With specific reference to HRM and marketing, this essay will examine the potential problems which a UK owned hotel, operating in China and Russia, among numerous other countries, may confront.
In order to understand the challenges which the UK-owned hotel may confront in the management of its operations in China and Russia, it is important to begin with a clarification of the implications of the culture construct. The reason is that since culture has been identified as the source of challenges, it is necessary to know why and how it can function as a challenge to cross-cultural management for the purposes of constructively confronting and resolving these challenges.
As an ever-present force of concern to all social sciences, culture represents an abstract and extremely complex construct. Attempts by scholars to define culture have resulted in countless definitions. For example, in their seminal study on culture, Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1952) identified more than 160 definitions of culture. Although there is probably no single best definition of culture, the main thread running through the numerous definitions of culture, as noted by Hall (2004) is that the construct of culture appears to have the following characteristics:
Culture is multidimensional and interrelated. ...
Culture is multidimensional and interrelated. It consists of a number of common and interdependent elements such as beliefs and attitudes, values and norms. All aspects of culture are deeply connected with one another; to change one part is to change the whole. It is the interaction of various elements of culture that results in cultural distinctiveness.
Culture is shared by the members of a social group and defines the boundaries between different groups.
Culture is adaptive. Culture and its values, though enduring in the short term, do change over time. Cultural meanings are not static, but constantly in motion. Culture continues to evolve through constant embellishment and adaptation to both physical and social environments.
Culture includes both conscious and unconscious values, and other meaningful symbols that shape human behaviour. Cultural differences are not necessarily visible, especially to people who remain embedded in one cultural environment. It takes a prolonged stay abroad and mingling with the locals to recognize the numerous and often subtle and hidden differences in various cultures.
In sum, culture provides people with a sense of identity and an understanding of appropriate behaviour within a soda1 group. It has pervasive and profound impacts on virtually all aspects of human life. For instance, Harris and Moran (2005, pp. 206-211) have identified ten important areas pertaining to human values, attitudes. and behaviours that are directly influenced by culture:
Sense of self and space;
Communication and language;
Dress and appearance;
Food and feeding habits;
Time and time consciousness;
Values and norms;
Beliefs and attitudes;
Mental process and learning;