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How to Increase Performance and Productivity in a Multicultural Environment?

Updated on September 28, 2017

Carrying out both a qualitative and ethnographic research, and studying over thousands of organizations in 11 countries for about 5 years, Christine Congdon and Catherine Gall have come out with their paper, Vision Statement: How Culture Shapes the Office, which mirrors the factors mattering the performance and productivity in a multicultural environment. Their study brings forth the six dimensions of culture which may help understand people’s expectations in a workplace and thus help an organization ensure the best performance from a group of people, diversified in their culture and united under a multicultural environment.

To increase both the performance and productivity in a multicultural environment, an organization or any globally operated business establishments must have a set a strategies based on the six cultural dimensions as follow:

  1. autocratic-consultative,
  2. individualist-collectivist,
  3. masculine-feminine,
  4. tolerant of uncertainty-security oriented,
  5. short term-long term, and
  6. low context-high context

It’s no wonder, in a multinational company, you will meet people representing different cultural traits: people with the blue blood from Great Britain or the authoritarian trait being carried by the people from Germany might pose rather a conflicting environment with the people representing consultative, amicable or altruistic characteristics. You have to make a balance between these traits of binary opposition. People brought up in a dilapidated economy like those of in the third world countries usually have troubles with uncertainty about their future and feel comfortable with long-term secured jobs; on the other hand people from the countries with strengthened social securities can easily put aside things like future while giving emphasis on the present. Now you know how to approach to bring the best performance and productivity, judging the cultural background in terms with economic stability. Again, as a gift of industrialization of the 18th century, there has been a rising conflict of feminism and anti-feminism, which developed to a cultural trait in certain communities. Still we can not ignore the negative attitude toward female bosses in many countries while in some Islamist countries there are some strictly maintained principles as to how you will deal with a female colleague especially if you are not an Arab.

For a better understanding regarding the performance and productivity in a multicultural environment, the essay, Meetings in Gulf Arab Countries, by Kemp and Williams can be taken for granted. As they realize from a closer observation, the Gulf Arab region offers an eclectic mix of different cross-cultural interactions and as for the business meetings, sense of timing, being late to be in the meeting place sometimes in an open space, regular disruptions, open doors, and haphazard seating- these all are treated rather flexibly in this cultural setting. For a successful business deal, you must not carry down your western-style meeting-culture when in an Arab-setting. Again the Arab culture is high context where communication is rather indirect with many interruptions and often dependent on external environment. So for designing a business operation in an Arab setting it’s worth considering these cultural dimensions to come out with the best performance and productivity.



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