1) In a 1000-word typed essay, discuss the importance of globalization and cross-cultural competency. How have you improved your global awareness and understanding of different cultures? As a Plater International Scholar at IUPUI, what international experiences would you like to pursue and why?
Globalization and cross-cultural competency
As a student my understanding of Globalization may be defined as a multifaceted phenomenon that has been eroding the economic, cultural and social barriers that used to characterize international trade, cross-cultural relations and the transmission of concepts and ideas, to mention but a few. Living in an increasingly globalized world means having to deal with the fact that the world population is becoming increasingly interconnected and that organizations no longer operate in small domestic markets where their profitability and success depends mainly on their ability to beat local competitors. Globalization comes with both opportunities, benefits, threats and disadvantages, that we need to understand and be aware of in order to be able to make the most out of this phenomenon, whose significant economic and socio-cultural implications can no longer be ignored.
For example, as a result of globalization, firms that used to target a limited number of consumers within a specific geographic area can now address people from all over the world by simply adapting their offerings to a global audience and modifying their corporate strategy in such a way to penetrate various markets. Many companies in USA, Europe have been benefiting from the opportunities associated with globalization, by targeting new markets and outsourcing their manufacturing, IT development, and operations to developing countries like my motherland India, China, thus reducing their costs and maximizing their output. That being said, it is important to consider that globalization also presents firms with numerous challenges. By enabling businesses from all over the world to target both domestic and international consumers, globalization has made competition a lot fiercer than it used to be, thus causing small and medium-sized firms to compete not only with domestic rivals, but also with new market players coming from other countries.
While globalization may be seen as a negative phenomenon that has led to the failure of numerous firms and has made the global market way too competitive, it is worth mentioning that the gradual erosion of trade and socio-cultural barriers has given us the opportunity to exchange ideas in a much easier way and familiarize ourselves with different cultures, beliefs, values and perspectives. With more and more organizations operating in multiple markets at the same time, cross-cultural competence is becoming increasingly crucial to both corporate and personal success.
Analyzing the current job market in UAE where I come from, it appears evident that the majority of employers would like to cooperate with people who appreciate the benefits of cultural diversity, understand different cultures and can work in cross-cultural environments. With regards to the effects of globalization on the job market in my homeland India, UAE it should also be noted that technological change – e.g. improved telecommunications infrastructure, the Internet, computers, mobile devices, increased connectivity – has played a crucial role in reducing communication barriers, thus democratizing numerous industries that used to be restricted to a limited number of experts and wealthy individuals.
However, I have noted people living in UAE have shown, how to reach a culturally-diverse audience and cooperating with people from different cultural backgrounds with greater flexibility, sensitivity and adaptability. These qualities have helped me personally and others to understand, enhancing one’s cross-cultural competence, which may be defined as the knowledge, abilities and motivation that help individuals to operate in cross-cultural contexts and adapt to different cultures. International management technique and leadership literature put in practice in UAE has clearly demonstrated that cross-cultural competence is key to success, as it has been found to lead to better performance, greater innovation and increased effectiveness, among other things.
As noted Prof. Dr. Nancy J. Adler observed, cross-cultural management is about understanding and accepting the other, so as to prevent dehumanizing those who are different from us; consequently, this field aims to assist individuals in comprehending cultural differences in order to take advantage of them and build more effective teams, better organizations and even a better world.
On a less corporate level, it should be noted that cultural diversity is rapidly becoming a prominent feature of most societies worldwide. For example from the country I lived past 14 years, as of 2015, nearly 85% of the U.A.E population consisted of foreigners, which clearly indicates that besides facilitating international business operations, cross-cultural competence can help people interact with their fellow citizens in an appropriate way.
During the past few years, I have been trying to improve my understanding of different cultures by making friends from different countries, attending events organized by culturally-diverse communities and familiarizing myself with different belief systems. While I have always been familiar with the main features of Asian specially Indian and Middle Eastern cultures (UAE), reading specialized books has helped me to realize that there exists a strong relationship between cultural dimensions and people’s behavior at work. For instance, during my Internship in Seashore construction LLC predominantly workers are from Asian counties I have learnt that, answering “No” to a direct question is considered to be particularly rude and that employees prefer being told what to do by their supervisors, rather than showing initiative. I have also become aware of the fact that similarly to Asian societies, Middle Eastern societies are very collectivistic in nature, which means that group goals are more important than personal aspirations. Moreover, considering the significant impact that religion has on many people’s lives, communication styles, attitudes and behavior, I have been trying to explore different mindsets and determine how one should interact with them in order to avoid potentially detrimental misunderstandings.
Coming from a cross-cultural setting will help me to demonstrate good personal adjustment in multicultural IUPUI, to foster interpersonal relationships with people who are culturally diverse. As a Plater International Scholar at IUPUI, I would like to enrich my knowledge, share experiences and achieve excellent academic results while meeting people from all over the world and becoming a real global citizen. As an individual with a great thirst for knowledge and strong interpersonal skills, I am certain that your college would provide me with the tools, notions and experience that I need to enhance my employability and gain access to a position that will enable me to use my cross-cultural skills, flexibility and respect for diversity in order to make a difference.
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