The Refractive Thinker® Vol XVII: Managing a Cultural Workforce: The Impact of Global Employees
The Refractive Thinker Press 2019
Number of Pages: 228


Summary

Publish date: August 7, 2019. Join founder of the Billionaire brand, UGG Boots, Brian Smith and our contributing scholars as they discuss doctoral research regarding the effective management of a diverse and global work force. The focus is on the contributions diverse cultures make to enhance working together in the business landscape. This volume will continue to shape the conversation of future success in business leadership around the world.

Chapters

RT Vol XVII: Foreword
Business is about being open to possibilities, as well as to the gifts that the universe offers. The secret is how you can be creative and successful while also being true to yourself. We are all creative, the challenge is learning to put that creativity to work; this takes the power of learning. Remember, you can’t give birth to adults.

Business is about learning about people and ourselves along the way. It doesn’t matter whether the product is a new shoe, a new device, or a new idea, every new paradigm follows the same growth curve, from conception to adulthood. Whether raising a child or an entrepreneur, the process is remarkably similar—both take hard work and determination. We have to navigate through our expectations, unshakeable optimism, and grinding endurance in the face of unforeseen setbacks

(For the entire foreword . . . see the book).

Believe in the power of the universe, the power of partnerships, and the power of you. Each of us should work to be successful and happy, but having given it our best shot, we must sit back and enjoy both what we have and what we’ve created, no matter how it turns out. The secret is in the relationships and friends we have developed along the way, the true fulfillment of an entrepreneur’s dream.

RT Ch1: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs: Perspectives of Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, and Bankers
Despite the importance of entrepreneurs and their venturing to the economic growth and vibrance of the aggregate society, entrepreneurs struggle to obtain access to capital from outside investors and banking institutions. This article includes exploration of the phenomenon of how entrepreneurs access capital by identifying many similarities and differences between outside investors and bankers that entrepreneurs should know and prepare for to increase their chances of securing financing. We interviewed eight entrepreneurs, seven bankers, and eight BAs and VCs who had (a) at least 15 years of experience in entrepreneurial finance, (b) represented a diversity of industry experience, (c) had funded and grown successful companies through all stages of the business cycle, and (d) had raised, borrowed, or loaned a minimum of $50 million dollars. We found that BAs, VCs, and bankers primarily look at the character and integrity of the entrepreneur and the perceived risk of the venture to make their investment decision. Consequently, entrepreneurs increase their chances of accessing capital when their fundraising pitch to BAs, VCs, and banks clearly conveys their integrity, readiness, and a reasonably matched risk and reward for an investment in their venture.

RT Ch2 Vol XVII: The Effect of the Organizational Vision on Remote Employees’ Engagement
The number of remote workers increased from 2005 through 2017. With the rapid growth and expansion of remote working options, organizational leaders became concerned about their ability to build, manage, and maintain an engaged workforce with remote employees. Gallup surveys indicated that more than 70 % of U.S. employees were not engaged in their work. Organizational vision experts suggested implementing the organizational vision to create an engaging environment defined by mission, values, beliefs, and principles to increase remote employee engagement. In this chapter of the Refractive Thinker, the author presents an overview of the effect of the organizational vision on remote employees’ engagement. The author also shared the finding from 20 qualitative interviews conducted with remote faculty members in the United States who worked in remote educational settings for a minimum of 2 years. The findings from the data analysis revealed that personal commitment, connection to mission and vision, open and friendly principles, work-life balance, and social interaction improved remote employees’ engagement.
Rt Ch 3: Vol XVII The Good Organizational Citizen: Collectivist or Individualist?
In today’s competitive labor market, global organizations strive to increase productivity and decrease costs. Growing the bottom line remains more challenging as organizations face declining global fertility rates coupled with the inexorable reality of replacing an aging workforce. The challenge of a shrinking labor pool led to a talent shortage (Economist, 2009), which in turn, placed pressure on organizations to maximize existing employees’ contributions (Cates, Mathis & Randle, 2010; Dávila, Celeste & Finkelstein, 2011; Hoffman, Blair, Meriac, & Woehr. 2007; Zhang, Liao, & Zhao., 2011).

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is “performance that supports the social and psychological environment in which task performance takes place” (Organ, 1997, p. 95) and behavior that “lubricate[s] the social machinery of the organization” (Bateman & Organ, 1983, p. 588). It is behavior that helps organizations and individuals. Williams and Anderson (1991) organized OCB into two categories based on the target of the behavior: OCB directed towards benefitting the organization (OCBO) and OCB directed towards benefitting individuals (OCBI).

OCB positively impacts organizational effectiveness measures such as job satisfaction, improved productivity, increased efficiency, reduced costs, increased customer satisfaction, reduced absenteeism, happier, more enthusiastic employees, better quality work, and a positive impact on the organization’s profits.

This author (Curry, 2016) sought to determine whether two forms of individualism (vertical and horizontal) and two forms of collectivism (vertical and horizontal) could predict OCBO or OCBI. Vertical collectivism (VC) is a cultural pattern where individuals view themselves as part of an in-group, focus on in-group goals, and accept hierarchy and inequality while for horizontal collectivism (HC) individuals see themselves as members of an in-group of similar interdependent individuals who value equality (Singelis, Triandis, Bhawuk, & Gelfand, 1995). Vertical individualism (VI) is a cultural pattern where individuals see themselves as autonomous from the group, focus on achieving individual goals, are self-reliant, value competition and expect inequality while for horizontal individualism (HI) individuals view themselves as autonomous from the group, is self-reliant and value equality (Singelis et al.) Both forms of collectivism (VC and HC) and Vertical Individualism were significant predictors of OCB directed towards the individual (OCBI). Horizontal collectivism and vertical collectivism were significant predictors of a combined OCB scale, OCB-Total, since the original OCBO scale proved unreliable, but neither form of individualism was.
RT Vol XVII Ch4: Ensuring Prosperous Knowledge Flow from the Silent Generation through Generation Z
As Generation Z continues to enter the workforce, the generational differences seen now through the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers and Generations X, Y, and Z will continue to increase (Jones, Murray, & Tapp, 2018). Generation Z is the generation born into a culture of digital centric communication (Singh & Dangmei 2016) whereas the other end of the workforce spectrum, the Silent Generation is a culture based on face-to-face communication (Venter, 2016). Organizations will need to continue to incorporate the cultures of each generation into a cohesive culture that supports the business. Incorporating knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer into a daily practice or culture will become a requirement to support a prosperous knowledge flow within the organization.
Throughout this author’s time in the workforce beginning as a grocery store clerk through a military career to transitioning to a government contractor position, my coworkers continue to come from multiple generations. Knowledge flow, or lack thereof, had the potential of ensuring the respective successes or failures or each job and in retrospect, of each business. The challenges of ensuring an organizational culture that can function well with the multigenerational workforce in the reality of global organizational challenges and knowledge management needs are the focus of this chapter.
Using the lens of refractive thinking, the challenges are not just how the different generations function as an integrated team or how they communicate in a global environment through multiple locations. The challenges include the generational differences to build on a culture making it capable of supporting the team as well as the work in support of the customer requirements and the organization. Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer are methodologies that can support the refractive thinking organization in this challenge.
RT Vol XVII Ch 5: Escaping the Cultural Psychic Prison - Employee Engagement as a Refractive Prism
One of the greatest challenges facing leaders and managers is the preparation for and managing of employee engagement strategies in their organizations. A 2017 study indicated that globally, only 15% of full time employed employees felt engaged at work (Gallup, 2017). Low engagement levels have an adverse impact on productivity. Leaders and managers need to escape the psychic prison of self-imposed organizational culture restrictions hindering the successful implementation of employee engagement strategies with mutually beneficial outcomes for organizations and employees. From an organizational perspective, investment in employees and employee engagement programs make good business sense with positive outcomes such as increased productivity and profitability for the organization. From an employee perspective, effective employee engagement strategies bring about positive social change by improving the well-being and satisfaction of the individual, their work environment, and their work-home-life experience. Leaders and managers should acknowledge that engagement cannot be demanded, instead, engagement the result of a reciprocal relationship between the organization and employee expressed and observed in employees exercising discretionary effort. The business application of this chapter manifests in the identification of three employee engagement strategies and the introduction of an iterative 4-phase RACA (review, assess, compare, and adjust) process that enables leaders and managers to establish, implement, and maintain employee engagement as an organizational state, not just a strategy.
RT Vol XVII Ch. 6: The Glocal Employee: Managing a Mosaic Workforce
The annual cost of low employee engagement on organizations is increasing with disengagement factors costing Australian workplaces over $18.7 billion annually. Increased costs resulted in an increased. As a result, researchers have shown particular interest in organizational management adopting on how organizations could adopt employee engagement strategies aimed at that aid in understanding how to lead employees and managing a mosaic workforce to achieve organizational performance. By recognizing managers requires a level of critical and refractive thinking to appreciate the important role employees play as human capital within organizational constructs. Implementing strategies that engage in an organization, and how best to manage their complex engagement needs. Managers who effectively master the art of engaging a mosaic workforce can help organizations discover organizational leverages and advantages aimed at succeeding aspects that leverage organizations within competitive and evolving markets. Makoni (2019) single case study explored effective employee engagement strategies that some managers used to increase organizational performance. Five key themes strategies that emerged from the data analysis study were psychological ownership, job resources, leadership, training and development, and rewards and recognition. Makoni highlighted how managers could apply the identified themes these strategies across diverse organizations as the themes strategies relate to intrinsic employee needs that cut across the demographics of employees regardless of industries in any industry. Makoni also highlighted the need for managers to implement employee engagement strategies that motivate discretionary efforts, resulting in improved productivity, service outcomes, and organizational performance.

RT Vol XVII Ch 7: Global Leadership and Cross-Cultural Competencies: Leading Beyond Awareness
The ever-changing implications of globalization, open-market trade, and communicative technologies propelled opportunities for people from various cultural backgrounds to work in social, global, and organizational dispersed settings to achieve a common goal. To maintain a competitive edge in the 21st-century boundaryless society, organizations need culturally competent leaders who can integrate and adapt appropriately to meet the needs of all stakeholders worldwide. Hence, global leadership continues to be of great interest to researchers and organizational development (OD) practitioners seeking to determine the key competencies leaders need to thrive globally, as well as strategies for organizations to increase cross-cultural competencies. Through refractive thinking, this chapter underscores the importance of cross-cultural competency to leadership and long-term organizational success in the 21st-century business world. The information presented in this chapter provides multidisciplinary insights into global leadership competencies like cultural intelligence, global mindset, emotional intelligence, as well as the fundamental cultural components, such as awareness, mindfulness, and authentic leadership construct. Subsequent information underpins the need for organizations to provide continuous professional development opportunities and global training programs (customizable intercultural and multicultural competency paradigm) to enhance leadership effectiveness and worldview. The information presented through refractive thinking can help modern organizations leverage multicultural workforce diversity for global outcomes.

RT Vol XVII Ch. 8: Retaining New Teachers
Within organizations, employee voluntary turnover is almost unavoidable. Involuntary turnovers stemming from organizational downsizing, employee retirements, or job elimination occur daily. Voluntary turnover occurs when an employee leaves of their own decision (Mayhew, 2015). Voluntary turnover is problematic. To diminish voluntary turnover, Tanner (2015) suggested stages that organizations can utilize. The conceivable steps include communication among managers and employees, employee support, and making training and development a necessity. Leaders must be aware of the needs of employees, particularly new employees (“How to Keep”, 2015).

Improving retention rates and decreasing voluntary turnover could be beneficial to the organization. Among teachers, the turnover is the rate of departure of staffs employed in a school for any amount of time, (Oke1 et al., 2016). When leaders effectively focus on a retention strategy that includes implementing a culture in which employees want to stay, the organization will be successful (Ng’ethe, Namusonge, & Iravo, 2012). This chapter may assist the leader’s development of employee retention strategies.
RT Vol XVII Ch. 9: The Hidden DNA that Impacts Culture
Innovation, technology, and talent; These are three words that permeate discussions at the C-Suite level. How do we get better faster? How do we innovate above our competitors? How can we get first to market? And who is the talent that will get us there? Organizations face the same challenges that they faced decades ago: finding and retaining top talent and keeping their current employees engaged. The problem has not changed, but our approach has changed. According to Gallup (2018), 70% of all employees in the United States remain actively disengaged. That leaves only 1/3 of all employees who are actually engaged and contributing, with the heart for the organization. A disengagement figure of 70% is problematic. The problem seems to increase with the managers and senior leaders who find it difficult to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Current literature and studies since 1990 detail reasons why employees fail to assimilate within a given culture (McLaren, 2011). Day-to-day operations, decisions, and operating practices influence the employee’s basic assumptions and reflections of the culture (Porter, 2013). Actualization of values occurs during the intentional use of values to drive alignment between what is said and what is done (Ledbetter, 2005). From HBR to Forbes, articles cite the role that senior leaders play in shaping and environment, and the role the senior leader should play when living out the culture (Giberson et al., 2009).

This research sought to understand the conditions that exist when senior leaders make decisions or exhibit behaviors that are contrary to the culture and values that they state. The researcher postulated that the results of this study are four-fold. Organizations can use the results to develop a framework whereby more emerging leaders can learn to lead mismatches between the stated culture and espoused values, and the culture experienced. Second, organizations can use the results of this study to benchmark their culture or identify inconsistencies as they relate to its practices. Third, this study can help the conditions that exist when senior leaders’ actions are incongruent with the stated culture. Finally, four, this study can influence an organization to implement learning in its efforts to reduce turnover, increase retention, and become an employer of choice (Kier, 2019).
RT Vol XVII: Ch 10: Why Can’t Professional Educators Talk About the Elephants in the Room?: The Undiscussables of Culture
Reasons are numerous for not discussing the elephant in the room. Understandably, nobody wants to be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or labeled as a purveyor of hate. The goal of this writing was to present a refractive thinking approach to addressing these undiscussables. The undiscussables repeatedly surface when questions or comments about either side of a hot topic arise. Do faculty truly have free speech in the classroom, faculty meetings, or simply publicly voicing perspectives on issues that directly affect their work? It appears that necessary, but potentially controversial or sensitive dialogue can no longer occur in academia without serious fallout within the major and social medias or education administration. When faculty cannot speak from the point of experience or observation, where does this leave our students and their educational experiences? Immigration control and border safety has accentuated issues with The Dream Act and DACA. Immigrant students are filling our classrooms. and professional educators bear a tremendous responsibility for their learning. We are scholars and members of the education community. We have a duty to prepare students to succeed personally and professionally among diverse, peers, colleagues and businesses. We cannot change what we cannot discuss, calmly, rationally, and with thoughtful consideration.

Actions taken by Kaepaernick and Benson demonstrate the severity of repercussions. President Trump’s rhetoric has escalated racism, hatred, and bigoted musings. Is it possible that situations such as the Unite the Right political rally in Charlottesville, North Carolina could have been avoided by engaging in dialogue on sensitive topics? Is there a fine line between freedom of speech and undiscussable hot topics? On the political stage, it is compelling that undiscussable topics be discussed if we are to explore solutions to real problems as a society and a nation. Purposely sidestepping dialogue hinders forward progress toward solutions. Will potential consequences of avoiding the elephant in the room outweigh one over the other? Given the information in this chapter through the eyes of a refractive thinker, it is indeed a possibility.