Table of Contents
The last fifty years has witnessed a rapid increase in the level of interaction between countries from different continents. This has mostly been facilitated through improved communication facilities and advancement in technology. As such, the world has witnessed alignment in the international strategies, which are intended at expanding the business operations to a global level, facilitative global communication systems, such as the internet and the satellite system, socioeconomic, and political developments in all countries around the world in what has come to be popularly known as globalization. Globalization has had both positive and negative impacts on the economies of different countries around the world. Evidently, the positives outnumber the negatives owing to the role that globalization plays in the integration and liberalization of markets across the world. This research seeks to address the cultural practices in New Zealand in terms of businesses and how they might affect the American community wishing to do business in the country.
The New Zealand community has effectively adapted the concept of globalization with different cultural systems going through transformations to accommodate new perspectives in business. In the cultural practices of the country, it is evident that globalization has improved the level of competitive positions and at the same time lowered the cost of doing business, as companies have diversified the manufacture of different products and services. Globalization is responsible for diversification of resources and development and creation of new business opportunities in New Zealand, which was formerly closed to the international market. For instance, many people in the country are able to sufficiently meet the needs of their families through importation of finished products from the developed countries in Europe and Asia, while companies in this country are able to get raw materials from abroad to make those products. Globalization is thus responsible for easier movement of raw materials and finished products from one part of the world to the other. Moreover, globalization has allowed the concepts of liberalization of markets and free trade to flourish as New Zealand’s authorities come to agree on the opening up of their markets for mutual benefits through trading.
Furthermore, globalization is responsible for lower and more stable prices of goods, as consumers can access a variety of products from different manufacturers across the world almost at the same time. Globalization thus gives the consumers a greater choice of the products and services that they need and helps to lower the costs of the same. For instance, similar products manufactured in China, Germany, Japan, and United States find their way into the New Zealand market and therefore the consumer has a wide variety of choices to make, hence a greater bargaining power. Similarly, globalization has brought about diversification and expansion in export markets, especially for those manufacturing on local or domestic markets. In addition, globalization has facilitated the implementation of economies of scale in many countries across the world, as manufacturers have specialized in particular goods and services
Another element that defines the culture of the New Zealand business community is the ability to adapt to change very quickly. According to Collins, Roper, & Lawrence (2010), contemporary change management involves the utilization of primary tools and structures with a view of controlling the organizational desire to do things differently. As the consequence of change, many organizations in New Zealand cite the need to have better services or products in the shortest time and in an efficient manner as the motivation of management changes. Additionally, managing change also aims at minimizing or avoiding the disruptions that might result from the changes that are initiated in the organization, for instance, the disruptions from employees or withdrawal by the customers that the organization is serving. Furthermore, change management ensures that the products and services that the organization is selling receive acceptance in the market and the organization gains an upper hand over its competitors.
Carswell & Rolland (2007) view the process of change management as involving a systematic approach and use of knowledgeable actions, tools, and resources to deal with new ways of operation. Therefore, the important aspect of defining and adapting to corporate strategies, procedures, structures, and technologies as a way of dealing with external and internal conditions and business environment are all included in managing change in an organization. Ultimately, this is done within parameters that ensure professionalism in that organizational development is achieved within the missions and goals of the organization. Many organizations and businesses in the country are fast adapting to the cultural and legal changes in New Zealand, which have been effected during the last fifty years and which have helped the country to come to the world stage. Change management involves the activities of defining and incorporating new values, norms, behaviors, and attitudes in an organization. This is followed by a strong support for the new methods in order to reduce resistance from the employees for the implementation of those changes. In addition, there is the building of consensus among customers and stakeholders on particular changes, designed specifically for better service delivery. This is done through proper planning, testing, and implementing the parameters that define the move from the traditional way of doing things to the new way as outlined in the changes.
Business Communication in New Zealand
New Zealand business practices have welcomed the innovative and creative developments, which are taking place in the world through technological advancement. The cultural community in the country appreciates the importance of effective communication as the mainstay of a business environment. In this country, businesses are built on the ability of people in the business to communicate effectively and timely. As noted by Carswell & Rolland (2007), communication plays a crucial role in getting the objectives and missions of a business accomplished. Through communication, a business can handle the challenges that may come up, e.g., conflicts among the members of a business community. Through communication, the members of a business can come together in unity and accomplish tasks and roles that are related to the business. As such, a business that is made up of hundreds or even thousands of employees is able to hold that vast number of people together through effective communication. Communication creates unity and harmony in the business and helps avoid chaos and misunderstanding (Barnes & Scornavacca, 2006)) Thus, it must be noted that the first thing that defines a successful business in New Zealand, just like any other business community in the world, is the level of communication that management establishes with the junior members of the business. It builds a form of relationship that helps pursue the objectives of a business by ensuring that everyone in the business is in tandem with what the business wants to achieve.
Similarly, Carswell & Rolland (2007) noted that business communication plays a role in giving out instructions through directive and guidelines that leaders of a business want to achieve. In an instructional role, communication in business flows from the management team of the business to junior employees orally or in the written form. This is important given the fact that business environment has a number of activities that must be accomplished in order to achieve the objectives of the business. Additionally, Carswell & Rolland (2007) further added that the need to integrate with the business partners, both internally and externally, is accomplished through communication. To this end, communication plays a great role in developing interrelationship among different activities that the business is engaging in, thus bringing out the togetherness of the activities in the business.
Barnes & Scornavacca (2006) observe that people working in a team in New Zealand require updates and information about their progress. The business cannot inform people about the issues that are affecting it if there is no communication between the management of the business and the junior employees. This therefore means that people who are working as a team in a business environment must get information through communication. The people also need to communicate to the management and inform it about the tasks and activities that they are doing. In this role, communication can flow to all directions. Informational communication is crucial and must be communicated well because it can make or break a well-established business. Further Barnes & Scornavacca (2006) argue that the ability to make progress in a business environment determines the success and failures of a business during a certain period. Thus, they need to evaluate and examine the milestones that a business has achieved in a given period. Evaluation and examination of the progress of a business is done through communication and ensures that the business remains focused on the initial agenda. Business is based on the ability to convince people to buy into the idea that might not be popular among them. Effective communication in a business environment serves the purpose of influencing other people to do what the management has set out to achieve.
In New Zealand, it is common to find that many businesses collaborate with communities in which they were founded. A community can either make or break a business. Through communication, businesses are able to establish a relationship with the community and build an image that is acceptable to the people within that community. Through effective communication, a business can establish a linkage with the society where it operates, thus creating interdependence and mutual respect. This will benefit both the business and the community. The essence with establishing relationship with business partners and stakeholders is to ensure that the business gets the necessary support in the pursuit of its business activities
The New Zealand community has welcomed the need to inculcate better communication systems in the country for various reasons. According to Yusuff (2008), most successful businesses are built through teamwork. As such, people need to be enthusiastic about the roles that they are assigned to do in the business. Compensation alone may not spur people to accomplish their roles in a business environment. This is where communication comes in place as it helps to motivate people to accomplish their tasks. Characteristically, a motivated partner in the business will ensure that he or she gives the best in his/her performance of roles and tasks. Similarly, Bayard (2001) observed that business community in New Zealand needs to be a place where people come to learn and enjoy their work. It is a place that should foster self-esteem and awareness of the people who are working in the business. Thus, effective communication is important in changing the attitudes of the people as it ensures them that they are in a good and favorable environment. A person may not withstand an environment in which nobody is willing to support the activities of a business. Bayard (2001) further indicated that, in such cases, there might be confrontations and misunderstandings between the members of the business and even with other stakeholders, like customers and sponsors of the business.
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Education and Cultural Approaches to Business in New Zealand
According to Hamilton & Dana (2003), education serves a number of purposes, including the need to integrate and promote human relations. Through education, people from different societies and indeed different countries get to learn and appreciate the culture and practices of other societies. They can thus appreciate why others believe in what they believe, why they act in a certain manner, and how they get to address natural challenges in their social, economic, and political life. The globalization outfit has also increased the need for a unified form of education, since chances of a person interacting with another person have continued to increase at the backdrop of advancing technology and reducing personal space (Hamilton & Dana, 2003)
In essence, education plays a crucial role in promoting diversity as a positive thing and encouraging uniform outcomes when it comes to addressing the challenges that people face in their daily lives. Early researchers on the role education plays in opening up the New Zealand business community like Hamilton & Dana (2003) affirmed that the overriding importance of education in societies is to bring understanding among different cultural groups. Thus, the instruments "have all firmly stated that cultural understanding and cross-cultural comparisons are a necessary component of education." Some of the instruments of education, like language of instruction, have been seen by early scholars in education as dictating the kind of cultural formation that sprouts after a society has undergone through a generational contact with new forms of education. Evidently, language is even more important given that, as Carswell & Rolland (2007) argued in their research, "language does not exist apart from culture". This observation highlights the scale to which a foreign education and, by extension, a foreign language can impact the final cultural outfit that a society adopts. Given the power of education to change people’s perception of things, Collins, Roper, & Lawrence (2010) noted that education has the capacity to change the culture of a society until it is completely transformed into something else in all spheres. The social structure can change in regard to relationships, practices, and belief systems to conform to the new culture introduced through education. The capacity of education to change the cultural sphere of a particular society is even more pronounced within the learning styles that promote cultural confrontation over cultural preservation.
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To this end, Collins, Roper, & Lawrence (2010) further noted that there are numerous examples of business communities in New Zealand that have undergone total cultural transformation thanks to the influence of education. Inasmuch as education has played a crucial role in civilizing different societies and indeed bringing a number of positive cultural changes to those societies, the influence on the culture is most of the time seen as a negative one, since education fails to nurture and preserve some of the impeccable practices in different societies. For instance, many African societies have abandoned their rich cultural practices because the foreign education has demonized those practices while promoting the culture of the Western countries. In the end, such societies have developed a crisis in their social strata, because their people often cannot identify themselves with any specific kind of culture. Additionally, an effort to preserve the already endangered cultural practices and systems are met with ridicule from the modern generation that prefers foreign culture as compared to their own culture.
Characteristically, this cultural influence defines and dictates what people are going to worship, how they are going to talk, the kind of food they eat, the kind of clothes they wear, and even the kind of language they speak. It is not uncommon to find children in these societies speaking in a foreign language, yet they do not know their own language. Carswell & Rolland (2007) contented that all this is done in the name of intellectual refinement or artistic endeavors that encourage the abandonment of a rich cultural setup for the sake of a foreign form of culture that the indigenous people know nothing about.
Similarly, Kock, Parente, & Verville (2008) observed that since language stands out as a major influencing factor in cultural confrontation and indoctrination, the learning of a second language amounts to learning a secondary culture. He further argued that the vocabularies that are used in foreign language make it difficult for the learners to decipher intended meaning. As a result, the learners end up doing a direct translation and losing some meaning in the process. This issue appears a double-edged sword, as the blame is equally apportioned between the instruments of education in the target culture and the culture of the language’s origin. On the one hand, there are poor education policies and structures in the target culture that do not encourage their children to appreciate their own culture first before turning to a new culture. On the other hand, there are the intentionally formulated education instruments, including teachers and language, to promote the culture of the place of origin, while deliberately killing the culture of the society where the educational instruments end up (Cruickshank, 2007). For instance, Kock, Parente, & Verville (2008) argued that it is hypocritical for formulators of foreign education materials to use excellent examples of items found in their country with the full knowledge that such things are not available in the country where the educational material finally ends up. An illustration given by Carswell & Rolland (2007) of a language that frequently refers to icebergs as a desert society that even seeing morning dew as a problem may serve to exemplify how the culture of that society will be eroded through such kind of education.
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Bayard (2001) further argued that the issue of bridging inequality between cultural practices also undercuts the role that the education systems have played in bringing the new culture more precisely the rise of third culture in many societies across the world. The Western form of cultural practices gained prominence several years ago. However, in some countries, such as Middle East and Africa, students who were exposed to foreign education have almost developed a new form of culture, described as third culture, laden with new vocabularies that mostly bring on corruption of their own language and the foreign language (Cruickshank, 2007). Because of the power of education to change the perception of people in New Zealand, Bayard (2001) argued that education has been used by hegemonic cultures elsewhere to forcefully influence the entire life of people. This is despite the initial disguise by the proponents of foreign education who have been claiming to protect the culture of the target group. A number of transformative changes have occurred with regard to how people in the target culture see their cultural values, practice their religion, and interact with one another. Overall, the whole life of people has been influenced by the kind of education that they get.
Furthermore, Bayard (2001) observed that many people who access foreign education do not only change their cultural values but also the way they speak and pronounce words. Foreign education takes full control of the entire life of people and starts manipulating them through changing their cultural values, cultural environment, approaches to inequality, language, and vocabulary. All this is entrenched in the cultural theories that have been articulated by researchers in this area to explain how people have been affected by the new form of education that they get in classroom. According to Yusuff (2008), proponents of foreign learning styles in a new culture that aims at instilling acculturation into the new cultural environment have a strong opinion towards the power of language to influence the final cultural outcome in a society. Yusuff (2008) further argued that, "In the fifties and sixties, an anthropological and sociological view of language in connection with culture and society" manifested itself through language and learning theories. As such, the process of learning a new language in schools in most of the countries where monocracy was practiced was likened to the separation of culture and the discourse was mainly focusing on influencing the cultural practices of the target group.
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For this reason, the education was introduced as a separatist view in terms of appreciation that the natives placed on their culture with some seeing the new form of culture as superior to their own, while others introducing inequality in the way different people accessed the famous or infamous new education. Invariably, the inequality escalated to the gender inequality and men were given the first priority to access foreign education, as opposed to women. Kock, Parente, & Verville (2008) observed that this part was a continuation of the barbaric cultural practices that many societies had perpetuated for a long time through patriarchal arrangements that saw women receiving the second priorities in almost everything.
A number of scholars have cited a strong linkage between the language of instruction and the influence on the culture. Many of these scholars, including Cruickshank (2007) and Carswell & Rolland (2007), support the argument that language is the main agent in cultural confrontations and argued that there could be no separation between the language and the culture. Thus, teaching students’ new information through a new language is akin to teaching them a new form of culture, which they have to consume at the expense of their own culture. Consequently, the onus of teaching a new language rests on the capacity of the instructional instruments to influence the culture and practice of the people. The cultural environment can either enhance or discourage the acquisition of the new cultural practices. For instance, Zhu (2009) observed that in the years following the Saudization of Saudi Arabia culture, a local culture formed a firewall to the foreign culture in almost all the areas. For a long time, students in Saudi Arabia had appreciated their religious and cultural practices before they came to learn any new culture.
Zhu (2009) further observed that the level of cultural awareness in most of the Middle East countries shows that they managed to create a buffer zone that prevented the devastating influence of the foreign education on their culture. This was sometimes done through selective absorption of the kind of information that was coming from the Western countries. In addition, emphasis was put on learning the Arabic language first and mastering it well before contemplating on acquiring a foreign language (Roper, 2004). This is unlike in many African countries where first languages are not taught in schools but instead children are introduced to the foreign language, preferably English, the moment they step in school as toddlers.
As companies continue to operate in a dynamic environment, there is a need to have efficiency and reliability in the use of limited resources. Internal controls are systems and mechanisms employed by the management of a company in ensuring that operations in the company are up to the expectations of the stakeholders, and that integrity and honesty is maintained when it comes to financial reporting to investors. Finally, they also ensure that the company functions in relation to the laws and regulations that govern the industry (Yusuff, 2008). In essence, internal controls are aimed at ensuring that an organization’s properties are utilized well and that accountability is upheld by the management. Internal controls are mechanisms that are put in place to safeguard the interests of the investors and stakeholders in a business organization. A practical leader should involve the staff in making decisions concerning the technological tools that are used within that workplace. For instance, purchase and installation should be all inclusive of the staff in the organization.
This should be done in a meeting where the staffs are given the opportunity to lead the discussions on such issues. This is important because it will help to avoid the use of technology that the staff does not approve or even minimize on the cost of training the staff on how to use the technology within an organization. Technology is very dynamic and several people in an organization would always know something that the leader does not know. Sharing knowledge will help to bring out different ideas and solve technical problems that the leader may be having. In information technology workplace, it is not the level of seniority that matters; it is rather the interest that one has that is very important in utilizing technology in a workplace. For instance, it is not possible for the leader in an information technology workplace to know all aspects involving new operations; thus, practical leadership should embrace knowledge sharing as a tool for proper leadership (Milton-Smith, 1997). One area where new knowledge and insights are easily generated is trainings and forums. A practical leader in information technology should engage themselves in trainings and forums, where professionals discuss issues related to leadership and technology in a professional manner. This is important because it will enable the leader to learn from others and teach others about his/her leadership skills.
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It is easier to give instruction to a motivated group. Practical leadership in information technology must motivate staff through recommendations, rewards, certification, and dinners. Such events also open up sharing of information that cannot be done in a formal working environment. The information that is shared on the sidelines of the normal organizational routine is crucial in identifying bottlenecks in the execution of leadership duties in an organization. Regular standup meetings and non-standard office visits should also be practiced. Information technology environment requires 24/7 attention from the employees and management. However, during odd hours of work, there is likelihood that some people are going to waste time on other things that are unrelated to the work in spite of the great investment that the organization may be putting in those extra hours. Practical leadership in information technology requires the management to utilize these odd hours since they add up a lot to the outcome of the organization (Frederick & Monsen, 2011).
The ability to collect feedback information from the staff and the customer is very vital in enhancing leadership in an information technology environment. Evaluating firsthand responses from the staff will put the leader in charge and avoid the risk of running a burdensome organization, where the staffs are dissatisfied not only with management but also with the tools they are using to carry out their work. Similarly, leadership can draw on the feedback of customers to validate the level of satisfaction and even identify areas that require intervention. As a leader, this skill is important in enhancing the level of confidence that the staff and the customer put in the organization. Working in information technology requires consultation and creativity on the part of the leader and the staff. Practical leadership means that the leader should be friendly and approachable to all employees without intimidating them. Some leaders tend to have a know-it-all attitude and therefore prevent ideas from flourishing. Practical leadership involves openness and the mien that will attract people to the office for interactive ideas about a new model of work. Furthermore, working in information technology requires the leader to encourage the staff to build working teams that have set objectives to help in attaining those objectives. Team building can also be encouraged off work to enable the staff to connect and bond with each other. It should be clear to the leader that allowing the staff to bond regularly will boost their morale and enthusiasm on job since they get to understand each other well (Barnes & Scornavacca, 2006).
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In conclusion, it is evident that New Zealand’s culture supports foreign businesses in the country. The taxation system is conducive for businesses from America and the country has sufficient human resources to support businesses. Taxation is a hot topic among people, both employees and employers in the country. There are, however, a number of cultural practices that will support American businesses that want to set up their businesses in New Zealand. The government of New Zealand has enacted laws and regulations that will guide the international businesses in the country to minimize their tax burden in the country. This would sometimes lead to better services if taxpayers and the government agreed on the provision of social welfare services such as health, education, and other benefits to the people. When foreign people see the work that the government of New Zealand is doing with their tax system, they will be willing to pay in higher taxes on their income.