There are many factors that have an influence on the managerÐ²Ð‚â„¢s role in an organization. Three of the most important factors affecting the managerÐ²Ð‚â„¢s role are Globalization, Intuition, and Diversity.
In todayÐ²Ð‚â„¢s business environment, more and more companies are conducting business on a global basis. With the power of the Internet moving information at the speed of sound, business can be conducted without national boundaries. As a part of the emerging globalization in commerce, managers in organizations of all kinds are dealing with a new set of concerns.
In todayÐ²Ð‚â„¢s workplace of diverse cultures and values, managers must be able to adapt their work styles and behaviors to the differences of the individuals in their workforce. There is a temptation for managers in many American companies to believe that, although institutions are different, managers in other countries make the same assumptions that they do (Likierman, 2006). This is a temptation American managers must resist as the global workplace is very different based on the country where the company conducts business.
To build a truly global organization, the management team of an organization must create a global corporate mindset. The term corporate mindset refers to how the company sees the world and how this affects its actions (Paul, 2000). Developing a global corporate mindset is one of the most difficult practices a manager can undertake. A global corporate mindset determines to what extent a management team encourages and values cultural diversity, while simultaneously maintaining a degree of strategic cohesion (Paul, 2000). Management must first create a market strategy that is global in nature and then create an environment that supports the organizationÐ²Ð‚â„¢s efforts to conduct business globally. The organization must consider business issues such as communication tools, operating procedures, employee staffing, and corporate structure to build and foster a global business environment. The proper development and execution of these issues can help the organization develop globally while incorporating a local feel to marketplaces where the firm conducts business.
Creating a global organization starts with the top management of that organization. The top management team of a global organization should reflect the diversity of markets in which it wants to compete. A great example of an organization with a global top management team is Adidas, the German-based sportswear company (Paul, 2000). AdidasÐ²Ð‚â„¢ top management team consists of Americans, Frenchmen, Germans, one Swiss, one Swede and one Australian. Adidas is the exception of organizations that have developed a top management team that reflects the diversity of its worldwide operations (Paul, 2000). Many organizations still have a long way to go in establishing a global mindset in their business practices.
Intuition is one of those things that the average person canÐ²Ð‚â„¢t quite put their finger on. It is a combination of gut feeling, wisdom and common sense. Many managers donÐ²Ð‚â„¢t utilize intuition as it is far from the norm for business decision-making. Many managers like to manage by fact and make decisions based on the available tangible information. However, there will be many instances where a manager will need to make a business decision with either little or no information to make that decision. For this reason, utilizing intuition to make decisions is a risky proposition to some. To others, not using intuition is also risky because intuitive insights are at the root of holistic thinking and innovation (Murray, 2004). Utilizing intuition can get managers to think Ð²Ð‚Ñšout of the boxÐ²Ð‚Ñœ with fresh thinking, and to move away from traditional decision-making processes where they make decisions the same way every time.
Intuition calls upon the wisdom and experiences managers have gained over their lifetimes. This wisdom consists of a cocktail of intellectual, emotional, physical and instinctive knowledge that is lodged in the individual (Murray, 2004). Without a lot of experience, it is harder for newer managers to utilize intuition in their decision-making processes. Newer managers tend to make decisions with less guesswork as they donÐ²Ð‚â„¢t want to Ð²Ð‚Ñšrock the boatÐ²Ð‚Ñœ while assimilating in the organization. Because intuitive managers set no standards or limits on processing their thoughts in this fashion, they will eventually come up with an intuitive idea because it wasnÐ²Ð‚â„¢t arrived at using a logical sequence (Simpson, 2003).
Intuition can be extremely helpful if used as a complement to logical, rational knowledge (Simpson, 2003). If a manager has experience in decision making for a given topic, he should use that knowledge as a baseline for decision-making coupled with intuition for the areas where he may not have all of the facts to make a decision. Managers beginning to use intuition should test out this intuition in small ways so that if their hunches donÐ²Ð‚â„¢t work out, theyÐ²Ð‚â„¢ve not done anything too high profile or risky (Murray, 2004).
The task of diversity has become a major initiative for many organizations in corporate America. As the U.S. population is growing and becoming more diverse, many organizations are looking to build a workforce that is reflective of these population changes. YesterdayÐ²Ð‚â„¢s workforce that was primarily made up of white males, is now a workforce comprised of many different races, cultures, ethnicities, ages and religions. The civilian labor force is projected to increase by 17 million over the 2000-10 period, reaching 158 million in 2010 (Trenka, 2006). Forecasts by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics project that the total U.S. labor force will consist of only 36.5 percent white non-Hispanic males by the year 2010. These forecasts also show that nearly half of the new entrants to the workforce during the same time span will be women (Trenka, 2006). The aforementioned statistics clearly show that the workforce will continue to look different in years to come.
Continued diversity in the workplace will present new challenges to managers and employers. Managers will need to learn how to work with employees of differing mindsets, work styles and values. Management processes such as employee hiring would need to be changed to reflect potential differences of the new applicants who will be seeking employment. Some managers may even need to learn a new language to communicate better with their employees. Some companies may elect to create various teams to serve specific ethnic groups of their customers. Other companies may create cross-functional groups inside of their respective companies to help foster diversity and gain feedback from employees with regard to their job satisfaction. Companies like Xerox Corporation have been applauded for their diversity efforts and commitment to creating a workplace where employees of differing backgrounds can work and be successful.
Another major American company who has embraced diversity is the ING Group. ING is one of the worldÐ²Ð‚â„¢s largest financial services organizations. ING believes that diversity management and an inclusive culture can contribute to long-term profitability as well. It also believes that a company whose workforce better reflects the customer base, it is better positioned to understand and anticipate different customer needs (Dawson, 2005). Ð²Ð‚ÑšSocial responsibility and diversity are now taken more seriously as issues for customers,Ð²Ð‚Ñœ said Lideweij Bakker, human resource manager at ING. More and more, corporate and institutional clients want to do business with organizations that are good corporate citizens and have high diversity standardsÐ²Ð‚Ñœ(Dawson, 2005). Like other companies, ING believes that an inclusive culture where employees are valued and can contribute increases overall employee satisfaction, greater motivation and productivity. As the workplace has come a long way from where it was, there is still much work to do in the area of diversity. Diversity will continue to shape Organizational Behavior from many different facets. Firms that can balance both the positives and challenges diversity brings will be positioned to manage it better going forward.
In closing, globalization, intuition and diversity have a great impact on Organizational Behavior. Each of these three items is found in almost every manager, in almost every company in the marketplace. Companies of any size operating on a global basis have a set of behaviors that complement how they conduct their business. The effective manager understands that these behaviors will vary greatly based on where the company is doing business. In making decisions, managers will sometimes use past experiences and intuition to come up with the most effective choice of action for a given situation. In the absence of concrete information, managers will sometimes use their Ð²Ð‚Ñšgut reactionsÐ²Ð‚Ñœ to make a business decision. Utilizing intuition sometimes makes many managers uncomfortable, as they like to make decisions based on solid facts. With the makeup of the world population changing as it is, diversity will be one of the most important factors affecting Organizational Behavior. The effective manager will understand how to incorporate all three of these factors in their everyday management practices.
Dawson, M. (2005). Raising Awareness of the Benefits of Diversity at ING. Human Resource Management International Digest, 13: 20-21.
Likierman, A. (2006). Globalization: Turning Threats Into Opportunities. Strategic Finance, 87:21-23.
Murray, E. (2004). Intuitive Coaching-Summary. Industrial and Commercial Training, 36: 203-206.
Paul, H. (2000). Creating a Global Mindset. Thunderbird International Business Review. 42: 187.
Simpson, L. (2003). Basic Instincts. Training. 40: 56-59.
Trenka, Johannes. (2006) Diversity in the Workforce: Challenges for Employers. Supervision. 67: 17-21.