CREATIVE REFLECTIVE ESSAY (25%, the objectives 1 to 4 of this subject) You are required to write a creative reflective essay relating your understanding to the following
prescribed readings: Kahneman, D., Lovallo, D., Sibony, O. 2011, Before you make that big decision… ,
Harvard Business Review, Vol. 89, No . 6, pp 51-60.
The article is available in pdf format on UTSOnline in the Creative Reflection Essay folder. The length of essay should not exceed 4 pages. Font size should be Times New Roman 12 and single line spacing. You will be penalised for exceeding 4 pages. References must be supplied, using the Harvard business referencing system, where appropriate. Reference pages are not counted for page count purposes. The article titled “The Process of Creative Reflection” posted on UTSOnline provides useful guidelines for this purpose. Please ensure that you print a copy of this article and use it to guide you in writing this essay. There are also samples of reflection essays on UTSOnline for your reference.
All reports that are delivered to your lecturer late (i.e. after the beginning of the scheduled class) will incur a penalty of 10% (of 25 marks) per day. These essays are due in week 12.
Be sure in each individual paper to acknowledge fully any references (including online or web resources) or quotes you use. This gives credit to the authors you have referred to (and avoids plagiarism, which is the academic equivalent of pilfering), it provides evidence of your search for information and it provides readers with the opportunity to refer to the article.
Please use the provided Essay/Assignment cover sheet when submitting your essay/report.
PLEASE FOLLOW THIS SAMPLE ESSAY
Creative Reflection Essay
Managing people in a multicultural environment pose a problem for international managers since different cultures exhibit deviating values, expectations, perceptions, beliefs and assumptions. The effects of cultural diversity affect the global policy formulation employed by a multinational business. Several multinational organizations, such as the Coca-Cola Company, endeavor to release the power of cultural diversity rather than sighting it as an impediment (Majlergaard 2006). The multinational company sees it as the path towards long term sustainability. Failing to recognize these cultural issues in the workplace can result in cultural shock where workers feel isolated, fearful and vulnerable. As an international manager, I may receive recommendations from multicultural teams (Jackson & Holvino 1988). Considering the increased deviating assumptions and biases of these teams, the proposals that the group presents may contain several biases that may affect the quality of the impending decision making review (Kahneman et.al 2011). In order to make the right decisions in this environment, I would need a deeper understanding of the cultural dynamics of my team considering the detrimental effects that those decisions. Moreover, I would want to improve the performance of my team and ensure that they continue to enjoy working in that multicultural environment. I also appreciated that I would need to change my management techniques as I continue to work among the heterogeneous cultures. Therefore, the question for this paper is that, do the cultural differences among multicultural teams demand an enhanced decision making and management approach to minimizing bias and sustaining the group? By recognizing that multicultural decision making is different, a global manager can effectively administer some of the managerial dilemmas of a global company. This would provide opportunities that world business leaders can utilize to ensure that they improve the quality of their decisions. Moreover, they can manage the cultural diversity in the global market efficiently.
If I get Rosado s (2010) arguments, all of us seem to have a prejudicial attitude towards one another because we have diminutive understanding about those who look different from us. Team members and managers can have stereotypes towards each other because they lack enough information about the other group. According to Parhizgar, these perceptual judgments compel teams or individuals to behave as expected. This Pygmalion effect causes team members to influence others for their own self interests. Promotion of team members may undergo prejudgment where the positions experience implications even before the actual process completes (2002, p 176-178). When compared with Affect Heuristic bias, the recommending team members may also become emotionally attached towards each other rather than towards the recommendations. A member of the team may support a project on grounds that a member he or she likes supports it. When faced with a person they hate, the reverse occurs. This emotional attachment carries with it solidarity, joy to favored members and fear, dread or wrangles against rival members (Rosado 2010). The manager should raise an alarm when there exists instances that indicate ill-motives. Thereafter, he can now manage the impact of the bias. These actions can only materialize through the use of countermeasures to identify affect heuristic biases. Some members of the team may tend to show discriminatory behavior towards other members of the team. Prejudice in action constitutes an act of discrimination. The international manager taking care of this group may want to know any objection from members.
According to Kahneman et.al (2011), shifting our thinking from an intuitive into a cognitive system improves the quality of decisions critical to the success of the organization. They state that intuitive thinking is a fast process while cognitive thinking is slow. They argue that intuitive thinkers cannot recognize their own biases as long as they are inside the same mode of thinking. However, I discovered an alternative to improving the quality of decisions that we make. I have grounds to believe that something can still be done while we are still in that system of thinking. For instance, we could change the framework through which our unconscious thinking occurs. This approach does not move out of the intuitive box. While it appreciates the fact that people cannot recognize their own inherent faults, it believes that situations under which these intuitive decisions materialize can be set to improve the decision making process. By crafting the conditions through which we or the team makes the choices, we can improve the choices we make (Milkman et.al 2008).
Though the separation of the decision makers from the proposers allows management to perform a cognitive analysis, I challenged to see if any biases can be imposed by the decision makers themselves. While the readings from the Kahneman et al. focuses on identifying different biases from the intuition in teams, further analysis show that managers can also go through their own cognitive biases in the decision making process. In my findings, Krause and Balkcom (2007) state that executives may give faulty but prognostic judgments that are similar to those that the recommending-team make. The article emphasizes on the need to have a sincere and energetic dialogue aimed at reviewing cogent recommendations. The emphasis placed on the dangerous effects of cognitive people creates as the bias at an advanced stage in the decision making hierarchy. The board should work keenly to ensure that the executive evaluates the submitted proposals genuinely.
As managers in a multicultural environment, teams may create some managerial dilemmas. For instance, multicultural teams are more likely to suffer from a planning fallacy due to the increased diversity of members. They may differ on how long a project should take or the time they need to make a recommendation because they have different expectations, confidence levels and assumptions. Kahneman et al. (p. 58) suggest that the executive should lead the group in having an outside view, Brett et al. note that while doing so, managers need a clear understanding of the conflicting cultural differences; otherwise, arbitration may be disastrous. (Brett et.al 2006). So what challenges does Multicultural imply? This will help us understand its implications of multicultural team leadership and decision making. According to Roembke (2000), multicultural leadership necessitates not only integration of different cultures, but also revering the views of those from other cultures.
Rosado s report focuses on the issues of discrimination as it relates to racism- a common problem in a multicultural environment. It elucidates on the context in which people of different cultures live. The reading gives examples of behaviors and exchanges associated with prejudice. It is a relatively recent article, and I strongly felt that prejudice forms one of the toughest managerial dilemmas facing global managers today. However, I do admit that it does not provide real studies from which I can make substantial conclusions. Therefore, I sought to obtain tangible evidence that would give more light into the idea. It may be easy to get whirled up in the intuitive-cognitive mindset. Therefore, I went in search for other methods that world business leaders may use to reduce biases in decisions. Most of the readings I went through took me back to Kahneman s conclusions. As the pioneer, Kahneman has received plaudits for his valuable contributions in the field of intuitive and cognitive theory. Therefore, his book would provide more accurate information. So I initiated a search of his other works, Judgment and Uncertainty. This was a systematic bias since I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of cognitive bias from an expert in the field- the founder. The study offers an analytical study of the different cognitive biases in the business world. It makes use of sample data clarify these issues and effectively bring into view the key concepts of cognitive errors. However, the sampling estimates may have undergone anchoring and the text is too old and thus, may not be perfect (Tversky & Kahneman 1974).
Roembke (2000) looks at the leadership styles, authority and decision making in a multicultural environment. The book argues that leaders should be culture-aware and should continually increase their skills awareness through harmonious exchanges (p. 153). According to Roembke, lack of proper leadership practices can lead to low credibility teams. She uses what she calls a non exhaustive list of guidelines for organizations seeking to create highly credible teams. The book is spiritual in nature inclining its arguments from a Christianity point of view. The text contains findings of research studies to draw out conclusion. The book provides an outline for leaders who want to create highly functional multicultural teams. For instance, she proposes the guidelines on solicitation and provision of feedback, guidelines on team communications, guidelines on meetings and guidelines for program leaders (p. 224 -236).
After some echoing session, I sought to know for more answers. Why do most of us think intuitively (System One of thinking) I came across, Maxwell s ¦Empowering your Leadership that looks at leadership in terms of laws. The book has spiritual connection as demonstrated by the scriptures included in each chapter. I was selective in picking the laws so as to maintain relevance to my hypothesis. Another assumption I made was that the principles laid out in the book could work out for anyone who wants to be a leader. The book is also a terrific read as it explores the fascinating and reflective insights to issues of leadership.
Take for instance, the law of Inner Circle, challenges leaders to make their subordinates strong, because this builds a strong source of high impact (Maxwell 2007, p.171). This may suggest that multicultural leaders should empower every member of their team since that is the source of strength. The law of Intuition implies that everyone applies intuition into their areas of expertise- including leadership. Therefore, leaders exhibit leadership bias when they inherently develop intuition in their areas of expertise “ leadership. Maxwell goes ahead and explores why some leaders may deliver what others cannot. Through intuition, leaders develop a list of biases that allow them to see things differently from others. That is why illustrious leaders solve problems. For instance, we can say that seeing the multicultural organization as strength is part of exceptional leadership. Intuition in leadership implies looking global also helps us have a sense of direction. By reflecting through text, Maxwell s interpretation expanded my understanding of possible sources of intuition in leadership (p.128).
I wanted to challenge the premise for this study. If a mono-cultural leader were to be in charge of a multicultural team, what effects would it have? Does the use of current leadership techniques provide an international leader with adequate skills to make decisions in such a multicultural environment? To help me on this, I took Canen s study on the cost of having no multicultural leadership skills. This study explains how to international managers can manage conflict in a multicultural environment. This study depended on the previous article that appeared in the International Conflict Management Journal. Though not exclusively, this study occurred in Higher education institutions and uses both primary and secondary sources to draw up its conclusions. The study shows that mono-cultural leaders disregard isolation of people with different cultural backgrounds (Canen & Canen, A 2008). This may imply certain biases should the mono-cultural leader elicit for directions from the group. According to this study, isolation may be categorized into bullying. The study recommends that leaders should institutionalize practices and procedures that allow for cultural plurality. For instance, the isolation of team members from each other may misleadingly appear as loss aversion since it leads to under performance. My assumption here is that, experts carried out the Brazilian-based case study was and, it would work in any other multicultural setting.
Sheffield, a multicultural missionary, used another methodology in developing his study. He provides a six step framework that enables leaders to initiate and sustain multicultural teams. The study mainly focuses on the Christian community and the assumption I placed here is that it will equally work in the business environment. Therefore, the study may be biased since it has a Christian background that favors a multicultural view. The study states that to be a multicultural leader one has to undergo a cognitive transformation that requires the assumption of new attitudes and values that form a multicultural vision. The vision allows you to have a cultural adjustment towards others. The leader then transforms the current reality into an empowered multicultural dialogue (Sheffield 2005, pp. 89-103). Therefore, a global leader may need to change his or her perceptions in embracing new cultures through attitude development and multicultural practices. These attitudes need to be enforced at every level including the decision making process.
In the piece, What Makes Great Leaders? Bisoux (2005) looks at the top ten characteristics that all brilliant leaders share. The first three entail self awareness, personal conviction and courage. For a global business leader, the three may involve being aware of misconceptions or instilled stereotypes that we hold about other cultures apart from ours, identifying the right attitudes and acting on those beliefs. Apart from these, leaders should be able to inspire. For a world business leader, this may include inspiring those from different cultural backgrounds. Leaders should be curious, constantly asking questions and increasing their knowledge about people from other cultures.
As I reflected back on my readings about cultural issues facing international business managers, one issue that came emerging was that the organization needs to develop a holistic approach to managing culture. I found a business ethics paper that focused on the global, ethical practices inherited from the internal business boundaries. It analyzes some of the socioeconomic issues that multinational corporations grapple with every day. It gives emphasis on the need for such organizations to have corporate-wide ethical practices. The code of conduct is no longer limited by the national boundaries; they should be drafted to address problems relating to multicultural issues (Mahdavi n.d).
From these analyses, we go back to our hypothesis and say that there are substantial reasons to believe that international managers need to have adequate skills to manage multicultural groups. Moreover, they should possess normative managerial skills. In addition, the leaders must also question the validity of recommendations from multicultural groups in a prudent manner. The high sensitivity of decisions in multicultural groups demands skillful managerial-intervention. Mono-cultural leaders tend to ignore instances of discrimination in their group. Multinational companies advocating for cultural pluralism receive the advantage of global sustainability. Multicultural leaders should instill confidence, promote and gain knowledge about the diversity of culture in their companies. Managing high performance teams mean encouraging individual commitment and motivation- something that mono-cultural companies deny their employees. Therefore, a strong connection exists between multicultural leadership and quality decision making. However, this analysis does not mean that I totally write off the possibility of mono-cultural leaders from excelling in multinational organizations. I only mean to say that there are high probabilities that mono-cultural leaders lack the necessary skills to handle multicultural groups. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation. While this reflective essay addressed my key questions I had in mind, I seek to use better analysis tools to have substantial proof of the findings that I sought for in this study.
Bisoux, T 2005, What Makes Leaders GREAT , AACSB International, [Online] Available at < http://www.aacsb.edu/publications/archives/sepoct05/p40-45.pdf> Accessed 20th October 2011
Brett, J et.al, Managing Multicultural Teams , Harvard Business Review, [Online] Available at Accessed 18th October 2011
Canen, A G & Canen, A (2008) Multicultural Leadership: The Costs of its Absence in Organizational Conflict Management , International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 4 “ 19.
Jackson, B, J & Holvino, E, V 1988, Developing Multicultural Organizations , Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and Religion, pp. 14-19.
Kahneman, D et.al, O 2011, Before You Make That Big Decision , Harvard Business Review.
Krause, T & Balkcom J 2007, Cognitive Bias in the Boardroom: How to Avoid the Trap , [Online] Available at < http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4070/is_225/ai_n21067767/ > Accessed 18th October 2011
Mahdavi, I, n.d, International business ethics: strategies and responsibilities , Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, [Online] Available at retrieved 19 October, 2011, from accessed 19th October 2011
Majlergaard, F D 2006, Release the Power of Cultural Diversity in International Business , Knowledge Board, [Online] Available at Accessed 18th October 2011
Maxwell, J 2007, The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader s Day: Revitalize Your Spirit and Empower Your Leadership, Thomas Nelson, California.
Milkman et.al, M H 2008, How Can Decision Making Be Improved?, [Online] Available at Accessed 19th October 2011
Parhizgar, K D 2002, Multicultural Behavior and Global Business Environments, Haworth Press, New York.
Roembke, L 2000, Building Credible Multicultural Teams, Lianne Roembke, New York.
Rosado, C 2010, The Undergirding Factor is POWER toward an Understanding of Prejudice and Racism , EdChange Project, [Online] Available at Accessed 19th October 2011
Sheffield, D 2005, The Multicultural Leader: Developing a Catholic Personality, Clements Publishing, Toronto, pp.81-103.
Tversky A & Kahneman D 1974, Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases , Science: New Series, Vol. 185, No. 4157, pp. 1124-1131.
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