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Although businesses have turned out to be complex entities because of globalization, communication remains a fundamental constant principle for every business to succeed. Communication in business entities has different forms, both non-verbal and verbal. Organizations are concerned with how they should maintain and nurture effective intercultural communications among the workers (Chhokar, Brodbeck & House, 2013). Indeed, as the business continues expanding overseas and the workforce becomes more multicultural, some businesses have forgotten what homogenous workforce is. The management of organizations presently have to make sure that they understand and incorporate cultural differences. However, leading across culture presents various challenges. The current paper will compare and contrast the culture in the Middle East with that of Ghana in Africa, applying Hofstede’s theory as a framework.
I conducted an interview with an international student from Ghana in Africa. The interview was mainly about the culture differences existing between the people in construction projects. Through the interview, I was able to establish that Ghana is a developing country whereby there are no native engineers. As a result, foreign engineers are deployed to assist in projects involving water systems and sanitations in the rural areas. Due to differences in culture between the foreign engineers and the local communities, there are certain challenges concerning the management and implementation of projects. The interview was based on some of the failed projects in Ghana and explored important issues allied to cross-cultural projects. In order to analyze the challenges, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory will be used.
Challenges Noted Throughout the Interview
Leaders in African continent face challenges in developing managerial effectiveness due to cultural differences on the continent (Ban, 2013). Developing relevant skills, such as time management, strategic thinking, prioritization, and making decisions is a challenge because the culture does not allow for diverse opinions. Additionally, leaders are faced with the challenge of inspiring others to ensure that they are motivated.
For instance, the engineers who visit Ghana face different challenges emanating from the cultures of the local communities. They expect that the locals will express their opinions about the water systems constructed, the procedures used in the projects and the design of the systems. Interestingly, only the chief and the elders are supposed to express these opinions in the culture of Ghana. The ordinary members are not supposed to air their views, though they are the people who are supposed to benefit from the projects.
Moreover, through the interview, I realized that even if the members voiced their opinions, they did not express any opinions that conflict with what the majority think because they are not supposed to do it. The interviewee gave an example of a certain project whereby engineers asked two women from the same family how they felt the project would impact them. While one woman shared her opinion, the other woman refused to share hers when asked to do so because she was younger than the other woman. According to their culture, the women are not supposed to give opinions when someone older than them comments.
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Challenges from my Culture
Leading in the Middle East faces challenges, especially issues in developing employees due to the culture ingrained in the local communities. For instance, developing the workers through coaching and mentoring is not easy because the employees depend on the opinions of the majority of the members of society.
Moreover, guiding changes in organizations is very difficult due to culture. Managing, understanding, mobilizing, leading change, as well as mitigating change is a challenge. Furthermore, overcoming resistance as well as reacting to the resistance of employees to change is a challenge to most leaders in the Middle East.
Indeed, the culture in the Middle East is not much different from the culture experienced on the African continent because the challenges faced are similar in one way or another. For instance, I remember some project leaders in my country that approached a woman asking her about the challenges facing the project that they were implementing. She was the only person who was directly affected by this issue, and no one could have given a better response than her. Therefore, the leaders wanted her opinion to customize the project in the best manner, which would benefit the whole community. Interestingly, she was reluctant to express her opinion in regards to the project because her culture does not allow her to comment on behalf of the people of the community.
Additionally, I experienced another occasion where project engineers from the United Kingdom had a tight work schedule in a certain project they were implementing in our country. The other members of community were very pleased with the impact of this project, and they offered to assist to guarantee its successful completion. However, the chief lost his father before the completion of the project. As a result, the engineers were compelled to stop working on the project because everyone was supposed to assist in funeral arrangements, which took them a long time. Therefore, the engineers were not able to complete the project on time. Indeed, all the workers from the community seemed lethargic after the funeral and could not work as before.
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