- Dr. Timothy X. Merritt
Helicopters & Hybrid Airships - Part 5
Potential Cultural Problem Areas
While both Canada and the US tend to employ similar leadership styles, “individual differences will still exist in the adherence to cultural values and as such, not all individuals will display the cultural values of their indigenous cultures.” For global leaders, managing complexity requires being prepared to use culturally and situationally appropriate leadership styles.
Tanzanian culture (represented by the Maasai tribe) is extremely collectivist; individual standout talent is not approved by tribal leadership. It is likely that standout talent and charismatic leadership typical of US leadership styles could be rejected by Maasai members. It is imperative that Columbia Helicopter professionals cultivate an attitude of cultural humility to be successful in this environment.
The societal emphasis on collectivism is high in China and is characterized by networks based on trust , while the US culture is individualistic. Confucian Asia is also characterized by a very long-term orientation so Columbia Helicopter professionals should plan on spending significant amounts of time developing relationships before beginning any significant operations tempo.
Cross-Cultural Adjustment Process
Understanding the Cross-Cultural Adjustment Process means taking the time to:
• Lead with cultural humility and not impose an American system on the host nation
• Appreciate real cultural expertise and seek out those people deep experience
• Engage in developmental cultural experiences.
All of this takes time, and it can be uncomfortable. But the investment Columbia makes now will pay significant dividends later as all of this leads to developing personnel who have Cultural Agility. Let’s take a look at the cultural competencies that can be developed in this manner:
The payoff for developing the types of agile global leaders can be represented by the this chart. These are the cross-cultural competencies that enable professionals to deal with changing situations without becoming paralyzed by them. The twelve Competencies are divided into four categories according to how they affect individuals and organizations:
Behavioral Responses: Outlined in red, these competencies are different from the other categories because they must be leveraged at the appropriate time. Cultural Minimization occurs when the leader determines that host country cultural norms should be overridden. At other times, Cultural Adaptation recognizes that the norms of behavior in the cultural context is essential. Cultural Integration occurs when a mix of cultural behavior is optimal.
Psychological Ease: Professionals working in foreign countries experience stress. People with a high Tolerance for Ambiguity accept the fact that cross-cultural situations have many unknowns. Self-Efficacy is the belief in ones own ability to perform one’s role. Cultural Curiosity enables professionals to learn through asking questions about cultural issues.
Cross-Cultural Interaction: Cultural agility develops over time, therefore global professionals who Value Diversity were rated as more effective. The professional’s ability to Form Relationships is a critical competency for global success. Perspective-Taking describes those who are skilled at interpreting social cues appropriately.
Decision Making: Knowledge of Cross-Cultural Issues such as history, culture, economics, etc., will help global leaders make the best decisions. Some of the biggest cultural mistakes occur because leaders are unskilled at Adopting Diverse Ideas. Divergent Thinking is the ability to multiple solutions or approaches to a given problem.
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Caligiuri, P. (2012). Cultural agility: Building a pipeline of successful global professionals. Jossey-Bass. ISBN-10: 1118275071; ISBN-13: 978-1118275078