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Organizational Behavior

Free «Organizational Behavior» Essay Sample

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Establishment of fruitful and satisfactory relationships within cross-cultural teams is the best characteristic and the ultimate purpose of the consulting firm Beyond Borders. The practice shows that it is highly important to have an individual approach to foreign colleagues and employees. Furthermore, it is crucial to take into account their personalities besides only the cultural background and identity, according to the Behavioral Approaches to Leadership. The experience demonstrates that the knowledge of foreign traits and behavioral patterns along with learning and re-training aimed at building and development of international partnership provide plenty of opportunities to establish fruitful and beneficial cooperation. For instance, the application of Locke and Latham’s goal setting theory helped foreign partners to find a common language while successfully fulfilling organizational tasks and objectives. Moreover, one of the most valuable experiences of Beyond Borders was the implementation of the leadership-member exchange model between the foreign partner companies. It helped to strengthen an understanding of organizational processes of companies in different countries, share their experience, and enhance the international collaboration. Therefore, the analysis of Preferred Choice Inc. is aimed at finding the problems resulting from the cooperation with Pinyin and possible solutions to these problems.

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Analysis of Preferred Choice Inc.

Critical Incident 1 Cultural and Communication Barriers

Communication barrier to the cultural background may be the first and the most urgent problem with possible far-reaching negative outcomes for Preferred Choice Inc., a Memphis-based company manufacturing food for pets. Moreover, this issue is complex because it involves language, cultural, and other kinds of obstacles that could impede the normal development of working relationships (Jenifer & Raman, 2015; Goudreau, 2013). From the perspective of the behavioral approaches to leadership, the communication ability is the ground, key concern, and one of the most desirable skills in many cross-cultural teams (Cain, 2012). On the one hand, the situation of Preferred Choice does not seem difficult or threatening. However, when communication is inappropriate, employees cannot find a common language, which hinders normal operational process and working environment (Goudreau, 2013). The problem of the Preferred Choice Inc. lies not only in the existing barriers themselves but in the employees’ first reactions to these obstacles; they were anxious about cooperation with foreigners, and namely with the Chinese company Pinyin. In turn, such worries may serve as the symptomatic indicator showing that it is time to change the attitudes toward foreigners and communication with them.


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The language barrier represents the first field of misunderstanding between employees from different cultural background. Despite the spread of English and world globalization process, in general, it seems impossible for the workers from Pinyin speak only Chinese (Jenifer & Raman, 2015). However, even their knowledge cannot solve the possible problems. In many cases, Pinyin’s employees are not aware of particular forms of English colloquialisms and slang, which leads to misinterpretation and misunderstanding (Jenifer & Raman, 2015). Teamwork refers to a collective effort where all the colleagues should completely understand the direction that the working process is taking.

Moreover, to a certain extent, the topic of a cross-cultural team relates to the creation of the virtual team. For example, it is the situation when employees from different countries do not work in the same geographic location (Cain, 2012; Jenifer & Raman, 2015; Rohm, 2011). Not only does it pose the problem of the absence of face-to-face contact but also involves some ethical issues (Cain, 2012). Communication via phones, the Internet, Skype, or email requires heightened attention to the maximum clearness of speech to enable the foreign colleagues to understand everything being spoken (Jenifer & Raman, 2015). Furthermore, one should take into consideration cultural peculiarities of the humor perception (Goudreau, 2013; Cain, 2012). Chinese jokes differ from American ones. One cannot argue that humor should be present during serious discussions (Jenifer & Raman, 2015). However, English speakers from Preferred Choice Inc. should be cautious about joking with Chinese employees, because every culture has a divergent understanding of humor.

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Critical Incident 2 Work Style

Work style is another problem of the cross-cultural teams, Preferred Choice Inc. and Pinyin, in particular. The Chinese style of work and management has extreme divergences in comparison to the American one. These peculiarities originate from the cultural background that has been shaping the perception of the work process for centuries (Goudreau, 2013). Apart from that, the political system also influences the style and attitudes toward the work and team. Therefore, a discord in the cooperation of Pinyin Food and Preferred Choice Inc. can emerge from the choice of working approaches. According to Locke and Latham’s goal setting theory, the organizational process can be arranged properly owing to the appropriate aim and objectives establishment as well as the division of roles (Goudreau, 2013). The American society is more individualistic: the contribution of one person is highly appreciated. Thus, regarding the family-like environment of the American company, one may notice that everyone in Preferred Choice has his/her own role and does his/her job, contributing to the success of their company. On the other hand, the peculiarities of the Chinese employees demonstrate that they are uncomfortable with independence. It is possible to assume that Pinyin team is more collective. Additionally, due to their positive views on having the superior who would be unquestionably obeyed, the preference of one long-established idea becomes apparent. Chinese do not like different opinions, so it would be challenging to implement some ideas while cooperating. The chances are high that most of the offered changes in the work initiated by Preferred Choice Inc. will be disapproved by Pinyin. The Chinese society praises their past and finds it difficult to apply something innovative. Thus, the incident described above can eliminate misunderstandings and unacceptance of each other as well as losses of profits and benefits. Moreover, the colleagues from Pinyin can be rather unpredictable, which also can break the cooperation between the two companies.

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Critical Incident 3 Motivation and Expectations from the Work

Another critical situation in the partnership of Preferred Choice Inc. and Pinyin can arise from motivational patterns and expectations from the job. Ignoring the specific needs and requirements of foreign colleagues can decrease the productivity and reduce the desire to cooperate (Goudreau, 2013; Mackenzie & Wallace, 2011). As a result, American-Chinese collaboration will most probably fail. There are many studies trying to determine the motivators for employees as well as huge amounts of recommendations to managers how to enhance job satisfaction among followers (Rohm, 2011). However, many authors tend to neglect the cultural differences directing the motivation in divergent geographic areas (Goudreau, 2013). Again, it requires an individual approach in terms of the behavioral theory or practical experiences provided by the leadership-member exchange model. According to these concepts, the expectations from the job are individual enough to classify them without the context. Therefore, the exchange of employees would help to analyze the factors of influence in the working environment. American employees having their individualistic approaches will have different motivators stemming from their personalities (Rohm, 2011). On the other hand, the level of Chinese job satisfaction and motivators do not differ extremely, compared to the Western habits. The job satisfaction in Chinese urban areas depends on the age, education, personal income, and education. Besides that, stability, professional development, a decent income, and social insurance are the main determinants of job satisfaction and motivation (Mackenzie & Wallace, 2011). Moreover, there are differences in views on the issue in terms of a gender aspect. Women in China have a lower level of job satisfaction. However, a range of motivators, along with political ones, positively impact the productivity (Rohm, 2011). Additionally, the vast majority of foreign managers may not be able to find a common language and influence their teams if the representatives have diverse cultural identities. Moreover, apart from the traits accustomed in one country, employees and managers should take into consideration the personalities of each other (Mackenzie & Wallace, 2011). It is crucially important as wrong motivation is worse than its absence. Again, it can fuel the misunderstanding between Preferred Choice Inc. and Pinyin. Employees and managers could see each other as having strange behavior, which leads to distrust between the companies (Mackenzie & Wallace, 2011). Furthermore, different opinions and views on the leadership in China and the United States cause the opposing attitudes to the motivation matters (Rohm, 2011). Thus, the Chinese leaders can demand indisputable obedience from the American followers. Undoubtedly, the latter could dislike such treatment, and their motivation level would be equal to zero.

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Recommendation 1 for Cultural and Communication Barriers

Preferred Choice Inc. and Pinyin can overcome communication and cultural barriers only by face-to-face meetings and mutual experience. The most suitable practice for such problem will be adopting the leadership-member exchange model between the two companies. For example, a Pinyin’s manager can come to the American company and spend some time leading a team of Preferred Choice. It will help to realize each other’s characteristic traits and motivators as well as to establish better communication through finding the best language approaches and formulas to understand the acceptable level of cross-cultural communication and its peculiarities. Moreover, it is important to re-train the employees of both companies in the aspect of cultural competence (Mackenzie & Wallace, 2011). Furthermore, it is necessary to establish the language courses to provide the employees with the opportunity to hold business conversations.

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Recommendation 2 for Work Style

It would be crucial for both companies to adjust the working habits and attitudes to the organizational process. For example, to build beneficial relations and cooperation, the companies may try to implement transformational and transactional leadership strategies in different teams. Moreover, to measure and compare their effectiveness, it would be necessary to apply Locke and Latham’s goal setting theory and set the same goal for both teams. It would help to identify the key problems in cross-cultural communication and give the ground for the development of plan focused on the minimization of the negative impact of possible cultural barriers in terms of work style (Mackenzie & Wallace, 2011). Finally, these actions are aimed at the creation of the environment based on the mutual respect to each other’s cultural differences.

Recommendation 3 for Motivation and Expectations from the Work

The description of the third critical incident has shown that not only the cultural background but also the personality are the internal factors that influence motivation. Regardless of whether it is the American team or the Chinese one, every individual in a group will have different motivators. Therefore, the most suitable concept to overcome the problem is Vroom’s expectancy theory involving three elements such as expectancy, instrumentality, and valence. It would help to identify and exercise utilization of various motivators according to an individual without violation of others’ expectations and desires. The implementation of the theory in practice would provide the opportunity for a leader to identify personal motivating factors of the team members and encourage them appropriately.

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