Culture is a group of people who share common experiences in life that help them to understand the world. There are many different existing cultures among people and some are very difficult to cope with. For us to live harmoniously, we must respect other people’s cultures. It is also very important for us to understand other people’s cultures and not judge them before we understand why they behaved the way they did. Cross cultural differences are caused by five common cultural differences. The first cause of these cultural differences is the different styles of decision-making. Pat in this case thinks that he is capable of making the right decisions for the company even without consulting the other workmates. This is a very big problem which has to be solved or else, if he is allowed to make the decisions alone, fatal accidents can eventually happen. Megson must make him understand that the company does not allow decisions from one person.
The second is the different way through which people have different attitudes toward approaching a certain conflict. The lady taking minutes was not even sorry for not responding to the greetings from Megson. Though Megson was embarrassed, after that explanation from the DG, he had to understand that it is wrong for the Muslim men and women to shake hands.
Thirdly, we have the difference in approaches to know things. Pat was overconfident on his side and he thought that he could just make decisions pertaining to the company alone. Though someone might know or have a solution to a certain problem, they must follow the procedure of implementation of the given institution. In this case, Pat was supposed to confirm from the other workmates that his idea is correct so as to avoid accidents.
The fourth are the different communication styles from different people. Pat seems to know very few things about communication with his superiors. Everybody in their organization thinks that he is disrespectful to his superiors. Pat himself comes from a very individualistic community where the style of communication is the same to everyone. Last but not least, the other cause of cross cultural differences is the different attitude that people from different communities have towards disclosure.
Solutions and Recommendations
Cross cultural differences can cause very serious effects in our community. The difference should be solved so as to reduce the cultural gap between people from different communities. The building of trust across all cultural boundaries is a very important aspect of reducing cultural differences. Trusting other people will help reduce the cultural differences and hence people will be able to live harmoniously. Lengthy discussions are involved in the process of building trust among people from different cultural backgrounds.
Workmates should respect cultural differences among themselves and work together as an institution towards achieving the set goals. First, people should recognize cultural differences so as to understand one another. Recognizing cultural differences aids people in learning new methods of solving problems. We ought to harness the power of diversity at work, because we all come from very different backgrounds where different cultures are practiced.
The superiors in organizations such as Megson should build their understanding of different cultures by taking courses in cultural proficiency. The courses enable people to easily respond to issues pertaining to cultural differences.
The other important thing is to expect surprises from people’s actions and behavior. People should not be judged by their actions but rather by their skills during an interview, because different people will behave differently. It is also very important to give people a preview of the questions at an interview needed to be written. The preview gives the interviewer a rough idea of what to expect from a certain person before actually meeting him/her. It is also very important to separate skills from culture at the workplace. Different people might behave in a very suggestive way but, on the other hand, the most competent.
Open-mindedness and respect are very important virtues of solving cultural differences. It is important to learn from the other people to respect their culture without viewing ours as the best and avoid criticizing. It is crucial to apologize after making a mistake and ask questions on how we ought to have behaved to avoid a repetition of the same mistakes. Just like Megson, it is also very important to celebrate holidays of different cultures. Festivals help to know much about certain cultures, and we learn much once we participate. Festivals give meaning to various cultural practices and hence an understanding is build.
The other important aspect is to make it easy for people to ask questions about something they have misunderstood. Questions make things clear and protect us from making mistakes or offending other people. Good relationships are nurtured by the understanding we have for one another, which can only be achieved from asking questions and interacting with one another. Cultural differences can also be eliminated through learning about our friends’ cultures and countries.
People should be treated individually and not as a culture. This is the biggest mistake that people do by forgetting that everybody has their own character though they are from a certain community or group. Jumping into conclusion because someone belongs to a certain group widens the gap of misunderstanding among people. We should know that culture does not define a person at any one given moment.
Companies should put up cultural awareness days and factsheets. Cultural days are supposed to bring people from different cultures in a certain organization together with the aim of enjoying and creating awareness. This can be of great help to people who might go on business trips to foreign countries where everything is new. The cultural days and factsheets give people a rough idea of what to expect once on a business trip to a foreign country. We should identify gaps between us and act on commonalities. Lastly, we should identify the gaps between us in our own knowledge and work towards reducing them at all costs.