In recent years, it seems businesses around the world are relying upon a diverse workforce ( Gummer, 2000; Yi, 2015). The American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU, 2016) reports that despite growth in globalization, some people and organizations possess an unwillingness to support the addition of other cultures into their environments. The exclusion sometimes results from the attachment or perception of negative cultural stigmas. The negative feelings can lead people to resist acculturation. Also, they may not allow the acculturation process to proceed ( Kulik, Bainbridge, & Cregan, 2008: p. 220). The literature defines acculturation as the altering of the norms and values of people who gained their primary learned culture in a different cultural state, and how their contact with a differing culture alters the traits of their previous cultural learning. In the process, there is a likelihood of an influence on the contacting culture ( Lakey, 2003: p. 104). The expansion of diversity changes in the workplace has some companies grappling with the challenge to understand what leads people to resist the acceptance of members of a different culture or those who are newly navigating the acculturation process ( Dobbin & Kalev, 2016: p. 54). In understanding acculturation, the manager must realize the resistance to the process and how to implement successful management practices to build and lead culturally diverse teams (p. 54).
Badea, Jetten, Iyer, & Er-rafiy, 2011; Moeller & Harvey, 2011; and Okoli, 1994 provide the paper’s foundation of evidence for resistance to cultural acceptance in organizations. The paper examines and leverages research on cultural beliefs and behavior in the organizational environment. The reason for the examination is that the growth of the global workforce has led to increases in the reliance on world labor from various global regions ( Haubert & Fussell, 2006: pp. 503-504). The people from different social areas bring with them backgrounds of differing cultural ideas, habits, and mannerisms ( Odrakiewicz & Zator-Peljan, 2012: p. 127). Despite the need for global labor, the information tells us in countries like the U.S., up to a third of the people may hold nationalistic sentiment or negative biases toward other cultures ( Alexander, 2009: p. 3). Haubert & Fussell (2006: p. 489) believe the number of people who feel negatively about foreign labor is closer to 50 percent. The idea that some 30 to 50 percent of people may reject foreign culture, likely means global economies may suffer from the non-selection of capable labor. The rejection is due to cultural biases that eliminate support from global workers that can help an organization ( Haubert & Fussell, 2006: p. 489).
The management organizations select to lead their teams will require the skill and competencies to manage people in the presence of cultural differences, and the associative feelings people may bring to the business relating to cultural differences ( Kulik, Bainbridge, & Cregan, 2008: p. 218). The work is essential because of the resistance people can show to cultures that differ from their ideas of normalcy, and the impact the negative attitudes can have on the management of an organization ( Alexander, 2009: p. 3; Gummer, 2000; Yi, 2015). In some instances, the resistance focuses on things such as race, at other times, religion, nationality, sexuality, or some other recognizable cultural difference ( Hofstede, 1985: p. 362). The global movement of people around the world will likely continue to challenge human biases of cultural normalcy ( Gummer, 2000: pp. 75-77). The impact of different cultural challenges on the human psyche in the way of cultural sensitivity, therefore, requires additional research as managers must continue to lead in the rise of cultural exchanges in the workplace ( Gummer, 2000: p. 77).
Morant & Edwards (2011: p. 283) tell us the theory of social representations, which is the belief that there are behavioral changes within the individual that occur in concert with changes in organizational culture, account for the quality and quantity of the socialization process. The work and research of pioneers Barnard (1958), Hofstede (1985), Mitchell & Scott (1985), Schein (1968), and Schein (1988), help to advance and understand theories of organizational and individual culture. The research of these social scientists provides additional support and foundation for the paper. The theoretical basis of these founders provides the backbone of the literature on the studies of cultural acceptance or rejection in global work environments.
The purpose of the paper is to answer the question, what cultural beliefs or behaviors lead to acceptance or rejection of cultural differences in an organization? Specifically, the paper seeks to respond to the query with an examination of the human behaviors that lead to the non-acceptance of the cultural practices of people outside the dominant organizational culture. The paper also seeks to understand the cultural beliefs and behavioral attributes in a host organization that may lead to acceptance behavior.
McDonald, Keys, & Balcazar (2007: p. 146) provide information on the psychological strategies people invoke when they face resistance from the culture of others. The review of information looks through the lenses of the manager more so than the perspective of the organization. The reason for focusing on the manager and not the organization is the larger group may have an overarching culture or cultural response that the manager does not share ( Rose & Potts, 2011: p. 7). A thematic review of the literature sought themes on feelings and behaviors of the individual to understand why people may exhibit those feelings or beliefs when encountering a culture clash. A cultural clash occurs when opposing cultures come together in an environment, where the coming together of individual or group cultural variables differ, resulting in mental anxiety or stress amongst the group members ( Okoli, 1994: pp. 7-8).
The paper analyzes a range of studies on the reaction people in an organization may have to outside or external cultures. Through an examination of the themes of human behaviors when encountering the phenomenon of associative behavioral responses, that people may have to an encroaching culture, unlike their own or in which they are not familiar. The data will identify the expectations and attitudes of the group members, and the strategies and techniques the manager must understand by reviewing the expectations and reactions of the inner and outer culture members in the context of external cultural acceptance.
The analysis within the paper aims to identify the feelings and beliefs that exist in opposing cultural roles. A synthesis of the research literature helps to determine the themes of expectations or perceptions that can emerge in people to gain insight into what ideas or beliefs advance or hinder cross-cultural interactions. The discovery helps to identify feelings, opinions, and thoughts at work in people that the practicing manager can leverage, or in some instances, mitigate when encountering the organizational cultural phenomenon to improve team management.
The accumulation of literature initiates with a search for studies and a thematic review of the literature per the methods of Petticrew & Roberts (2006) in the research, collection, and organization of evidence. The paper also uses evidence-based research methods that involve the research, extraction, review, and presentation of information to present arguments by leveraging empirical research literature ( Watts, Holzer, & Tritsch, 2011: p. 495). The discovery of data advances using methods to sift through a database using a search string. The search string filters electronic research journal reviews for word themes relating to the causation and reaction by people to different cultures in organizations, and the resulting phenomenon of acceptance or resistance. The paper then uses the information to identify the behaviors that emerge to present a clearer understanding of what leads to the occurrences of culture clashes, resistance to other cultures, and what happens when the artifacts of culture disagree.
4. Data Analysis Techniques
To discover data a keyword search of the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) electronic library database sought data using the keywords words “culture” AND “global” AND “organization” AND “acceptance” OR “clash”; (cultur*) AND (foreign AND organization) AND (accept*). The search found 1022 papers for review. In addition to the UMUC library database, the paper made use of the Google and Google Scholar worldwide web search engine using the keyword search string “individual cultural bias global organizations” and had a return result of about 37,400,000 websites.
To reduce the number of hits from the Google search, the keyword string was altered to use only the Google Scholar input to query the string: individual*, cultur*, glob*, organization*, and bias* returning about 17,600 website results. To further manage the significant return of data from UMUC and Google Scholar, and to enable a search for legacy papers an “old to new” and “new to old” filter allowed the identification of legacy and contemporary data. The selection of papers was inclusive of those that were relevant to culture, and the acceptance or rejection of members of an organization, group, or team. The paper made use of the “relevancy” sort feature in the database to determine relevant information based on the search keywords. The filtering process found 19 documents from the UMUC search to support the thematic review of the literature on culture rejection or acceptance.
The initial identification of data came through a review of the title, abstract, discussion, and conclusion. To expand the search and to identify records on the psychological issues of organizational resistance, the keyword string “diversity” AND “resistance” AND “psychologic*” found 203 records measuring the studies with the same association using the previously mentioned thematic search methods. The search for associated psychological databases provides information relating to culture clashes did identify four additional documents addressing the psychological elements that may be present when cultures clash. A review of the study titles, abstracts, discussions, and conclusions helped in the identification of the research information.
Time limitations did constrain the paper. In addition to time limits, the document excludes or limits materials with a singular focus on organizational or corporate culture. The reason for limiting organizational culture is the paper seeks to identify the learning tendencies and responses at the individual level without attempting to address the overall corporate culture. The analysis accepts that organizational culture has a significant role in the culture of the individual, and the role requires some discussion. However, the purpose and goal of the paper are to address and keep intact the cultural expectations and beliefs from the perspective of the individual in the organization.
Okoli (1994: p. 7) defines culture via Schein (1992), defining culture as the way a group or community develops its thoughts, perceptions, and feelings of itself and new members. There are cultural behavior forces of organizational culture that act on a manager (p. 8). The pressures align the manager’s cultural norms to the standards of the organization, and that may discourage behaviors the group has not agreed to accept into the culture ( Okoli, 1994: p. 8). The management practices that establish group environmental behavior can inhibit external perceptions or distinguish internal group cultural practices to accept or reject other cultural values or norms for being different ( Okoli, 1994: pp. 7-8).
The practices of management must also control the cultural differences between the team and the manager in an organization. The reason is to ensure the social behaviors of the manager do not interfere with the accomplishment of organizational goals ( Singh, 2014: p. 43). The view of the manager by the team upon the manager’s entry as a foreigner into an organization’s culture can result in an organizational cultural confrontation ( Morant & Edwards, 2011: p. 289; Okoli, 1994: p. 25). A clash can occur because the manager represents an altering or encroaching external social culture into an existing cultural environment, where established norms and values already exist ( Morant & Edwards, 2011: p. 289; Okoli, 1994: p. 25).
Burack & Franks (2004: p. 81) use psychoanalysis to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of encroaching culture in an organization. The technique involves an observation of the subconscious decisions people make when operating in the attachment to the norms and values of an organization’s culture. Burack & Franks (2004: p. 82) found the attachment to culture causes organizational members to resist measures to change time held behaviors that have gained emotional acceptance, as the group views the change as a threat to the bonds that establish the team’s identity (pp. 81-82).
In circumstances when team members view the manager as a threat to the social beliefs of the organization, it can result in members both individually and as a group resisting cultural change (p. 82). The resistance is not merely to resist the authority of the manager; the opposition is more a holding to the emotional attachment, or beliefs and acceptable norms the group has in place ( Burack & Franks, 2004: p. 82). Schneider (1988: p. 232) suggest the manager has a role not only in leading the unfreezing and the relaxing of the emotional, cultural attachments. The manager also must vet the culture for new members to “fit” into the existing values and norms (p. 232). The leader in changing the organization must understand the employees will initiate strategies to avoid the organizational messages that counter accepted social identity ( McDonald et al., 2007: p. 148). Therefore, the manager must be mindful of cultural acceptance and adaptability.
6.1. Acceptance and Adaptability to New Cultures
In this research, the paper makes use of studies that speak to the cultural experience and changes of students, as well as workers ( Okoli, 1994: p. 25). Okoli (1994: p. 23) examines the behaviors for the entry and acculturation processes of students into a new school or university, and also the responses managers experience when entering a new organization, and how the experiences create similar adaptation responses. Wolfgramm, Morf, & Hannover (2014: p. 313) extend the research of Downey & Feldman (1996), who examine group membership and social assimilation through a study of student rejection sensitivity in close or intimate relationships. Schein (1988: p. 54) explains that the existence of interchangeability of attributes in the assimilation process is similar in the acculturation of people in school, work, or other organizational environments.
People carry cultural distances in organizational relationships ( Hofstede, 1985, pp. 347-348). The manager is the psychological identity of the team, and an unconscious psychological dynamic exists between the team and its leader ( Burack & Franks, 2004: pp. 82-83). The members of the existing culture may label, stereotype, discriminate, or otherwise resist the encroachment of a manager’s new ideas in the organization during the adaptation process ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2596). Moeller & Harvey (2011: p. 2594, 2596) explain that the cultural traits of incoming managers are often different than those of the incumbent members.
Managers, especially those that are new must lead teams in the diversity of culture, and they must guide team activities to create a diverse environment that removes psychological barriers to cultural diversity ( Burack & Franks, 2004: p. 87; Espino & Lee, 2011: p. 150). The manager’s ability and flexibility to socialize themselves into a new organization plays a critical role in successful adaptation ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2596). Moeller & Harvey (2011) maintain elements of both Hofstede (1985: p. 347) and Schein (1988: pp. 53-54), providing data to support the cultural value systems of behaviors in an organization. Moeller & Harvey (2011: p. 2594) argue that a manager’s political skill can mitigate the negative stigmatizations of the culture.
The features of political power in an organization can support cultural assimilation; the adjustments include social astuteness, interpersonal influence, networking ability, and apparent sincerity, any of which either together or separately can help the immersion process ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2597).
Bartram (2014: para. 1) supports the view of Moeller & Harvey (2011), explaining managers need to know the people and their needs when defining and understanding the organization’s politics. The manager must keep in mind that individuals in the organization may lack the cultural ability, and flexibility to adjust to the environmental changes the new manager brings, due to cultural, social, or economic distance barriers that may challenge the organization’s cultural assimilation process and result in cultural rejection ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2594, 2596).
6.2. Host Culture Rejection
A person’s initial contact with an organizational environment in which they are not a member generates the desire to define the environment as it relates to their socialization. The contact may also lead to a psychological defense response from members with previous acceptance in the group ( Burack & Franks, 2004: p. 89; Okoli, 1994). Also, the members of the organization may reject the admittance of others, due to the perception of stigmas that prevent the voluntary association or free will of the external members seeking to join the group ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011). The destabilizing effect of the newcomer and the accompanying anxiety it causes within the team can introduce negative or hostile feelings into the organization, due to the perception of threat to the norms and values that have group acceptance ( Okoli, 1994: p. 10).
To cope with the stress group members may access deep conscious cultural information to find an understanding of one another’s behaviors with cognitive coping mechanisms that enable a psychological adjustment for the situation and to reduce the threat of the outsider ( Burack & Franks, 2004: p. 89; Okoli, 1994: pp. 10-11). The manager as the leader supports the psychological needs of the organization by helping members avoid language or behavior that may support unconscious convictions that cause cultural resistance to external members, and the perception that those members are unfit for the group ( Burack & Franks, 2004: p. 89).
The sociopolitical forces in an organization can erect barriers to diversity membership that requires the manager to respond by implementing certain psychological benefits to strengthen community acceptance that is significant to the ability of the manager to lead the organization ( Fisher & Sonn, 1999: p. 716). Garris, Ohbuchi, Oikawa, & Harris (2011: p. 1067) investigate interpersonal feelings of rejection by researching the cultural distinctions that occur during the rejection experience. The behavior of rejection takes place in the rebuffing of efforts to gain acceptance in the organization’s culture when there are failures in attempts to meet the qualifications of social status, prestige, skill, or other conditions of entry ( Fisher & Sonn, 1999: p. 716).
Managerial leadership is critical in instances of overcoming cultural rejection ( Fisher & Sonn, 1999: p. 716). Miron & Lauria (1998: p. 190) tell us the manager is the nurturer of the team’s self-esteem and they can improve the group members positive sense of self-identity cultural immersion and adaptation. The reason for the importance of management intervention is to prevent the perception of acceptance by internal group members that their leaders, allow or enable the behavior of external culture refusal by the host culture. The perception by in-group team members that management condones resistant behavior to out-group members lessens the likelihood of new people developing a positive relationship within the organization ( Badea et al., 2011: p. 586). The perception of rejection by the host society degrades team cohesion and results in inner-outer group conflict ( Badea et al., 2011: p. 587).
Wolfgramm et al. (2014: p. 313) suggest that a person can gain feelings in an organization that provides a foundation for one’s self-worth, which can take a negative turn when encountering feelings of rejection (p. 313). The reason for this is people can derive their cultural beliefs of psychological self-esteem from evaluative group acceptance, and the attention they receive from peers in their work environments ( Penhaligon, Louis, & Restubog, 2009: p. 35). Smith (1998: p. 49) explains how the work of Barnard (1958) reinforces the idea that the organization provides its people with feelings of accomplishment and self-expression. Therefore, when organizational actions lead members to feelings of rejection, it degrades their self-esteem and creates a negative psychological self-worth response which brings about environmental disengagement ( Okoli, 1994: p. 25; Wolfgramm et al., 2014: p. 313).
6.3. Cultural Immersion and Adaptation
Fisher & Sonn (1999: p. 716) explain that people naturally seek membership in dominant communities as a source of psychological well-being because the dominant group reinforces the cultural norms, values, identities in the organizational environment (p. 716). People have a need to be part of a team; the desire for acceptance is a powerful psychological force of the human conditioning to belong to a purposeful existence ( Garris et al., 2011: pp. 1068-1069). To preserve a purposeful experience, some team members will separate from the mainstream or host environment, and at times member will pursue cultural integrity to integrate into the host community as the social context dictates ( Badea et al., 2011: p. 586). There are people who will show low interest in learning or exploring other global cultures and relationships resulting in the reduction of opportunity for successful integration or assimilation into a new cultural environment ( Badea et al., 2011: p. 587). However, there is a growing complexity of organizational situations and the likelihood of encountering cross-cultural socialization and assimilation is increasing ( Okoli, 1994: p. 2).
Schein (1988: p. 63) suggests the organization is a social system that requires management of culture to mitigate disturbances of the cultural equilibrium and to maintain organizational symmetry from the movement of people of varying backgrounds into differing cultural environments ( Okoli, 1994: p. 5). People socialize into an organization’s environment by learning the cultural rules, norms, values, and behaviors of the new space ( Schein, 1988: p. 54). Gălăţeanu (2012: p. 1035) explains the growth of globalization ties the world in ever-increasing complex inter-dependency relationships. Those relationships will challenge the social acculturation and assimilation process, mental state, and social equilibrium in existence before the increase in globalization activities.
Okoli (1994: p. 5) suggests people encountering environmental cultures learn to adjust their psychological behavior through strategies that reconstruct, adapt, change, or reshape their surroundings to regain an anxiety-free mental state. People take actions to adjust to the environment as a function of personality shaped by cultural, social assimilation, which helps them to address the instances of psychological chaos that may emerge during culture clash ( Okoli, 1994: p. 5). The socialization process, therefore, involves a willingness on behalf of organizational members and managers to learn and manage the cultural environment ( Schein, 1988: p. 56). The practicing manager can help with techniques that build commitment and loyalty within the team members through a socialization process that enables feelings of normalcy (p. 56).
The person sponsoring a new member of the organization is a crucial member of the process, and one of the most important role models in ensuring the successful assimilation of people into an organization’s culture (p. 56). The acculturation process involves bringing members into the organization by undoing or unfreezing previous values and providing a level of motivation that re-engages members into the group with new behavioral responses ( Schein, 1988: p. 56). The Kurt Lewin 3-Step change model for implementing change is a method to change behavior in the organization ( Burnes, 2004: pp. 985-986). The Lewin (1936: pp. 985-986) 3-Step process works by adjusting behavior through the unfreezing, changing, and refreezing the new expectation of norms. Managers can also alter behavior or reshape culture in the organization by using tools such as organizational literature, examples set by key staff members, and rewarding systems of acceptable behavior while extinguishing unacceptable behavior ( Schein, 1988: p. 56).
The growth of the global market and the culturally diverse global society necessitates an increase in cross-cultural understanding as negative biases against cultural attributes can hurt the world economy, especially when the preferences negatively impact organizational development ( Alexander, 2009: p. 3). The cultural ideas, habits, and mannerisms of people from various parts of the globe will continue to grow more complex as social distance and barriers erode under the pressures of globalization ( Odrakiewicz & Zator-Peljan, 2012: p. 127).
The manager can help the situation through the identification of psychological, social clashes, cultural stigmas, and by training other managers and employees to be aware of the pitfalls, they may encounter as they enter the organization ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2603). Managers that understand the stages of socialization and the stigma traits, which can impact the acculturation process, are in a better position to lead successful organizational assimilation (p. 2603). Those entering the culture of an existing organization need the knowledge and the skills to recognize the cause, understand mitigation opportunities, and the skills to implement activities necessary to adjust organizational behaviors in a culturally diverse environment ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2603).
Leadership Strategies and Techniques
This section provides information on key leadership strategies and techniques managers can use to lead teams in the acculturation process. The various approaches and methods can help organizational leaders create an environment of inclusion, acceptance, and positive assimilation for company members. The information is to serve as an introduction to strategies and techniques. A full examination of strategies and techniques is beyond the scope of this paper.
Naidoo, Duncan, Roos, Pillay, & Bowman (2007) explain that leveraging community psychology theory can help managers garner a better understanding of the phenomenon of resistance to team members with external culture. The work reveals the manager can use the tenants of community psychology theory to address the cause of resistant feelings in social interactions. Lakey (2003) identifies literature pointing to communication, psychological perspectives, nationality, cultural identification, and personal networks as key components of interest for study. These items can serve as sources of data for strategy and technique to help managers understand the acculturation process. Gajek (2010: p. 1), points to the leadership style of the manager in an organization to create the synergy within a team that sets the values, norms, and behaviors that are acceptable for the success of the group.
The data will first introduce community psychology theory and its impact on communication, psychological perspectives, nationality, cultural identification, and social network strategies and techniques that teams, and managers can use to manage resistance to the acculturation process. Naidoo et al. (2007: pp. 11-12) define community psychology theory as an ecological evaluation of behavior in context and based on legacy influencing issues.
Community psychological theory is a technique and strategy to prevent psychological, social clashes and cultural stigmas before they initiate. The use of the approach involves examining the foundation of problems that may emerge as they relate to individuals, sub-groups, or the larger organization ( Naidoo et al., 2007: pp. 11-12). Managers need to understand the social environment with the understanding of the background influencing the situation at a micro and macro level (pp. 11-12). The reason is to have the manager implement preventive steps to ensure organizational harmony. The goal is to enable a company culture of acceptance, rather than seeking to fix problems after they develop and to establish early initiative efforts to prevent the issues that can challenge the healthy synergy in an organization (pp. 11-12).
The performance of an organizational team is reliant on the effectiveness of relationships, and the quality of the activities of the human exchanges via company communication, and the exchange of interaction that occurs at face to face contact known as interaction order ( Griffith, 2002: p. 256; Morand, 2003: p. 521). The theory being that maximizing group performance is a result of the coordination of the similar and relevant relationships between team members per the management of organizational elements such as structure, strategy, and context ( Griffith, 2002: p. 256). Interaction order says that people in certain situations establish rules of comingling, behavior, and group involvement or closeness ( Morand, 2003: p. 521).
Theoretically, barriers can arise when elements of the organization encounter dissimilarities in social-relational elements ( Griffith, 2002: p. 256). In culturally diverse relationships, the effectivity of communication, the distance of cultural diversity, and organizational structure can influence the cultural fit between team members (p. 256). Interaction order differs across cultures as values may not translate equally from culture to culture in face to face exchanges, so there is an importance in understanding how others think and act in the multi-cultural communication exchange ( Morand, 2003: p. 522). Effective organizational operations are reliant on leaders managing the elements that impact communications ( Griffith, 2002: p. 258).
Griffith (2002: p. 258) introduces a model and plan for the effectiveness of cross-cultural communication to support managers in the control of communications that impact their organizations. The model includes a validation of the transmission and cognitive competencies of the manager, quality of interactive relationships, and how those attributes work together to impact team performance ( Griffith, 2002: p. 258).
A plan for effective communication and psychological stress reduction within the process is to assess the communicative competence of the manager. The control involves matching team stakeholder competencies, evaluation of the effectiveness of organizational communication, and identification of the quality of relationships to ensure an effective communication strategy with audit oversight of the process ( Griffith, 2002: pp. 262-264). The manager can reduce cultural clash communication stressors through frequent use of open, honest communication exchanges Appelbaum et al. (2007: p. 195) that serve to deconflict social-psychological stressors within groups.
The psychological perspective of organizational culture is a phenomenon of knowledge that people in an organization possess ( Brannen & Lee, 2014: p. 28). The schema expresses that variation in the environmental situation dictates, the mindsets of the team movements and adjustments due to environmental context (p. 28). The social psychological theory states people have an attraction to those like themselves, who share similar values and norms as the likeness promotes mental harmony ( Jehn & Mannix, 2001: p. 284). In contrast, people with differing beliefs and values than the inner group can result in tension and disagreements (p. 284).
Cultural conflict may occur between inner and outer groups as a cognitive disagreement on how to perform a task initiates, and emotional conflicts may arise when people encounter differences of opinions ( Brannen & Lee, 2014: p. 31). Task conflict can carry positive connotations, while emotional conflict can give a negative connotation (p. 28). Therefore, leaders and managers in globally diverse organizations require the cognitive, cultural competence to integrate the various elements of cultural diversity and perspectives, and the psychological implications of those actions on employees ( Brannen & Lee, 2014: p. 12). The meaning then is managers require knowledge that cultural differences matter and require controls and management just as any other area of a business in what is known as possessing cultural metacognition or the way in which the manager, themselves, reaches their decisions ( Brannen & Lee, 2014: p. 14). Leaders need perceptual acuity or the ability to assess and relate perspective views that differ from their own (p. 15).
To improve management of the psychological or cognitive environment, managers can use training and methods that rotate personnel through various cultural experiences to enhance psychological responses to cultural variation in the workplace ( Brannen & Lee, 2014: p. 30). Also, the organization can implement discussions that enable cultural diversity communication exchanges to facilitate the transfer of beliefs, ideas, and norms, or misconceptions (p. 32).
There are numerous research claims that diversity enables higher team success. Also, there is counter-evidence that diversity can serve as a hindrance to the successful functioning of teams ( Ko, Polzer, Seyle, & Swann Jr., 2004: p. 9). The challenges of diversity hindering successful team operations can arise through a phenomenon known as self-categorization theory ( Bodenhausen, 2010: pp. 8-9; Ko et al., 2004: p. 9). The self-categorization theory says outgroup members of a team will self-separate as they will compete and carry negative feelings such as dislike or distrust with inner group members. The ingroup members will reciprocate the negative feelings the outgroup members display ( Ko et al., 2004: pp. 9-10). The opinions of team members are not static and can shift through changing social context and interactions ( Bodenhausen, 2010: p. 3).
Teams with people operating via self-categorization theory may fail at communicating as they tend to insert group discord through miscommunications as a result of a lack of familiarity with one another ( Ko et al., 2004: pp. 9-10). Those who support self-categorization theory believe the way to counter the challenges of self-categorization is for members of the group to shrink away from their unique social identifiers, de-emphasizing their individuality (p. 10). The purpose of shrinking away is to mitigate issues of clashes that can result from self-categorization. In the suggestion to lessen uniqueness, the research appears to ask people to de-emphasize their traits, thereby requesting people to subject themselves to the will of the group over their identification of self (p. 10). The issue is the position counters the values of diversity differences research lauds when placing value on social differences for overall success ( Ko et al., 2004: p. 10).
A counter approach to self-categorization theory and focus on one’s traits, and those that share those traits, while reducing culture clash is through self-verification theory ( Swann Jr., 1983) ( Ko et al., 2004: p. 10). The theory states members of the group will try to bring their views into harmony with the team. Also, they remain true to themselves and the individual traits that make them unique and valuable members of the organizational team (p. 11). The data reveals that self-verification contains attributes of human behavior to support harmony in groups, where differences can create cultural clashes ( Ko et al., 2004: p. 20).
Team members who verify their views of themselves through positive self-verification interactions are likely to have a positive reception from other group members. The positive response creates confidence and enables members to operate with fresh ideas that can support the organization ( Ko et al., 2004: p. 18, 20). Also, the data shows members who receive external social group validation of views they hold of themselves are more likely to demonstrate loyalty and a desire to support the objectives of the overall group. The phenomenon occurs despite differences of diversity because the positive feedback from peers creates feelings of group acceptance, giving validation to diversity differences ( Ko et al., 2004: pp. 17-20).
The data also notes people have various diversity traits, resulting in their not having a homogenous social make-up ( Bodenhausen, 2010: p. 2). Group members can have dominant social characteristics that stand out among their varying social identities (p. 5). They will compartmentalize and present various social attributes that may support a given contextual situation (p. 6). These include integration or the multiple uses of different social traits (p. 7), that alter and adjust how a person may view themselves and how others see them in their social circle ( Bodenhausen, 2010: p. 8). Managers who seek to address the issue of social clashes when cultural identification results in conflict can look to increase the levels of identity integration within their teams to improve diversity interactions and team performance ( Bodenhausen, 2010: p. 12). The data shows social identity integration enhances the ability to deal with diversity, through a more comprehensive social knowledge and skills that improve team operations in globally diverse teams (p. 12).
As the influence of globalization continues to take hold around the world, managers must continue to grow their understanding of the need to manage and train for the negative and positive influences of culture and diversity on organizations ( Gajek, 2010: p. 1). The manager in setting the values, norms, and behaviors must ensure the use of techniques that are welcoming to new members (p. 1). The ques and communications of management and leadership are essential to the creation of organizational synergy and cultural acceptance (p. 1).
The communications must deliver in ways that account for the perception of stereotypes and cultural encroachment, individual opinions of what is normal or acceptable cultural behavior, and the emotional attachment of the organizational members Gajek (2010: p. 2) perceptions of norms. The strategies and techniques involve propagating knowledge within the organization for managers to address the cultural differences among personnel to enable an understanding of the environment, socialization of behavior, and discussing the human factors that can cause issues so managers and the people they lead can take mitigating steps to stop potential problems before they arise.
Through the literature, we learn the initial treatment of individuals upon entering an organization determines their likelihood of cultural assimilation ( Badea et al., 2011: p. 594). Positive feedback on a person’s presence in the group can help overcome negative feelings or anxiety in an organization where the culture is unfamiliar ( Okoli, 1994: p. 14). Those who are assimilating have a role in the process as they must be comfortable in their identity while possessing a willingness to “unfreeze” old ideas of culture and accept the new artifacts, symbols, and cultural attributes of the host culture (see Figure 1) ( Badea et al., 2011: p. 594).
Jqeger (1986: p. 181) finds that groups will move away from and avoid one another if they perceive they are not welcome in the environment. The negative influence of unwelcoming behavior establishes a competition of mental will for the control of culture (p. 181). The person on the receiving end of the negative response will initiate behavior that shows resistance, fear, and distrust that can degrade the assimilation process resulting in a reluctance to assimilate ( Jqeger, 1986: p. 181). In a diverse organization, the presence of cultural stigmatization is an ever-present force to navigate, especially in efforts to bridge cultural differences ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011).
The ability of the manager to acknowledge and leverage political skill to move through the various stages of assimilation and socialization can reduce the association of negative stigmas that may hurt an organization’s environment ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2603; Schein, 1988: p. 56). Moeller & Harvey (2011: p. 2603) inform us that managers require awareness of the organizational climate with which they are embarking to manage the expectations of both the host and the person entering (p. 2603). The overall preparation and training of individuals who are accepting either entry into or organizing the entry of others into a different culture support the avoidance of cross-cultural clashes (p. 2603). The training helps to make managers aware and capable of dispelling stereotypes that damage self-esteem and provoke feelings of anxiety that degrade the organizational cultural environment ( Moeller & Harvey, 2011: p. 2604).
8. Conceptual Model (Figure 1)
Figure 1. The social environment of culture C1 socializes into the dominant social environment of culture C2. The behavioral phenomenon associated with the socialization acculturation process initiates. The cultural exchange of cultures C1 and C2 starts resulting in behavioral adjustments that become culture C3 ( Mayhand, 2016).
In conclusion, the data reveals the cultural beliefs and or behaviors that cause people to reject or accept other cultures into a global organization that results from cultural clashes that may occur from various behavioral inputs. The paper explains the cultural background and socialization of human behavior in which the manager needs awareness. Also, the training and experiences members encounter in the organization have a significant role in their position to accept or reject a different culture.
The criteria for the acceptance or rejection in global organizations depend on the organization’s environmental culture and its establishment of the social artifacts, ideas, and behaviors of its members in managing organizational outsiders that lack the organization’s cultural artifacts. Managers should expect resistance from the group as the team seeks to resist feelings of anxiety and loss of their cultural identity to a different culture.
Additional behavioral contributions that impact cultural acceptance or rejection are the flexibility and willingness of the host organization members to understand the culture of the requester of membership, as well as, the ability of incoming managers to learn about the host cultures. People desire to be a part of a dominant group, and they also have a psychological predisposition to resist cultures they do not understand. The avoidance of culture that carries artifacts that run counter to the acceptance of beliefs of normalcy can exert levels of psychological anxiety on team members.
The paper finds that the psychological biases, stereotypes, and stigmas established through the origin of cultural socialization either by accident, intention, or imagination play a role in the cross-cultural exchange of people in global organizations. The managing practitioner requires the skill to mitigate the behavioral variables that degrade and to exploit behaviors that advance cross-cultural acceptance. The manager must also ensure the preparation and education of organizational members, the people entering the organization, as well as the leaders who serve in the role of manager to validate their readiness to lead in a diverse global organizational environment.
10. Future Research
The study identifies and implicates many inputs that can affect the cultural circumstances of a global organization and the things that lead to cultural acceptance or resistance in that environment. The paper does not explain the cognitive foundations that lead people to accept or reject an opposing culture. The ability to understand the essence of the psychological causes of the behaviors can increase the reach of the paper by providing a science-based behavioral understanding that explains why people mentally adopt feelings of rejection or acceptance.
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