Why Organizations Need Cross Cultural Competence

A commitment to develop cross cultural competence requires trust, vulnerability, and a willingness to change. Cross cultural experiences help learners to step back and look at some of the practical needs and benefits involved with increasing cross cultural competence in the workplace. It is beneficial to reflect on progress and accomplishments made along the cultural competence development journey.

Around the world, people are similar to and very different from one another. We are all human beings who seek the same basic human values, ranging from self-direction, pleasure, and stimulation to power, security, conformity, and benevolence. We are also raised in a wide variety of cultures and families. We work in different systems and organizations and don’t even realize how much these differences drive our perceptions, our decision making, and our business dealings.

At best, we connect. At worst, our best intentions are marred by culture clash. And culture clash is costly. One major reason for failure when large organizations merge is culture clash. Culture clash increases conflict between members of both firms involved in the merger, which reduces productivity. Conflict may arise in both big and small ways, such as management styles, views on pay scales and expenses, perceived roles or performance of each firm, or disappointment in the mergers’ results.
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