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2 CHALLENGES FOR MANAGERS
This chapter focuses on the changes and accompanying challenges those changes will bring about in the coming decade. Four major challenges facing managers include globalizing the firm’s operations, leading a diverse workforce, encouraging ethical behavior, character, and integrity, and fostering technological innovation. Globalization has created a boundaryless market in which all firms, large and small, must compete. Cultural diversity within the United States encompasses all forms of differences among individuals, including age, gender, race, and ability. Technological change is one of the keys to strategic competitiveness, but it is also complex and risky. Ethical issues compound the complex challenges of management, and involve things such as white-collar crime, computer use, employee rights, sexual harassment, romantic involvement at work, organizational justice, whistle-blowing, and social responsibility.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES PPT Slide 2
After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
- Describe the dimensions of cultural differences in societies that affect work-related
- Explain the social and demographic changes that are producing diversity in organizations.
- Describe actions managers can take to help their employees value diversity.
- Discuss the assumptions of consequential, rule-based, and character theories of ethics.
- Explain six issues that pose ethical dilemmas for managers.
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Chapter 2 introduces the following key terms:
|consequential theory||procedural justice|
|distributive justice||rule-based theory|
|expatriate manager||time orientation|
|glass ceiling||uncertainty avoidance|
THE CHAPTER SUMMARIZED
- THINKING AHEAD: Ford: Thriving in Challenging Times
- MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES IN A NEW TIME PPT Slide 3
Recent surveys indicate that U.S. firms are encountering unprecedented global competition. Chief executives note their primary challenges as (1) globalizing the firm’s operations to compete in the global village, (2) leading a diverse workforce, and (3) encouraging positive ethics, character, and personal integrity.
Globalization has led to the emergence of the global village in the world economy. The Internet, along with rapid political and social changes, has broken down old national barriers to competition. Managing a diverse workforce is more challenging than ever before and requires going beyond the surface to deep-level diversity. Good character, ethical behavior, and personal integrity require managers to do the right thing in difficult situations.
Successful organizations respond to these challenges as opportunities instead of threats. The United States faces tough competition from countries such as Canada, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
- THE GLOBAL VILLAGE PPT Slides 4, 5
The concepts of globalization have helped to define the terms organizations use to determine the level of activity in the global marketplace.
Globalization implies that the world is free from national boundaries, whereas international carries with it a connotation of nationality. Transnational organizations must assume global viewpoints that supersede national issues.
- Changes in the Global Marketplace PPT Slide 6
Numerous global, social, and political changes have led organizations to change the way they conduct business and encourage their members to think globally. A few of these changes are the unification of East and West Germany, the European Union, the political changes in Russia and opening of business ventures in Russia and China, and NAFTA. Business ventures in China have helped to emphasize the importance of guanxi, or networking, in order to accomplish personal and business goals.
- Understanding Cultural Differences Figure 2.1
In order to compete globally, and because cultural differences affect work-related attitudes, organizations must understand diverse cultures. Hofstede’s research focused on the differences among cultures in work-related settings and found five dimensions of cultural differences that formed the basis for work-related attitudes.
- Individualism vs. Collectivism PPT Slide 7
People in individualist cultures have primary concern for themselves and their families. People in Collectivist cultures belong to tightly knit social frameworks and depend on extended families. Group decisions are valued and accepted.
- Power Distance PPT Slide 7
Power distance is the degree to which a culture accepts unequal distribution of power. High power distance cultures are more accepting of unequal power distributions; low power distance cultures are less accepting.
- Uncertainty Avoidance PPT Slide 7
Uncertainty avoidance is the degree to which a culture tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty. Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance place importance on security and tend to avoid conflict. People are more willing to take risks in cultures with low uncertainty avoidance.
- Masculinity vs. Femininity PPT Slide 8
In cultures that are characterized by masculinity, assertiveness and materialism are valued. Cultures that are characterized by femininity emphasize relationships and concern for others.
- Time Orientation PPT Slide 8
The time orientation value determines the long-term or short-term orientation of a culture. Long-term orientation is toward the future, whereas short-term orientation is toward the past and present.
- S. Culture PPT Slide 10
The United States scored the most individualistically of all the countries measured. The U.S. ranked low on power distance, and is a masculine culture with a short-term time orientation.
PPT Slides 11, 12
There is an increase in organizational cooperation for training employees for cultural sensitivity. Cross-cultural task forces or teams are increasing. Employees are more often being trained to be expatriates. Integrity, insightfulness, risk taking, the courage to take a stand, and the ability to bring out the best in people are key competencies for expatriate managers – managers who work outside their home countries.
International executives are executives whose jobs have international scope. Learningoriented attributes of international executives include cultural adventurousness, flexibility, openness to criticism, desire to seek learning opportunities, and sensitivity to cultural differences.
- Developing Cross-Cultural Sensitivity Table 2.1; PPT Slide 13
As organizations compete in the global marketplace, employees must become more skilled at working with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Cultural sensitivity training is a popular method for helping employees recognize and appreciate cultural differences. Human resource managers must prepare employees to live outside their native countries, and must also help foreign employees learn to interact with U.S. culture.
The Real World 2.1: A Golden Opportunity?
Linda Myers thought she had landed her dream job when she became one of the first female American executives in a South Korean company. Being a trailblazer in a foreign land turned into a much more challenging job than she ever imagined. She felt shut out, experienced difficulty getting information from colleagues who spoke English, was unprepared for the rigidity of the hierarchy in which she found herself, and her ideas of cultural change and how to execute were dramatically different from her superiors’ ideas. Still, she turned the situation into a learning opportunity from which she derived four lessons. 1) Cultural training may not always prepare you for reality. 2) Understand your mandate clearly. 3) Do not let day-to-day misunderstandings bother you. 4) Take time to think about new ways of working.
- THE DIVERSE WORKFORCE PPT Slide 14
Diversity encompasses all forms of differences among individuals, including culture, gender, age, ability, religion, personality, social status, and sexual orientation. Motivation and communication skills must be adapted to account for diversity.
- Cultural Diversity PPT Slide 15
Cultural diversity is increasing due to the globalization of business. Demographic changes significantly affect diversity as well. Population shifts have dramatically increased the proportion of Hispanic and African-American workers in the labor force. The challenge for managers is to capitalize on the wealth of differences provided by cultural diversity.
- Gender Diversity PPT Slide 16
Women made up over 60 percent of the labor force in 2004, and by the year 2020, a balance of genders is expected in the workforce. Women continue to receive less compensation than men for their work, at a level of 80 percent of their male counterparts. The transparent barrier referred to as the glass ceiling continues to keep many women (and minorities) from rising above a certain level in organizations. Women comprised only 13.6 percent of corporate board members in 2003.
One place women are making progress is in ownership of entrepreneurial companies. Women now own nearly 10.4 million American businesses, employing more than 12.8 million people and generating $1.9 trillion in sales.
- Age Diversity PPT Slide 17
The number of middle-aged Americans is rising dramatically, resulting in an older workforce. This will place emphasis on intergenerational work situations. This will also have an impact on benefits and policies relating to an aging workforce. By 2030, people over age sixty-five will comprise 20 percent of the population. Younger workers may have false impressions about older workers, viewing them as resistant to change, unable to learn new work methods, less physically capable, and less creative than younger employees. In reality, older workers are more satisfied with their jobs, more committed to the organization, and possess more internal work motivation than their younger cohorts.
- Ability Diversity PPT Slide 18
The number of disabled individuals in the workforce has increased dramatically because of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1992. This law stipulates that employers should make reasonable accommodations to assist disabled individuals to become contributing employees. McDonald’s has trained and hired more than 9,000 mentally and physically challenged individuals through its McJOBS program since 1981.
- Differences are Assets
Managing diversity is one way in which organizations can become more competitive. Part of the challenge of managing diversity lies in attempting to combat prejudices and discrimination. Managing diversity is one way a company can become more competitive. As the workforce becomes more diverse in the next decade, it will be imperative that companies appreciate diversity.
- Diversity’s Benefits and Problems Table 2.2; PPT Slide 19
Diversity management can help organizations attract and retain human resources, enhance marketing efforts, promote creativity and innovation, improve problem solving, and enhance organizational flexibility.
There are five problems associated with diversity: resistance to change, lack of cohesiveness, communication problems, interpersonal conflicts, and decision making.
- ETHICS, CHARACTER, AND PERSONAL INTEGRITY PPT Slides 20, 21
There is plenty of evidence that ethical problems are still a major concern in corporations. The toughest of these problems include employee theft, environmental issues, conflicts of interest, and sexual harassment. Managers have the responsibility of initiating programs to improve the ethical climate.
Consequential theories of ethics emphasize the consequences or results of behavior. In contrast, rule-based theories of ethics emphasize the character of the act itself rather than its effects. The third type of ethical theory, character theory, emphasizes the character of the individual and the intent of the actor.
- Employee Rights PPT Slide 22
Employee rights encompass many current issues, such as drug testing, free speech, downsizing and layoffs, due process, smoking policies, AIDS/HIV disclosure, and even questions regarding activities away from the organization.
- Sexual Harassment PPT Slide 23
Sexual harassment includes verbal or physical unwelcome sexual attention that affects job conditions or creates a hostile work environment, and consists of three types of harassment: gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. Sexual harassment costs the typical Fortune 500 company $6.7 million per year in absenteeism, turnover, and loss of productivity.
Gender harassment includes crude comments or sexual jokes and behaviors that disparage someone’s gender or convey hostility toward a particular gender. Unwanted sexual attention involves unwanted touching or repeated unwanted pressure for dates. Sexual coercion consists of implicit or explicit demands for sexual favors by threatening negative job-related consequences or promising job-related rewards. Sexual harassment costs the typical Fortune 500 company $6.7 million per year in absenteeism, turnover, and loss of productivity.
The Real World 2.2: Sex Plus
Office romances and affairs have survived no-fraternization policies, philandering chief executives, and even ambiguous contractors. Some see these informal or surreptitious relationships as humorous while others are well aware of the hidden dangers and risks, including the extreme risk of fatal attraction. The new threat in the office romance is legal liability and retaliatory lawsuits filed by third parties at work. The legal theory involved is ―Sex Plus‖ in which employees claim discrimination based on gender ―plus‖ another characteristic, such as a pregnant woman claiming that a manager’s failed office romance caused him to focus more on her work, thus increasing her work demands. Still, some companies encourage matchmaking with the idea that couples are more energized about coming to work.
- Romantic Involvements
As the number of women in the workplace increases, the resulting interaction between men and women means that organizations must address a number of issues related to the occurrence of romantic relationships at work. Hierarchical and utilitarian romances are especially problematic in the workplace.
- Organizational Justice PPT Slide 24
Organizational justice includes both distributive justice, which deals with the fairness of outcomes received, and procedural justice, which involves the fairness of the outcome allocation process.
- Whistle-Blowing PPT Slide 24
Employees who inform authorities of wrongdoing by their companies or coworkers are referred to as whistle-blowers. Whistle-blowers can be perceived as either heroes or villains depending on the circumstances.
Science: From Inaction to External Whistle-blowing
Prevention is always the preferred approach to unethical behavior at work, but it is not always possible. Detecting and correcting wrongdoing are vital complements to prevention. In a study involving over 5,000 working adults, organizational cultures with ethical clarity, support for action, and sanctions for wrongdoing were more likely to foster employee internal actions of confrontation, reporting to management, and calling the ethics hotline. These same ethical culture dimensions discouraged inaction as well as whistle-blowing. Transparency in the ethical culture discouraged confrontation and report to management while it encouraged external whistle-blowing as well as inaction. Creating an infrastructure for internal whistle-blowing via an ethics hotline is one way to encourage and support reporting.
- Social Responsibility PPT Slide 25
The obligation that an organization feels to behave in ethical ways within its social environment is referred to as social responsibility. Current concerns include protecting the environment, promoting worker safety, supporting social issues, and investing in the community, among others.
- Codes of Ethics Figure 2.2, Figure 2.3; PPT Slides 26, 27
Increasing numbers of organizations are implementing codes of ethics. One of the more concise tests of ethical and moral questions is the simple four-way test created by Rotary International in 1904. The four-way test asks the following questions of everything we think, say, or do:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and better friendships?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Beyond the individual and professional level, corporate culture is another excellent starting point for addressing ethics and morality. In some cases, the corporate ethics may be captured in a regulation. The Joint Ethics Regulation (DOD 5500.7-R) specifies the ethical standards to which all U.S. military personnel must adhere. In other cases, corporate ethics may be in the form of a credo. Johnson & Johnson’s Credo helped hundreds of employees ethically address criminal tampering with Tylenol products in 1986.
- MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Beating the Challenges PPT Slide 26
- LOOKING BACK: Ford: Opening Up, Focusing on the Ford Brand
2.1 Planning For a Global Career
Careers in management have taken on a global dimension. Working in trans-national organizations may well give managers the opportunity to work in other countries. Expatriate managers, those who work outside their home countries, benefit from having as much knowledge as possible about cultural differences. Because managers are increasingly exposed to global work experiences, it is never too early to begin planning for this aspect of one’s career. This exercise asks students to begin gathering information about a country in which they would like to work, including information on its culture.
Students choose countries they would like to work in, do business in, or visit, and find out all they can about the countries’ cultures, using Hofstede’s dimensions as guidelines. Then, students answer the seven questions provided in the exercise. Once the research is completed and the questions answered, students can be placed in small groups for discussion or the topic may be used as the basis for a full-class discussion on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.
2.2 How Much Do You Know About Sexual Harassment?
While somewhat ambiguous, sexual harassment is defined in the eyes of the beholder. This exercise offers ten True/False statements to students to determine how much they know about sexual harassment. Once students have completed the exercise, they can be placed in small groups for discussion of their results, followed by a class discussion about the topic, including many of the misconceptions that exist about sexual harassment in the workplace. This might also be a good opportunity to provide students with information about any educational and counseling resources available on campus with regard to sexual harassment.
The U.S. Supreme Court: Another Good Ol’ Boy Ivy League Network?
The U.S. Supreme Court is arguably the most diverse it has been in the history of the organization. Three of the nine justices are women and one is African American. However, eight of the nine justices have Ivy League educations. Some question whether this is represents an obsession with Harvard-Yale pedigrees. Only two of the nine justices come from states other than New York, New Jersey, or California, and none of the nine are Protestants.
- If a recruitment source has been proven successful in the past for yielding highly qualified talent, what is the harm in continuing to draw from that source to recruit employees?
A potential problem with continuing to recruit employees from the same source is the loss of diversity in ideas and approaches to issues. Drawing from a variety of sources can yield a greater variety of ideas as people from different backgrounds look at things differently. Of course, it is important to ensure that all new employees possess a similarly high level of quality.
- Is having a diversity of backgrounds in organizations as important as having demographic diversity? Why or why not?
Diversity of backgrounds has the strong potential to increase innovation and creativity within organizations. While demographic diversity may also do the same, the likelihood is less because people of different sexes, ages, cultures, etc. may have the same backgrounds. It is not the differences in demographics that bring about diversity of ideas, but the differences in background within those demographics that results in such diversity.
- To ensure that their organizations meet the competition, managers must tackle three important challenges: globalization, workforce diversity, and ethical behavior.
- The five cultural differences that affect work-related attitudes are individualism versus collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity versus femininity, and time orientation.
- Diversity encompasses gender, culture, personality, sexual orientation, religion, ability, social status, and a host of other differences.
- Managers must take a proactive approach to managing diversity so that differences are valued and capitalized upon.
- Three types of ethical theories include consequential theories, rule-based theories, and character theories.
- Ethical dilemmas emerge for people at work in the areas of employee rights, sexual harassment, romantic involvements, organizational justice, whistle-blowing, and social responsibility.
REVIEW QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS
- What are Hofstede’s five dimensions of cultural differences that affect work attitudes? Using these dimensions, describe the United States.
The dimensions are polarized concepts of the following: (1) individualism/collectivism, (2) high power distance/low power distance, (3) high uncertainty avoidance/low uncertainty avoidance, (4) masculinity/femininity, and (5) long-term orientation/short-term orientation.
The United States is extremely individualistic, tolerant of uncertainty, weak on power distance, masculine, and short term in regard to time orientation.
- What are the primary sources of diversity in the U.S. workforce?
The U.S. workforce is characterized by diversity of all types: culture, gender, age, personality, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and social status.
- What are the potential benefits and problems of diversity?
Diversity management may serve as a vehicle for attracting and retaining human resources, enhancing marketing efforts, promoting creativity and innovation, improving problem solving, and enhancing flexibility. Potential problems of diversity include resistance to change on the part of current employees, group cohesiveness may take longer to develop, and diversity may lead to communication problems, interpersonal conflict, and a slower decision-making process.
- What is the reality of the glass ceiling? What would it take to change this reality?
The reality of the glass ceiling is that women are not promoted to top management positions at the same rates as men and often are not paid equitably. Efforts to change this reality should include training managers to be aware of biases and stereotypes, and other proactive stances toward the management of diversity.
- What are some of the ethical challenges encountered in organizations?
Employee theft, environmental issues, issues of comparable worth of employees across job categories, conflicts of interest at work, and sexual harassment are just some of the ethical challenges encountered in organizations.
- Describe the difference between distributive and procedural justice.
Distributive justice addresses the perceived fairness of outcomes, while procedural justice addresses the perceived fairness of procedures used to determine outcomes.
DISCUSSION AND COMMUNICATION QUESTIONS: SUGGESTED ANSWERS
- How can managers be encouraged to develop global thinking? How can managers dispel stereotypes about other cultures?
All managers can enhance their perspectives by participating in cross-cultural sensitivity workshops offered by organizations. Another way is to volunteer for cross-cultural task forces. Students have opportunities to meet and learn about other cultures on campus by attending the festivals and celebrations that are typically held each academic year for student groups.
- Some people have argued that offshoring jobs is un-American and unethical. What do you think?
Some students will argue that a company’s first responsibility is to protect its stockholders. Accordingly, if stockholders’ wealth can be increased by offshoring jobs, then doing so supports free enterprise and is therefore both ethical and American. Others will argue that offshoring hurts Americans and the American economy and is therefore both unethical and un-American.
- How do some companies accommodate the differing needs of a diverse workforce?
Workforce diversity is an important issue for organizations. The United States, as a melting pot nation, has always had a mix of individuals in its workforce. Diversity encompasses all forms of differences among individuals, including culture, gender, age, ability, religion, personality, social status, and sexual orientation.
Educational systems within the workplace are needed to supply minority workers the skills necessary for success. Companies such as Motorola are already recognizing and meeting this need by focusing on basic skills training.
Corporations that shatter the glass ceiling have several practices in common. Upper managers clearly demonstrate support for the advancement of women, often with a statement of commitment issued by the CEO. Leaders incorporate practices into their diversity management programs to ensure that women perceive the organization as attractive. Women are represented on standing committees that address strategic business issues of importance to the company. Women are targeted for participation in executive education programs, and systems are in place for identifying women with high potential for advancement.
One company that is succeeding in accommodating the baby busters is Patagonia, a manufacturer of products for outdoor enthusiasts. Although the company does not actively recruit twentyyear-olds, approximately 20 percent of Patagonia’s workers are in this age group because they are attracted to its products. Personal leaves of absence are also offered, generally unpaid, for as much as four months per year. This allows employees to take an extended summer break and prevents job burnout. Patagonia has taken into consideration the baby busters’ desire for more time for personal concerns and has incorporated that desire into the company.
- What effects will the globalization of business have on a company’s culture? How can an organization with a strong “made in America” identity compete in the global marketplace?
Globalization will help in understanding needs of current constituents, as well as future clients. By learning about various cultures, organizational members are able to understand that other companies’ missions and objectives are not vastly different from their own, and that they need not surrender their company loyalty to interact and negotiate with others.
- Why is diversity such an important issue? Is the workforce more diverse today than in the past?
The population is much more diverse than it has ever been. Whether the business is service- or product-oriented, the constituents and clients of the company must be understood in order to satisfy their needs. New ideas come from analyzing old problems differently. Diverse work- forces assist in seeing traditional problems in a new frame of reference. Today’s workforce is definitely more diverse than past workforces.
- How does a manager strike a balance between encouraging employees to celebrate their own cultures and forming a single unified culture within the organization?
This is a difficult balance. Any organization that is referenced for a strong culture can be countered with an example of rigidity in their practices and views. The key seems to be separating the personalities from the missions and objectives of the organization.
- Do you agree with Hofstede’s findings about U.S. culture? Other cultures? On what do you base your agreement or disagreement?
This answer will vary by work experience and by cultural identity of the students. Often students will perpetuate stereotypes in their answers of other countries, yet rationalize the weaknesses of their own society. It is interesting to ask students from other cultures what their stereotypes were about the U.S. before arriving, and if those perceptions have been reinforced since being here.
One item worth mentioning to students is that Hofstede’s study, although monumental, was completed almost 25 years ago. The study is currently being updated with cooperation from participating countries.
- Select one of the three challenges (globalization, diversity, ethics) and write a brief position paper arguing for its importance to managers.
Encourage students to use specific answers in support of their position. This exercise can generate interesting discussion in class as students present potentially different perspectives on why an issue is important to managers.
- Find someone whose culture is different from your own. This could be a classmate or an international student at your university. Interview the person about his or her culture, using Hofstede’s dimensions. Also ask what you might need to know about doing business in that person’s culture, e.g., customs, etiquette. Be prepared to share this information in class.
This provides an excellent opportunity for students to learn about another culture. During class discussion, have students share anything that surprised them in the information that they gathered. Discuss why they were surprised by this information.
Darcy has a number of options open to her, including firing either Ryan or his boss, Natalie, or taking some less drastic measure against them, or taking no action at all.
- Using consequential, rule-based, and character theories, evaluate Darcy’s options.
Consequential – Firing Ryan will appease Hisa, please Natalie, and is likely to facilitate future business between the two firms. However, reprimanding Ryan and reassigning him may accomplish the same things. Firing or reprimanding Natalie might please Ryan, but is unlikely to appease Hisa or allow for the possibility of future business between the two firms. Doing nothing won’t make anyone happy and will almost certainly preclude future business dealings between the two firms. At the same time, firing Ryan may cause considerable problems among other project managers in the firm who could potentially find themselves being sent to a foreign country without adequate cultural training.
Rule – Ryan is directly responsible for insulting the Japanese business people, and Natalie is indirectly responsible. If Darcy fires or reprimands Ryan, her action will most readily be seen by Hisa as the right thing to do. Firing or reprimanding Natalie may also be seen as right by Hisa, but the failure to fire/reprimand Ryan will probably be seen as wrong and is likely to outweigh the rightness of actions taken against Natalie. Doing nothing will almost certainly be seen as wrong by Hisa and his staff.
Character – If accountability is an important character trait for Darcy, she will probably feel compelled to fire or reprimand Ryan, or possibly Natalie, and not doing so will seem unethical to her.
- What should Darcy do? Why?
The best answer might be that Darcy should reprimand Ryan and reassign him back in the United States, and put in place a process to ensure that other project managers are not given foreign assignments without first receiving adequate cultural training. This course of action is likely to please Hisa and perhaps facilitate future business between the two firms. It is also likely to please Natalie, who believes Ryan is solely to blame for the current situation. Ryan will not be pleased, but will be better off than if he had lost his job altogether. This course of action seems to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and is thus the most ethical course of action under the consequential theory.
This same course of action observes the moral rule of accountability by holding Ryan accountable for his lack of sensitivity to cultural differences. In this way, this course of action represents an ethical option under the rule theory.
Finally, holding Ryan accountable by reprimanding and reassigning him shows that Darcy possesses and acts in accordance with a character trait most people find positive. Moreover, putting in place a process to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future shows Darcy’s intention to improve the company’s way of doing business – another character trait most consider positive. Thus, this course of action represents the most ethical choice for Darcy under the character theory as well.
2.1 International Orientations
The exercise immediately following the case is a difficult one. The students are asked to rate a potential expatriate and his spouse with very little information about the couple. The key to this exercise is to assess the reasons why they made the choices they did. Are they justified, given the information provided? What follow-up questions could the student ask to make more confident ratings? There are many behavioral details the students may attend to in order to make their ratings. The details, however, do not provide the full picture about the couple. Here are some points the students may list:
Jonathan: He has never lived outside his hometown. He speaks a second language (i.e.,
German). He is familiar with some German ethnic traditions. OSI does not have a location in Germany. Jonathan is active and likes people. He organizes OSI’s softball and volleyball teams – both of which are American sports.
Sue: She has studied English literature. She is a teacher by profession and a trainer at a city mission. At the mission, she interacts with people who are of a lower socioeconomic status.
Given that she volunteers her time, she is probably a person who likes to help others. Her interests include ethnic cooking, which indicates that she likes to try new foods.
- This is an opportunity for the students to write questions that could map the international orientation of the couple. What types of questions are they asking? Some critical information they may include is a realistic preview of what the assignment may entail – allowing the couple to self-select out if they so choose. They could discuss the educational opportunities for the couple’s daughter and career opportunities for Sue.
2 and 3. Do the students expect that the Australian culture would be an easier transition than would the French or Japanese transfers? The ―country difficulty,‖ that is, the extent to which the foreign country differs from one’s own, should be considered in all expatriate cases. The Australian transfer would have less of a language barrier than would the French or Japanese transfers.
- There are many possible types of training. For example, the couple could listen to lectures, see films, read books, etc., about the host country. Likewise, the couple could take language and culture training, go visit the country for a short stay to ―test the waters,‖ or talk to people who have been on expatriate assignments in the same country.
- This gives the students an opportunity for some personal reflection on their own international orientations.
- Dual-career couples will need to find placement for both members or make other arrangements for the spouse (e.g., the spouse could take a sabbatical from work, be transferred to the same country as well, take a break in his or her career). In an age when both men and women have careers, multinational companies must think of more creative ways to satisfy both the expatriate and his or her spouse.
- In general, younger children have an easier time adapting to living abroad. Older children, especially teenagers, have a more difficult time adjusting. For example, they resent being moved so far from their friends. For this reason, multinational companies should allow the entire family (not just the expatriate) ample opportunity to self-select in or out of the foreign position. This needs to be decided as a family because any member may impact the success of the expatriate when he or she is abroad.
International Orientation Scale
The International Orientation Scale is an index of behaviors that are related to one’s acceptance of, and interest in, other cultures. From the criterion-related validity study conducted, it was found that International Orientation is related to how well individuals adjust to living abroad, and how much they will interact with host nationals. The International Orientation Scale has also been found to be related to tolerance of ambiguity, interpersonal orientation, optimism, personal need for structure, and openness to challenges. The IOS was not related to self-monitoring or time urgency.
There are two major limitations of the scale that should be addressed in class discussion. First, there are no established norms for the scale. For this reason, one cannot say, ―he or she falls above or below normal‖ on the scale. As yet, the scale is only intended to guide one’s thinking about international orientation and to generate awareness for self-assessment.
The second major limitation of the scale is that the items were generated with an American population. Likewise the reliability and validity evidence was established on an American population. The behaviors of Dimensions Two, Three, and Four were generated from experiences that Americans may either have or choose to have in their lives. As one can imagine, it would be inappropriate to assess (or even worse, interpret) non-Americans who have had little or no opportunity to have the types of experiences on the IOS.
The items of Dimension One (i.e., International Attitudes) are reverse scored. The rest of the scores can be added and used for personal reflection. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are no established norms, such that the scores cannot indicate some specific deficit or talent the student has. The scores can be used as a means to think about one’s own international orientation (e.g., one’s answers to the self-assessment discussion questions.)
*Experiential Exercise 2.1 is by Paula M. Caligiuri, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University. Used with permission. In Dorothy Marcic and Sheila Puffer, Management International, West Publishing, 1994.