Essay on Managing Across Culture

Submitted By LiuNannan
Words: 3239
Pages: 13

Individual Reflection on Cultural Issues
(Observed and Experienced During Team Working)

Written by: YANNAN LIU
Student number: 2121803
Course: Managing Across Cultures & Comparative Management
Directed by: Professor Neil Rollings
Dr Alfredo D’Angelo
Class: International Management & Leadership

Student Number: 2121803

Name: Yannan Liu

Individual Reflection on Cultural Issues
(Observed and Experienced During Team Working)

Determining an explicit definition of culture is challenging, however, it is broadly accepted as a shared array of criteria and convictions, influencing individual feelings and decisions on actions. Culture is not inherited from birth, but obtained from social experiences and affected by surroundings. (Rollings, 2014) Accordingly, people from distinct communities may have diverse culture concepts reflected by daily behaviors and ways of thinking. As noted by Steers, Nardon and Sanchez-Runde (2014), the ancient Chinese Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu once used water as a metaphor for culture in his observation - “Water is the last thing a fish notices”. Videlicet, culture permeates our life so extensively that we usually neglect its affecting our behaviors and thoughts. We will not be conscious of our cultural preconceptions until we “get out of the water”. It incisively illustrates what I perceived during the multicultural team working. Although it is generally accepted that diversities exist among various cultures, differences can hardly be sensed unless we directly encounter another culture differentiated from our home one.

In this reflection, personal interactions with the across-cultural team of Leading and
Managing People in Organizations (LPO) course are narrated in chronological sequence, and relating cultural theories are used to analyze the practical instances.
Firstly, ideological variation and cultural divergence emerged at the preliminary stage are described. Secondly, based on Hofstede Model, penetrative perception of diverse cultures is presented to enhance mutual comprehension. Finally, efforts made to build up sound relationship are described, together with the delightful results of successfully forming an efficient working team.

Most people tend to be involved in culture shock when confront a foreign culture for the first time. (Mumford, 2000) In addition, culture not merely affects the modeling of
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Student Number: 2121803

Name: Yannan Liu

personality (Triandis & Suh, 2002), but also exerts impacts on group perceptions and activities, including cooperation, communication and cognition (Brewer & Yuki,
2013). In that case, it is probable that one will meet mental distresses when just entering into a multicultural team. So did I in the LPO team and the main problems I experienced are as the followings.

There were five people in our team - Viktor from Germany, Spyra from Greece,
Vanessa, Leo and me from China. At the outset of establishing the team, the confusion
"are we a team" had perplexed me due to three issues. Firstly, in the majority situation,
Viktor and Spyra invariably insisted on their viewpoints without trying to seek group consensuses which Chinese members constantly attempted to reach. Secondly, Viktor was once sick, so I sent my respects to him on the Facebook and thought that others would extend their greetings as well. Nevertheless, Spyra did not. Thus, I considered that the team was not emotionally related and was not a fraternal community corresponding to Chinese criteria. Finally, at one time, when I suggested to have a group discussion on Sunday, Viktor refused and emphasized that it is weekend. But in
China, people usually conduct team working on weekends as it is when most people will be free.

Apart from not acquiring intense consciousness of being a team, I also doubted whether "am I the leader" although I was nominated as the team leader. For people affected by traditional Chinese customs, it is normalcy that the leader starts discussion and leads the direction…