Multi-national companies from the U.S. hold a great advantage by working in and with other countries and cultures to make their products accessible to a much broader community. When multi-nationals gains access into or with other companies/countries, it may be an assumption that because everyone inside the business is working for the same purpose, they are going to automatically communicate, think and look at the world and its problems in precisely the same manner. When different cultures start working together, issues or problems may appear, and people within these companies may seem not proficient or skillful enough to cope with these issues and problems efficiently. This could just be because they have never handled the cross cultural issues/problems before. Comparing the ethical perspectives and cultural differences of the United States to those of other countries was very interesting.
Ethics can be defined as the difference between right and wrong as it pertains to our well-being, safety, morals, and standards. One major ethical and cultural difference between the U.S. and other countries in S.E. Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or South America may be the child labor laws. The United States have laws and regulations prohibiting children under specific ages from working. India, Laos, Somalia, Sudan, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bolivia, Colombia, and many others, however, sees children working as positive because it keeps them off the street and helps the family income. Do we change others or should we change ourselves
Life would surely be a lot less difficult if other people would just look at things this way or that way. That’s more often than not, what we believe when things are not going well or going our way. Especially, when communication begins breaking down with people from different cultural backgrounds. We wait for the other individual to change, so things will be okay, (‘if perhaps he had listen to me, I would be good or if he was more efficient, I would have my work done’). I am sure we all have these thoughts from time to time. To be realistic, the only person you can change is yourself. Oftentimes, it is not feasible to wait for others to change and see things our way, unless you make corrections and do things differently, communications will continue to fall apart. Working with other people from different cultures and traditions, it is not wise to hold your breath for others to make changes first. Different Perspectives
For example, Hewlett Packard (HP) understands that there are communications problems between their India subsidiaries and the U.S. office, because in general, Americans and people from India communicate differently. The people from the different offices (from each culture) believe they are making changes and adjustments/accommodations to fit or agree with the other, but those adjustments/accommodations are not necessarily the changes that are required; these changes are oftentimes only what these people assume are needed. Another example is how Westerners and people from the Easterners have different perspectives on marriage. Many Asians still believe in arranged marriages, it is considered joining of family’s forces more so than for the couple who are actually getting married. Westerners consider marriage as being all about the two people involved, with no real considerations to family’s feelings. Traditionally, family considerations and opinions were important to Westerners when marrying, but in today’s world, not so much. Viable solutions
Some solutions to cross cultural differences are to look at things that divide cultures and what it is that creates misunderstanding between people. Multi-national Organizations have in place many cross cultural programs that help their employees to adapt without being in conflict with who or what their beliefs are. Cross Cultural Programs could be set up to look at many things to include: Language and terms, assumptions, discovering common grounds, beliefs and traditions, dealing and working out misunderstandings, resolutions and negotiations in finding win/win solutions. Conclusion
It is easy to understand that cross cultural differences comes from the various backgrounds and beliefs of every culture. Cultural diversity/differences are often seen in the workplace where achieving sales goals, meeting deadlines, and operating on limited budgets, could cause disagreement in the organization. And, because of the differences in traditions and cultural background, people working in the same organization may have different values, beliefs and may act very differently from each other to any set circumstance. For the organization to be successful, and the management to be effective, all employees should be trained and able to work together no matter what ethnic or cultural background they are from. Employees should always work together towards the common goal of achieving success for the organization.
Kawar, T. I. (2012). Cross-cultural Differences in Management. Cross-cultural Differences in Management , 3(6), 105-111. Retrieved from