Cross-Cultural Issues and Environmental Sensitivity in Management

Introduction

During the turn of the 20th century, numerous innovations and novel techniques of conducting business were already in play, signifying the leaps and bounds that were about to be made. The society at this particular period was transforming at record speeds across cultures, a primary reason why changes were necessary to avoid becoming obsolete. Across nations, the workforce was now organized into clear systems that were meant to boost productivity while ensuring that all the employees remained satisfied throughout their sessions. The idea behind this systematic arrangement was firmly rooted in the science of management that was becoming popular at this particular epoch. Management was therefore seen as a contemporary development that would ultimately catapult these organizations to the greatest highs in the sectors that they were in. Nonetheless, it was soon apparent that management issues were not clear cut, especially due to the many complexities that existed in having a workforce. Motivation for coming to work differed from one individual to the next, which proved a challenge since the general expectation was that organizations were supposed to work like as a single unit. Moreover, this particular issue was compounded by the fact that most organizations at the time were adopting franchise models that would see them cross borders with a multi-cultural workforce. Thus cross-cultural psychology literature was born in a bid to enable top executives understand how to deal with such a phenomenon, harness it while ensuring that the organization benefitted from it fully. Most recently, environmental sensitivity has emerged as an issue of grave concern to global organizations. It’s worth noting that opinions on climate change vary from one country to the next depending on the level of engagement and awareness of its citizenry. This research paper seeks to evaluate cross-cultural issues associated with environmental sensitivity can result in competitive advantage, its impact and global organizations adapting to an increase in the natural environment.

Putting Environmental Sensitivity into Perspective

Environmental sensitivity is a fairly new term that emerged in the second half of the 20th century among professionals observing the management of global organizations. After numerous studies into the issue, it soon emerged that individuals reacted differently to the introduction of certain environmental agents or ideas that were, at the same time, tolerated by others. This accidental discovery set researchers on a new course in terms of understanding how individuals functioned at the work place. If environmental sensitivity was by any chance related to an employee’s well-being, then it was safe for them tom conclude that it was a determining factor in the progress that would be made by any organization. Employees were the cogs that kept these global organizations running and anything that affected them directly was bound to set off a chain reaction in the system. Executives were well aware of this fact which often served as a primary reason why they would spend millions of dollars in hiring experts to make their own independent assessment of the issue. These fact finding missions were integral since they would form the basis of any change that would be made in the long haul. Top leadership and stakeholders in these organizations were hell-bent on ensuring that they acted on all recommendations provided. Inaction would be a fatal choice especially when they were well aware of the fact that most of their competitors were not taking such matters lightly and acting on every single bit of information fed to them. In reality, acknowledging environmental sensitivities among different members in the workforce was seen as a force for good since an enabling surrounding would be created for all those involved. Most of these organizations paid attention to the fact their employees were their greatest human resource that had to take precedence in all situations. Generally, this approach was adopted due to the cross-cultural nature of the issues being experienced from one locality to the next.

Climate change has in the past two decades proved an emotive issue across a section of the population globally. There are those who strongly believe that it’s occurring at records speeds and it won’t be long until its adverse effects are across the globe. These are individuals who are genuinely concerned with the well-being of the planet and acknowledge those human beings are actively contributing to this state of affairs. Activities such as illegal logging by enterprising individuals and the release of noxious gases into the atmosphere have been blamed for the thinning of the ozone layer. Visible changes are already apparent in thinning of polar caps, release of methane gas that had been trapped under ice, rise in sea levels, global temperatures and the melting of permafrost in the Eurasian steppes. All these are issues of great concern to those individuals who feel that they have an active role to play in as far as reversing the process is concerned. Their disposition stems from the fact that they often feel directly responsible for the well-being of the planet, all its species and those generations that will come in the near future. On the flipside, there are those who are skeptical of this particular view and often opine that climate change is all but an elaborate hoax. These are the same individuals who seek to poke holes at arguments provided by proponents of the view that climate change is occurring at a break-neck speed and often provide disparaging comments about such individuals. The truth of the matter is that cross-cultural interactions in organizations often present situations where persons with differing opinions often end up interacting with each other, presenting a host of complexities. Over the years, organizations that transcend national borders have become acutely aware of this fact and the impact it can have on their employees. It’s a fact that not all individuals might be aware of the environmental sensitivities held by different cultures, which may prove to be one of the most immediate concerns to a specific organization. Brushing off these nuances as typical occurrences is often thought to a grave miscalculation that needs to be addressed if noticeable changes are to be achieved. In other instances, however, it’s seen as a source of great competitive advantage that can be used as a primary source of competitive advantage.

Impact of Cross-Cultural Issues and Environmental Sensitivity in Management

There is no doubt that cross-cultural issues have a huge impact on organizations. It’s for this reason that budgetary allocation are provided for such initiatives due to its central role in determining the success or failure of any effort made by the organizations. Over the years, management has effectively morphed into an art requiring organizations to understand all components to achieve their objectives. A deeper comprehension of all cross-cultural issues experienced by all members of a particular organization is usually the starting point with regard to any progress that can be made. Management is based on the basic tenets of having a deeper understanding of one’s employees. It’s for this reason that hours upon hours are spent by leading behavioral analysts in observing and evaluating a company’s employees. The resultant effect would be the firm’s deeper understanding of issues that these individuals hold dear and work towards ensuring that an enabling environment is created for the said individuals. Organizations are on a daily quest to boost their employee’s productivity. Such a state can only be achieved when a state of equilibrium is presented in the manner in which individuals interact, even when they may hold divergent world views. It’s vital to always remember that we live in a diverse world where individuals may hold opinions that greatly differ from each other. A majority of organizations are predominantly aware of this little-known fact and often work towards ensuring that such a state can be used for its own benefit. Discord among staff members has always been blamed for the woes that seem to be rocking leading organizations time and again. These occurrences often take place in organizations with a noticeable diversity in the members of staff, a factor that can often lead to conflict in the event persons decide to express their opinions on thorny issues.

Concerns for the natural environment present an added cost for any organization. Global organizations often function based on the premise that all preferences required by individuals from a particular culture are met to ensure that employees feel valued. The reason behind such a premise is in ensuring that there are no impediments that might hinder them from being productivity. Executives in these organizations are well aware of the fact that their profit margin is the ultimate goal in making any move. Staff members working in capacity as their employees are therefore their prized possession which is why they would attempt to do all that was within their power to ensure that they thrive in all they choose to pursue. Moreover, these same organizations are acutely aware of the fact that some of these individuals from across different cultures often have specific issues and opinions that they greatly value. These issues are central to every single individual and are the reason why companies would spend considerable amounts of money to ensure that they are not demoralized in any way. In reality, making such a thing possible requires tremendous amounts of effort and money meant to assure these said individuals of the organization’s commitment in ensuring that their specific environmental sensitivities are addressed. Climate change has proven a divisive issue in the recent past. This mainly has to do with the different schools of thought that exist on the matter. Organizations would often spend more money in raising the awareness on the matter, especially in countries known for their strong opinions on matters climate. Countries such as Germany and Mongolia have over the years been bringing the climate change to the world arena in an attempt to rally individuals to make considerable efforts that would slow its advance. In such a scenario, organizations would have to play an active role in ensuring that everyone is made aware of these specific sensitivities, spending massive amounts of resources in the process. Even with all the resources spent on such initiatives, the individuals involved would acknowledge that all these are actions geared towards ensuring that environmental sensitivities are acknowledged and efforts made to confront the issues head on.

Another impact in understanding all the nitty-gritty’s of a specific cross-cultural issue is the impact it would subsequently have on the employees. As earlier mentioned, it’s vital that all members of any given organization work as a strong unit to achieve the goals that have been set in stone. Most global organizations are aware of the fact that their proceeds are as a result of the hard work that they put into their duties. The art of management also becomes easily established when managers are dealing with a work force that is united and acting in congruence with each other. Although organizations are usually made up of individuals from different walks of life, an organizational culture brings these them together under a single cause and will to institute changes that would be deemed vital for the institution. Part of understanding any particular cross-cultural issue lies in the awareness that has to be raised in the organization. It’s thought that such an approach would allow every single individual in this particular situation to gain a better understanding on the issue being discussed. A compression of any issue that is of concern to most of the individuals who find themselves in such position has the ability to diffuse tension that may be inherent in an organization. Climate change, for instance, is an issue that is not quite understood by many of its deniers. Most of these persons do not actually believe that man’s activities could be responsible for these pernicious effects that are even able to transform life as we currently know it. Environmental sensitivity therefore creates an avenue where workplace colleagues can have a candid conversation on a particular issue and come up with solutions that may end up solving these problems in the long run. It’s quite likely that issues that are of great concern and divisive are in their current form due to the fact that no mechanism exists to help those who do not understand it have a finer of the facts surrounding such a phenomenon.

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