The performance management of executives depends on operations strategy as well their perception of the activities they handle. According to sayed-Elkhouly, Sayed M (2009), the performance management as well as job satisfaction can be evaluated by perception. Hence, the perception of customer service and relationship affects the quality of work of the executives. Both perceptions of executives and expectations of management and customers are necessary to evaluate the performance. However, in this paper the cultural difference that affects the relationship between performance management and job satisfaction of service operations is explored and discussed. The research methods to find the cultural differences that enable to prepare executives to work accordingly are the part of topic of the paper. The first important strategy in marketing is promotion of the company as well as the product. The services sector also needs promotional strategies and they are more important in case of cross cultural environment.
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Promotional Strategies and Research Methods
As the service sector has the challenges both nationally internationally, the demands of customers as well as cross cultural nature of the executives’ perceptions are a necessary instrument to evaluate and discuss. Hence a research is necessary to know the perceptions of marketing executives and culture of the people in the area the company wants to operate.
Research Method and Analysis Necessary for Promotional Strategies
Research methods furnish information about the culture and thoughts of the people and in turn they develop or reform the perceptions of the executives in cross cultural environment. The first method that can be adopted in this case is using internet to know the cultural perceptions of the people in the area. The advertisements in internet and mail servers that prompt the users to respond can help a lot and the company can use the surveys conducted in that manner to know what the people in an area want from a particular service or from a particular product. The surveys conducted should not reveal that they are made from the company and it is better to conduct them in the guise of some competitions and puzzles or by offering e-mail Ids from the mail servers. The survey questions can be as follows in case of a product:
- Questions regarding utility values of different products
- Questions regarding their age.
- Questions regarding their culture.
- Questions regarding their dress code and taste
- Questions regarding their children and their perception of their needs.
- Questions regarding their spouses and their needs.
- Questions regarding their life style.
- Questions regarding their nature of buying luxurious articles
- Questions regarding their spending on cosmetics.
- Questions regarding their vehicles.
Analysis of the responses and developing cultural perceptions
The information gathered from the surveys can be used to reinforce cultural values as to enhance the cultural perceptions of the executives regarding customers’ demands. In the wake of increased competition both nationally and internationally, the cultural perceptions play an important role in development of relationship with customer to make him/her as a returning customer as well as to consolidate the customer base for the companies. As a result the work factors associated with performance management and their effects on service operations of executives are necessary to estimate the executives’ performance on cross cultural basis. 1
Culture and Performance
As the performance depends on perspective, the different cultures affect the performance of executives in different cultural environments. Moreover the cultural differences influence job satisfaction along with performance as they are mutually dependent. Hence, the executives’ performance may be different in different countries as their perspectives change in different cultures. However, accomplishments decide the performance and performance depends on perspectives of cultural aspects of the people. In the era of global economics, the difference between power and authority is important and that difference is understood differently in various cultures. As authority depends on company hierarchy, the power is earned by the company with the popularity in the people. As the present age depends on information and its organization, the knowledge and relationships matter in customer service and relationships. Hence, the perspectives of culture depend on the knowledge about that particular cultural heritage and the way the people think in that culture. As the success is capable of creating an environment of lessening interest in new ideas, the enjoying of status quo may affect the performance in the new market area and thus the arrangement that coordinates the decision makers and executives is necessary so that the results of research regarding the new area can be given to the executives operating there.
Research Methods to Know About the Culture of the People
In order to know about the culture of the people, the company can launch a website on its name and can offer services like email Ids and online purchasing. It can also offer the services like giving a storage space online in order to store files and getting responses from them by posing questions in a timely manner. The names of the e-mail Ids of the people can tell about the existing culture of the people of the area and that is the first step to gather information about their culture. The culture of the people can also be known on the basis of the responses they give on the online surveys regarding their culture.
As the shopping and responses for the offers on online shopping can enable the executives to know about the buying methods of the people the second method that tells about the culture of the people is online shopping trend on the website. However, as online shopping can reach only limited number of customers, the company has to offer different products through the advertisements in newspapers through special offers. The response from the readers, the products they try to buy and the range of the products they select and the response of them to the special offers can make the executives understand about the affordability of the customers according to their culture. The different products the company has to offer either online or through newspapers should range from electronics to non electronic and jewelry to domestic items as well as the spiritual books, comics and other literature. The purchase of books can give a large understanding about their culture as the reading reflects the culture.
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Analysis of the Response to Methods Regarding Cultural Aspects
The above mentioned methods can develop relationships between customers and the company. These can bring out the positive results and as a result, the company should have continuous contact with the customers and should respond when they contact the executives. The executives can respond clearly when they have right perceptions about cultural aspects of them. Moreover, they can develop ability to respond in a right manner to all types of customers. The experiences of many executives are that the work experience may not help yet times in problems regarding cultural aspects. Another significant aspect is that the company also has some value chain and unique needs as well as styles and backgrounds.2
Analysis of Responses and Building Marketing Strategies
The perception obtained from the above methods can helps executives in communicating the company’s core message to its target audiences and design of the products as well as services. In the era of global economics dealing with people of different cultures has been more important and marketing communications component of enrollment management has become increasingly important. The sophisticated marketing communications techniques like advertising, promotional literature, direct marketing techniques will be successful when the executives have right perception about the customers’ cultural aspects. The message conveyed should be according to the customers’ cultural thoughts and as a result should be heart touching. Just sending a catalogue of products from a company that has a foreign origin cannot satisfy a customer and marketing communications with cross cultural perceptions of executives play a role in marketing techniques to deliver.
To claim a quality service position, the service provider’s service has to live up to the promises as well as the expectations of the customers. In addition to create brand image for the company, the cross cultural perceptions of the executives should have enough understanding to take that image to the customers. This is possible when the theme of the company’s marketing strategies resonates with that of the perceptions of the customers and they depend on the culture of the area the company is operating. The positive brand image will be possible and have powerful influence when the cross cultural perceptions of the executives resonate with that of the customers. Jonathan Gutman and George Miaoulis (2003), quotes Biel (1992) about the aspects the executives have to focus while the company is operating in areas of different cultures. The first one is the benefits for the customers from the image of the provider and product consequences. The next one is about the culture and response of users as well as expectancy value theory. The next one is about the image accrued to the product due to the actions of the consumer. This is possible when the executives perform keeping in mind the cultural inclinations of the people, in the area the company is operating. The above aspects can be included into marketing strategies of the company, when ‘means end chain’ seeks to be consistent with the associational nature to explain the nature of selection of products by consumers when different brands are available in the market. 3
Down to Earth Research Methods
The types of research methods mentioned till now in this paper are regarding customers who have online access and are interested in online activities. Though it can offer a primary understanding about the elite customers of an area, it is important to have an understanding about the thoughts of the other people, who are not much interested in online activities. For this, the company has to conduct door to door survey in the selected areas to know about the culture of the people as well as the consumer behavior regarding the products and services of the company. The prospects based, whom the survey doing candidates meet should comprise of individuals of different ages and classes. Survey staff should take care that they have to take opinions from equal number of men and women. The questions framed and asked should be in a manner to reveal the perceptions of the people regarding brand and quality as well as the word of mouth publicity.
Analysis of Responses from Door to Door Surveys
In the above mentioned method, the word of mouth plays a major role. According to Sabrina Helm (2003), the quantification of WOM can help in estimating the efficacy of the marketing strategies and the effect of products and services on the customers. One can observe that if the cultural perceptions of executives are similar to those of the customers, When the perceptions and responses match each other the executives can continue the strategies and can think about changing them if they do not match as the customers are not satisfied with the way the product or the services is presented to them. The strategies of the company will be attractive marketing tools if they are according to the cultural aspects of the people as they affect their thinking. As the cultural perceptions of the executives affect the customer responses to their strategies they even affect the monetary referral value of the customers. Though the WOM represent only the vague approaches to a valid measurement of referral value, it can be used to compare the cultural perceptions of the executives operating with people of different cultures.
Hence, the cross cultural perceptions can be corrected if there are any disparities using the WOM survey regarding the company’s product and services. Moreover, the WOM helps the executives of services sector due to high uncertainty associated with the purchase situation and outcome. If the uncertainty is due to the defects in marketing strategies due to wrong perceptions of executives, it can be termed that there is need for executives to change their perceptions of cultural aspects of the customers. The above aspect finds ground in the fact that the decision of the customers to choose a service provider is strongly influenced by personal communication and the exchange of experiences with other customers. Hence, their responses about the services can give a clear picture of their cultural aspects and thoughts and as a result can thus assess the cultural perspectives of executives.
As the cultural perspectives of executives decide the way of personal communications to the customers, it is important to have right perceptions to develop any company’s greatest marketing assets; satisfied customers. The claim of the use of customers’ referrals can be an indicator for the right perception of the executives regarding the culture of the customers. This can even help in winning new customers as the returning customers are satisfied with the services and the way the company is communicating with them. However, to gain new customers from the returning customers, the service presentation and strategies of marketing should change the prospects into customers. Hence, it is important to note that the communication to the customer from the side of the company is important to gain new customers as well as retaining them. It is possible when the executives prepare the marketing strategies according to the cultural aspects of the people and that is possible when their cross cultural perspectives are resonating with those of the customers’ culture. 4
Research Methods for Cross Cultural Perspectives of Executives After Surveys
The assessment of perceptions of executives regarding cross cultural perceptions is as important as getting information and responses from customers using different research methods mentioned in the above chapters. Hence a method that can assess the effectiveness of perceptions of the executives is important before entering into the new market that is having different culture from that of the executives. Hence, the company should encourage recruitment of executives from the area the company want to operate in to marketing department in a required number. The presence of the executives who have enough knowledge about the culture of the people and their consumer behavior will enable the management to assess the perceptions of its executives. For example, in United States, the understanding of the salesperson about the needs of the consumer is extremely important for a customer. However, this may not be same in different areas as in other areas people may expect different treatment from a salesperson. However, the customers of different areas may pose different questions for a same type of service or understanding from a salesperson as well as marketing executives. Hence, the cross cultural perceptions of executives depend on their perceptions about the culture of people in different areas. The lack of knowledge or wrong perceptions may lead to service quality gap and that may result in eroding customer base for the company.
Analysis of the Cross Cultural Perceptions of the Executives
The important aspect that executives keep in mind is that the quality and price perceptions of customers differ from area to area and they are different in different countries. Paul Herbig (1997) states that the definition of service quality differs in various country and customers in different areas perceive it differently. Hence, the presence of executives in the company from the area in which the company is operating helps in assessing the perception and definition of the customer about quality that counts. Paul Herbig states that the quality of service delivered is satisfactory if the expectations of customer are met and that is possible with the executives having right perceptions about the culture and responses of the consumers of a particular area or the country. Mostly, the service expected by the customer depends on word of mouth, personal needs, past experience and external communications.
In the above things; the responses of the customers to personal needs and external communications depends on their culture and way of thinking and that can be assessed up to the mark with the presence of executives that belong to the local area. The company needs to be dependent on local executives while assessing the perceptions of managers about the culture of the customers. Paul Herbig quotes about the opinions of several international students that revealed the differences in perceptions of customers in different countries about the service quality. Hence it is clear that the lack of right perceptions about culture may result in quality gap in services. The foremost important reason that leads to quality gap due to wrong perceptions of the executives is that the customers’ expectations differ with management perceptions. The next aspect is that the wrong perceptions of management or executives result in quality specifications that are not necessary to the customers or the ones, which do not satisfy them. As a result, when the quality specifications are not according to the customers’ expectations, naturally the actual service delivered is not according to the satisfaction of the customer. 5
Reputation and Cultural Perceptions
Not only the service quality, the perceptions of culture even affect the reputation also. As the reputation is consistency of all actions, it is important to have reputation to have returning customers and to get new customers from them. The reason to discuss the reputation is that, different cultures view reputation in different ways. Paul Herbig (1997) quotes Porter (1990) to suggest the market signal is an action of a competitor that provides indications of intentions, motives, goals or internal situation. The signals sent by the company to its customer base will affect them. Hence, the indications like price reduction, new marketing campaign, building of new plant can be termed as signals. However, sending signals should be according to the context, if the customers are cost sensitive it is important to announce reduction of prices but not building of a new plant. Hence, even sending signals and getting reputation depends on the cultural perceptions. Naturally every consumer seeks a quality product or services but some of them are cost sensitive and others will be ready to pay the amount they feel it reasonable.
Hence, the company should communicate with the customers according to their thoughts and they depend on the culture of the people in that particular area. Hence, the message to the customers that prompts them to buy the product should be on cost sensitiveness according to the customers’ thoughts. As a result, the marketing signals should be in a manner that resonates with the thoughts of the customers. For example, they should talk about the low price of the product with that standard of quality if the customers are cost sensitive and should give a message about the quality that is not available with other products if the customers are not so cost sensitive but bother about the quality. Hence, the signals sent need to differ according to the culture of the customers and it is possible with right perceptions of the executives regarding the culture of the customers. As the potential reactions of the customers to the signal depend on the magnitude of the message and that depend on the commonality between the message and the thoughts of the customers. If the message given to the customers by advertisings match with their thoughts, the reputation of the company rises thus linking it to the cultural perceptions of the executives. However, the company should consider the costs involved in the signaling behavior as some signals need more budget for advertising them to let them go to the customers. 6
Doing of Business by Expatriate Managers
While talking about the signals given to the customers, the work of expatriate managers comes to the fore as their perceptions of the culture of foreign people matters while making the messages in the advertisements.
In the era of international business, the cross national assignments are compulsory for the managers and executives and it is a necessity for them to develop right cross cultural perceptions while working in different environments. The technical criteria for the manager will be same in different environments but that application of technical skills depend on the human criteria that makes him/her to understand the way people think and understand about the company’s products and services. If the manager is not good in human criteria, he/she cannot understand the behavioral and relational thoughts of customers and thus cannot communicate with them through advertisements. In case of expatriate assignments, the clients, customers, superiors, peers and subordinates of a manger can belong to different countries and may come from different environments.
According to a survey quoted by Paul Herbig (1997), the firms that have executives with more technical qualifications but least behavioral and relationship understanding have less expatriate success and the companies that have executives with technical skills as well as behavioral and relationship skills have more success in assignments regarding foreign customers and clients. Language is a part of the perceptions of the cross cultural differences as in some countries people like the messages conveyed in their own language rather than in international language. The above aspect is observed even in the countries that have much population who can speak English. The increasing internalization of the business made it compulsory to firms to operate in foreign countries and the cross cultural perceptions come to the fore in this context as the business environments of each country will be different from each other. Hence, the companies are vying for the candidates who have knowledge about the field of marketing but the motivation to adapt to different culture as well.
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Paul Herbig cites Solmon (1922) who makes a reference to a survey of 50 fortune 500 companies that selected the employees on the basis of technical expertise and did not consider their human relation expertise. Hence, majority of them failed thus compelling the companies to consider the human criteria of the expatriates to have successful marketing strategies. As the failure of an expatriate can be costlier to the company, it is necessary for the expatriate executives to have right cross cultural perceptions. Hence, shortly after the internalization of the business it has become clear that the cross cultural perceptions are necessary for the executives of a company, which want to maintain global leadership. In the absence of cross cultural perceptions for the executives of any MNC, the managers may experience culture shock that results in failure of the assignment. As the cultural shock causes the psychological disorientation, it may affect morale of the failed executive as well. However, flexibility is an important aspect that enables the executives to get right perceptions in right time, though they do not have the right cultural perception when they start the foreign assignment. Hence, it is necessary for the executives to have good people skills in combination with managerial and technical skills.7
Effect of Cross Cultural Perceptions on Training Strategies
To have a pool of executives with technical as well as behavioral and relationship skills the training strategies play an important role as they can improve the cross cultural perceptions of managers. However, even training strategies may fail if they do not have cross cultural aspects and if they do have the persons from different cultures and countries.
Hence, training strategies need to be modified to adapt cross cultural perceptions. Hence, as part of the training the executives should work in a group that contain people from different countries and cultures. The experience in working with the people of different cultures is capable of developing cross cultural perceptions in executives. The cross cultural perceptions include the aspects like risk avoidance in the customers and the people as well as training strategies in many western countries are not familiar with it. Hence, to adapt such aspects in training of executives regarding developing of behavioral and relationship skills is important to make executives to work successfully in different environments. If the company finds it difficult to train more number of executives who are capable to work in different cultural environments, it is better to give training to the people of the country in which the company wants to operate. Microsoft is one such company that gives training overseas in which it wants to operate and operating. 8
It is clear from the above discussion that right cross cultural perceptions is necessary for the executives of MNCs as they have work in different environments. As culture of the people depends on the environment, the messages conveyed by the company and the way of marketing the company does should touch the heart of the prospects and convince them to be a customer of the company. As the cross cultural perceptions of the executives depend on the human relationship skills and negotiation skills of the executives, the behavioral skills are as important as technical and managerial skills of the executives. The behavioral skills helps the executives not only in conveying the message to the prospects and customers but also helps in making training programs that cater the needs of people belonging to different cultural environments.
Consequently, the staff trained in the programs that induce different cultural perceptions in them, they in turn can convey the message of the customers to the executives who frame the policy of the company regarding marketing of a product or a service in a particular country. One more important aspect that is effected by cultural perceptions of the company is that the relationship between the staff in a country and the executives in the headquarters of the company. As the top executives of the company have to deal with the staff from different countries, they can understand the difference between the messages they convey according to the response of the customers. As the responses of customers in developed and developing countries will be different the understanding of cultural aspects and thoughts of the customers can help the executives in framing production as well as marketing policies according to the needs of the different environments the company is operating.
Elsayed-Elkhouly, Sayed M, Cross cultural study of performance management for service operations manages, allbusiness.com, Volume 8, 2009. Web.
Friesen, Michael E. (Author). Internal Sell: Encouraging Executive Influence and Accomplishment. Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 1998.
Jonathan Gutman and George Miaoulis, Communicating a quality position in service delivery: an application in higher education, Managing Service Quality Volume 13. Number 2. 2003. pp. 105-111.
Paul Herbig, Service Quality: A Cross Cultural Examination, geocities.com, 1997, Web.
Paul Herbig, Cross-Cultural Views of Reputation, geocities.com, 1997, Web.
Paul Herbig, Cultural Influences on Expatriate Managers’ Success and Failures, 1997, Web.
Paul Herbig, Cross Cultural Differences in Training Strategies, geocities.com, 1997, Web.
Sabrina Helm, Calculating the Value of Customer Referrals, in ‘Service Quality: Crossing Boundaries, Ed. Tax Steve, Managing Service Quality, Volume 13. Number 2, 203, pp. 124-133.
- 1 Elsayed-Elkhouly, Sayed M, Cross cultural study of performance management for service operations manages, allbusiness.com, Volume 8, 2009. Web.
- 2 Friesen, Michael E. (Author). Internal Sell: Encouraging Executive Influence and Accomplishment. Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 1998.
- 3 Jonathan Gutman and George Miaoulis, Communicating a quality position in service delivery: an application in higher education, Managing Service Quality Volume 13. Number 2. 2003. pp. 105-111
- 4 Sabrina Helm, Calculating the Value of Customer Referrals, in ‘Service Quality: Crossing Boundaries, Ed. Tax Steve, Managing Service Quality, Volume 13. Number 2, 203, pp. 124-133.
- 5 Paul Herbig, Service Quality: A Cross Cultural Examination, geocities.com, 1997, Web.
- 6 Paul Herbig, Cross-Cultural Views of Reputation, geocities.com, 1997, Web.
- 7 Paul Herbig, Cultural Influences on Expatriate Managers’ Success and Failures, 1997, Web.
- 8 Paul Herbig, Cross Cultural Differences in Training Strategies, geocities.com, 1997, Web.