Globalization has had a remarkable effect on both the technological developments and the cultural attributes of a number of companies. Instant global communication is now possible, and individuals know they can instantly communicate with almost anywhere in the world – and at an affordable cost. The more technology improves, the more this global economy, culture, and society develops. Of course, globalization continues to break down societal barriers, and one of the key elements to this is communication. As this trend continues, and geometrically advances, it is essential for telecommunications companies to understand and meet the needs of numerous ethnic and multicultural employees. In a society that is becoming more and more pluralistic, the diversity of individuals as employees continues to be complex for managers and coworkers alike. Miscommunication can easily occur, and it would be logistically impossible for any one company to adequately train staff of the multicultural aspects of all their employees (Trebing and Estabrooks, 2005). In our particular case study, we will use Worldwide Telecommunications, Inc. Worldwide Telecommunications; Inc. is a global conglomerate that currently has operations in the United States, Canada, Russia, Europe, and moving into Asia. In the volatile market of today's worldwide telecommunications, plans (contingency) and organization are needed telecommunication companies. Because of the global reach and mission of WTI, it is vital that they are not only capable, but also expert, in forming operations within a wide variety of countries and cultures. Because of their current, an impending, global diversification, WTI must ensure that its managers and workers are aware of their need to interact multiculturally on a regular basis. What one culture might consider normal business behavior, another culture might consider the opposite. As WTI continues its rapid growth, it is showing an ever-increasing need that requires a global workforce (WTI Homepage; Gruber, 2008). WTI is not only growing fiscally, but regularly doubling their employee base. As a company, they believe it is vital to ensure their employees, regardless of gender, race, faith, nationality or physical abilitites, have access to equal every equali opportunity within the company. The question becomes, though, how will this continued and rapid globalization affect WTI, and more important, how a multicultural and diverse workforce may have an affect upon teamwork and communications in larger companies. (Ibid). Globalization is causing diversity in the workplace to increase. Mergers, alliances and networks continue to have a major impact of the workforce, the quality of the workforce's relationship with their peers and management, and even the interaction within a local community. Managing diversity begins with understanding the barriers and eliminating their influence on the workforce. First, what is “cultural diversity?” Broadly, it is defined within the organizational structure to mean the inclusion of a variety of ethnicities, genders, ages, economic classes, sexual preferences, physical abilities, and religious or philosophical beliefs – in other words, a large mix of individuals that make up every aspect of our world. Recently, scholars have suggested that diversity in and of itself is not responsible for how well a team works together." So then, what makes a team work together? One contribution to a great team is how well they have achieved integration. For example, do they communicate clearly, solve differences in a constructive way and do they generate innovative solutions (Bannister & Raats, 2005). WRI, for instance, may benefit by a multicultural workforce due to the fact that a culturally diverse workforce provides development of new ideas and decision making. By encouraging a team environment, staff will acknowledge and value divergent points of views. By providing a multicultural workforce the company will benefit in providing the opportunity for their employees to understand and communicate skill fully with customers from a variety of backgrounds, and find expertise on how to be more successful within the context of certain cultures, accelerating the opportunity to expand worldwide (Goleniewski and Wilson, 2006). Too, Cultural Diversity is not only valuable to the company but also very valuable to the individual employee. Individual employees in a culturally diverse workplace have the opportunity to learn and function in different ways. They may be able to learn a different language, additional communications skills, and begin to appreciate different cultural ideas. This, of course, will only improve their ability to manage people, or to become more valuable for their own company or service. Cultural Diversity has several benefits, but there may certainly be limitations as well. The language barrier is clearly of major import in any organization. While English has been the “standard,” it can still be problematical to master the language to the technical level one might need for a company like WTI. And, as WTI moves into the global arena, use of the vernacular in the particular area will require additional language training. Clearly, any company that hopes to compete on the global level will need to do two things within their Human Resources Department: 1) Try to hire individuals who have a second language (studies show it is easier to learn more languages if you already know two), and 2) Be able to provide some intensive language and cultural courses when sending well-qualified individuals to other countries (Rowntree, 2005). WTI, in its corporate website, focuses on the very active word “communication.” WTI believes the most important skill needed within its organization is that communication, and to achieve and develop effective communication, Telecommunications, Inc. has to follow several guidelines: Ensure corporate documentation is written in plain English, translated as necessary once documents are written we must ensure proper distribution, we must identify where proficiency in languages other than English would improve customer service, we must make interpreters available and establish a list of names of workers who specify in a specific language. Functionally, a multicultural workforce requires specific training and advancement programs that are well defined multilingually. Without training and development opportunities, neither the corporation nor individual personnel will develop to their full potential. Some of the features in an integrated training and development program would be a focus on a personnel growth and education plan; incorporation of cultural diversity within all current and future programs; education and growth including specific cultural, political and geographical training; training workshops that are treated as a serious part of continuing education; and an ongoing system in which employees have the opportunity to share their experiences with each other Trebing and Esabooks, 2005). Thus, management within a global environment will be more challenging as well. One of the most important features that the global managers will face is the different values within cultures. Cultural empathy and integrity in dealing with people from various cultures will be a vital management skill. Global managers do not have to know the culture in detail, but will need to think and act with an open mind. Managers should understand the worldwide business environment, work and be open to learn from people from various cultures. A Global manager's role is similar to being a coach. The global manager should not play the actual game, but be responsible for the team's success, have the expertise to improve the player's skills, have the experience to guide the team's strategy, and have the authority to moderate the behavior of their players. The global managers should recognize the importance of international management development and have the ability to view the world from different points of view. A critical task will be to use global knowledgeable to identify opportunities in the growing global world. Moreover, global managers also must focus on the unique needs of marketplace trends while maintaining a corporate advantage. Furthermore, the global managers must integrate their knowledge of their company's mission and capability with the market. As the world we live in continues to operate globally, it will be necessary for companies to learn to operate as if the world is one large market. Companies will need to look at regional and national differences, and draw on the similarities between countries to enhance their competitive advantages (Powell, 2005). It is clear that as company, like WTI grows globally, they will benefit from a multicultural workforce. They must put managerial, educational, and cultural proactiveness in place, which will not only improve their opportunities for greater worldwide competition, but by bringing establishing a multicultural workforce, they also improve the interrelationships between their employees. Employees who do this, learn to communicate and other points of view and opinions. By doing this WTI, and other large companies, poise themselves to become successful in the emerging globalize culture of the 21st century.
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WorldWide Telecommunications, Inc. (