Boundaries of Possible Solutions of Management Problems Caused by Cultural Interaction

Leonas Žitkus, Algis Junevičius

Abstract


The phenomena of globalization and regional inte-gration lead to virtually new conditions for the activity of the companies where they confront with such difficulties as the boost of competitiveness or the necessity for the products as well as the activity itself to be adapted to legal and technical requirements of other countries. Alongside with these problems there occur additional difficulties related to the fact that the companies operat-ing in international environment face cultural differences of other countries. The problems tackled in scientific lit-erature may be divided into two large groups: 1) how the multicultural character of business environment affects different areas of activity, actions and decisions of man-agement and 2) how the company develops when the in-terests of people belonging to two or more cultural groups are confronted. Presently, the dominating point of view that together with direct foreign investment the management style typi-cal to that country’s culture also emerges, is not abso-lutely true. The management style is not the thing to be implemented in the same way as new technology. De-pending on the conditions and circumstances, different combinations of instruments and methods of management as well as organizational culture of the international company and its individual branches are possible. The aim of this paper is to analyze these aspects. The analysis provided in the article leads to the con-clusion that in the period of cultural interaction, certain “intercultural” equilibrium in the international company is formed. It can acquire different proportions, depending on the willingness of the “coming” culture to impose its management methods and instruments and the “receiv-ing” culture’s ability to absorb them. Scientific literature contains three possible versions: domination of one cul-ture, coexistence of cultures and cooperation of cultures. It is found that “coming” culture is dominating in fa-vor of “receiving” culture when the latter is reputed as totally unacceptable (hinders to reach company’s aims). In practice such cases happened at the time of transfor-mation of planned economy countries, when organiza-tional cultures, managing methods and instruments of old type were absolutely inadequate for market economy conditions. It is also found that coexistence of cultures is possi-ble in the case when the essential elements of the “com-ing” and “receiving” cultures do not contradict each other and can be used to achieve the goals of the com-pany. Seeking of the compromise between partners’ cul-tures on the basis of cultural coexistence is appropriate. In this case the goals of the company derive from the “coming” culture, while the methods and instruments typical to the cultures of both partners are used to achieve them. The cultural coexistence also means cer-tain type of separation when two groups of people are striving to achieve the common goal in their own way by minimizing their interrelations. The paper states that in cultural cooperation the aim is the interrelation of cultures despite obvious differ-ences. The prerequisite condition for cultural coopera-tion is the possibility to mutually influence the stand-points of the participating companies. This is the only way that cultural differences can be seen as a resource to be used for the benefit of the development of the organi-zation rather than a barrier to be eliminated.


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