Challenges for the future leadership

Nowadays, the increase of international organizations is liable to alter the interpretative perspectives on intercultural human interaction. By creating the organizational framework of communication between different nationalities, traditions and histories, rituals and values, norms and actions etc, the international actor will foster a symbolic domain where different cultures interact and interfere on a daily basis. Although it has been proven in time that similarity has a positive impact on social interaction and cooperation (Berscheid and Walster, 1978; Byrne, 1971, 1992; Byrne and Lamberth, 1971; Clore and Byrne, 1974; Morry, 2007), the future opens its gates to diversity at all levels.

As an international employee, one may face diversity continuously in her/his current collaborations – her/his co-worker, subordinate or manager may be of a different nationality, culture, religion, way of thinking and of expressing feelings and so on. Subsequently, the transformative action of individuals (nationally and culturally speaking) brings about the emergence of a specific reaction toward “the others”, a cultural disposition of overprotecting our own identity. The fear of being absorbed by another cultural model acts as a restraining factor against the others. We are proud of who we are, of our ways to think and act in the work context and meeting other styles may pose a huge pressure on our job efficiency. It is most likely that the cultural collision produces not only local disruptions, but overall consequences, at the company level.

In this respect, from Schein’s standpoint, cultural diversity within an organization cannot be approached otherwise, but through leadership-driven intervention and negotiation (Schein, 2009). This is why intercultural negotiation firmly requires an active leader who does not wait for positive outcomes to come naturally, but instead he totally assumes the corporate intercultural environment and he focuses his efforts on harmonizing the varied organizational cultures.

In other words, these efforts must become a key point on every leader’s agenda, starting from the moment when corporations make acquisitions, mergers or joint-ventures. All these facts involve different people who must integrate as well as possible in the new organizational social system as a condition for achieving their goals and the organization’s goals simultaneously. Moreover, the future leader will set himself up as a milestone and driving force of mobilizing the inner organizational cleavages toward an effective framework for negotiation.

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