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Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Influencing Organizational Behavior: In an International Level

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Ethnic And Cultural Diversity Influencing Organizational Behavior:

In An International Level

Djurdja Tomic

Schiller International University


Ethnic And Cultural Diversity Influencing Organizational Behavior:

In An International Level

Organizational behavior dates back to 1924 and is related to the famous Hottern experiment. The definition of organizational behavior is that it is the understanding, predicting and controlling human behavior in organizations. The subject of organizational behavior allows us to understand human nature, to predict the behavior of employees in certain situations, and also to help us see how the organizational environment affects the behavior of employees. A person reacts to the environment by showing certain behavior, and the task of managers is to direct and manage this behavior, especially when the work is done at the international level, with different cultural shocks. International managers must ensure that organizational behavior is aligned with the main cause and goal of the organization, as well as the individual goals of the employees, because only in such a way will the desired behavior be repeated in the future.

International business means expanding business overseas for reasons such as reaching new customers and boosting profits. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy endeavor. Problems that organizations are facing while conducting their international operations are international company structure, foreign laws and regulations, cost calculation and global pricing strategy, currency rates, political risks, supply chain complexity and risks of labor exploitation, worldwide environmental issues and especially communication difficulties and cultural differences, just to name a few (Hult, 2017).

Communication difficulties and cultural differences are a real challenge in today’s business environment. Effective communication with colleagues, clients, and customers abroad is essential for success in international business. And it’s often more than just a language barrier we need to think about — nonverbal communication can make or break business deals too. Being aware of acceptable business etiquette abroad, and how things like religious and cultural traditions can influence this, will help us to better navigate potential communication problems in international business (Hult, 2017).

Intercultural Interaction

The need for intercultural communication is as old as humankind. From wandering tribes to traveling traders and religious missionaries, people have encountered others different from themselves. These earlier meetings, like those of today, were often confusing and hostile (Larry, A. S. & Richard, E. P., 2003)

Globalization of economy and international relations have further brought people together. Immigration patterns also contributed to the development of intercultural contact. All this affects how the business is being conducted and how managers are controlling behavior in organizations and are dealing with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds amongst their employees.

Ethnicity And Culture

We can define culture as the deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, social hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relationships, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving (Larry, A. S. & Richard, E.P., 2003).

There are some cultural elements that have the effect on the situation, especially in today’s business, based on different backgrounds of people that are working together:

  1. Perception,
  2. Verbal processes, and
  3. Nonverbal processes.

Perception

        Perception is how one view and understands main concepts of the world. There are three elements that directly influence perception and communication: cultural values, worldview, and social organizations.

Verbal language

        Verbal language is an organized system of symbols and vocal sounds that are used for communication and understanding between individuals. According to Ethnologue (2017), there are approximately 7099 living languages in the world right. This number really gives emphasis to how diverse the world is and how it affects the global business of today.

Nonverbal language

        Nonverbal language means using no words in order to communicate. The four basic types of nonverbal communication that managers need to understand are proxemics, kinesics, facial and eye behavior, and paralanguage ( Katz, A. M. & Katz, V. T., 1983)

        Every culture has it’s own language (verbal and nonverbal), perceptions, values, motives, traditions, social relationships, politics and ways of executing the business. For this reasons, managers must invest a lot of effort in order to maintain good organizational culture and behavior at an international level because these differences can cause a lot of conflicts and harm the organization itself.

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