lot |Easier if u understand customs of others countries which | | | |creates confusion and conflicts of interest | | | |Everyone should retain his identity in a multicultural | | | |framework, can’t standardize everything | | | |Manager is the link, importance to not showing favoritism| | | |Problems of distance, of communication, informal contacts| | | |count a lot in working relationships. It’s even harder | | | |when you work far from your colleague + culture gap. | | | |The problem is not the language but understanding customs| | | |Takes time to adapt in multicultural environment | We can see that some advantages for some people is seen an advantage for others.
For instance, the travelling is an advantage for a young employee who wants to discover the world but can be a burden for a father/mother with young children. Culture has impact on both type of team but may have even more on multicultural network team, due to communication issues due to distances. Nevertheless, for most people working in Promethee, the multicultural environment is more an asset than a burden which is hopeful and means recruitment is efficient. Overall, most people think that culture is not the main criteria in the success of a relationship with colleague but professionalism is more important. D) Conflicts in Promethee |name |nationality |Conflict exists? interaction | |Interviews with teams from Luxembourg and Brussels | |Jackson |American |no |Learn language well | |Heintz |Luxembourg |no |Learn language well | |Kirk |Belgian |no |Learn language well | |Martin |French |no |Learn language well + openness | |Simon |Belgian |no |Have dialogues and activities are necessary | |Fischer |German |yes |Adapt the management style to the personality; language create frustration | |Interviews with network teams | |Jacob |Belgian |yes |Linked to people; should be prepared for the differences | |Coupez |Belgian |no |It’s easy to work in this environment | |Morin |Belgian |yes |People defend their country |Vandevelde |Belgian |no |Feel Dutch are more difficult to work with | |Gilbert |Belgian |yes |Avoid to talk about politics | |Eetvelde |Dutch |no |Avoid and stop the conflicts | |Ceccarelli |Italian |yes |Respect other culture with careful | |Papas |Greek |- |Afterwards, forget them | |Durand |French |yes |Linked to language; listen more | |Girard |French |no |Can’t speak English; not effective in meetings | |Jardin |French |no |Lack of communication, because of language | |Bridel |French |- |Lack of communication, because of language | |Saussure |French |no |should be prepared for the differences | |Chesneau |French |- |Lack of communication, because of distance | |Benfredt |Algerian |no |should be prepared for the differences | |Carson |American |- |Consider French are not efficient | |Interviews with HR managers | |Wagner |French |no |Mediate between the people involved | |Tisserand |French |yes |Linked to culture’s impact | |Robbins |British |- |- | Analysis: Interviews with teams from Luxembourg and Brussels, five of six people think there is no conflicts exist; except Fischer, who is German, states that there are conflicts in his team. As an engineering team leader, he knows his role and tries to adapt himself to different personality. He points out that “lack of fluency in language creates frustration” and that should be the source of conflicts. Notice that in this interview group, when five participants say there’s no conflict in their teams, four of them mention about the importance of language.
The rest one Simon, also make a proposal about holding more activities, as well as having more dialogues, which is building on the base of a common language. Without surprise, we can make a conclusion that the language is one of key elements to avoid culture conflicts. In the interviews with network teams, the result shows that the situation is complex. Five of sixteen participants recognize that there’re conflicts in their groups, seven participants state that there is not any conflicts, and four of them doesn’t give out a clear answer about conflicts. And for those no confliction speakers, two of seven point out there is communication problem due to the languages problem.
And totally, no matter they recognize the conflicts or not, four of fifteen feel about the language problem. Just like one of the team leader Mr Durand’s word:”The working language (English) creates a lot of problems”. Furthermore, as Mr Chesneau state, the lack of communication is also due to the long distance. They are network teams, so they all seldom talk together face to face. And this is something we should not ignore. Here we need to bring out another topic:” Nonverbal Communication”. Nonverbal Communication may account for 80-90 %of all information transmitted among members of a culture by means other than language. Such as: Hand gestures; Facial expression; Eye contact; Artefacts and non-verbal symbols.
Compare to the first interview group, which the members have varied group activities in or after work. We can find out that the conflicts rate is much lower. There is another conflict reflect by this interview group: the conflicts in the Belgian. And the solution is quite simple. They avoid talking about politics. The third interview group is three Human Resource managers. One finds the conflicts, one manage to mediates the people and avoid the conflicts, while the rest one doesn’t give a clear explain. To scan the whole three interview groups, 9 participants link the conflicts or non-conflicts with language. 4 participants talk about the good preparation and respect to other cultures.
And 3 participants say clearly that they don’t feel comfortable with French (Dutch / English) because of culture different: one American think the French are not efficient enough, one Belgian consider the German are too flank, and one French man doesn’t like English environment because he can’t speak English. Two participants link the conflicts to people, while one HR manager link the conflicts to the culture’s impacts. We can conclude that the culture differences may lead to problems. The language is the biggest reason of misunderstanding. And people can avoid culture conflicts through good prepare, openness and mutual respect. Part 3: Managing multicultural human resources A. Implementing a multicultural Human Resources Strategy In this multicultural environment, there is a real need to implement a more focused approached which in correlation with the field of cultural differences.
In the same way that you have to adapt an IT or marketing strategy, it is also required for a human resource strategy. In order to create or adapt such a strategy, you have to focus and to understand on the four key dimensions which define your organization: • Culture: the beliefs, values, norms and management style of the organization • Organization: the structure, job roles and reporting lines of the organization • People: the skill levels, staff potential and management capability • Human resources systems: the people focused mechanisms which deliver the strategy – employee selection, communications, training, rewards, career development, etc.
To stay on good way you should always keep in mind this universalist approach which can be decline in 4 themes: 1. Strategic integration, to be sure that it’s related and integrated with core company strategy. 2. Commitment, to be sure that stakeholder feel concerned about the company 3. Flexibility, provide a structure that can be adapted 4. Quality, provide a high quality service These are the 4 criteria to reach to get a competitive, adapted and efficient HR strategy. You should also be aware that implementing a global HR strategy could create tensions, especially for local managers, so to have better chance that it will accepted, you should: (Gary Dessler, Human Resources Management, chap 17) Implement a global system, more accepted in truly global organizations • Make study on their legitimacy on the field, their colleagues, … • Create a corporate culture Now that you have well prevented the manager tensions, you can focus on the global objectives to have a competitive and efficient HR strategy: • Elect local RH manager who will be a part of the global HR strategy • Standardize finale results, not especially methods • Engage right resources on quantity and place • Communicate a lot, on RH policy (ethnocentric, polycentric, geocentric) Once you well understand these aspects of your organization, you can now begin creating a structured and coordinated approach.
This can be developed in 7 steps: • Step 1: Understand the overall situation; it’s to perceive the core competence and the competitive advantage of the society. It’s to see the main forces of the firm and who is related to these forces • Step 2: Create a Mission Statement; this will explain what is intended to do concerning this strategy. You should explain what will be the contribution of everybody on this project. • Step 3: analyze the organization through a SWOT analysis. Here, you will focus on internal and external strength and weaknesses. Consider what will be the impact of each criteria notified, and how can this analysis can evolve on a short or long term. Step 4: Make an accurate analysis on the current human resources strategy. Here you will focus and search deeper in the COPS (culture, organization, people, Human Resources Systems). You make a picture of the present and compare it with what will be at the end, in this way, you will see the existing gap and where you have to focus your effort to reach your aim. • Step 5: Choose critical people issues, here you will identify and categorize the people the most important on this project. This person will be the centralization of your efforts and resources, because you know that a lot of this project depends of them. • Step 6: Consequences and solutions of the implementation.
Here, you will prevent and emphasize the consequences about each actions generate by the implementation of a new Human Resources Strategy. Check if the communications, the training, the pay has to be improved. • From this, you will develop an action plan and a division of the main area of the Human Resources Strategy. For example, employee rewards, manpower planning, communication, employee training and development. But you should always keep in mind that the aim here is to create and adapted strategy for a multicultural environment. • Step 7: Concrete implementation and controls, you have to be sure that the strategy implemented is in line with the multicultural environment and the strategy of the company.
Now that our global HR strategy is implemented and controlled, we can focus on the different core actions of the HR strategy: (MGMT414 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cem Tanova) • The international recruitment selection. When you want to recruit peoples for an international assignment, you have to change, or adapt your assessing perspectives for the candidates. In fact you have to match the important criteria concerning the criteria needed in the job, but also with criteria in relation with adaptation to a different culture, with for example : o ability to handle alcohol (in Japan, they sign contract with sake) o curiosity o desire to be abroad (critical point) o non ethnocentrism o high motivation o courtesy o adaptability o tolerance for ambiguity o language skills (critical point) interest in host culture You also should be able to put realistic preview for new expatriates, considering the time of adaptation of the new job, the new culture, eventually problems. • The international training and development. It has been proven by empirical literature that the multicultural training can improve the comprehension and the openness for other culture. This kind of training is also useful for employee working locally in an international firm. In this field it exists different training program : o Area studies programs o Culture assimilator programs o Language training programs o Sensitivity training programs o Field experience programs International compensation, this is a key question to encourage employee to work in a multicultural firm. But you have to be careful, if the compensation is to high, it could be damaging for the profitability of the assignment. If the compensation is inadequate, it could not reach the target and push the future employee of the company to go work abroad. You should be aware too the amount of the compensation should be in relation with the salary of the local salaries; this could be a cause of tension. It exists different types of rewards : o Expatriation Premium o Cost of Living Allowance o Swamp Pay Allowance o Shelter Allowance o Educational Allowance o Home leave Communication, this field is a really important part on the HR multicultural strategy. You should communicate a lot about o the company o the services o the performances o the events o the new recruits o the new markets, products o global strategy o … It’s obvious that in a company, conflicts are inevitable. In fact conflicts, it’s more linked to people’s temperaments than culture. There are some different techniques to prevent or avoid conflicts for example: • Avoidance (detect potential conflicts ex: Flemish and Walloons) • Collaboration • power-based • Compromise The best way to prevent culture is to have a good knowledge about other cultures. B. Training adapted to context:
In most interviews, we have seen that above all person like to work in an intercultural environment. As they told, there are full stereotype amongst different culture, and the language could often be a source of conflict. In order to prevent conflict due to language, each people who work in an intercultural enterprise have to be bilingual, because it is very important to understand other and to be understood by each other. Generally, English is the most spoken language, that’s why every person should speak at least English fluently. In this case, Promethee could pay to his employee some course of English in order them to speak fluently and to be comfortable when they speak at meetings.
As most people said, conflicts are linked to the character and personalities of person involved and not to cultural difference. Nevertheless, people have to be prepared to work in a multicultural environment and have to adapt to it. Employees have to be aware that they work differently than people who didn’t have the same culture and they need to adapt. One problem could be that people don’t know the way that other strange employees are working on a same objective. The solution could be to indicate to each employee how their strange colleagues are used to work and to react. For example, it’s well known that German people are frank and likes to be as efficient as much as possible. Manager could have meeting to explain to other people how and why they are like that.
On the other hand, French people have every time something to say, and there are several subjects that they can explain concerning each culture. In fact, human resources should organize seminar or meeting in which they explain the major aspects of each country culture, including customs, traditions, every day behaviours. In addition, they could do history about countries, by explaining geography, economy, politics, and other general information about the country and region. In this case, everyone will be able to know what are the qualities or the default of each person, and to know the real-life situation in business. They could also propose to employees to move in a host country to get used to it.
Of course, other conflicts could appear but it is more a part of psychology and politic. For example, conflict between Flemish and Walloons exist since a long time, as conflict between Jews and Muslims for example. This is just a question of culture and each person has to pass below it, because they work for the same enterprise and have the same objective and the same passion. Nevertheless, it is clear that if two people can’t stand them, managers or human resources have to do some things to mediate the conflict or to separate them in different services. C. Communication/Atmosphere: Even if there are not a lot of conflicts between employees, they communicate a lot by email or by telephone.
During the interviews, many employees wished to see more their collaborators because of the lake of formal communication. Many of them have lunch together, but they do not as often as before have parties. We could find solutions to build a culture enterprise. Employees of the same firm should do more activities together, in that way; they could have a different contact than in their job, and be more confidence and have good relation. Promethee could organize a seminar for his employee during a week-end, in which they will have fun together and discover themselves. Also, as it already exist, a lot of enterprise have their own football team and play against other firm, which make bigger the proud to belong to an enterprise.
Human resources could also multiply the organization of events with the personal, which will permits people to meet their colleagues more often. They could also create different events in function of each country which are represented in the enterprise, in order other employees to learn more about different culture. For example, it could have an Asian week, or a German day, during the one every employee will learn a little bit more about the culture of other country. Conclusion To conclude, culture has a large impact on business. National culture influences directly corporate culture through different dimensions. Despite openness of employees, conflicts remain. Whereas it’ an advantage to work in a multicultural environment for some people, others view it as a burden.
Hence, in this multicultural environment, there is an actual need to have a proper human resources strategy adapted in the field of cultural differences. To help creating this strategy you should keep in mind the Universalist approach (4 themes) and also a good understanding of the organization through the study of culture, organization, people and human resources system. Once you have a global comprehension you need a structured and coordinated approach through the 7 steps of the implementation of the strategy. You should not forget to adapt the international recruitment selection, international training development, the international compensation and also the communication. Conflicts are inevitable in a firm and the best way to prevent them is to understand the others.
Bibliography Gary Dessler, Human Resources Management, chap 17 MGMT414 Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cem Tanova http://gbr. pepperdine. edu/011/culture. html http://www. geert-hofstede. com/ ———————– 2009/2010 Case study Promethee Arnaud WAXWEILER Arnaud VILLEMIN Mikael PANTALEONI Olivier PLANEL Simon MOREL [pic][? ] ‘()*8>]uiUONANiUNUANOUO¶¦–Z? q_MDhVo>*[pic]OJQJ”h? Oh? )i5? >*[pic]CJOJQJaJ”h? Ohj_5? >*[pic]CJOJQJaJ”h? Oh5®5? >*[pic]CJOJQJaJhnW#h? )iOJQJ hN! ^OJQJhnW#h? )i>*[pic]CJOJQJaJhnW#h? )i>*[pic]CJ4OJQJaJ4hY[? ]>*[pic]CJ4OJQJaJ4jYin LIU Note Strategique Promethee : Personnel management in a multicultural entreprise