Evaluation Of A Workplace Learning Environment Essay Example For College

Introduction

A career in Banking provides a good environment, for workplace learning. Bank Tellers have an opportunity to exploit their potentials and gain much from workplace learning. An evaluation of the environment in which Bank Tellers work is necessary to provide justification that indeed effective workplace learning can occur in such organizations. This paper therefore takes an analytical approach towards determining if indeed Bank Tellers can benefit from the potential learning environment at their place of work. Both structured and unstructured learning processes that occur internally have been put into consideration in this paper. Learning is a process that requires availability of resources and materials essential to initiate the cognitive activities.

This paper first of all identifies the important processes that Tellers ought to go through to ensure that they learn while at their workplace. The type of learning needed by tellers to perform their job has been described. This has been followed by a description of how opportunities for learning are distributed in the organization where the tellers work. The workplace environment and how it supports learning and the existing limitations towards learning have also been described. Concluding remarks have been provided based on the situation of workplace environment for bank tellers.

Workplace learning essentials

Learning at the workplace is a very important process for the human resource of any successful organization. Learning is essential at both individual and organizational level. Workplace learning aims at providing the necessary skills to all Tellers so as to increase their capacity to innovate. This is because the benefits of learning become evident in personal development and improvements while the organization grows towards increased efficiency and productivity. It is therefore important that an organization provides an enabling environment for employees to learn new knowledge, skill and attitudes that are essential for their performance as noted by Billett (2001)

Tellers need learning of simple tasks such receiving cash form customers and issuing stamped deposit slips. This is the task that they do most of the time and they need to learn and be tested within short time frames. Hard tasks such as detecting fake currency are also required and they need to learn and be tested for them to be on the alert. Declarative knowledge concerns factual information that tellers should posses. Tellers ought to know that it is wrong to obtain bribes from clients. Procedural knowledge is also needed by the tellers and concerns the knowledge required for them to perform certain tasks. Tellers require such knowledge during account opening and closure with different clients.

Support and distribution of learning opportunities

First of all, it is important to mention that the bank recognizes the need for learning and continuous training of all employees so as to enhance performance. The human resource department is in charge of training and learning opportunities for the staff. The bank provides support for those who are willing to pursue higher education. This has been restricted to the particular courses that are in line the current occupation. Financial support comes in the form of study loans that are interest free to all the Bank employees. The bank tellers have access to the study loans as they continue to serve the organizations. In terms of other resources, the organization provides free access to library services to all the Tellers. The works of Johnston has indicated that equality in access to library resources is demonstrated by zero incidences of discrimination in the distribution of such learning resources

After the normal working hours a Bank Teller has an opportunity to get involved in part time learning activities. For instance most of the tellers have decided to pursue a master’s degree programme on part time basis. Professional courses have also been on the increase in most bank tellers with majority opting for accounting qualifications. Human resources managers play a very significant role in ensuring that opportunities for learning and intellectual development are available and are well distributed across the workforce. (Glass et al 2002)

According to Bitter et al (2003), ICT is a very important tool in the banking sector. This tool has been considered by the organization to be very essential in facilitating workplace learning. Most of the Bank tellers have access to information and new knowledge through the use of ICT. Sharing of knowledge through ICT, is a habit that has been encouraged by the human resource management team so as to improve workplace learning. ICT in the banking is characterized by e-learning, a phenomenon that is utilized by most Bank tellers for their personal intellectual development and efficiency in their position. (Glass et al 2002)The provision of ICT to all the employees depicts a clear picture of how opportunities and resources are equality distributed for the sake of employee’s intellectual development. Dependent factors manifest themselves in the workplace environment in different ways. For the Bank Teller position, different tellers demonstrate varying levels of competence in the course of executing their duties. Tellers who have very high proficiency in the use of ICT tool stand to gain from new knowledge and learning while at the workplace than those who are not highly gifted in the use of ICT. In terms of knowledge, workplace learning tends to favor mostly people who posses wide knowledge. Being in possession of wide knowledge and understanding is a factor that has led to the rise of new managers who have also made good use of workplace learning. Knowledge as a factor has also been instrumental in building teamwork. This is according to research by Berrymen (1993). Tellers who have wide knowledge have been appointed as leaders in various teams that facilitate workplace learning.

Experience plays a very significant role in shaping the workplace learning environment. With this respect of this, it is worth mentioning that the older employees are crucial in the learning process of newly recruited employees. They act as mentors besides discussing vital information with the new employees in the organization. This influences learning at the workplace especially on how to handle fraud cases with customers. The aspect of knowledge in the banking hall is of influence to the learning process at this particular workplace. Employees who have adequate knowledge in certain transactions for instance foreign exchange have the capacity to enlighten others or new recruits concerning how to handle transactions. This shows that knowledge is very important and indeed determines the potential of the workplace learning. (Johnston et al 2002)

Competence also determines the potentiality of the workplace environment towards learning. The Operations manager just as a good example is supposed to be a highly competent individual in the Bank. His competence is quite fundamental with informal learning processes. This is because he acts as the leader in most of the learning activities. For instance is the coaching and mentorship he does to all the staff and especially the new bank tellers. Their learning at the workplace is dependent on his competence demonstrated by abilities and skills. (Glass et al 2002)

As Marsick noted,” structured learning is an in-house activity” and all the bank tellers go through the process. There are schedules for this activity and individuals attend the learning session through prescribed time schedules. The process is continuous and begins immediately an individual joins the team of tellers. Unstructured learning is the most common phenomenon at the workplace. There are activities demonstrated by the Bankers which depict informal learning. These include self study where individuals go through self learning processes by looking at how colleagues handle situations. It also involves asking questions to colleagues or the manager on how to undertake unknown issues. The managers in the organization play a very significant role in workplace learning. This is because they have the experience of the environment and hence provide coaching and mentorship to the Tellers. This also contributes towards informal learning in the banking environment.

Limitations of the workplace environment

There are internal factors within the organization that limit learning at the workplace. These factors concern a number of interactions that occur in the organization. Interactions between employees and their managers and the interaction between the Bank tellers and their clients. (Boud et al 2003)

Poor interpersonal relations

It is important to mention that for effective learning to occur at the work place, good interpersonal relations between the employees is essential. There are numerous obstacles that are present between the employees at the workplace in their pursuit for good working relations. (Loots et al ,1998)Conflicts resulting from work pressure can at times lead to poor interpersonal relations. As Selby mentioned, “Poor interpersonal relations may result in poor team work during execution of duties”.Individuals are not likely to learn from one another if the relationship between them is not good. These normally hinder the spirit of teamwork and consequently affect workplace learning. It is important for the work environment to be supportive with members having good interpersonal relation especially where they expect to gain from informal learning structures like discussions and consultations while at the workplace. (Selby et al 2002)

Leadership style

According to Marsick, some leadership styles do not provide a conducive environment for learning at the workplace. Managers who have adopted autocratic management styles are often intimidating to the Tellers and do not present a good opportunity especially for new Tellers to learn something from them. In situations where mistakes have been committed while at the workplace, there is normally fear to approach such leaders. This therefore hinders learning of important things in their careers. Jonassen in his studies has also mentioned that leadership at the workplace is an issue that has to be handled with a lot of caution because it actually affects learning. The best management approaches should be adopted so as to enhance good relations and learning. A democratic approach to management can best suit Tellers and can also facilitate informal learning at the workplace. This is realized with a free expression environment where members can even criticize the management while they learn important things from them. This would be a good way of pursuing innovation and change which are the main objectives of workplace learning. (Boud et al, 2003)

Work environment

Sometimes the nature of work the Bank tellers are involved is itself limiting to important learning activities. During the times when the Tellers are under pressure due to increased work load important learning objectives are unlikely to be achieved. (Jonassenet al, 2000)This is because the mind needs to be refreshed and have adequate rest for new concepts and ideas to be internalized.

Boud in his research studies has indicated that most Tellers end up stressed due to the increased workloads. This does not go well with learning at the workplace. Tellers who cannot withstand high level of pressure and stress at the workplace tend depict poor performance that is characterized by mistake through out their tasks. (Marsick & Watkins, 2001) As it has been observed by Johnson et al (2002) “An effective work environment for meaningful learning calls for even distribution of responsibilities within the workforce.” The issue of overworking some employees should be avoided because it is a hindrance towards workplace learning. (Johnston et al, 2002)

Lack of effective study programs

It has been observed that most organizations do not give adequate attention to workplace learning. This has been shown by the fact that programs through which employees can go through to achieve workplace learning, are not in existence. (Marsick & Watkins, 2001)This is because of the various marketing and sales targets required by the management. This therefore provided very little time for structured learning. Tellers who cannot make good use of informal learning activities tend to loose a lot without structured learning. So as to make good use of structural learning at the workplace, there is need for the human resources managers to come up with more elaborate programs which can be integrated within the operations of the organization. Through such programs, formalized learning at the workplace can be evaluated using various reliable measures. This would improve learning of most of the tellers especially those who require more motivation to improve their learning capabilities. (Loots et al 1998)

In conclusion, it is important to point out that workplace learning is a concept that requires support from all the stakeholders. Opportunities present at the workplace are a product of interactions between the Tellers, management and the clients. Both formal and informal learning take place in a workplace environment. The distribution of support and opportunities within the learning environment is essential for effective learning to occur at the workplace. A management team that pursues change and innovation in the Bank Tellers has to ensure that opportunities are evenly distributed. Although the workplace environment is rich with potential opportunities for learning, there are limitations that hinder employees from benefiting from such work environments. Limitations at the workplace affect individuals at the workplace and interfere with their pursuit for more knowledge and skills in their areas and other areas of interest. The way forward towards improving workplace learning calls for the managers to work towards eliminating the obstacles which stand in the way of Tellers in their pursuit for innovation and creativity through workplace learning. With most of the limitations removed from the workplace environment, Bank Tellers stand to benefit much from workplace learning because of the various opportunities in their midst.

Bibliography

Billett, S 2001, Learning in the workplace: Strategies for effective practice, Allen & Unwin, NSW.

Bitter-Rijpkema, M., Sloep, P. B., & Jansen, D. (2003). Learning to change: The Virtual Business Learning approach to professional workplace learning. Educational Technology & Society, 6(1), 18-25.

Boud, D. and Solomon, N. (2003) ‘I don’t think I am a learner: acts of naming learners at work.Journal of Workplace Learning Vol. 15 No.7/8 pp326-331. (or web search David Boud, publications).

Berryman, S. (1993). Learning for the workplace. Review of Research in Education,343-401.

Glass, A., Higgins, K. and McGregor, A., (2002) Delivering Work Based Learning ,Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, Edinburgh: The Stationary Office. Web.

Jonassen, D. H., & Land, S. M. (2000). Theoretical foundation of learning environments. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Johnston, R, Hawke, G, McGregor, C & Johnson, G 2002, Changing models for changing times: Learning and assessment practices in the workplace, RCVET working paper RP112 02-02.

Loots, C., Osborne, M., & Seagraves, L. (1998). Learning at work – work-based access to higher education. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 46(1), 16-30.

Marsick, V., & Watkins, K. (2001). Informal and incidental learning. In S. Merriam (ed.), New directions for adult and continuing education, no. 89 (pp. 24-34). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Ridoutt, L, Dutneall, R, Hummel, K & Selby Smith, C 2002, Factors influencing the implementation of training and learning inthe workplace, NCVER, Adelaide.

Rosenberg, M. J. (2001). E-learning strategies for delivering knowledge in the digital age. New York: McGraw-Hil Selby Smith, C, Ferrier, F, Burke, G, Schofield, K, Long, M & Shah, C 2002, Lifelong learning and the world of work: CEET’s surveys for the ACCI, ACTU and ANTA, Centre for the Economics of Education and Training, Monash University, Melbourne.

All Verbs And Nothing Else

Imagine a world of verbs and nothing else. Imagine a language whereby each and every word denoted an action, an occurrence or a state of being. To bring this scenario closer home, suppose all the nouns and other passive elements in our English language were non-existent. Such a scenario stretches the imagination, but it is conceivable, all the same. After all, all non-verb elements of our language are usually just clarifiers. A world full of verbs and nothing else is possible, though it would be radically different from what we are familiar with. Let’s explore such an existence for a moment.

Verbs, by their very essence, are an amorphous group of words which can be crafted out of practically any other word. This is because every word that is not currently a verb describes a person, animal, geographical location, external conditions and so on, that can potentially take on an active form. For example, the word America is a definite noun. But from it, a verb can be derived. “All immigrants to the US end up being Americanized.” Americanized here is a passive form of the verb “Americanize”. This is a classic example to show that all forms of existence can be viewed in an active form, and from that, the verb can be derived.

So the fact that verbs are ubiquitous is settled. But how would a language without nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, tenses and other conjectures be like? Well, for one, the language would be impersonal. Most sentences constructed are pitted with numerous peripheral words just to give them a human touch. When addressing someone, you keep on using his or her name in the conversation. You also describe events or physical places by calling them by their proper nouns. In a verb-only language, such luxury would be non-existence. In its place would be a chain of impersonal instructions and commands- every sentence in effect being a precursor for action. A computer’s chain of commands is an excellent example here.

A language consisting of only verbs would also be distinctly vague. Imagine trying to refer to an object, without actually naming it, or describing it in any passive manner. Obviously, it would be very hard to accomplish that feat. So naturally, a language without verbs would also lack direct references to objects or other humans. Now since language plays an important role in our general psychological make up, this would mean that as humans, we would all be impersonal, both to ourselves and to those around us. It would be impossible to think of ourselves as individual entities, since the very possibility of individualism would be impossible to conceptualize.

Without any direct pointers to individuality both in our communications and our thoughts, we would be hard pressed to express personal uniqueness to other people. We wouldn’t, for example, be able to talk about ourselves in conversations, since we can’t even conceptualize our singular existence in the first place. And this lack of individualism would be extended right up to our inner thoughts. Thus, in reality, we would be mere existences without unique personalities. Humanity, as a whole, would consist of an action-oriented populace without the means to foster creativity, uniqueness, ambitions or aspirations. All the visions and goals that we now hold wouldn’t be possible in a world where they can’t be described.

Verbs describe action. For any living thing, action is the most fundamental character trait. In other words, every living thing moves – one way or another. However, it is the other functions within a human being that makes us more advanced than animals. We are able to think of abstract phenomena or existences because we have a name for them. And when we come up with an ingeniously new concept or perception, we automatically craft a name for it. All these names are either nouns or pronouns. Then, in order to incorporate these new names into our conversations and thought-streams, we use adjectives, adverbs and other descriptive words. Few of these descriptive words are verbs – in a strict sense. And because we can communicate with each other, define our personal existence in this world, and explore the external world from that view point, we are able to form a coherent, advanced culture. We are also able to accumulate knowledge, for any new discovery or invention is simply given an identifying code- a noun – and later generations need only understand this noun. In a verb-only world, discoveries and inventions would be unheard of. Knowledge accumulation would also be hard to accomplish. We would, in other words, be mere automatons, lacking individuality and personality.

The foregoing paints a grim picture of a verb-only world. Yet, when we think about it, this kind of a world probably exists. Animals, whether domestic or wild, all show the traits just described. They are action-oriented. They don’t show any long-term creativity or aspirations. And they usually act like automatons, reacting to environmental and internal stimuli, rather than initiating their own actions. Could it be that their ways of reasoning are governed by a verb-only stream of thought? It is food for thought.

Disadvantages Faced By Multinational Corporations In Markets

Outline

Due to invention of highly developed technology business community has more and more become a unit and as a consequence, global business is the present form of trade in this 21st century. Also due globalization concept there have been immense disregard to countrywide boundaries, the governments of many countries have had lower hand in domineering the stream of their economies and Multi-National Corporations are now not limited to only one particular nation as it was prior to the birth of globalization. This implies to inherent several advantages and disadvantages to large MNC’s when operating their business operations in the various countries they have invested in.

It is for that reason that it is significant to recognize different approaches to international business that can be used in a business setting particularly for organization across cultures and across different personnel in an international setting in order to avoid unnecessary disadvantages. International business is now clearly obvious when individuals travel from one nation to another with no much complexity, for instance diverse nations have relaxed their rigorous travelling regulations to tolerate the desired time for trading activities to be carried out. It is also essential to look into how individual administrators can take full advantage of the sensible purpose of this concept to Multi-National Companies for example SmithKline Beecham, Coca Cola and BAT Companies among other multinationals firms. However, it should be noted that MNC’s does not only face drawbacks because of being global but also they succeed as it will be discussed in this paper.

Introduction

Global interactions have different perspectives depending on its global nature, how it impacts individuals and perspectives that such people have about this concept. Some individuals define globalization as being that state where each and everyone in the society is a resident of that global society. To other people it refers to the issue of Multi-National Corporations taking advantage of poor nations to augment there financial bases through exploitation of human resource as well as the available raw materials in such countries. Such a reason therefore presents MNC’s with a disadvantage of being harassed through sanctions such as laws and policies that governs business operations in where they operate (Hill, 2005).

Disadvantages Faced by MNC’s in the Global Market

Although international business explains the ever growing economical, political, cultural, technological and social interaction, it has in the process resulted to immense inter-reliance between nations nowadays. It is for this reason that the global environment and expansion of globalization has incited a range of reactions and opinions all over the world. In the recent past anti-globalization objections have always emerged to be among the most controversial issue all over the world since many disadvantages have been attributed to such concept. However, the followers of globalization particularly large MNC’s are subjected to anti-immigration arrangements in Europe and the United States; for example, resistance to the elimination of trade obstacles and hostile response directed against western cultural sway in several countries. (Joseph, 2001)

Nonetheless it should be noted that, anti-globalization activists frequently gain from globalization aspect and yet they are against it e.g. from the use of internet innovation, global markets and worldwide interdependence. Thomas Friedman had to assert the following about globalization;” We are now being touched by people who have never touched us before, we’re competing with individuals who we have never competed with before, and fortunately we are collaborating with people we have never been able to collaborate with before” (Friedman, 1991) such expressions clearly depicts the behaviour of large firms investing in third world countries; for instance SmithKline Beecham investing in Somali

To a scholar known as Noam Chomsky global interactions does not lead to prosperity and he asserts that; “it is a term of propaganda used conventionally to refer to a certain particular form of international integration that is (not surprisingly) beneficial to its designers, Multinational corporations and the powerful states to which they are closely linked” (Raskin and others, 2002). This indeed has been the greatest obstacle that multinational firms face since both local and international markets feel that MNC’s such as BAT Company have only interest at there activities thus exploiting them in one way or another.

International business management is understood as a complex concept that has brought much controversies world wide. Research indicates that globalization have little harmony in regard to what it is and whether it is a new or an old idea. Therefore globalization implies a process of aggravation of political, economic, and cultural interdependence amid the different actors within the global system. We also find that globalization is more systematic in the economic field where it signifies a process of intensification of national economies with the purpose of developing the capacity of the global economy to work as a unit (Kegley, 2004). However, this has not worked out since large MNC’s have been driven out by ill motives of only developing their capacity but not that of the common individual in any local market or international market that they invest in.

This integration comes with certain socioeconomic conditions as well as policy mechanisms. Therefore, understanding international interactions necessitates the description of the underlying context that makes it viable, as well as the institutional set up and policy frameworks that promote it. MNC’s therefore have been disadvantaged by the fact that host governments sets stringent regulations of conducting business thus making it difficult for large firms to carry out there trade operations in such countries. For instance; BAT Company is subjected to stringent rules in both domestic and international markets; e.g. introduction of smoking zones as well as strict rules of advertising its products thus affecting its marketing activities which in turn leads to reduction in market share (John, 2000).

The other factor that is found to be affecting this international concept enhanced by MNC’s is the predomination of capitalism and the free market economic system. Research indicates that conflicting economic frameworks and visions has not be compatible with the processes of making a common economic space. Under this we find that lack of competition between various economic visions has been described one of the leading factor for globalization which has faced immense criticisms from host countries where MNC’s like SmithKline Beecham, Coca Cola among others have been facing in both local and international markets. (Mead, 2004)

Several policy instruments have been created to act as mechanisms of globalization; this is after the establishment of the acknowledged underlying conditions. There has also been creation of fresh multilateral institutions with the restructuring of the older ones so as to manage and promote the mechanisms of globalization; a few key examples include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Trade Organization (WTO), and the World Bank. The policy mechanisms developed in harmony with a neo-liberal ideology that is also stated to be fostering globalization; disengagement of a nation in economic activities regarding to the regulation and institutional changes like trade barriers restriction, privatization, and capital mobility liberalization are some examples of these mechanisms. Under this we find that many developing nations, the World Bank and IMF through their sponsored programs have been against the adoption of these globalization mechanisms thus hindering the activities of MNC’s. (Sheila, 2004)

Research indicates that there is growing debate about the reality of globalization with two arguments arising; that globalization brings prosperity and that globalization brings impoverishment. Those who argue that it brings prosperity are the proponents while the later are opponents of this concept. Those who oppose globalization cite some issues associated with the growth of this concept and include; nations which are poor are always disadvantage for example countries who rely on agricultural products and their domestic markets having experiencing competition from Multi-National Corporations in same industry which force the local firms to offer there commodities at cheaper prices thus leading to making of loss by such firms (Held and McGrew, 2002).

The other issue is that of exploitation of employees of foreign origin by utilizing them as labour and paying them fewer wages and salaries on the work done. Also MNCs may subject such workers to working for long hours with less pay. Such a situation particularly in poor countries like in Africa has led to escalation of poverty levels since such workers may not be able cater for their basic needs. Globalization has also led to sudden shift to service work from manufacturing processes; this is because of the service provision being considered cost effective particularly when viewed from the aspects of offshore employees and such workers shifting to service industries. Such scenario particularly in Africa and some Asian Countries has led to increase in economic gap between the unskilled and the skilled employees (Snarr, 2004).

There is also an argument that globalization has resulted to growth of contingent jobs in that many MNCs like the BAT and Coca Cola Companies are now favouring the recruitment of part-time or contract based workers thus saving costs that they have could incur on the recruitment of full-time employees. Such scenario have led to job insecurity since the workers will not receive benefits like pension benefits when they will retire thus making life difficult particularly for the old in the society. Globalization has also led to weakening of labour trade unions in that many firms are set up in different parts of the world and there have also been an increase of unemployment rates meaning that there exist surplus of workers in many modern economies. A good example is in the U.S where firms can replace the employees at will since the existing unions have limited powers to protect their workers. (Tehranian, 2001)

Large MNC’s further who operate both locally and internationally has brought some disadvantages what is commonly referred to as impoverishment and they include the following; globalization has led to dumping of a lot of products in the local market which are not of quality. This concept has also led to realization of worldwide ordinary market and at the same time to introduction of financial markets which is integrated and thus can lead to many crimes such smuggling of products. Globalization has also resulted to non-enhancement of international relations between nations due to activities by MNC’s. Such MNC’s may exploit the locals thus causing disharmony between host nations and the country of origin of the MNC’s (Mellahi, Frynas and Finlay, 2005).

Harmonization of economic policies in Both local and International Markets

Reports show the major reasons, in regard to globalization, that explain the harmonization of economic policy with neoliberal ideologies. One of the reasons is that globalization would be close to impossible to think of convergence of national economies into a common space controlled by hegemonic power through which countries are not prevented from exercising their powers such that they single handily design economic policies in line with their specific circumstances (Stiglitz, 2002)

The second reason is the identification of the underlying shift stands for a change in power balance amid the social classes in support of capital at the world level. This change coupled with the United States hegemony has resulted into a condition suitable for the integration of capital’s goal of the world economic system. The goal involves trade and capital flow liberalization as well as labour markets deregulation keeping in harmony with the interest of capital. Consequently, capital flow liberalization across borders coupled with technological development has reinforced the increased capital’s power by allowing it the power of mobility. In contrast, the capacity to organize and maintain pooled bargaining by labour has been shaken by deregulation of the capital mobility, labour market, and technological changes. (Gill, 2002)

In consideration of the acknowledged underlying shift and globalizing mechanism, a more comprehensive definition of globalization could be; a process of aggravation of interconnectedness amid national economies where it aims to create a single economic space and largely aligning with the capital’s interest, led by a hegemonic power and supported by different policy instruments and institutional frameworks (Hodgetts, Luthans, and Doh, 2006).

Controversy also mars the factors that promote globalization. Obliviously, technological development has contributed to the intensification of interdependence. However, it is not substantial to claim that technology, by itself, would precipitate globalization. For instance, it is unclear whether capital mobility would be achieved due to technological advances alone; development in communication coupled with capital flows deregulation have improved capital mobility (Cullen and Parboteeah, 2005).

Implication of Culture to MNC’s

International marketing occurs when firms or organizations plan and conduct transactions across international borders in order to satisfy the objectives of both local and international consumers and the organization as well. International marketing has not been effective since successful marketing policies have not been adopted by MNC’s and has led to decline in market share and thus decrease in profit level. Efficient and effective marketing strategies or policies however, should be adopted to fit the unique characteristics of each international market. Before an organization embarks on international marketing it must consider the cultural environment that is involved in business activities.

The organization e.g. BAT or SmithKline Beecham firms engaging in international business must consider cultural values that will vary from one country to another. Because firms operate in highly uncertain environment where conditions may be ambiguous, contradictory, and subject to rapid changes in the market. Culture is said to be a system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when combined together it comprises a design for living that is culture is the way of life (Mellahi, Frynas and Finlay, 2005).

It is important for any firm that wishes to go international to understand fully the concept of culture and how this cultural environment will affect its business undertakings. To many writers culture is the central core for any marketing policy. This is because as firms thrive to explore new markets customers of different cultures are involved and thus the marketing policies of each and every firm has to meet the demands and desires of the diverse cultures. For instance, before Coca Cola markets its drinks in different nations it must first conduct a survey to establish the likes and dislikes of the customers in any market they venture in.

There are many reasons as to why culture should be considered by the marketing managers when formulating policies and include the following: Since international marketing is concerned with exploring new markets in different countries there is need for the marketing managers to understand fully the social structure of the target market. Social structure is a basic social unit that individuals live in and how they do things is defined by this structure. Marketing policies should be formulated with particular consideration of the target market desires and wants. Organization’s products and services should be designed in such a way that the social culture would prefer.

Social culture is also very important in that some communities are subdivided in to categories that will help the firm to market their products and services efficiently. For example in Japan the social status of an individual is usually determined by the standing of the group he/she belongs to. This stratification of the society affects the operations of any business dealings. Many people from different cultures perceive them selves in terms of their backgrounds thus shaping the way they relate in respect to other classes. This in turn may lead to what is referred to as animosity between the classes or strata thus making cumbersome for the entire management of an organization and particularly the marketing managers to achieve co-operation between the employers and the employees especially if they come from diverse culture, thus affecting the business activities of the organization which may lead to low productivity (Barsoux and Schneider, 2003).

The other reason as to why culture forms a central core of marketing policy is that of religion. Religion is a system of shared beliefs and rituals concerned with the sphere of the sacred or the supernatural and it usually affects the way of carrying out business and especially international marketing. According to latest research ethical systems consists of moral principles that are used to shape and guide behaviour and thus affects business activities. Over the world there are various religions that includes Christianity where it is estimated that about 205 of the worlds total population profess this kind of religion, Islam is another system which has about one billion followers, Hinduism which has around 500 million followers and believed to be the oldest religion, Confucianism which has around 150 million followers in Japan, china, among other Asian countries, and Buddhism which is reported to have 250 million adherents especially in India (Hodgetts, Luthans and Doh, 2006).

With diversity of religion systems international marketing has become difficult to be carried out because of the differences that are involved between religions. For example, Islam religion is viewed to be receptive to international marketing and it is said to be favouring market based systems of conducting businesses. This religion always allows free enterprise, legitimate profits through e-commerce and trading activities. The Hinduism on the other hand is said to believe in reincarnation and thus does not encourage entrepreneurial activities like the Protestants. So marketing policies formulated by marketing managers should consider the diverse religion before going international. This way the organization can be able to meet the needs of their potential customers (Adler, 2008).

The other reason why it forms a central part of marketing policy is that of language. Language differs in different countries and organizations should consider this aspect before going international. For example any organization such as BAT Company that wants to go international must address the issues such as translation, non-verbal communications, and personal skills among others. Language is very important in business dealings as well as communicating with the different markets. The marketing policies should be such that the element of language barrier is solved, for example if an American organization would wish to diversify to china; the organization should ensure that the workforce especially the marketing managers should be equipped with Chinese language in order to meet the demands of their customers.

Another main reason as to why culture forms a central core of the marketing policy of any firm wishing to go international is that of education aspect. It is evident hat formal education imparts knowledge, conceptual, mathematical skills, values, and standards to people which affects the way of conducting businesses. With particular regard to international business differences in education will give some organizations competitive advantage because the availability of skilled and educated workforce will be a major boost. If the marketing managers are highly skilled and competent as compared to that of other firms they will be able to come up with viable marketing structures and strategies that will foster survival and growth of the business. It is also argued that education determines the promotional materials that may be used in a particular market and thus the organization can respond to challenges brought about by globalization for example introduction of new technologies.

The other reason as to why culture forms a central part to marketing policies is that of material culture which is considered to involve tools, work of arts, and technology that is used in international marketing. A sound marketing policy should consider channels of distributions and advancement of technologies that will boost the organization’s goals. For example, the marketing policies formulated should provide direction on utilization of new technologies like that of e-commerce to improve the efficiency of the firm operations. This is cost effective and also saves time of the firm which can be used in generation of more income (Hofstede, 2004).

As Cateora and Ghauri (2006) state that ‘for the inexperienced marketer, the similar but different’ aspect of culture creates an illusion of similarity that usually does not exist” is a statement that shows that the concept of culture is significant and the managers of firms need to fully understand it so that they can increase their productivity. Culture varies from one country to another and marketing strategies and policies should be formulated in such a manner that it does not contradict the way of doing things or living by the target population (Thomas, 2008).

In essence, international business has more and more disregarded national restrictions and several businesses have opted to go international in scope which in the process has encouraged workforce diversity which in turn has had both negative and positive effects on multinational companies both locally and domestically. The realism and reality of the concept of globalization can be practical when diversity in workforce is taken in to account; for instance firms like SmithKline Beecham Company have in vested in different countries and in the process recruiting different persons from different cultures to work in their various plants all over the world. This implies that MNC’s have deprived the locals’ job opportunities in such host countries where they have invested.

Conclusion

Considering the ongoing analysis, globalization does not just involve intensification of worldwide interdependence precipitated by technological advancement and market forces. Rather, it is a global view modelled by capitalistic and predominant power that envisions establishing a global system which in the process serves the interest of MNC’s who have sufficient capital over the local firms. Capitalism has an inbound tendency of globalizing. However, it is not often described by the degree of adherence to the liberal principles that globalization represents. In his analysis, E. M. Wood describes globalization as a new manifestation of capitalism which is much pure, unchallenged, unadulterated, and universal, than ever before thus giving advantage to large MNC’ like Coca Cola Company to exploit the local and small medium companies in host countries. (Capra, 2002)

The bad financial situations experienced in various nations have left the proponents of globalization particularly large MNC’s with shaken confidence. For instance, The World Bank, in contrast to the 1980s minimal state dictum it supported, now appreciates the significance of the role of each country in correcting and protecting the aspects of market system. Furthermore, there has been an increasing understanding that uncontrolled financial flows, more so from developed nations to emerging economies, can cause immense instability. Some advocates of globalization have acknowledged the relevance of Keynes’s scepticisms on financial mobility in current global set up. The notable terrorist action in the United States of 11th September, 2001 raised the issue of the wisdom in embracing globalization. However, in spite of the draw backs and the shaken confidence, the proposition for globalization is still strong (Bello, 2002).

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