Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

Is Cross-Cultural Management the Key to Success in Global Healthcare Competition?

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Information

Is Cross-Cultural Management the Key to Success in Global Healthcare Competition?

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Global competition adds yet another complex dimension to the success of a healthcare organization in an industry that is already competitive in its own right. This study focuses on a major healthcare organization in Thailand, its expansion in Southeast Asia and into the Middle East, the role of cross-cultural communication in its successful global healthcare management, and specifically which areas of management are most important to the success of that competitiveness. An inductive approach was used as a methodology for determining competitiveness as it related to cross-cultural communication and management. The resulting qualitative analysis of that data addresses issues of seeking and maintaining global competitiveness and providing superior quality care with competitive and reasonable pricing of services while working effectively through strategic alliances. Data was collected from interviews and questionnaires from a random mix of healthcare personnel and national and expatriates living and working in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Thailand. Subjects were varied from upper-level and middle-level management in the healthcare organization to basic company employees outside the organization. A qualitative analysis of data provided a grounded theory to support the development of effective cross-cultural management in a Thai healthcare organization to enhance global competitiveness.

Keywords: Global competition, cross-cultural management, communication, healthcare

1. INTRODUCTION

Today, the global community is changing the way businesses and organizations think. It may also be changing societies' ways of behaving and in fact fostering new national cultural changes. With cultures colliding in this new globalization, national, regional, and organizational cultures begin to inspire one another as they learn from one another in an intense but valued cultural exchange. Although many cultural values are kept in place by well-defined political nation states and traditional values still play an important role in the society, important roles, it is also true that multi-national corporations, global NGOs, individuals, and numerous cultural groups that travel within and beyond national boundaries have become increasingly visible agents of change in reshaping new identities of existing cultures. Maybe nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than the effect that multi-nationals such as the fast-food industry and introduction of the Internet have had on previously undeveloped or third world countries as they are exposed to the outside world and the rapid development and changes associated with the 21st century.

It is rare today that a successful business works with people from only a single culture. At almost every level, it is rare to find even a single location- based Western business that does not employ people from many diverse cultural backgrounds. In an economic context, globalization's impact has been realized through major cost differences between regions, across borders, and between countries, globally resulting in businesses either outsourcing goods and services for parts of their business or outsourcing partners for other businesses [20].

For this reason, those who will lead the global community forward in the 21st century must be very adept at managing people from different cultures. Since culture is an important factor in shaping customer and/or employee behavior, those leaders need to understand the essence of each culture quickly and sensitively. In the process of understanding and shaping that culture, at least within their own organizations, they must ensure that the outcome of that understanding has a positive resolution and is in keeping with the final organizational direction. If this result is not possible, it may mean that their ability to do less than achieve understanding, productivity, and ultimately the final goals of the organization will fail to get the best from the individuals with whom they work. …

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