Cross-Cultural Management Functions and Approaches


Culture is one of the factors that affects productivity in a business. Cultural difference and social interactions can have negative implications in an organization if they are not managed properly. Cultural differences are social factors that affect how the community behaves. Such beliefs are very crucial in an organization. Businesses are indebted naturally to respond to cultural differences especially in this day and age where migration from one region to another has become very easy. Cultural beliefs affect how individuals respond to issues. In a culture where respect for elders is emphasized, the same tradition should be inculcated in any organization operating from that region.

Management is a broad business function that aims at dealing or controlling people or resources in an organization to harness benefits. In management, there are different issues that can require the attention of the organizational leadership. Such issues in most cases may have negative implications on the organization’s ability to achieve desired goals and objectives. To avoid these issues , an organization must adopt a management system to control and coordinate its resources and employees. One of the emerging issues in the current globalized world is the issues of cross-cultural management. This paper seeks to discuss the importance and the main functions of cross-cultural management in international business.

What is management?

In order to understand the scope of cross-cultural management, it is imperative to have a brief insight on what management in general entails. In very simple terms, managements defined as organization or coordination of the activities in the business with the aim of achieving desired goals and objectives (Chen et al. 2010). In the business, there are a number of factor of production and management is included as one of them. Other factors of production include machines, land, and money among other capital goods (Wild, Wild, & Han 2014,). The main function of management is to create and compose corporate policies. Such policies are then used to control, plan, organize and direct the organization’s resources (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013). With such an understanding, it is easy to grasp the nature of cross-cultural management and its importance in international business.

Defining cross-culture

In simple terms, cross-culture is a business environment that incorporates members from variant countries and regions of the world (Child, & Kieser 2013). These people interact and merge their variant cultures, values, business viewpoints and business practices among other social changes (Fang 2010). Such a business setting requires very competent and effective training in order to manage and create an employee support strategy. Cross-culture is also defined as the relations of people from diverse backgrounds in the business world (Chiu et al. 2010).

Cross-culture is a simple business environment that defines how different people from different environments respond or react to people from another environment. People from different cultural backgrounds can work together but if there are no cross-cultural understandings challenges in the running of the business may develop (Amstad et al. 2011). Cross-culture, therefore, involves understanding other people’s cultural values and developing mutual respect for each other.

International business

International business has many definitions, and in order to explain the cross-cultural aspects in international business, one has to have a proper understanding of its scope. International business entails the exchange of goods and services among people or business from different countries (Kassim & Abdullah 2010). It is a business carried out in terms of exports and imports. International business/trade must be between individuals and businesses in different countries (Griffin & Moorhead 2011).

International trade is characterized by large volumes of trade commodities and use of universal currency such as the dollar. Regional trade blocks are the recent emerging trends in the international trade frontier (Kaynak & Herbig, 2014). International business brings together people from different regions and countries. As people come together for trade, other underlying activities take place. They include socializing and interacting. Out of these underlying activities, the cultural characteristic are shared. It was through trade that the world was transformed into a civilized global village (Kaynak & Herbig, 2014). Trade is the only common activity that brings the world together.

Cross-cultural management

In the above definition of management, it has been stated clearly that management is a business function aimed at controlling and coordinating organizational resources (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013). Cross-cultural management, therefore, is the managerial function of controlling and coordination employees from different cultural backgrounds. Cross-Cultural management occurs when a manager controls and coordinates people from different cultures hence ensuring a harmonious interaction between the individuals in the business (Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell, & Ristikari 2011).

Importance of cross-cultural management in international business

Cross-cultural management is very important in the current globalized world. The world has turned into a global. Goods and services traverse the world’s regions in a matter of hours and some aspects in a matter of seconds (Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell, & Ristikari 2011). The ease of moving factors of production from one region to the other has also helped in the spreading of cultural introgression (Verhoest et al. 2010). Currently, movements of people in search of education, jobs and business opportunities have increased the level of cultural interaction. Such movements have ultimately necessitated the creation of cross-cultural management systems to manage its negative implications.

Managing unfamiliar cultures

Cross-cultural management is very vital in managing unfamiliar cultures. When a business expands into other markets, the best course of action is to send the best local manager to go and manage the business from there (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013). However, the manager may not be familiar with the cultural practices in these new territories. Cultural territories may cause a challenge the management of the business.

For this reason, cross-cultural management skills are required. Such managers should be trained on how to deal with new cultural practices which are unfamiliar to them (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013). Cross-cultural management skills can help mitigate the problem of cultural shock and ensure a smooth running of the business. Managers in cross-cultured organization must be able to motivated people from different cultures and with distinctive values and attitudes. These values and attitudes have a great impact on their productivity and ultimately the success of the company (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013).

Managing Multiple Cultures

Cross-culture is not only possible when a manager moves from his or her local country to a foreign land. For a manager to engage in cross-cultural management, it only requires him or her to work with an individual whose culture is different from his or hers (Ting-Toomey, & Chung 2012). Cross-Cultural management can happen if a company or an organization hires foreigners or immigrants. Productivity in an organization requires a manager to be familiar with staff culture and ways of dealing with different cultural backgrounds in order to function effectively. Failure to acquire staff culture skills can lead to the manager offending his or her employee’s unknowingly (Moran, Abramson, & Moran 2014).

Cultural Competence and Etiquette

Cultural competence is a structure set to address the issue of culture in service delivery. Businesses are gradually adopting this strategy as a means to market themselves and attract customers. Different cultures view diverse situations differently. An expression in one culture may have a very different meaning in another culture. There are cultures that do not value expressing their gratitude after being served (Naor, Linderman, & Schroeder 2010). On the other hand, other cultures find it rude if one is served and he or she does not pass their gratitude for the services rendered. Cross-cultural management is meant to mitigate such problems and difference. In the absence of cross-cultural management skills, it is very easy for one to sound rude and utter offensive words without their knowledge (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013).

Promote motivation

Cross-cultural management is essential in promoting motivation in employees. Addressing the cultural differences in an organization allows mutual respects among the employees. When an employee is confident that her rights and cultural differences are respected, they gather courage and confidence to works in the organization (Schein 2010). A company that has cross-cultural management foundations will be more productive compared to those that do not have such policies. In the current globalized world, people are moving from one region of the world to the other in search of employment. Such people need to be received and treated in a manner that shows their cultural background is respected (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013).

Alter individual’s attitude

Individuals are motivated through the organization’s commitment to adders their issues. If the management creates strategies to address the cultural issues, the workers are likely to feel good about the company (Ting-Toomey, & Chung 2012). The secret of enhancing organizational productivity is to make the employees feel good about their work. Happy employees will produce better results. Cross-cultural management helps in altering individual attitudes. The attitudes of employees change when they are affected in any way in the organization (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013). If the effect of their experience causes negative implications, then their motivation and attitude towards work will have the same change. If the effects of their experiences are positive, their attitude changes positively.

Decision making

Decision-making process is a function of cross-cultural management. The management decides on the cultural practices that are retained in the organizations functioning and those that are o be discarded. In addition to such decisions, through cross-cultural extermination, the manager can understand the cultural setting (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013). Understanding the cultural setting will allow him or her to make sound decisions in terms of remuneration. In deciding on the remuneration procedure, the management must observe and learn the cultural setting people’s living standards among other lifestyles checks. Through cultural management, policies to govern the administration of cultural disparities can be created, and any discrepancies about the same can be addressed (Chhokar, Brodbeck, & House 2013).

Functions of cross-cultural management

Cross-cultural management has a number of functions in an organization. Among them includes defining the role of the manager and defining the approach to change. In addition, it also defines the approach to time and priorities, decision making, Boss and team player, and communication styles.

The role of the manager

Cross-cultural management maps out the responsibilities of the manager in a cross-cultured organization. Working in a different culture, a manager must realize and appreciate the role of each and every employee in the organization (Shin, Kim, Lee, & Bian 2012). It is important trio understand the culture of the locals and all employees in the company. The role of the manager is to enhance productivity. In order to achieve this objective, mutual respect policies and corporate policies that support a harmonious co-existence of individual with different cultural backgrounds should be created.

Defining the approach to change

Different cultures respond different to change. Cultural management identifies such responses depending on the culture in focus. There are cultures that are normally resistant to change. People from such cultural divides should be handled in a particular manner (Stahl, Björkman, & Morris 2012). The manager should be careful avoid changing such people from one task to another or from one department to another. Shifting such individuals from one task to the other may affect their productivity since their cultural background has not taught them on how to respond positively to changes (Stahl, Maznevski, Voigt, & Jonsen 2010). Cultural management looks into ways that are palatable to effect changes in the business without offending the employees based on their cultural beliefs.

Approach to time and priorities

Cross-cultural management identifies the cultural and social response to time and schedules of the different employees from different cultural backgrounds. Response to time varies from one culture to the other. There are some cultures that value time compared to others. For instance, Americans and Europeans are the best timekeepers in the world. Such cultures have trained its members to keep time and work under a schedule (Taras, Kirkman & Steel 2010). Members from the Asian countries and Africa, on the other hand, do not value time much as the westerners do. Identifying such disparities in an organization is the role and function of cross-cultural management.


Communication barrier is the main challenge in cross-cultural management. For a successful interaction between employees from different cultural backgrounds, communication must be fluent. Communication averts the problem of misunderstanding when employees are passing information from one person to the other. Misunderstanding of information can lead to the assumption that there is a lack of information. Lack of information can lead to poor performance. Also, in highly cross-cultured organization, passing of information may be done through signs. The organization must come up with structures that make it easy for non-natives to fit in in order to alleviate the impacts of language barriers.

Communication can be harnessed to improve the level of cultural management. Through transfer of data in the right and under stable language, cultural issues can be averted. It includes creating an information line to address the issues of new cultural behaviors. Through the communication department, information can be relayed to inform the employees of nay changes in the managerial systems.


This research has critically examined the scope of cross-culture management. In the paper, it has been noted that cross-culture management is a vital process in any organization. The reason for this notion is greatly attributed to the nature and changing trends of international trade. The current changes in international trade have necessitated the inclusion of cross-cultural management. In an effort to explain the scope of cultural management, this paper has extensively defined management and its functions in an organization. Th scope of cultural management is to help the reader to understand the aspect of management in any sphere other than cultural management. The definition gives a general overview and definition of management and this scope in general.

The paper goes on to define cross culture in order to help the reader to identify subject or activity being managed. In addition, the paper has also defined international business as well as cross-cultural management. The aim of defining these terms individually this is to help the reader to understand the concept of management in business before focusing on the specific cultural management. The paper has discussed the importance of cultural management. As recorded in the research work, the Importance of cross-cultural management in international business is influenced by a number of underlying factors.

In the paper, the main functions of a cross-cultural manager have been discussed. The functions include defining and mapping out the role of the manager, creating a workaround for change, and facilitating the approach to time. Communication has also been mention as the process through which cultural disparities can be addressed. This paper has shown that cultural management is essential in organizations. It argues that cultural management is a factor of production. This is a critical analysis f the cross-culture management and its scope. The paper has also examined the implications arising from lack of the required skills to deal with cross-cultural management.


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