International standards, local flavors [thesis]

Kwesi Arkoh Ewoodzie
This dissertation sheds new light on the well-recognized globalization phenomenon by examining its socio-cultural component. The literature assumes that the "global village" will simply emerge once the legal and technical obstacles have been overcome. However, the merging of cultural and social practices is not an effortless process. My critic of the globalization is largely based on it minimization of the significance of (differences in) cultural practices. I set out to uncover how complex
more » ... ver how complex such socio-cultural exchanges are with a 12-month ethnography project of Multinational Enterprise (MNE) workplaces. The expanding global economy creates demand for the international hospitality industry and make the tourism and hospitality industry MNEs a hub for border-crossing cultural exchanges. For my study, I focus on Ghanaian MNEs which serve international consumers expecting to receive international (Western culture) standards of customer service from the Ghanaian staff. My data show that the Ghanaian MNE workplace is filled with cultural clashes that stem from the management practices advanced by the global cultural values literature. Global Cultural states that when it comes to quality standards, MNEs should use an integration model (to adapt the international standard set by the parent-company branch of the MNE). However, when it comes to power distribution and organizational culture, MNEs should use a differentiation model (adapt the local cultural standards of the host-country). In short, this translates to MNEs maintaining international standards in regard to customer service experiences but local cultural practices in regard to human resource management (HRM). In Ghana, this combination of models creates cultural clashes in MNEs, and leaves the Ghanaian employees lacking trust in management's commitment to the international standard of service. The outcome is staff are dissatisfied, which negatively impacts iii their workplace performance. Given the labor, cultural, and emotional demands of the work, my study concludes that Ghanaian MNEs should adapt strategic HRM tactics, as discussed in the international HRM literature, to cultivate satisfied employees and gain a competitive advantage in their field. The findings from this study strongly establish the complexity of border-crossing cultural exchanges. Continuing to examine the dynamics of how individuals and organization come to adapt new cultural practices improves our understanding of the spread of globalization as well as a multitude of within organization processes. iv Public Abstract This dissertation sheds new light on the well-recognized globalization phenomenon by examining its socio-cultural component. The literature assumes that the "global village" will simply emerge once the legal and technical obstacles have been overcome. However, the merging of cultural and social practices is not an effortless process. I set out to uncover how complex such socio-cultural exchanges are with a 12-month ethnography project. I examine Multinational Enterprise (MNE) in the hospitality industry, which serve as a hub for bordercrossing cultural exchanges. Specifically, I focus on Ghanaian-MNEs where international consumers expecting to receive international (Western culture) standards of customer service from the Ghanaian staff. My data show that the Ghanaian-MNE workplace is filled with cultural clashes that stem from MNEs tendency to use an integration model (maintain international standards) in regard to customer service experiences but use a differentiation model (adapt local cultural practices) in regard to human resource management (HRM). The clashes leave the staff dissatisfied with the workplace which negatively impacts their workplace performance. Given the labor, cultural, and emotional demands of the work, my study concludes that Ghanaian-MNEs should adapt strategic HRM tactics, as discussed in the international management literature, to gain a competitive advantage in their field. The findings from this study strongly establish the complexity of border-crossing cultural exchanges. Continuing to examine the dynamics of how individuals and organization come to adapt new cultural practices improves our understanding of the spread of globalization as well as a multitude of within organization processes. v
doi:10.17077/etd.ruijhlcf fatcat:tmiryggjznawnctpfx6mzxvpky