Cultural awareness, as an essential tool in the establishment of culturally appropriate services, demands understanding on how the culture of a people may influence their views, basic assumptions, values and behaviors. It acknowledges the fact that individuals are shaped by their cultural background, which impacts on how they understand and interpret their surroundings; perceive themselves and relate to others. Cultural awareness does not require knowledge of all cultures or possess all responses to be culturally aware; rather, cultural awareness aids in reconnoitering cultural issues more thoughtfully. Info regarding precise cultural practices facilitates increase in our familiarity by providing a synopsis of cultural features and concerns. However, ascertaining individual desires and preferences is of great importance, with an understanding that persons should not be judged by their cultural norms.
Contained by any culture, are peoples’ ideals, conduct and beliefs which can differ immensely. Variances may transpire due to time of entrance in an area, span of settlement, socio-economic upbringing, education levels, rural or urban habitation, identification with cultural and religious background, and different life familiarities – including the familiarity of migration. Cultural awareness involves an understanding of the migration course itself. Migration is a significant stimulus on a person’s life, with conflicting effects due to the diverse familiarities of pre-migration, migration and resettlement. A number of post-migration trauma comprise: the hassle of separation from native land, language barriers, social-economic position, associates and support networks, culture shocks and the unending trauma of pre-migration experiences such as political instability, psychological and physical abuse, war and displacement ,among others.
Culture is described as an assimilated pattern of human conduct which embraces opinions, communication, actions, customs, philosophies, ethics and foundations of a racial, ethnic, pious or social habits, language, appearance, dressing, music and dance, attitudes and beliefs, time consciousness and interpersonal relationships. There is a difference between cultural sensitivity and cultural awareness. Cultural sensitivity initiates with the understanding the dissimilarities amongst cultures and placing worth in this diversity. Cultural awareness, on the other hand, involves developing sensitivity and bearing with other ethnic groups through change of attitudes and values. This implies familiarity with selected belief systems, behaviors, values, history and cultural characteristics of another group.
Though a culture has many features, we look at three main features; that culture is dynamic, multidimensional and learned. Looking at whichever culture, one needs to appreciate the fact that it is always changing. Culture is not static. It is always varying, budding, transforming into something new. Culture is dynamic as societies are dynamic. Subsequently as culture is made up of the persons that belong to it, it is continuously restructured by the same persons. Ideas are transmitted and deciphered from one generation to the next. At times, ideas are comparable as they are passed down through generations, though most often than not, some group ideologies may bring subtle changes in the system. However, the subtle or magnificent changes in culture must be appreciated in order to remain relevant. Cultural dynamics, on the other hand, are not absolute neither are they can all or none situation. There is a degradation of values in any culture, with subtleties of racial predisposition standing as a valid example.
Just as cultural dynamics exists, so can a person belong to multiple cultures. This implies that a culture is multifaceted. People are not only defined by a single characteristic, but also belong to different cultural groups’ altogether. The fact that we can learn about others brings out the third characteristic that a culture is learned. Individuals are not born having knowledge about their culture, but are guided overtime and let into the pros and cons of their culture, the values and beliefs, as well. Culture is not only learned from parents and relatives, but is also taught through media and strangers. Other characteristics of culture include language and customs, mission and values, climate and habits and last but not least, symbols.
The sum of enterprises operational globally is rapidly rising, with the world initiating international firms, increasing innovative destinations in the business’ industry. Owing to high competition, companies functioning internationally are confronted by greater challenges than before. Going global is linked with new and unaccustomed challenges that the company must handle. Culture stands out among the obstacles upsetting the entire enterprise. Culture influences businesses in different ways, some of which are: culture collisions, language problems and pricing difficulties, which are common especially on the onset. Handling these complexities and satisfying the natives’ expectations may prove difficult. Globalization offers no room for mistakes, which can be difficult to correct and in the end may be interpreted as disrespect for international culture. This can be a loophole that can terminate the entire operation of the business.
A company therefore must conduct feasibility studies before entering the international market, to familiarize itself with the customs and manners of the new culture. Since international corporations have distinct ways of conducting business, especially when it comes to planning, the new entrant business must in all means create a positive impression. Culture, therefore, can influence foreign investment both positively and negatively. Respect for international culture through embracing their values, beliefs , norms, not forgetting learning their language, creates the right impression, giving then a competitive edge through built up trust overtime.
When navigation global business, consideration of the political, economic and legal environment is of great importance. The social-cultural environs are a more important facet. Companies that attempt to be a stride ahead of their competitors need to be cognizant of the importance of the home country influence. Enterprises consequently should not abandon influential and cultural disparities. A company pursuing global markets must think through cultural dissimilarities before making entry. These dissimilarities could be of language, political states, culture and religion and even demand types. Fashioning partnerships in the new country would make it tranquil to make an entry into a new market.
A company’s market access choices are one of the most imperative issues before entering a different market. Research shows that if there is a high cultural variance between the new market and the local market, then, joint ventures are preferred. This is explained by the fact that if both the new and local firms merge; costs associated with learning a new culture are reduced. This is because; the goodwill of a firm affects the mode of entry. Culture may upset the behavior of individual executives and assistants as they interact with others. Anticipated behaviors are likely to be linked to cultural standards. Some cultures are modest while others are intricate. Some cultures are defined by certain mythologies, which limit their freedom of choice in terms of consumption, dressing and association. Feasibility studies therefore constitute a major determinant in the success of the global business. For example, some groups of people are prohibited from taking certain foods, therefore minimizing cases of disrespect, aswould be termed by the natives.
Markets all around the world are in progress to become more comparable to those in the 70´s because of technological compensations and swelling international travel. Companies that deal with high value, low price and homogeneous products can win out over local companies that offer modified products but for sophisticated prices. This is elucidated by the fact that people’s inclinations are more homogenous. For companies to gain preference, they must hold stout global trading and investment positions. First, the state must uphold economic competitiveness. Second, it must result trade guidelines so that other countries open r doors for its products, willingly buying from as well as selling to the country. Third, the firm must develop a global orientation that sanctions them to operate as multinational enterprises, not just as aboriginal companies doing business abroad. Furthermore, the best way for companies to realize competitive advantage is with innovation.
The major challenge encountered by companies is the strategy that guarantees an entry point in the global market. Management of business processes across universal boarders is challenge in global business currently. The global economy has fashioned business environs that necessitate companies to look beyond traditional and simple local operations and instead develop a global perspective and approach. Techniques a company undertakes, from local market to new market is of pronounced prominence in deciding the company’s success. Small and medium size businesses that have taken the resolution to internationalize and global firms that want to develop into international markets are both encountered with the task of selecting the best organizational engagements. Many features hearten companies to initiate operating internationally. The utmost palpable are: Anticipation for economies of scope and scale, knowledge Curve effects resultant from augmented outputs, the likelihood of the actuality of beneficial markets in foreign countries.
Advancement in communication, enhancement in travel states of affairs, lower tariff blockades among others make overseas markets more available, creating more prospects for companies to go global. Going global signifies several establishments that enhance value to activities. Industrialized and service companies go in global fairs for several reasons and outs. While some major in an overseas country because local markets are rapidly growing, other companies may basically follow their home customers who are going global.
Price plays a significant role in forming customer worth and building customer affiliation. It is among the four fundamentals of the marketing mix and a pointer that influences consumer choice. Pricing is amongst some intricate decision areas faced by global marketers. Market prices at the consumer level are more challenging to regulate in global markets than in local markets. The price is unwarrantable because it upsets the firm’s capacity to subsist in the business. The price is also sophisticated, as of the multiplicity of markets, with their diverse environs such as ,social, technological, political , legal, consumer physiognomies, etc. Thus, price is a concern that can distress the global business and the company’s co-operations in the alien country.
Cultural influences have an imperative influence on the flow of business. Every society possesses some foundations of culture exhibited through: language (verbal and non verbal), religion, manners and customs, values and attitudes, aesthetics, education and social institutions. Adoption of these essentials for a global company, rests on its edge in the market involvementThe most imperative concern for a alien company is cultural investigation, which embracesinformation that aids the company´ planning decisions.
language is one of the key concerns when it comes to dialogues with trade associates from other cultures. Though it is not always essential to discern the partner’s language, numerous studies, confirm that a connection subsists between profound business ventures in international markets; with the company embracing the customer’s. There are various spects about culture treflected in a negotiation situation. Foreign investors are not only familiar with their native language, but are also conversant with that of their new destination. This gives them a competitive edge in their operations, as it enhances communication in the organization.
For cultural dissimilarities to reduce, they ought to monitored. there are four tactics for handling differences in culture. they include; building a strong corporate culture internationally, developing a general technical or professional culture worldwide, relying on strong financial or planning systems and Leaving each culture alone. No matter how comprehensive the negotiation process may turn out, cultural norms and values of the participants influence the manner in which the process is carried out. Negotiating styles are different as different cultures adopt distinct approaches.(Rugman, 2000).
The present multidimensional environment faces a number of complexities and challenges that require close collaboration between the military and a couple of organizations within a joint, interagency, multinational structure including non-Governmental organizations. For the collaboration, some issues are yet to be met for effective operations. Issues such as shared goals, mutual trust, shared power, clearly defined responsibilities and roles, mutual respect have impacted the collaboration among work forces within the JIM environment. There are some challenges faced in collaboration though, some of which are; communication, rapport development, negotiations, planning and decision making, potential differences, prejudice, diverse negotiations, stereotypes, among others. Despite the challenges, positive reports concerning shared identity and promotion of personal relationships, stands out in the efforts to enhance collaboration .the military, through Canadian Forces personnel, tackle number of complexities and challenges in the present environment, which calls for diplomacy and development goals, as well as security and defense goals. With their operations concentrated in conflict urban centers differentiated by cultural, ethnic and religious affiliation.
Nowadays, military lawfulness and efficacious operations are not defined by martial power solely but needs confidence and support from the local population. This is because the driving factors of conflict are ideological, ethnic, religious and material demands. Therefore, the military cannot conduct its operations in isolation, but need to incorporate actors such as the local community, correction officials, development officers, diplomats, police officers, among others, who are in pursuit of similar goals such as peace stability. That calls for participation in both non-traditional activities such as development and traditional activities such as defense.
The benefits of operating in a JIMP framework include increasing the coordinated action on behalf of the CF and other players to secure mission goals and objectives; socializing the CF and other organizations to the challenges that each confront in the security environment and to how their unique contributions can serve to collaboratively address these; increasing awareness of and respect for the resources and contribution of diverse players; desiring to work collaboratively to achieve goals in a non-hierarchical manner; and ultimately fostering more strategic decision-making and performance .( Leslie et al. 2008)Factors Influencing Collaboration
There is a variety of dynamics alleged to influence collaboration, counting external, individual and organizational factors. Individual factors are the exceptional features of the persons who signify an association throughout collaboration. Distinct features include n individual’s knowledge (e.g., of collaboration partners’ perspectives, norms, systems, etc.); skills (e.g., communication skills, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution skills, etc.) and abilities (e.g., cognitive abilities); attitudes and values (e.g., willingness to collaborate); and other characteristics (e.g., experience, personality, etc.). (Schein, 1990, p. 111). Organizational culture and Governance additional significant organizational issues. Governance consists of the guidelines and bylaws for proper management of an organization, guaranteeing accountability for those persons’ stand-in on behalf of the organization. An organizational culture is viewed as shared assumptions developed to aid in decision making and problem solving, passed on to every member of the work force, that regulate the code of professional conduct. Conventionally, decrypting an organization’s culture and the consequences of this culture on distinct participants is a composite mission.
One way to theoretically streamline the concept is to envisage culture as demonstrating at three levels, developing to advanced levels of generalization, vacillating from visible artifacts to the organization’s ethics, standards, ideologies, and beliefs, and ultimately to its fundamental suppositions. The organizational culture shapes the principles, methods and behaviours of its participants. External factors denote the settings of the condition in which collaboration transpires. Factors that seem pertinent in an operational setting comprise the level of risk, the uncertainty of the situation, time pressure, and national culture. (Mariano, 1998)Process of Collaboration
The factor linked to the course of collaboration encompasses the conditions for alliance, the impetus to collaborate, and the authentic procedure of collaboration. Conferring to study, there are a number of circumstances essential to guarantee operative collaboration among performers in place of diverse organizations. These include shared goals, shared values, shared risk and shared power as well as mutual trust (Austin, 2000, Phillips & Graham, 2000, Rapp & Whitfield, 1999, all cited in Foster & Meinhard, 2002). Other scholars propose that collective reverence can expedite collaboration, which necessitates acquaintance with another organization and its inimitable input to accomplishing collaborative objectives (San Martin-Rodriguez et al., 2005). Lastly, evidently established roles and accountabilities are imperative for nurturing operational collaboration, and this lucidity may be fostered through influential schemes and progressions, such as documentation, policies, standards, among others, which are conversed amongst collaborative allies through communication and interaction (San Martin-Rodriguez et al., 2005).
The course of collaboration also comprises the impetus to cooperate. Organizations may be motivated to collaborate for a number of reasons. For example, organizations may have to collaborate by necessity, in order to fulfill some legal or regulatory requirements placed on them, or because of scarce resources. (Foster and Meinhard (2002) .Collaborating by stipulation entails partial choice substitutes and the premier notch of interdependence. According to Foster and Meinhard(2002), another motive to collaborate is reciprocity (i.e., organizations have mutuallybeneficial goals and interests that are obtained through collaboration). Additionally, organizations may cooperate because a superior, more influential organization is considering to take over one smaller organization; consequently, the superior organization will direct collaboration with the lesser organization to accomplish its goal.
An additional motive for collaboration is efficiency. collective exertion can aid decrease costs. Foster and Meinhard also elucidate that administrations are enthused to collaborate with more organizations for the reason that collaboration upsurges stability, reliability and predictability. Lastly, a business may join forces to augment its institutional legitimacy. For the resolves of this outline, the diverse impetuses to collaborate have been abridged as fitting two groupings of drivers: internally motivated interdependence motivations and superficially driven interdependence stimuli. The former signifies a candid inclination to collaborate and comprises intentions like mutuality, and stability, reliability and predictability, whereas the latter confers to a drive to collaborate grounded on exterior forces, such as the necessity, proficiency, and probably the heightening of established acceptability.
The circumstances behind the alliance and the stimulus to collaborate will influence one another, and this is signified by the “double-sided arrow” on the demonstration. Both similarly unswervingly impact alliance. Lastly, collaboration itself is comprised of a number of does, as well as communication, evolving rapport, conciliation, scheduling and decision-making, and recalibrating .communication denotes information distribution, sympathizing and empathizing with others’ points of outlook and situation .Negotiation is similarly an indispensable part of the collaboration, and to a number of persons, it calls for embracing a collaborative attitude, compared to a competitive one. Competitive diplomats characteristically follow their own desires and goals, whereas co-operative (or collaborative) diplomats guarantee that the desires of exclusive parties are changed and that utmost worth for everybody is similarly achieved (Goodwin, 2005). Evidently, there are supplementary negotiating styles or methodologies, counting evading (i.e., deciding not to negotiate), compromising (i.e., both parties consent to a number of concessions to meet midway), and accommodating (i.e., giving in to another’s wishes or desires frequently by renouncing one’s personal opinion ). (Kilmann & Thomas, 1975). Relationship conserving negotiation styles comprise compromising, collaborating and accommodating.
Collaborating varies from merely cooperating or obliging for the reason that factual collaboration strive for a win-win outcome rather than merely assenting to the desires of other negotiating parties. This will simply be accomplished by engendering innovative policies and elucidations. Some argue that the collaborative negotiation requires, to some extent, a competitive approach (Goodwin, 2005), as this will avert one from being taken advantage of (obliging) or settling down on less than what can actually be realized through negotiation (cooperating). Indubitably, it should be pointed out that there are occurrences in conciliation where the unsurpassed choice given the conditions may be obliging (e.g., have desecrated another’s trust), cooperating (e.g., short time frame and confidence in one’s conciliation partner) or evading (e.g., when on is ad libitum to take another action).
Ensuing negotiation, cooperative partners must strategize and select the suitable strategy to apprehend their precise goals and fulfill their desires. As such, decision making and preparation will also be constituents of an alliance. In addition to collaboration being a dynamic progression, those involved need to uninterruptedly monitor and appraise the progression and recalibrate their situation as significance.Outcomes of CollaborationPerformance
Collaborative exertions are instigated in order to attain some kind of goal or final culmination state. The capability to attain this end state is a scale of the enactment of the cooperative team, and the result of the collaborative determination. Performance will be a consequence of collaborators’ cooperation, preparation and decision-making and it will influence the collective impression of alliances as well as any successive collaboration.Cumulative impact
The effects of alliance can be direct and ancillary, and temporary and long-standing, and the collective impact construct is envisioned to indicate the totality of all these stimuli. Thesignificance of reasoning at an effects-based level was manifested in the discussion above.Personal relationships
As well as being entrenched in the progression of alliance, personal interactions are an imperative result of collaboration. Effective collaborations will probably effect in constructive personal affiliations whereas ineffective collaboration may effect in negative personal ffiliations.Collective understanding
Collective understanding denotes the pooled knowledge of one’s association partners. The data in the paper above presented very slight evidence of cooperative understanding among collaboration partners in the JIMP operational environment. In fact, as stated above, in the case of the NGO community, the CF may not have a very good understanding of the community in general as a result of cooperating only with the “disorganized, unprofessional groups.”Satisfaction with the process
Satisfaction with the process of collaboration will have a stern control on forthcoming collaboration struggles. In fact, negotiation research highlights the role of bargaining history in future negotiation situations, in that history tends to repeat itself (O’Connor, Arnold, & Burris, 2005, as cited in Thompson et al., 2010). For example, the deals that people reach in one negotiation instance influence their subsequent bargaining experiences (good leads to good, bad leads to bad). Moreover, reaching an impasse in one negotiation increases the probability of reaching an impasse or obtaining low joint value in the next negotiation. Negotiation will have an obvious impact on collaboration in the JIMP operational environment. Indeed, one NGO participant recognized that current collaboration experiences in Afghanistan will shape the perceptions of the civilian community and their future civil-military interactions.
In conclusion, culture awareness is of great importance especially when it comes to investments, security and organizational operations. Culture is what defines a people. An understanding of one’s culture and that of others enhances security and integration among organizations and communities at large. Some of the characteristics discussed above are important in understanding various institutions both at the organizational level as well as in the community level. Discarding the wrong and barbaric teachings of culture and embracing the positive aspects of the same enhances development, peaceful resolutions, security and most important of all, enhances unity, co-operation and understanding. At the organizational level, cultural awareness enhances good working relations among the staff and apparently leads to increased output and hence growth in the organization up to globalization. As culture is dynamic, we should also embrace the change as it comes, for a better and promising environment and world.
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