Can We Call Multinational To All International Companies?

When we call a company multinational and we talk about diversity, and diversity referred to cultural diversity, we think in a company where headquarters is a multicultural workplace.

Is that real?

Most of the times, management teams are served by executives with a connection to the home country of the company and cultural diversity ignored. It is true that having teams working in the HQ coming from the home country, speaking the same language, with the same culture, brings better communication and finally more effective and fast decisions.

I was serving more than twenty years to multinational companies, working with nearly thirty different countries in America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It is not easy to manage cross cultural teams when leading projects, teams with a different culture of the headquarter when they are far away in a subsidiary and really at those moments you can miss a mono cultural team where you don’t find divergences, you can speak the same language and it is easier to understand each other.

Does really have advantages to work with cross cultural teams?

We must understand clearly that every culture has differences in the ways customers respond, so we cannot apply our strategies as we copy and paste one text from one document to another one. We need to select our sales and marketing strategies oriented to the market where we want to grow or spread across one country.

It is essential for the success of any business to understand the changing demographics taking place in major cities across the globe, and for their marketing strategies to include multicultural audiences.

However, language and culture matters when people perceive messages with a commercial or informative content. Native language messages tend to be more emotionally perceived than messages in a foreign language. Meaning, if you try to communicate or sell something to someone whose native tongue is different from yours, it will be better received when you use the same language as their native tongue.

So, if we understand all these changes, we must accept also that our teams must be ready for facing all these challenges. They must possess some skills to manage them. A 2000 survey by Patricia Digh and Dr. Robert Rosen asked CEOs of the world’s 1500 largest companies what the one key skill they felt leaders needed to be successful in the global economy. In response, more than 70% of those surveyed said that the most needed to be successful is the ability to work effectively across cultures.

Ecco International has a training program focused on business, where they help managers and employees to improve intercultural interactions. The program is called “Open Mind, Open WorldTM “, which was designed to help people improve their global communication skills as they interact with others from different cultural backgrounds.

This training product works with a framework where observing behaviors, preparing responses, engaging in communication, and noticing results in situations involving cultural interactions in the workplace will help managers and employees to be more effective and it will increase intercultural competency.

A stereotype is a standardized mental picture that is commonly held by members of a group. Stereotypes represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude or judgment about other groups. Generalizations are an acceptable shorthand method for understanding others. Generalizations can be a helpful starting point in getting to know your coworkers and customers so you can recognize their preferences.

Language ability is not the same as cross-cultural or business/management competence and common vision does not always mean shared understanding. Establishing a global mindset does not happen quickly so companies must provide their employees and management the right time, training and power to learn, this difficult but at the same time amazing skill to manage intercultural interactions.

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