Adler and the Hispanic Culture
From the 1960's researchers studying management have demonstrated increased interest in the concept of culture because of the belief that culture has influential ability on managerial performance and behavior (Sekaran, 1983). However, ofttimes there are many problems that impede the advancement of cultural research making it increasingly difficult to reach a clear understanding or consensus of the relationship between culture, management and leadership (Lim & Firkola, 2000). Moreover, the difficulties that are faced are accompanied by the growing necessity to find appropriate cultural solutions to organization problems in a global marketplace (Doktor, Tung & Von Glinow, 1991). With the heightened pace of integration in the global marketplace, there has been economical and technological forces that managers and leaders will have to address with their counterparts from other cultures that may be very different from their own. Experts believe, however, that those who understand the cultural contexts in which they must operate will have a decided advantage over those who fail to see the relevancy.
Comprehensive Analysis according to Adler
Over the course of the past ten years, the Hispanic/Latino population in the United States has grown approximately 58% to more than 35 million. According to recent statistics, the Latino workforce comprises the largest labor force of any minority group in the United States. This is in no way reflects the many countries in which Hispanics live throughout the world (Argyle, 1988). As the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, it is important that those in leadership positions have some level of cultural knowledge, cultural competence, as well as cultural appreciation in order to effectively manage this ever growing workforce in the United States, and to be able to successfully engage with other Latino/Hispanic workers, leaders, companies and organizations around the world. What can prove challenging in attempting to develop a greater understanding of Hispanic culture is that there are geographical differences in language, traditions, and practices for Hispanics in many countries and even in the United States based on the individual's country of origin. Moreover, there is no one overarching cultural identity that one can ascribe to that would prove effective with every individual representing Hispanic ethnicity (Argyle, 1988). As such, leaders and managers must take into consideration the geographical context and avoid cultural stereotyping when working with individuals of Hispanic origin.
Not only are there challenges of language, foreign born Hispanics, like other immigrant groups in the United States, have established behavior patterns, cultural values, and cognitive mindsets that affect communication in the workplace. Those managers and leaders who do not take the necessary steps to increase awareness of the differences risk miscommunication, increased turnover, and decreased productivity. There tends to be greater hierarchy in Hispanic culture than what is common in the United Sates, as well as an ingrained respect for authority. Moreover, there is purportedly a discouragement of initiative or innovative thinking; resulting in many managers and leaders assuming that Hispanic workers are without good ideas or cannot demonstrate initiative (Goode, Jones, Dunne & Bronheim, 2007). There is also the assertion that Hispanic workers prefer diplomacy and agreeableness to the more direct and objective communication that is common in the U.S. workforce. Where there is tendency for correction in many U.S. organizations that is seen as professional and not personal, for the Hispanic worker there is often less separation from personal and work related attitudes and as such may take criticism more personally; particularly if the correction is done in from of work cohorts (Goode et al., 2007).
One of the questions Adler raises is whether or not culture is visible? Managers and leaders cannot see culture as it is an intangible object that has to be understood and manage appropriately. Additionally, there is often a downplaying of the importance of cultural diversity which also must be recognized and acknowledged as diversity significantly affects society (Adler & Kwon, 2002). According to Adler, cultural blindness posits that cultural diversity is nonexistent. Moreover, cultural blindness is both conceptual and perceptual. However, to ignore cultural differences is counterproductive, and there should be a desire by those in leadership with a goal of being successful to want to see the similarities and differences in individuals.
At the same time, Adler maintains that when there is cultural visibility, there are problems that result. Nevertheless, focusing on the positive aspects of diversity rather than seeing the negatives or operating in a stereotypical or prejudicial manner is again counterproductive. Adler posits that proactive leaders are able to manipulate the differences to eliminate misconceptions and "misconceived negative aspects (Adler & Kwon, 2002). According to Adler, the problems that exist and persist transpire when there is an attempt to force everyone to think and act the same.
In America, there is a propensity to see people as both good and evil with the ability to choose one over the other. There is also a belief in the possibility of improvement through change. With the mixed approach there is asserted to be emphasis toward training and development providing individuals the opportunity to learn on the job. Decisions regarding policy are to fill needs. As such, the inclusion of employees in decision making is contingent upon what the policy is intended to do; however, the manager should not operate under the assumption that the Hispanic employee is without the ability to contribute toward decision making. Most often, there is deference to leadership so an effective manager may being by soliciting employee input on smaller scale decisions so the employees understand their input is sought after and valued, and then escalate the decision making to matters that any other employee would be consulted. Some would posit a greater propensity in Hispanic culture to more evil due to the hierarchical nature of the culture and the subjugation that exists. Because of the social location and cultural complexities Hispanic employees are considered generally hard working and loyal employees. However, individual goals are not the focus; it is the organizational goal that is to be achieved. Individual needs will be met in helping the organization to achieve its goals.
In Adler's discussion of the strategies to manage diversity there is an emphasis on the managers' ability to recognize the diversity that surrounds them in order to determine what way they will manage. Adler asserts that there are three types of individuals: (1) parochial who assert that diversity has no effect and is ignorant to the societal impact. With this group, there is an acknowledgement that problems exist however, not considered attributable to diversity; (2) ethnocentric who acknowledge and articulate that diversity causes problems and that the workforce should be homogeneous or mono-culturalistic as this would summarily serve to eliminate the problems diversity causes; and (3) synergistic, those that ascribe to the philosophy or ideology that diversity is problematic and provides opportunity for advantages; calling for training of leadership that would acknowledge the differences to increase the advantaged position and lead to increased success.
In the Hispanic culture both parochialism and egocentrism would prove problematic in that it requires inherently defying the circumstances that presently exist considering the growing number of Hispanic workers whether skilled or unskilled. Society is not homogeneous nor or many workplaces and to deny the presence of Hispanic workers and the cultural difference they represent from the more westernized view is to summarily dismiss the value present in this particular population. A parochial manager who denies that culture and diversity exists is more than cultural blind, they lack the ability to strategically plan; discounting the global impact of the Hispanic population worldwide. The acknowledgement that problems exist but not recognize that at a minimal some of the problems exist because of culture makes a parochial manager less astute.
An ethnocentric leader, asserting workforce homogeneity and similarity who also decidedly acknowledges diversity as a problem and the resolution as homogeneity is in a similar position as an parochial leader in that there is an inherent lack of recognition to the changes in the workforce, nor acknowledgement of changes in the global marketplace. This kind of leader would prove ineffective with the Hispanic population in that there would be no recognition of their place in the workforce as it would not represent the homogeneity that an ethnocentric typically pro-westernized leader who want. For an ethnocentric leader, eliminating the problem would be to eliminate the Hispanic worker. Within the westernized view, life is considered a series of problems that require resolution, whereas non-westerners see life as a series of situations to be accepted (Adler & Kwon, 2002) and this is so with the Hispanic culture, in general. Although there has been some level of acculturation particularly for those in America, that in no way suggests absolute acculturation. Moreover, this does not speak to the international group of Hispanics and the various cultures they represent.
There are no stereotypes that would be effective in working with any culture as stereotypes are inherently negative. Any stereotype represents an uninformed viewpoint and if a manager chose…