For many years now we’ve heard the term ‘globalization’ tossed around in business environments. Frankly, I think it’s been overused to describe a future event that has already arrived. It’s here – a new type of normal. Globalization doesn’t only happen when an international transaction of some kind occurs, globalization can occur domestically – on a street corner or standing in line at the grocery store. Globalization happens when we meet someone whose culture is distinctly different than our own. Culture embodies a global perspective regardless of where it occurs.
Interacting or working across cultures suggests that we have an ability to connect different world views. Possessing such a skill means that a person is able to understand and appreciate another’s perspective. When people are unable to do so, they become frustrated and irritated. Angry. Perhaps they blame others for not being reasonable or accommodating. People do so without recognizing that no one is to blame. People of different cultures might simply approach a particular issue differently.
Organizations need to appreciate this new reality. Many traditional management models and approaches do not fit this new era of domestic globalization. In order to function in it, organizations need to better understand cultural differences and how to work across them in their own businesses – locally. This is where globalization is actually occurring – within organizational walls.
Think of it this way. The cultural diversity found within U.S. organizations today didn’t exist a generation ago. Hence, culture exemplifies change. And it’s the type of change that will continue to reappear.