Su Ling was hired as a retail manager at Temasek Polytechnic of Singapore. As soon as she was acquainted with the main elements of the production process, she was immediately assigned the task to meet other managers during the lunch. On the one hand, the director’s policy of progressive thinking and ‘open door policy’ could be considered as a liberal approach to accommodating employees and making them feel equally treated along with other managers (Chia & Ramburuth, n. d.). However, Su Ling did not expect such a treatment because she was a bit frightened by the hierarchical distance. Apparently, the embarrassment has been caused by the significant cultural gap between Su Ling and the company’s philosophy of open mind and equal opportunities irrespective of cultural affiliation. Specifically, according to Hofstede (2011), there is a strict connection between collectivism and individualism. In addition, there is also a gap between horizontal and vertical representation of Power Distance. Therefore, the task of the manager was to explore the cultural and social background of his new employee before engaging her into the working process.
In contrast to Tom’s radical methods, Wati was more experienced in employing more traditional methods. In particular, due to Wati’s knowledge of cultural peculiarities, the store manager was more inclined to employ strict methods of operation within the department. Specifically, Wati decided to engage Su Ling in a strict working process in which the rules and principles were accurate. While adhering to these principles, Su Ling managed to gain experience in controlling simple tasks. Therefore, because Wati was against Tom’s progressive techniques, the new employers felt more comfortable. Besides, the proposed approach was more relevant for managing in high-context countries where the concept of hierarchical division was a priority. In the future, Tom should take into consideration Wati’s methods to make employees better accommodate a working environment
The MT program had a positive impact on Su Ling’s decisions because she managed to enrich her experience and has started implementing changes to the organizational process. Nonetheless, the difficulty is that Su Ling was at a loss because she had to choose between adhering to the established code of rules and resorting to innovative techniques while managing a variety of operations. She perceived herself as a subordinate who should follow the instructions. At the same time, she had to be more progressive and open in order to accommodate to a constantly changing environment. However, Tom’s lack of control and assistance did not allow Su Ling to be more confident in her abilities and, as a result, she failed to act independently and effectively.
Tom’s inconsistent management of Su Ling’s action led to the failure of the employee to act in an effective and reasonable way. Better sensitivity and attention to a cultural dimension should be the key to managing in a culturally diverse environment. As soon as the managers become more culturally aware, they will be able understand the primary needs of employees. In this context, the emphasis should be made on the hierarchical structure. There should be an additional program that would provide information and instructions for operating in countries with Eastern orientation. The importance of considering high-context culture is necessary because it provides an effective framework within which the working environment is supported by greater cultural sensitivity on the part of the managerial staff. The rapid introduction of Western approaches must lead to the loss of identity, making Su Ling more vulnerable. Further, Tom should expand his knowledge on Eastern traditions to operate effectively in Singapore.