HOW DO DIFFERENT VALUE GROUPS DEVELOP IN THE SAME ORGANISATION?
Global organisations expect a standard set of values and behaviours from their employees, regardless of personal background or geographical location. However, this does not stop the growth of different groups within organisations, with each possessing its own values. Authors Alfred M. Jaeger, Sung Soo Kim, and Arif Nazir Butt explain the concept of groupvergence, how it develops in organisations, and results in the formation of two types of value groups — local values clusters and global values clusters. They further describe how these value groups impact organisations. Groupvergence is the emergence, in the same environment, of different groups of individuals with either more local or more global values, suggesting varying levels of divergence or convergence for different groups. Those with little or no exposure to globalisation would have local sociocultural as well as business ideology values (local values cluster); those with some or more exposure would have local sociocultural values coupled with global business ideology values (global values cluster).
Managers’ values are influenced by two (potentially) parallel processes, i.e., cultural exposure and (organisational) socialisation. Cultural exposure can result from regular electronic interaction (telephone, email, video chat). Another source is face to face interaction with members of other cultures, which exposes managers to more “universal managerial ethos.” Not only does this business approach improve productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness, it also promotes a uniformity of values (global managerial values) across cultural contexts. Organisational socialisation is the process whereby newcomers become incorporated into the organisational roles and environment. They learn behaviours that help them become effective members of the organisational culture. Moreover, they absorb organisational values, norms, and identity — all of which form value clusters. Managers who work or have worked in MNCs (multinational corporations) are more likely to espouse global managerial values as opposed to those who have worked only in domestic enterprises.
Global organisations which have these coexisting groups can utilise this cultural diversity for problem-solving, creativity, and establishing networking ties. Global values cluster managers are a better choice for foreign negotiations, representatives in multinational teams, international initiatives, and interactions with foreign counterparts possessing similar managerial values. Since these global values clusters share sociocultural values with their local values cluster colleagues, this works to their advantage when interacting with the latter group. For example, knowledge of local values helps enhance relations between the headquarters of global organisations and their various local subsidiaries.
Managers and firms need to make conscious attempts to enhance cultural values diversity in the workplace. This includes hiring more local employees who have basic knowledge of English or the headquarters language, as well as overseas education. This enables the formation of global values clusters that interact more effectively with their counterparts at the headquarters as well as with other organisational groups. It is imperative to facilitate interactions with overseas counterparts, provide training and education overseas, and encourage employees who are willing to work at different locations. However, it is also necessary to recognise the worth of local cluster values, i.e., they better understand the core values of the home country and local employees, as well as the local knowledge and perspectives.
In this era of globalisation, change in managerial values is a given. The authors have proposed the idea of groupvergence, where local and global values clusters coexist. This leads to more effective problem-solving, mediation between local and global cultures in their respective global organisations, and better networking.
Jaeger, A.M., Kim S.S., & Butt A.N. (2016). Leveraging values diversity: the emergence and implications of a global managerial culture in global organizations. Management International Review, 56 (2), 227-254.
About the Author
Arif N. Butt is Professor at the SDSB, LUMS. He teaches negotiations and conflict management, team building and leadership, and cross-cultural management and performance management. He is the director for the executive programme on Negotiation Skills. His work has been published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Asia Pacific Journal of Management and Journal of Business Ethics.