Essay, 13 pages (3000 words)

Contemporary issues in management essay

In this essay, globalization is received as encompassing several processes which involve economic and social integration and the creation of new relationships and new global citizenry. It is argued that culture is not a victim of globalization but an effective force that challenges globalization with the result that corporations intending to Join the global market are placed under more rigorous scrutiny. This challenge to globalization presents the opportunity for local culture to strengthen while creating cultural diversity in the marketplace and in the workplace.Globalization Globalization is a word that has found its way into popular discourse in a manner in which no specific meaning is attached to it. It is frequently identified in common contemporary political and academic forums as being related to: a free world market economy; global integration in which a single world community is emerging; the growth and spread of western forms of cultural, economic and political institutions; and the increase in the number of new information technologies such as the internet (Cameron and Stein 2000; Sugary and Wale 2002).However, theorists in contemporary social theory view the concept of globalization in a more precise manner.

Although there are many variants of the definition of globalization, the sorority of social theorists share the view that it refers to the temporal and spatial changes that are taking place in the social existence of humanity. For instance, with the advent of the latest communications technology, geographical distance is now measured in terms of the time it takes to connect two locations (Larsson 2001).Globalization is therefore not a simple term involving a single concept that can be applied in a blanket form to cover all people in all situations.

The reality is that all the theorists that have presented definitions of globalization have done so from the respective of their individual background which includes their political ideology, academic discipline, geographical location, cultural background and several other factors (Sugary and Wale 2002). Manikin and Elliott (2000), for instance, defined globalization from the point of view of social economists, as the emergence of a global market that is free from socio-political control.Larsson (2001) however, as a journalist, saw it in terms of geographical distances when he defined it as a process in which the world is shrinking, with distances growing shorter and shorter, resulting n better interaction amongst the peoples of the world. This essay will adopt the definition given by Friedman in which he proposed that globalization is the spread of free-market capitalism to every corner of the globe resulting in “the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before” (Freidman 1999, p.

). In his submission, Friedman (1999) accepted that globalization enables individuals, corporations and large non-governmental organizations to communicate farther and faster in a much cheaper way, enabling them to operate more effectively and efficiently. However, he added that globalization can result in negative consequences for those who are unable to adapt to change.Giddiness (2002) provided a similar definition and concurred with Friedman (1999) when he stated that globalization is a multitude of processes involving a proliferation of institutions into the world producing not only solidarity and new forms of partnership with different kinds of subsidiary organizations but in some cases destroying existing pacts and traditions. Oman (1996) pointed out that globalization finds expression in the movement of goods and services across national, regional and lattice borders through increased trade and investments and on some occasions through migration.

However it must be borne in mind that globalization transcends economic activities and according to Giddiness (2002), it reaches across political, cultural and technological dimensions. Historical Perspective Finally and Resource (2003) stated that the process of international integration can be traced back as far as the late 15th century, but the major surge in momentum did not occur until after the Napoleonic Wars. This is demonstrated by the fact that growth in world trade was recorded as 1% per annum during the period of between 500 and 1800, whilst in the ensuing period of between 181 5 and 1914, it grew by 3. % per annum (Finally and Resource 2003). Globalization as we know it today was spurred by the reduction of tariffs on grains in Britain and eventual abolition of these tariffs in 1846. This singular act galvanism the movement towards free trade because several European countries followed this example by entering into bilateral agreements which resulted in the reduction and in some cases, the elimination of, tariffs that had formerly hindered free trade across Europe.

An example of this was he Cobbled Chevalier Treaty of 1860 between Britain and France. However this trend was short lived, as Germany and France introduced new tariffs in 1879 (Finally and Resource 2003). With the onset of World War I in 1914 followed by the Great Depression, trade virtually collapsed due to rising tariffs in most countries and it was not until after World War II that the General Agreement in Tariffs and Trade (GATE) was successfully negotiated by the international community (Crafts and Venerable 2003).

GATE succeeded in negotiating several tariff agreements until 1994 when it was finally replaced by the World Trade Organization. The reductions in tariffs paid dividends as the level of globalization soon returned to its pre-war standard and even surpassed it (Chicks and Wheaton 2001; Crafts and Venerable 2003). Global trade in the 20th century grew at a phenomenal rate and resulted in a much higher level of treatable production and services. Portfolio investments gradually gave way to direct investments that were both trade and production related (Chicks and Wheaton 2001).Over the last century, commercial integration has been achieved at a higher rate because of multinational trade contracts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NONFAT) and the European Union. In addition, advances in technology have facilitated the lowering of costs, ease of communication and reduction in traveling time, thereby acting as a catalyst for the rapid expansion of globalization (Crafts and Venerable 2003). Culture Culture can be defined as the beliefs and behaviors of a social or ethnic group of people.According to Hobble (1972), culture is an integrated system of learned behavior patterns which resulted from the beliefs of society and must not be confused with traits of biological inheritance.

Thus culture is derived historically fro rotational concepts that are formulated to support societal values. Flushes (2008) believed that culture systems arise from actions that consist of patterns of behavior that have been formed over time and transmitted with aid of symbols to constitute the distinctive achievements of social or ethnic groups. These may also be expressed in artifacts (Lists and Titan 2010).Culture is one of the factors that impact the workplace in organizations and the management of cultural diversity can determine the success of a business entity. In particular, cultural factors can cause invisible barriers within organizations that seek o expand their reach across different groups of people from diverse cultures (Saving and Schwartz 2007). Globalization has meant an increase in the numbers of multicultural workplaces and implies that an understanding of how national culture affects the performance of multinational corporations is essential.

Several research studies have been conducted into the dimensions that make up societal culture (Swartz 1999; Hefted 2001). The Hefted theory looked at culture from five dimensions, namely long/short term orientation, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance. Long versus short term orientation was defined as the extent to which a society takes on a future orientated perspective as compared to a point of view that is either short term or historical in nature.According to Hefted (2001), when a society exhibits a long term orientation, then certain values such as thrift, perseverance, sense of shame and the ordering of relationships using status are entrenched in the beliefs and behaviors of the people and the society places emphasis on investments for the future. However when a short term orientation is adopted, members of the society re characterized by their respect for tradition and personal stability.

Individualism and collectivism refers to the boundaries between the society and the individual.Swartz (1999) defined embedded cultures as those in which the individuals are seen to be part and parcel of the society. In order words, people are expected to build their lives by establishing social relationships and by being active in the shared vision of the society. Such cultures focus on keeping the status quo and protecting group solidarity and the traditional way of life. Wisdom, security and aspect for tradition are the cornerstones of embedded cultures (Swartz 1999).Autonomy cultures occupy the other end of the spectrum and Swartz (1999) described them as societies that view individuals as autonomous and encourage people to develop and nurture uniqueness in their preferences, motives, abilities and emotions (Chem. 2004).

The masculinity/femininity dimension was defined by Hefted (2001) as pertaining to the differentiation of roles in the society between males and females. In a masculine society, performance is emphasized while in the feminine society, the emphasis is on love and caring for others (De Mooing and Hefted, 2002).The dominant values in a masculine society are materialism, competitiveness and assertiveness. In a masculine type of culture, dramatic differences persist between the roles of men and women as opposed to in a feminine society. Hefted (2001) defined the power distance dimension as the extent to which power is distributed between individuals in the society and the degree to which the lesser authority accepts the authority of more powerful people in the society.In a large power distance culture, there is a social hierarchy in place as compared to one of low rower distance in which consultation is emphasized. The fifth dimension mentioned in Hefted (2001) is the uncertainty avoidance which was defined as how much people in a society are concerned about uncertainty and to what extent people would try to avoid ambiguities and uncertainties.

Cultures that exhibit strong uncertainty avoidance always emphasis rules and regulations and are always in search of truth. They also value and place a lot of confidence in expertise.Cultures that are very strong in uncertainty avoidance do not readily accept new ideas and are less receptive to changes and innovation (Waveringly and Dutton 2002; Wintry and Townsend 2003).

Cultural Diversity Cultural diversity is a term that has emerged to describe the diverse nature of cultures that are present in modern day societies. Paris (2005) defined cultural diversity as the composition of several social structures within an institution and this may be comprised of socioeconomic, ethnic, gender or racial varieties.In a statement from the Millennium Forum of the United Nations on cultural diversity and globalization, cultural diversity was perceived not only as “diversity of customs, folklore, language or cultural expressions, but diversity of economic cultures, political ultras, social cultures, scientific cultures, educational cultures, territorial cultures, juridical cultures, ecological cultures, etc. “(Paris 2005, p. 10). According to Cox, Lobe and McLeod (1991), the value of cultural diversity can be found in the ability to attract new ways of thinking and to foster creativity.

According to Mueller (1998) there are other arguments for cultural diversity and these include: 1 . Diversity empowers organizations to better fit into a global society thereby creating leverage in competition. 2. Minority and disadvantaged groups become better respect tort tradition are the Autonomy returns occupy scribed them as societies people TA develop and nor emotions (Chem. 2004), The masculinity/femininity to the trilaterally;on to roll masculine society. Performer emphasis is on love and assertiveness.In a masculine the roles of men and *mom, Hefted (2001) defined the vs. distributed between Mind authority accepts the taut power distance culture, tom power distance In which c’ The fifth dimension mentis( defined des how illus.

what extent people ;aloud Cheshire strong uncertainty allays IM search of truth. – Cultures that are very stroll less Wintry and Townsend 20th Cultural diversity a term cultures Tar are present IL perversity as the composition be Luridness of cools tram the Four globalization, cultural dive faker, language or cult cultures, social cultures, SC luridГlocal cultures, ecologic According to Cox, Lobe an. Mound ;n the ability to Atari To Fuller (1998) there are l. Delvers. TTY removers orb leverage In competition, 2, integrated. 3.

Diversity facilitates better and more rapid r Diversity satisfies the moral and social responsibilities of However there are some researchers that believe that dive performance because of the problem of communication and that it can also lead to increased conflicts within organ Jean et al. 1999).Other arguments against diversity include complexities and ambiguities in the development of a co is viewed by many as having a destructive effect on culture multiculturalism as it is sometimes referred to (Paris 20 Levity (1983) is credited as having introduced the term glow paper, Levity (1983) warned of a powerful force directing t convergence in culture. He identified the force as techno technology had made communication, transport and travel the result that it transmitted information and experiences almost all goods and services that had previously been in people.This demand created a new order in commercial emergence of global markets. Levity (1983) warned that gal. end of the multinational commercial world.

In particular, that because a global producer is able to offer his goods cost, he is then able to attract many more customers, inch had previously patronized local companies. Thus the local and the local culture will be slowly eroded. Also the global world as one stage rather than many customized markets. Of global convergence.Discussion and Conclusion Globalization and Cultural Identity Tomlinson (1999) argued that there is a reciprocal relation s as much a part of modern culture as culture is a part of was quick to point out that the politics and economics NV not necessarily the only determinants of culture, but that arising from these changes to the fabric of culture intrinsic According to Tomlinson (1999), complex connectivity is the globalization and this results in knowledge, capital and go the globe.McGraw (1992) also stated that the emerging vi interconnectedness across international lines is diverse a institutional connections to individual relationships there impact on culture. Tomlinson (2003) expounded on this idea and stated that graded as a product of globalization rather than the not destroys cultural identity.

However many researchers such in the era prior to globalization, there was a close connection between geographical location and cultural experiences. Identity in those days was a traditional possession which belonged to local communities.However in the early ass globalization began t reshape the local identities through a market price mechanism described above. HTH according to Levity (1983) virtually obliterated local identities creating a homogeneous cultural identity across the globe.

An example is the local preferences for soft drinks hat has seen a virtual monopoly by Coca Cola and Pepsi in almost all corners of the globe. Thus globalization resulted in the destruction of cultural identity and replace it with the culture of stronger world economies such as the United States of America.Therefore globalization has threatened the culture of weaker economies such as those in developing countries. Tomlinson (2003) reply to this was that contrary to the assertions of people such as Levity (1983), globalization, if viewed from a different interpretation of cultural identity and a more detailed look at the process of globalization, was in fact a catalyst for retreating and proliferating cultural identity. In fact Chattels (1997) had proposed a similar hypothesis when he stated that the powerful expression of cultural identity was the principal opposing force to globalization.For Chattels (1997), local identity is powerful factor that offers resistance to the technological driving force of globalization. Social identity groups based on gender, religion and ethnicity are good examples of forces that are able to oppose globalization.

These identity groups become stronger and more prolific as they engage in the process of resistance. Thus he impact of globalization becomes an interplay of forces, rather than the visitation of cultural identity.Tomlinson (2003, p. 3) added a dimension of modernity to the debate by stressing that “globalization is really the globalization of modernity, and modernity is the harbinger of identity’.

From his point of view, the concept of identity should not regarded as being universal and with fixed implications but should be regarded as a modern WA of expressing oneself in a cultural context. Thus identity must be assumed to have different ways of articulation and varying consequences across the globe.Giddiness 1990) defined modernity as the detachment of social and cultural experiences from the concept of local characteristics to place them in the dimensions of time and space. In this argument, Tomlinson used the definition of modernity proposed by Giddiness (1990) to show that modernity entrenches and regulates cultural practices. Impact of Globalization and Societal Cultural Values on Organizations Globalization has resulted in the emergence of multicultural work teams and markets.The question here is how do the cultural values of the locality in which an organization is sited impact upon those of the organization. According to Swartz (1999), the cultural values of an organization, being the shared broad goals that individuals are expect to pursue within an organization, are critical in the determination of the existence and survivability of the organization. Hefted (2005) stated that societies develop cultural values as a way of responding to issues encountered within the environment.

Organizations however have two levels of challenges to respond to.In the first instance they must respond to challenges posed externally within the environment and in the second instance, organizations must adapt to changes that unconcern internal integration (Wright et al. 1998). The effect of globalization is therefore to impact upon the external environment as described above and in addition, to broaden the base and increase the complexity of operations performed by the organizations. By operating in a global village, control of the external environment is transferred from the government to the forces of capitalism because organizations have crossed national boundaries.By this move cultural diversity is introduced as a process that involves the movement of people across the globe in an integrated manner (Held and McGraw 2000).

According to Manning and Neal (2005), cultural diversity affects the performances of teams in three ways. Firstly people, quite naturally, find it easier to work with people who share the same cultural background and have similar values, beliefs and attitudes. This is known as the similarity theory.Secondly, social identity and social categorization theory states that individuals form specific groups and treat members of their social group with favoritism and in addition, look adversely upon theory (Teasel 1982), These two views represent the negative effects of cultural diversity in teams. The third perspective states that cultural diversity brings different points of view into the teams thereby increasing the potential for creativity and innovation.

Impact of Globalization on Consumerism and Consumption It was mentioned earlier in this paper that technology is the engine for globalization.Thus the creation of a global market together with the speed available in the communication technology field have made it possible to spread new cultural values in the context of consumerism and consumption across the globe in an unprecedented manner (Anderson 2001). With this new development, corporations eve been enabled to create brands which engender brand loyalties across the globe.

Communications technology has made a big impact on the preferences of consumers even as far as the village levels thereby supporting the theories of Levity (1983).The revolution in brand marketing across the globe has helped to create a global consumer culture and corporations seeking to tap into the global market are now presented with the challenge of creating and sustaining brands for leverage in competition (Bell 1996). Freedman (2007) sees this challenge as a centralized approach to global marketing which inevitably leads to a global consumer culture. Tomlinson (2003) introduced the idea of modernity to support the interplay of forces of globalization with those of cultural identity. This is particularly relevant in the case of this apparent shift in global consumerism and consumption.

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