Cross-cultural Opportunities and Conflicts in Canada
The issue of managing diverse cultures in an organization can be disastrous for any organization or institution if it is not taken seriously and correctly. As an organization employs diverse people, it also accommodates diverse cultures. Dealing with these diverse issues is the key aspect of running a successful organization or institution (Anonymous, 1997). Organizations in Canada are likely to encounter diverse cultures as the country accommodates similar diverse people. Cross-cultural conflicts in organizations not only affect people who are directly associated with the organization, whether in Canada or globally, but they also affect other parties that are indirectly associated with the organization.
The following discussion entails that managing organizational conflict will be successful if the leader and the employees develop strategies and steps of achieving the same as opposed to having the government intercede or impose policies that are not fashioned for individual organizations. Discussion To define culture, various issues from the origin of the word in the Latin language to its the perception in the western languages and intellectual refinement of a civilization will be considered. However, from whatever perception one intends to look at it, there are still diverse notions and explanations as to the contents of its meaning. Nevertheless, it can be perceived from its simplicity. Culture entails the practices of a subject that reveal the identity of the subject in question (Neuhauser, Bender & Stromberg, 2000).
Cultural conflicts usually emerge for various reasons. The main identifiable issue is the lack of recognizing of these cultures, which leads to the failure to appreciate them accordingly. As a result, the people affected by such occurrences end up showing it in their output. In other situations, there are biases in resolving or dealing with these cultural issues. Organizational cultural conflicts affect various stakeholders.
One of the main groups of stakeholders affected is the employees. The reason is that they are the most influenced by the policies and the practices of an organization. Customers are another group of stakeholders affected by the culture in an organization. If the customers are not comfortable with the cultural practices of an organization, they may react by withdrawing from any activities related to the organization. This usually predetermines the company’s revenues. The stakeholders’ anger or gratitude towards the cultural practices of an organization may entice them to support or disagree with the organization’s activities.
One more group of stakeholders that is affected by the culture in an organization is the board of directors. The community is also affected as negative cultural practices affect in more ways than one in many occasions. For example, if a company can no longer remain operational as a result of cultural conflicts, it abandons the projects it was handling for the community or any other activities it was taking for corporate social responsibility (Neuhauser, Bender & Stromberg, 2000). Building internal cultures is challenging especially for the large companies. However, there are various approaches that can be used to reduce emerging conflicts.
Creating an orginal culture in the organization is one approach. The organization can first appreciate the existence of the various cultures in the organization. This can be done by including the appreciation in company reports, company websites or the organization’s portfolio (Rayes, 1999). It should then go ahead and introduce an inbuilt culture that can be a blend of the cultures in the organization or a distinct culture that does not involve any of the other cultures. Google has taken this approach.
Instead of incorporating the diverse cultures of the people in the organization, it has come up with its own culture. In fact, its culture is so unique that it cannot be compared to the ones of other organizations. The culture engages giving the employee as much freedom and comfort as possible without ignoring the significance of the managers and other parties to an organization (Batelle, 2005). Acknowledging the contribution of the society is evident through the regularly held contests. Through these means, the employee and the other stakeholders identify with the Google culture instead of identifying with their individual cultures especially when they are at their workplaces.
The other approach engages picking other cultures that are not necessarily that of the parties in question and make it part of the company’s culture. For example, Ikea Canada has partly embraced the culture of the Swedish people. There is Swiss bread and jam sold outside the company’s gate in Canada. In this way, the parties to the organizational get to identify with the culture other than their original one (Batelle, 2005). It also prevents from biases in culture selection and formation arising.
IKEA Sweden may also embrace the Canadian culture while other branches globally pick the same routine. Fashioning a culture in the early stages of a company is the best way to create a strong and stable culture for an organization. It is also important for the parties fashioning the culture to act with the future in mind so that the culture formed surpasses the various changes likely to take place over the years (Hasselbein, 1997). However, cultures can be formed in large organizations. Implementing policies that go across the organization and offering trainings and support needed are some ways of making this possible.
Encouraging the employees and the other stakeholders to carry out this culture is another way of making this practice be firm.The government should hardly come into play when fashioning the culture in an organization (Kotter & Heskett, 1992). One main reason is that governments usually take into consideration many organizations when forming their policies or strategies. The government of Canada is not any different. In some cases, generalized policies may not necessarily suit the needs and the interests of individual companies or organizations.
The organizations should put effort into finding the best approach of handling their diversity. However, it is necessary to make sure that there are no oppressed parties in the organization (Benimadhu, 1995). For example, the issue of secularism and religious perception between the English-speaking Canadians and the people of Quebec tends to bring division. Instead of pointing fingers at who is right or wrong, the best approach is to find the common interests (Potter, 2012). A firm’s culture is as important as other asppects of it.
Culture brings a sense of identity to employees and all the parties associated with the organization. If the culture in place does not bring this sense of identity, then the culture should be changed. The lack of identity brings conflict which is catastrophic to any organization, whether small, medium or large. Culture change takes place in a variety of ways. The leaders in an organization first take notice that there is a need for this change through the observations made. This may be intrigued by the complaints delivered by diverse parties or the company’s performance.
After taking a note of this need, they should mobilize the necessary channels in order to come up with this change. This shows that the change starts with the leaders, and it is propelled by the leaders (Kotter & Heskett, 1992). They are the parties to encourage the employees and the other parties to carry on with the cultural practices put in place. It is necessary to note that the employees, the community, suppliers, shareholders and other parties should have their input in the formation of the new culture. Overall, the leaders should be the main initiators of change. The community is likely to understand the cultural changes adopted by an organization when the information comes from the chief executive officer of the organization as opposed to when the information is delivered by the sales representative in the region.
There are times when change is intrigued by evolution especially when the organization undergoes other changes such as change of ownership or when the organization feels the need to re-brand (Hesselbein et al., 1997). Government monitoring and impact only come in specific, extreme or unique scenarios. For example, if the organization engages in practices that are of harm or a disadvantage to the other parties pertaining to the organization, then the government is forced to intercede. Canada does not support any form of discrimination. Therefore, if an organization adopts practices that will pave the way for discrimination practices, the government of Canada may intercede at this point.
There are practices that may be of harm to the shareholders or the communities surrounding the organization, thus call for the government’s intercession. Managers and the leadership should always consider the present, the past and the future. Past experiences and practices that may have brought success or conflict should be considered in order to correct the present and make a better future. The present situation should also be considered in order to make the necessary changes. For example, globalization calls for the consideration of a more accommodating organizational culture in order to attract the global community as opposed to the Canadian community only.
Conclusion Cultural practices in an organization should only be fashioned in order to suit the organization in question without including the government. Canada is full of diverse individuals and groups of people who have diverse cultures. However, organizations should make sure that they form cultures that accommodate the rest of the global market. Whatever the stature of the organization, culture gives the organization a sense of identity. Canadian companies should ensure that the cultures adopted should not bring conflict whether locally or internationally.