Leadership is a very essential element at all levels more especially in organizations. Leadership entails directing other elements, through influence, to get things done. There are various leadership styles, each with its benefits and drawbacks.
Leadership style is affected by various factors, for instance, the culture of the people involved. This piece of paper looks at how cultural differences may influence leadership in an international perspective. The United States of America will be used as the headquarters of an international internet retail organization where other countries are involved.
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The countries of discussion are Kenya and China. There exist cultural differences across nations for instance those in the USA, Asia, and Africa. The differences can be seen in languages, behaviors, symbols and signs as well as preferences. For this reason, there is need for the organization to strike a balance between the local customs and cultural attributes and those of the primary culture of the organization’s headquarters, in this case, USA. According to Anca and Vazquez (2007), cultural diversity in the work place is associated with many problems that necessitate some extra effort by the management or leaders to ensure that it does not affect the progress of an organization negatively. Most of the problems occur naturally due to the cultural differences while others could be facilitated by negligence by various authorities, for instance, where people are not considered equal just because of their cultural differences. This could be through policies that govern aspects like legislation and immigration. Bearing in mind that the three countries in the business come from different parts of the world, there are some cultural differences that could hinder success if the management does not take strategic measures.
There could be some language barriers, for example, the use of the Chinese and English languages. This affects communication in the organization an aspect that is very critical. Ineffective communication may cause organizational problems, for instance, where the key goals and objectives of an organization are not well understood.
This in turn affects proper interaction which affects teamwork and morale among the employees. To reduce this problem, the leaders in this organization should come up with online training programs on various languages to bridge the language barrier among the employees. To the clients, the internet services should be translated into different languages for easy understanding. Nationality could also be a problem when it comes to the workforce in the organization, more especially the headquarters. There could be discrimination based on nationality where people in the workforce tend to affiliate with those with whom they share some cultural commonality. The leaders should deal with this by urging the employees to appreciate one another and avoid any form of discrimination (Leitner, 2008).
Although there could be other solutions that could be applied to solve cultural differences among the countries, a good strategy would be that of adopting a strategic organizational culture. This is a critical aspect that helps in dealing with cultural differences in an organization. It entails how an organization undertakes its practices and how cultural diversity is treated.
An appropriate organization culture is able to integrate the cultural differences possessed by different employees and clients, taking in the positive attributes and dealing with the negative attributes effectively. This way, it is able to moderate the cultural differences among the parties involved allowing an organization to prosper in its endeavors.
Anca, D.C. and Vazquez, A.
(2007). Managing Diversity in the Global Organization. New York: Palgrave: Macmillan Leitner, K. (2008).
Cultural diversity: Making staff differences work. NZ Business, 22(4), 16-17