Answer questions from your perspective, opinions, and experiences
Briefly describe an example of an cross-cultural miscommunication exchange that you have either participated in or observed in the workplace, at college, or in a public place.
- How did the communicators exhibit some of the dimensions described in this article?
- In retrospect, what could have been done differently to improve the communication in terms of the sender, choice of medium and the receiver?
GE Case General Electric (GE) is widely recognized and respected for its leadership talent and its succession management system. One of the best examples of succession management is how GE’s former CEO, Jack Welch, shaped and elevated the company’s philosophy, practice, and reputation for developing leaders. In a 1991 speech, Welch stated, “From now on, choosing my successor is the most important decision I’ll make.” GE’s commitment to developing leaders from within has yielded positive results for both the company’s employees and for GE. In fact, the program has been so successful that it’s been widely emulated by other global organizations. Measuring and developing talent lies at the forefront of GE’s business strategy discussions. GE’s operating system, referred to as its “learning culture in action,” entails year-round learning sessions in which leaders from GE and outside companies share best practices with one another and generate ideas for new practices. Harry Elsinga, manager of executive development at GE, notes, “We really have a tight organization around how we combine our leadership meetings and how we approach our business. We have a constant cycle going on throughout the year where we talk about business and people at the same time. How do we develop talent in those businesses, how do we make sure that we have the right people to open a particular plant or to do an acquisition, etc.? Those discussions always go hand in hand. And it’s not a one-time kind of conversation; this is a constant, ongoing process.”
GE’s succession management system is fairly simple. GE managers and executives are moved from job to job every two to three years, and each job change or promotion is a wellthought-out process that provides managers with much-needed experience and exposure to certain elements of the business. This has allowed GE to build a management team that is very knowledgeable and experienced.
Questions 1. Do you think that GE’s approach to succession management would work for all organizations? Why or why not?
Question 2. What are some possible disadvantages of moving people to new jobs every two to three years?
Explanation & Answer
Running head: CROSS-CULTURAL MISMANAGEMENT
1. How did the communicators exhibit some of the dimensions described in this article?
Interactions between individuals or groups from different cultural backgrounds may
experience some limitations due to the means of communication. Varying norms among cultures
can lead to a very wrong interpretation of a message or gestures which can sabotage the efforts
made for these individuals to communicate. One incidence of this communication failure I
experienced was a doctor and a patient at the hospital. The American doctor was attending to a
Hispanic patient but the patient seemed withdrawn throughout the whole interaction (Kinloch &
Metge, 2014). The doctor could not understand why and brushed it off as an effect of the
patient's illness. In the real sense, the patient felt insulted since the doctor failed to create rapport
in their conversation. The Hispanic was offended because the doctor did not show concern for
his general welfare and was only focused on the health issue of the patient. In Hispanic culture, it
is considered a welcoming gesture to show c...
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