Is the attempt to manage employees’ cultural values and emotions perfectly reasonable or a step too far?
Waddell, Jones and George, 2011, observe that management is a very broad function in any given organization. It does not only include the taking care of the physical production assets of organizations but also focuses on people who use the physical materials to produce. The management of people in organizations is a challenging yet one of the most important functions. Managing people includes managing what they believe in as well as their emotional orientations at different times. Modern human resource management is focusing on managing the cultural values as well as the emotions of employees in organizations (Knights & Willmott, 2007). While most management experts support this move, a number of them argue that it is too hard to achieve this human resource function (Matic, 2008). I n this essay, it is going to be argued that the management of cultural values and emotions of employees is a great management practice. The practice of managing employee emotions and cultural values will be elaborated in the first section. In the second section, the benefits of managing employees’ emotions and cultural values will be discussed. The pros and cons of this management function will be explored. The last section will be a conclusion which will summarize the discussion by highlighting the major issues in the essay.
Managing cultural values and emotion of organizational employees
According to Cox, 1993, organizational performance is often pegged on how best organizational employees put to use the organizational resources. Therefore, the management needs to understand the behaviors of their employees so as to control and direct the employees towards the achievement of organizational objectives. Behaviors are often dictated by the moods and the emotional orientation of the employees. Of importance to the organization is the setup and conditions of employees. The setup of employees will determine the pace and the quality of input into production. This will in turn determine how well or bad the organization will discharge its duties. This denotes the importance of emotions and cultural values of organizational employees and the essence of managing them. Cultural values and emotional setup of employees are interrelated and are all generated from the organizational environment. They both have an effect on job satisfaction levels of employees’ thence the performance of the organization. The effect may be either positive or negative depending on the basis and perspective of the culture and the kind of emotions and feelings in the organization. Positive emotions arise for the recognition and understanding of the things that are valued by the employing and utilizing them to motivate the employees. On the contrary, negative emotions arise for the breach of all cultural values of employees and forcing the employees to perform their duties in a certain manner (Cox, 1993).
Waddell, Jones and George, 2011, ascertain that Cultural values bring about diversity in organizations. Diversity can only beneficial to an organization when it is well managed. However, this is not a simple exercise to organizational management because it entails a detailed understanding of the background of each employee in the organization. This is what makes many people to believe that is a complicated management practice which cannot be easily implemented. However, human resource management has to be applauded for putting in place practical steps of handling cultural diversity. Cultural diversity has been recognized as part of the components of organizations and diversity management codded as a basis on which cultural diversity is managed. Many organizations that are recording impressive performance outcomes have been embracing cultural diversity management. They identify the cultural variations and values of the employees and tailor these values so that they are beneficial to the organization (Kirkman and Shapiro, 2001).
The complexity of managing or discharging duties in organizations in the prevailing competitive and challenging environment makes conflicts thus emotions an inherent aspect in organizational activities. Kirkman and Shapiro, 2001 argue that in ancient organizations, the channels of managing the emotions of employees were absent. Thus, most emotions degenerated into serious conflicts that threatened the existence of these organizations. This mostly happened in the industrial revolutions times. Conflicts and emotions still occur in modern organizations. Due to the available mechanisms, emotions are better managed through managerial activities like counseling and dialogue in organizations. They thus rarely result in conflicts.
As pointed earlier, emotions can easily generate conflicts in the organizations. As part of diversity management, the employees are trained on how to handle stress-generating situations. The relationship between the employers and the employees is what keeps organizations running. The employers have to understand the employees and vice-versa. Often, disagreements arise from these relationships sparking emotions amongst the employees. Therefore, psychological contracts are prepared and signed and guides the relationship between employers and employees. These contracts clearly indicate channels of communication incase certain aspects of the relationship as stipulated in the contract are breached (Ashkanasy & Cooper, 2008). Through psychological contracts, the emotions of employees are easily managed preventing them from bringing scenes and incidences in organizations. Research in the field of managing emotions has been ongoing especially so in psychological contracts. The employer-employee relations are the major sources or emotions in organizations. Most of the studies are bringing out results or findings that are in turn being used by management of organizations in managing emotions of organizational employees. As more literature is generated ad availed, it becomes easy to manage emotions because the information is codded to provide guidelines to managers (Hartel, Ashkanasy and Zerbe, 2006).
Understanding and managing cultural values and emotions of employees is very significant to present organizations. This is due to the fact that the environment in which organizations exist is quite complicated and strenuous to organizational performance. Organizations employ staffs with different abilities. These employees originate from different cultural backgrounds and thus have different cultural values. This setup has brought about what is referred to as cultural diversity in organizations. The diverse cultural values of employees have to be integrated into one culture which will benefit the organization in terms of commitment, turnover and organizational performance (Ashkanasy & Cooper, 2008).
The culture of an organization is molded by the participation of each employee in the organization. Cultural values of employees play a critical role in shaping the culture or the organization. Cultural management enhances organizational performance and has thus been increasingly adopted in many organizations. Cultural management entails many activities. These activities are often centered on how employees behave and influence the behaviors of other employees as well as the customers and the publics of the organization. In managing the culture of organizations, cultural values and the emotions or employees are highly prioritized. This is a pointer to the argument that most organizations often engage in the activity of managing the cultural values and emotions of employees unknowingly. This also denotes that the cultural values and emotions of employees can easily be managed contrary to the management experts who argue that this is a difficult function to achieve. Emotions and culture are part of the organization as they cannot be just wished away. They must be confronted by organizational management failure of which they easily portray a negative picture of the organization (Daft, 2010).
According to Miller, 2009, organizational culture cannot be maintained and serve well the organization if the cultural values and emotions evoke employees are not controlled by the management. Change in organizations is derived from the culture of the organization. Organizations which have successfully implemented change have had good management structures aiding them in managing emotions and cultural inclinations of their employees. To most organizations, managing the cultural values and aspirations as well as emotions of workers is no longer a strange because they are already exercising it.
Research has helped in developing different models which help in the management of emotions in organizations. Modern management has given mush emphasis on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a crucial step staffing and the general management of employees within and organization. Emphasis is placed on training employees on how they can easily cope with situations that arouse emotions. Also, in staffing, organizations have developed testing parameters which they use in testing the level of emotional stability or stress resilience levels of the staffs being hired. Therefore the issue of managing emotions amongst organizational members has been approached from different angles enabling organizations to easily cope with or manage them (Ashkanasy, Wilderom and Peterson, 2011).
Challenges of managing cultural values and emotions
As mentioned earlier, managing the cultural values of employees is not an easy activity. This has been ascertained by many experts in both human resource management and international human resource management. The administration of employees who come from different cultural backgrounds is proving to be difficult especially so for organizations employing staffs of different nationalities. In such cases, organizational managers are forced to understand the diverse cultural values first. After understanding these values as per individual employee, they then align or make these values fit into the functions of the organization. Therefore, a lot of aspects of training and mentoring are involved to achieve cultural adaptability. It can thus be noted that this is a quite tedious, time consuming and expensive function. Nonetheless, organizations cannot afford to do without these functions as the impact on organizational performance will be much worse. Organizations are thus being forced to bear with the costs of managing the cultural differences in their workforce as this pays off in the general performance outcome of an organization (Cox, 1993).
With the effects of globalizations becoming real, organizations are increasingly seeking for staffs that are benchmarks from across the globe. Many organizations are seeking for opportunities of doing business in different locations in the world which seem strategic to them. In doing so, they establish business in different new regions and hire new staffs with lots of diverse cultural values (Baumüller, 2007). This means that the issue of cultural variation will continue to be significant in organizations. With this, managing cultural values in ill continue to be upheld and remain to be a critical component of organizational management.
Organizations are establishing basic values on which they integrate the diverse cultural values of their employees. In environments where there are diverse cultural values, the basic values are upheld by organizational managers. Employees are guided on how to adhere to the basic values. Co-existence in culturally diverse organizations has been enabled by the fact that the organizations are able to manage the cultural values and stabilized the emotions of employees. This is a positive sign that points out that managing of diverse cultural values are sustainable (Kundu, 2001).
Ackroyd and Crowdy, 1990, note that the issue of diversity in terms of culture, aspirations and emotions in organizations remains to be elusive. Diversity is a feature of modern organizations. In fact it is argued that organizations with varies cultures have a high likelihood of performing well. Organizations are thus encouraging cultural variations with management concentrating on streamlining cultural values so that they can bear more benefits to the organization. Cultural diversity is the main driver to change in organizations. In managing cultural values, organizations assess the advantages and disadvantages of these values and choose on the mechanisms of maximizing their benefits. Some values are unbeneficial to the organization and are eliminated through effective cultural diversity management. Cultural training is a expansive exercise which entails training of the employees on both the essence of upholding cultural values and the pros and cons of cultural values. Though training, employees get to understand how to handle issues to do with cultural values in the organization (Kundu, 2001).
Organizations are operating in a challenging environment which calls for observance of all possible aspects of management. The management of cultural values and emotions of employees is considered an important exercise in organizations. This is included in the larger organizational function referred to as cultural diversity management. Cultural diversity management is a function that is fully embraced and is exercised on a daily basis in organizations. This is done through continuous training of employees on different aspects of cultural values and the influence that they can have on individual and organizational performance.
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