The risk factors of culture will be examined through an analysis that can determine how female staff persons in high positions will be viewed globally. The U.S. organizations can face many risks by the way they can be viewed globally. There are characteristics that are normal and standard practices in the U.S.; however, those views can be viewed differently in other countries and possibly affect a U.S. company’s efforts abroad. The analysis will also include the U.S. practices that allow gender and youth protection in U.S. firms that might not be viewed the same by a foreign country.
In the U.S., it is already common knowledge to most of us that culture is our way of living, beliefs, traditions, and language. It is taught in Elementary School Social Science classes. The cultures vary among nations in the world and sometimes we can find other cultures either rewarding or surprising. In U.S. companies there is corporate culture. Corporate culture “is the collection of beliefs, expectations, and values learned and shared by a corporation’s members. The corporate culture generally reflects the values of the founder(s) and the mission of the firm” (Wheelen & Hunger, p. 89, 1998).
Every company will have a different culture because its mission will vary and that is due to the line of business that it is dedicated to. In addition to culture there are other federal guidelines that organizations abide by. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created “by Title VII, is empowered to investigate job discrimination complaints and sue on behalf of complainants” (Dessler, p. 35, 1997).
The EEOC protects employees from being discriminated against age, sex, national origin, and religion. There are federal guidelines that support the rights of employees in different areas such as: Equal Pay Act of 1963, Age Discrimination Act of 1967, Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Sexual Harrassment to name a few (Dessler, 1997).
For centuries, women were prohibited from voting, working, and even playing sports. As these federal regulations came into effect women began to excel socially and professionally. It is also important to note that there was a need for women to join the workforce as a result of World War II. The U.S. needed the labor force to make uniforms, boots, and other supplies. It also gave women expectations that their husbands would return home soon. This world event opened the doors for these federal guidelines to allow equality and fairness in the workplace.
Through years’ women continued to vote, work, and play sports and today they can be equally successful as men. The corporate glass ceiling has phased out as a result of federal guidelines and women have made it to upscale executives. It is also important to know that races also benefited from equality. The Civil Rights Act allowed black men and women to successfully benefit from equal pay, work, and leisures. Young and aged individuals cannot be excluded or treated unfairly because of their age.
In the global arena of business U.S. companies focus on increasing market share abroad and being successful. Once they enter the venture globally, they encounter that the legal environment of business is different as well as ethical and cultural practices. In my opinion, I always emphasize on education in these areas to give companies a head start in the preparation of their venture. I also think that the battle is half one when one has an overall knowledge of the global picture or at least enough knowledge about the country one will do business in.
One example of education is the measure that Dupont took. In order to improve the risk assessment and formulation of risk protection systems, companies like Dupont (leader in science and technology) are partnering with LRN (consultants), so that LRN can provide them with a comprehensive global risk assessment. The employees will be educated in many ethical and legal topics. Dupont will expand its ethical and compliance curriculum.
The education efforts address global risk areas for employees working abroad and domestically. the courses are in many languages such as Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Italian, and Portuguese. It is crucial to educate on global risk to have an understanding of the global arena. There are more factors that come into play such as currencies, economics, ethics, culture, and the legal environment of business. The education efforts give employees a solid background for working abroad (PR Newswire, 2005).
U.S companies need to place the same emphasis on those pivotal roles that females, young adults, and other races will play globally. Foreign countries have different regulations and that is also a result of the cultural influences that continue to dominate certain business practices. As an example, Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the 1960 Professor of Business Administration from Harvard business School. Moss Kanter is known to be a pillar in the field and she has written books such as Global Economy, and The Frontiers of Management. Her practices have been implemented in many organizations and today’s corporate females benefit from beneficial curriculums such as Moss Kanter’s. Moss Kanter’s main concepts are empowerment, changing organizations, bureaucracy, career implications, and change management. How many country’s cultures will accept someone like Moss Kanter?
A couple of more examples would be Janet Reno and Hillary Clinton. They have excelled in the political arena. Janet Reno excelled from Florida State Attorney, to U.S. Attorney General. Hillary Clinton has excelled so much in the political arena that many comments have been heard she might be the first woman president. How many cultures’ in other countries will accept a woman president? If we look at this on a smaller scale, how would women executive conducting business abroad would be viewed by someone in the Middle East? I think it can be a culture shock. The different laws, ethics and cultures have to give rise to U.S. companies to educate themselves, so they can succeed abroad.
Dolls and Dust (2005) explain the activities taking place in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Korea. Women are speaking up for their right due to the neoliberal trade system. A film called Marketisation of Governance introduces how women strive for social change, and incentives for them. In the year 2005, this is happening. Wow! That is why we have laws in the U.S. and that is why U.S. companies need the global culture education to minimize risk. The American female executive can easily face a culture shock when encountering an Asian executive or someone from the Middle East.
Dolls and Dust (2005) explained that Women in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Korea
were driven off the land and out of their villages by World Bank and corporate
economic development projects in the first decades after independence. Mobilized
into a new work force employed by companies that make export goods for
transnational corporations, these women now serve as the world’s cheapest labor
force. (p 1-4).
There are pivotal effects that mainly can be experienced by executive women representing the U.S. abroad. Women have excelled tremendously in the U.S. and that is standard, normal, and part of U.S. culture. Children are born in U.S. and their mothers are CEO’s of corporations and that is normal. Can this be expected in Asia? In the Middle East? In India? Europe is probably a little more liberated because monarch has been ruled by a queen; however, it took time before acceptance prevailed. The efforts to minimize the risks are education, training and development, and external public relations with other nations to begin exploring what they are like. The global expansion brings changes in the practices to accommodate the needs of the other countries and how the organization can adapt its domestic practices to the global business practices. There are risk factors that come into effect and they include ethics, economics, competitor threats, cultural differences, and trends that can be unknown in an organizations own arena. Most organizations just like people have a tendency to be risk averse. This means that they are cautious about the risks that they want to take to ensure that there is a favorable return to that risk with little or no downside consequences.
Companies should take a global posture because the level of risk increases when an organization begins to expand beyond it boundaries. It is risky enough to do business within one’s own country. In the global arena organizations are faced with the legal environment being unknown, tax laws, environmental laws, ethics, economics, interest rates, currencies, and politics. The posture should be firm well planned, and detailed with alternatives that propose viable solutions to issues that need to be readdressed.
The concepts from Rosabeth Moss Kanter such as change management, participative management, entrepreneurship, management, and empowerment will also be effective tools to empower. Innovation is also crucial to this endeavor. The company’s have to be able to motivate these employees to empower themselves with knowledge that will make them successful in an unknown global arena. Transformational leadership skills are also effective for this endeavor because the followers can be lead through vision, inspiration, charisma, and motivation. Effective transformational leaders are value driven, believe in people, possess courageousness, and identify themselves as change agents.
Transformational leaders transmute, make the difference, and provide followers with an illuminating vision. In Bass’s research, he concluded in many instances that “transactional leadership is a prescription for mediocrity and that transformational leadership leads to superior performance in organizations facing demands for renewal and change” (Lutans, 2002, p. 592).
Companies should outline a curriculum to educate executives on these areas and continuously monitor the trends that will require special attention. The executives should also take refresher trainings to reinforce their knowledge on global law, ethics, culture, economy, currencies, politics and labor issues. The goal is to succeed with decisions that are honest, right, and morally correct. Education enhances the executive’s ability to succeed in business ventures abroad. It is a method that can be done through videos, instructors, via-web, or traditional classroom setting. The decisions have to be made out of an established process that will have a structure that allows for different phases of the curriculum evaluation. Once the curriculum evaluation has been made based on critical thinking, leadership, law, and ethics, then one can rest assured that humanity will be confident on the decision making processes. Humanity consists of communities, organizations, societies, nations, and the global arena.
Dr. Armando Salas-Amaro has been in higher education for over 20 years. Dr. Salas-Amaro is the Program Chair for the Master of Business Administration and the Master of Science in Management (MSMan) at Keiser University, USA. Prior at Atlantis University, Dr. Salas-Amaro was an Educational Policy Analyst with the Florida Department of Education.
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McGraw -Hill Inc.PR Newswire (2005). DuPont Reinforces Global Commitment to Ethics and
Legal Compliance Through Collaboration With LRN
PR Newswire. New York: Nov 15, 2005. pg. 1
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