What is the impact of decision-making styles on culturally diverse teams?

10 Sep 2021 | News

culturally diverse team

and more importantly, how does culture affect decision-making?

There are different cultural dimensions that can measure cultural differences: how power is reflected, how integration is performed, and how the importance of achievement in time is viewed. One theory proposes that people often stereotype their cultural ways as correct and equate something different as something wrong. This is particular perspective is termed cultural bias. It is suggested that specific intercultural training and research is an essential way of facilitating the realization and closure of this gap. Another theory claims that rules are made to be broken if they are not appropriate to a particular situation and, consequently, adapt to change within a culture. Researchers have discovered a strong link between safety managers displaying this tendency and attempting to resolve differing values known as ‘trans-cultural competence’ and job performance.

High-Performance Culture

While other theories highlight a lot of the positive characteristics of high-performance organizational cultures where there is no tolerance for cynicism. This confirms that an optimum, high-performance culture can be stereotyped as individualistic, task and job-focused, results-oriented, achievement-oriented, and have little or no tolerance for ambiguity. It can simultaneously be recognized as having flexibility, adaptation, and adjustment, and several additional and equally critical cultural dimensions, such as open-mindedness, power orientation, the meaning of time concerning the past, present, and future, internal/external direction, universalism/particularism, and specific relationships. An evolving culture that does not want a pure ‘high-performance culture’ can adopt several of these traits in a hybrid model.

Western Teams

Vlajčić et al. (2019) make the following comparisons: Western styles of management tend to focus on the technical aspects of the subject matter while giving great importance to the individual. In the Western environment, an organization is seen as a “thing”, and the leadership teams are deemed to be “task-orientated.” From an Eastern perspective, there is a significant focus put on the human element of a business. The relationship aspect is seen as a critical element to getting the work done, with greater importance placed on the team, and the organization is viewed as part of the “family”, and safety leadership teams act as “mentors” (Cerimagic, 2010).

Eastern Teams

In certain Eastern cultures, where young employees have collected feedback on organizational or divisional performance from external sources, they were often treated disrespectfully inside certain organization parts. In this type of culture, feedback and transparency are seen as disruptive in that they could cause disharmony, reduce morale, or isolate an individual from a group. South-East Asia is more comfortable with the concept of hierarchy and power and can live within defined levels of uncertainty. Countries with an Anglo-Saxon origin, although they do not mind change, have a much higher tendency for procedures than South East Asia and are also strongly individualist (Handy, 2007).

Grzegorczyk (2019) postulates on Eastern culture being built around society rather than the individual. When society is homogeneous and robust, individuals will volunteer to share, sacrifice, and, if necessary, die for the motherland. In contrast, those who have been Western-trained are more concerned with the individual’s rights than society’s interests.

Decision-Making Styles & Culture

Decision-making styles and culture are fundamentally intertwined into how a person approaches decision-making with the associated issues that this can create. These are capable of anchoring an individual’s style into a quadrant of one of the four decision-making styles discussed in this article. This could be a good thing or potentially harmful, depending on the context and situation. The relevance of understanding decision-making styles and culture highlights the imperfections of human decision-making processes, which becomes particularly essential when risk and safety are factors, and there is a need to make the correct thoughtful safe choice.