NEWS

Cross-Cultural appetizer

April 4, 2018

“If you don’t take care of internal, external will take care of it”

 

The foreign investor, after acquiring a company abroad, usually expects three simple ground rules to be respected: honesty, efficiency and commitment. Instead he often gets a feeling of acquiring a Pandora Box.

Each day new surprises “jump up” … Unclear interpersonal relations, engagement to rumours, info-blockades, negative attitude to work and organization, lacking loyalty to new owners or JV partners, lacking engagement to given tasks, bio-polarized perception of the organizational reality.

It happens that in the name of “positive thinking” some managers, with the middle management at the front-line, enthusiastically supported by the opponents of changes, censor through what they see as a Pandora’s Box of problems. They censor through, and decide, what information is “impropriate” to the ears of the new foreign owner or partner.

Bio-polarized perception of what’s important to the company’s “successful living”, supported by cross-cultural misunderstandings, is quite a common challenge that foreign CEOs have to face, and struggle with. That cultural “counter-fight”, to start with invisible and innocent, after a while may get quite a negative impact on the company’s performance, and at the end of the day – its bottom line.

Therefore, interactions between the investor’s culture and” our culture down here”, its impact on the company’s internal life, the way it conducts business and manage people, should be followed with a due care and concern.

The members of multinational-organizations need to understand that identifying with the new owner’s values and rules is not a deception of “My Polish way”, and “Subservience to the Norwegian style”, but rather the inevitability, and the prerequisite for company’s ultimate success.

In order to avoid the cross-cultural pitfalls – usually leading to the frustrations, bio polarization, and splitting of the company into “we and them” worlds – it is of importance to clarify the mutual perceptions of tangible issues, and intangible values before they become a threat to the company’s well-being.

The nature of management skills is such that they are culturally specific. A management technique or philosophy that is appropriate in one national culture is not necessarily appropriate in another.

Management deals with a reality that is man-made. People build organizations according to their values. The societies are composed of institutions and organizations that reflect the dominant values within their culture. Poland is not an exception!

In this respect, the notion of «Western” modern management methods are also crumbling. By the same token, speaking of any “Scandinavian” or “East-European” type of management is not justified.

Good understanding and thus taking good care of all the issues related to the cross-cultural interdependencies, similarities and animosities is a prerequisite assuring the successful implementation of the change efforts throughout the whole organization, restructuring including.

The range of tools, techniques and lines of action that might be used in order to obtain the crucial knowledge as “the hidden internal life of the organization is concerned”, fluctuates from investor to investor, from JV to JV, from acquisition to acquisition.

It depends on the company’s origin, culture, style, business profile and objectives. 

The Atmosphere Report created by consulting company Perfect Connection is, in that context, a useful operational tool to be recommended.

It has been developed due to the foreign investors’ experiences with their Polish endeavours.

The Atmosphere Report gives investor the true picture of what is really going on in the company and people’s minds – something even the best pre-acquisitioned due-diligence can’t “detect”.

Through the investigation one discovers unpolished diamonds and detects great pretenders among all the layers of the organization.

The Atmosphere Report supplies the investor with unbiased and thorough answers regarding: employees’ perception of the new organizational reality, their loyalty and attitude towards the new employer, commitment to given tasks, competencies, engagement to rumours, info-blockades and “Achilles’” points in the internal information flow, informal communication’s content and channels, hidden pitfalls – to mention the most important.

Through the Atmosphere Report the interdependencies, animosities and interactions between investor’s culture and “our culture down here” are disclosed. The outcomes of the Atmosphere Report become a pathfinder and guide through the whole process of organizational improvements. They give a strong foundation for precise planning and efficient implementation of any changes desired by the Investor.

 

The methodology and philosophy of that tool is based on a very simple conviction:

“If you don’t take care of internal, external will take care of it”


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