miércoles, 18 de mayo de 2011



Retrieved from : http://www.sc.ehu.es/toweb5/VirginiaFerrer_NoeliaArenas/diversitySymbol.jpg

Before start to talk about diversity it is important to differentiate between what is a group and what is a team.
A Group is two or more people with common interests, objectives, and continuing interaction; on the other hand, a Team is a group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common mission, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
There are four important aspects of group behavior:
·         Norms of behavior
·         Group Cohesion
·         Social Loafing
·         Loss of Individuality
Members of groups can contribute in different ways, this drives intellectual discuss and promotes problem resolution.
Diversity is the variation of social and cultural identities among people existing together in a defined employment or market setting (Cox 2001).
It is important because many aspects such as: global needs are diverse, Colombian markets are getting diverse, diversity affects the workplace.
According to Cox, 2001. Diversity can be seen as a value added activity or as a potential performance barrier. Diversity management is a way of creating an environment that will enable all people to use full potential to accomplish the mission.
Upon diversity it can be some misunderstandings like non verbal communication, trust, accents, stereotypes, etc.
It is important to mention that nowadays diversity is considered an organizational change that is the case of KPMG in Hong Kong.

Since diversity is a source of competitive advantage, what could be the recruitment strategies to effectively target to diverse groups? What would be the consequences of ignoring diversity?
Some recruitment strategies to effectively target to diverse groups could be the interviews with people from different cultures, religion, education and social status in order to have obtain different backgrounds and experiences that those persons could provide to the organizations, but in this point it is important to have in mind that all of them need to be open to social exchanges and that they respect each other, otherwise this diversity could work against the welfare of the company and could cause some troubles between the people involved in it.
If managers ignore diversity it could create many looses for the company, not only in terms of money but also in opportunities to have a more globalized staff. It would remove value of the company and the possibility to get advantage to the knowledge of the markets that those people have; slowing the growing of the company and its response to the global needs.


Retrieved from: mundobucay.blogspot.com

It is important to analyze religion when talking about organizations because it is a determinant of culture. The religion that has the biggest number of people is Christianity followed by Islam and Hinduism.
Now we can say that religion is Shapes attitudes toward work and entrepreneurship and can affect the cost of doing business. It gives formal approval to existing social arrangements.
The religions implications for international business are explained by Karl Marx who argued that once people have created a unified system of sacred beliefs and practices, they act as if it were something beyond their control.
Max Weber suggested the religion sometimes encourages social change. “If one works hard, he or she will succeed” (Weber, 1958).
General explanations of the principal business implications of religions can be:
·         Islam: Businesses that are perceived to be making a profit through the exploitation of others, by deception, or by breaking contractual obligations are unwelcome.
·         Hinduism: Hindu asceticism is said to undermine entrepreneurial activity.
·         Buddhism: Buddhism is seen as a religion whose focus on spiritual achievement undermines wealth creation.
·         Confucianism: Confucius taught that salvation is attained through right action based on three key teachings: Loyalty to one’s superiors, Reciprocal obligations of superiors to subordinates (guanxi), and Honesty. These teachings may lower the cost of doing business in Confucian societies.

What is the dominant religion in Colombia? What are the religious implications for doing business here? Give examples.
The dominant religion in Colombia is the Catholic with a percentage of 81 of the total population, followed by Protestantism 13.5%, Judaism 2,3% and others representing a very little percentage of the total population. The most important commercial implications of religion when doing business in Colombia are related to the attitudes towards work and the entrepreneur spirit. The Catholic religion allows people to have properties, profitability, investment and entrepreneurship. As we can see, here in Colombia there are few implications of religion in businesses because of the liberalized environment that we live in and the democratic regime we follow. But we cannot forget the business difficulties we could have with countries that don’t have our freedom and openness to commerce.


·         Cox Jr., T. (2001) Creating the multicultural organization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
·         Ely, R. and Thomas, D. (2001) “Cultural Diversity at Work: The Effects of Diversity Perspectives on Work Group Processes and Outcomes,” Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2001, pp. 229–273.
·         Jamieson, D. and O’Mara, J. (1991) Managing workforce 2000: Gaining the diversity advantage.
·         Nelson, D and Quick, J.C. (2009) Organizational culture. In Organizational Behavior: Science, the real world and you.
·         Slater, Stanley, F., Weigand, Robert A., Zweilein, Thomas J. (2008) ¨The business case for commitment to diversity¨. Business Horizons 51: 201-209.
·         Fang, T (1999) Chinese Business Negotiating Style, London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
·         Hill, C. (2007) International Business: Competing in the Global Marketplace. 7ed. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
·         Weber, M. (1958) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, New York: Scribner's Press.


Retrieved from: http://www.workingpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/distributed-workforce.jpg

The basic interpersonal communication model is composed by the communicator, message, receiver and feedback. The perceptual screen is a window through which we interact with people that influences the quality, accuracy, and clarity of the communication.
In the communication process the listening is also important; one type of listening is the “Reflexive Listening” that is the skill of listening carefully to another person and repeating back to the speaker the heard message to correct any inaccuracies or misunderstandings.
Other type of listening is the “Reflective Listening” that has four levels of verbal response which are: reflective core feelings, clarify the implicit, paraphrase the expressed and affirm contact.
The communication can be in one way (not feedback) or two way (interactive). People can communicate not only by words, but also by non verbal signs, one of them are: proxemics, kinesics, facial and eye behavior; and paralanguage.
In the process of communication we can find some barriers such as: physical separation, status differences, gender differences, cultural diversity and language.
Virtual Teams are are groups of geographically, organizationally and time dispersed workers brought together by information technologies to accomplish one or more organization tasks’’ (Powell et al., 2004).
Virtual teams represent one such organizational form, one that could revolutionize the workplace and provide organizations with unprecedented level of flexibility and responsiveness (Powell et al., 2004).  Virtual teams are usually viewed as opposites.
As a drawback, virtual teams are particularly vulnerable to mistrust, communication break downs, conflicts, and power struggles (Rosen et al., 2007).
The dimensions of effective virtual teams are:
·         Communication
·         Undersanding
·         Role clarity
·         Leadership attitude
·         Well- planned monitoring mechanisms

Accroding to Kuruppuarachchi (2009), what benefits and problems arise as a consequence of the creation of virtual team? Identify five each. Based on this, explain how to make the transition from a more traditional team structure to the more distributed team structure?
Some benefits of the creation of virtual teams are:
1. More flexibility on working hours for employees
2. Creation of opportunities for employees in remote offices
3. Flexibility in resource allocations and work scheduling
4. Speed up product development and project management
5. Enhanced information dissemination and knowledge sharing within the organization

There are also some drawbacks such as:
1. Quality control is difficult
2. Additional cost for setting up remote offices
3. Resistance to unstructured nature of teams
4. Too many members are possible on a team
5. Some members may not be psychologically fit for virtual teams

A transition from a more traditional team structure to the more distributed team structure can be done by the development of trust, clear communication, strong leadership and appropriate level of technology. Members have to be more dynamics, people from different cultural backgrounds need to be included into teams, it is also important to create reciprocal commitment in order to have a good relationship between them.

  •  Ebrahim, N., Ahmed, S., & Taha, Z. (2009) Virtual Teams: a Literature Review. Australian Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 3(3), 2653-2669. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.eafit.edu.co/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&hid=110&sid=69f6751e-704f-4478-98c7-9fac6d0394c8%40sessionmgr113
  •  Kuruppuarachchi, P. R. (2009). Virtual team concepts in projects: A case studyBlackwell Publishing Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218750033?accountid=45662
  • Nelson, D and Quick, J.C. (2009) Organizational culture. In OrganisationalBehavour: Science, the real world and you.
  • Powell, A ., G. Piccoliand B. Ives (2004) Virtual teams : a review of current literature and directions for future research. The Data base for Advances in Information Systems , 35: 6-36.
  • Rosen, B., S. Furstand R. Blackburn (2007) Overcoming Barriers t o Knowledge Sharing in Virtual Teams. Organizacional Dynamics , 36: 259-273.
  • Shachaf, P. and N. Hara (2005) Team Effectiveness in Virtual Environments : An Ecological Approach. INFERRIS, P.A.G., S., (Ed.) Teaching and Learning with Virtual Teams. Idea Group Publishing.

Extranjeros en Colombia


Through the years the number of migrants worldwide has increased. There are many factors that explain this phenomenon, one of them is money; this type of migration is known as migrant labor that “involves the movement of people from one country (or region) to another primarily for employment related reasons. (IPPR2004).

Other reasons to go away are explained by “The Hierarchy of Needs” that includes: physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualization.
Expatriate assignments: it transcends organizational memberships and consists of sequences of experiences across both organizations and jobs. It implies:
·         Expatriates undergo a socialization and acculturation process that affects their career identities (Mezias and Scandura2005).
·         The expatriate assignment (pre-departure, expatriation, and repatriation) requires cycles of reskilling for the expatriate to make necessary adjustments to the host country, and home-country readjustments upon return (ibid).
The integration process requires adaptation on the part of newcomers but also by the host society. The “Creative Class” is a class of workers whose job is to create meaningful new forms (2002). Florida argues that members of the Creative Class value meritocracy, diversity and individuality, and look for these characteristics when they relocate (2002).
The management of expatriate workers depends on their ability to handle different cultures, languages and customs.
Mentoring: the international manager must treat the development of a mentoring network as a creative task and be open to learning from a variety of sources (Scandura and Von Glinow , 1997). Its functions are mentoring coaching and social support.

Explain how easy is it for Colombian companies to employ expatriates locally? Give examples, or suggest what could be done.
For Colombian companies it is relative easy to employ expatriates locally, but first they have to accomplish some legal requirements such as: the proportionality between national and international employees that is given by the Ministry of Social Protection. Also it is important to mention that the international employees that come into Colombia must be highly qualified. The expatriates employed locally have the same rights and duties that Colombian employees have; also they have the same employment conditions and remunerations.  All the Colombian laws apply for them and they also can have social security and are allowed to inscribe themselves in programs of pension benefits. Expatriates are generally contracted by Multinational Companies to take the position of managers; also they can be employed in different industries such as education and mining. 


  • Buckley C. and WillsK. (2011) China's Wenputs social stability at heart of economy. Retrieved from March 20, 2011, from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/27/us-china-economy-wen  idUSTRE71Q07F20110227?pageNumber=2
  • Expatriate. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved March 11, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/expatriate
  • Florida, R. (2002) The rise of the creative class.The Washington Monthly, 34(5), 15. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/213679959?accountid=45662
  • Institute for Public Policy Research (2004) Labourmigration to the UK: anipprFactFile.
  • Kram, K.E. (1985) MentoringAt Work, Scott, Foresman: Glenview.
  • Mezias, J.M and Scandura, T.A. (2005) A Needs-Driven Approach to Expatriate Adjustment and Career Development: A Multiple MentoringPerspective, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 36, No. 5 (Sep.), pp. 519-538
  • Scandura, T.A. and Von Glinow, M.A. (1997) 'Development of the international manager: the role of mentoring', Business and the ContemporaryWorld9 : 95-115.
  • “Proporción en la Contratación de Trabajadores Extranjeros”. Retrieved from : http://www.gerencie.com/proporcion-en-la-contratacion-de-trabajadores-extranjeros.html
  • Resolucion 000977 de 01-04-2009. Retrieved from: http://actualicese.com/normatividad/etiqueta/trabajadores-extranjeros/


Retrieved from:  http://ceoworld.biz/ceo/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Mergers-and-acquisitions.jpg

Mergers and Acquisitions (M & A): Help a firm renew its market position at a speed not achievable through internal development (Haspeslagh and Jemison, 1991).
The study of this phenomenon is really important when we study the integration process of companies nowadays, which in some cases implies the reconstruction of a new social identity. Integration process is the real source of value creation in acquisitions.(Haspeslagh and Jemison, 1991).

Creating Value
·         Economy of Scales
·         Economy of Scope
·         Increased revenue or market share
·         Geographical or other diversification
·         Resource transfer

It can also be possible that the integration process destroys value of companies. In the acquisition process there are two relevant variables:
·         The motive for the acquisition
·         The process of implementation

The success of a particular integration strategy depends primarily on: The manager’s ability to reconcile the need for strategic interdependence between the two firms.
Managers nowadays may want to focus on three particular cultural modifications:

·         Support for a global view of business.

·         Reinforcement of ethical behavior.

·         Empowerment of employees to excel in product and service quality.

According to the case studies, what are the practical steps to minimize the feelings of uncertainty normally expected by employees, and also to facilitate the learning process to occur between the two groups of people in their process of cultural and behavioral integration?
Finding similar organizational cultures and management styles has become a common issue for avoiding employees’ dissatisfaction that could undermine Mergers and Acquisitions performance, but it doesn’t happen always. It is important to encourage employees’ diversity tolerance in order to make things easier and to create more benefits for both companies. One step to minimize the uncertainty of employees could be to undertake cultural assessment exercises in order to minimize cultural clashes between the two groups of people, other steps can be the implementation of incentive programs, introducing a job grading system and so on. To facilitate the learning process between the two companies it is important to integrate training, recruitment activities and make the necessary changes in the line of Human Relations. The impact of cultural differences can be minimized when the firms take the time to create a positive atmosphere for knowledge transfer before initiating any consolidation of people and physical assets.


·         Alzira S., Wayne H., and Gerald V. (2003) “Challenges and opportunities in mergres and acquisitions: three international case studies –Deutsche Bank-Bankers Trust; British Petroleum-Amoco; Ford-Volvo”, Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 27 Iss:6, p. 313-321.
·         Angwin, D. (2001) “Mergers and acquisitions across European borders: national perspectives on pre-acquisition due diligence and the use of professional advisers”, Journal of World business, Vol. 36 No.1, p. 2-57.
·         Datta, D.K. and Grant, J.H. (1990), “Relationships between type of acquisition, the autonomy given to the acquired firm, and acquisition process: an empirical analysis”, Journal of Management, Vol. 16, p. 29-44.
·         Elsaa, P.M. and Veiga, J.F. (1994), “Acculturation in acquired organizations: a force-field perspective”, Human Relations, Vol. 47 No. 4.
·         Gitelson, G., Bing, J., Laroche, L (2001) Culture Shock, CMA Management.
·         Haspeslagh, P.C. and Jemison, D.B. (1991) Managing Acquisitions, The Free Press, New York.
·         Nahavandi, A. and Malekzadeh, A.R. (1998) “Acculturation in mergers and acquisitions”, Academy of Management Review, Vol.13, p.79-90.
·         Nelson, D and Quick, J.C. (2009) Organizational culture. In Organisational Behavour: Science, the real world and you.

jueves, 28 de abril de 2011



Learning is a process of acquiring knowledge or a skill; in order to understand this concept I am going to present some theories about this topic:
·         Classical Theories:
1.    Classical Conditioning: A condition stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus.
2.    Operant Conditioning: Modifying behavior through the use of positive or negative consequences.
·         Social Learning Theory: Explains human behavior in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences. (Learning theories knowledgebase, 2011).
One type of organizations that is important to analyze is “Learning Organizations” that are “Places where people continually expand their capacities to create the results they truly desire” (Senge, 1994).
This type of organization is really important nowadays because of the changes in workforce competency, high customer’s expectations, technological advancements and globalization.
There are four reasons for Corporate Failure associated with learning disabilities:
1.    Life-Cycle Decline
2.    Trapped by Past Success
3.    Inappropriate Strategic Biases and “Mental Models”
4.    Rigidity in response to Crises
To obtain and sustain competitive advantage, organizations must enhance their learning capability and must be able to learn better and faster from their successes and failures, from within and from outside (Marquardt, 1996).

Organizational Learning works in this way:
1.    Personal mastery
2.    Shared vision
3.    Mental models
4.    Team learning
5.    Systems thinking

There is also a process of knowledge creation that takes place when tacit knowledge is converted into explicit knowledge:
·         Socialization
·         Externalization
·         Combination
·         Internalization

 What is the relationship between organizational learning and individual satisfaction?

Retrieved from: http://xaraluna.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/060628030657eafit3.jpg

Organizational learning is really closed to individual satisfaction because when people are involved in organizational learning is due to the objectives or goals they have, which at the same time became their motivation to behave in some way in order to obtain individual satisfaction. A clear example of this can be the Learning Organizations as Universities. People go to Universities because of their goal to become professionals and to be competitive in the work place, they are constant and motivated because of the benefits they will obtain in the future that will bring them individual satisfaction.


Retrieved from: http://www.skill-pill.com/newsletter/oct09/images/challenge/Managing%20change.jpg

Organizations nowadays are facing many changes in its structure and environment, so it is important to study the following concepts:
·         Change: Is the coping process of moving from the present state to a desired state that individuals, groups, organizations undertake in response to dynamic internal and external factors that alter current realities (Kavita Singh, 2009).
There are some characteristics organizations need in order to succeed:
·         Adaptiveness
·         Flexibility
·         Responsiveness
The organizational change can be planned or unplanned. The scope of change can be:
·         Incremental change
·         Strategic change
·         Transformational change
For change to occur it has to be an internal or external change agent. Change can affect basic aspects of an organization such as: Strategy, Technology and Structure. It also threatens the status quo by creating: New problems, new situations, ambiguity, uncertainty (conflict).
Once conflict appears it can have positive (motivates change) or negative consequences (creates a negative climate).
Thomas-Kilman Conflict management modes:
·         Competing
·         Collaborating
·         Compromising
·         Avoiding
·         Accomodating

Now I am going to analyze change in an age of stability (1950-1970):
·         Force Field Analysis (Lewin): Unfreezing, moving and refreezing.
After the 1970s crisis:
·         Model of Beer: It focuses on enforcing changed ways of thinking, attitudes and behaving.
Managing change in the age of globalization:
·         Change as Contemporary Norm: Regulatory changes and privatization spawning new industries, customers learning to expect more.
Paths to Managing Change and Learning
·         Environmental Path
·         Psycho-Philosophical Path
·         Organizational Path

Globalization plays an important role in managing change, globalization means: “global interconnectedness constituted by numerous flows and processes, and not just the economic” (Hopper, 2006).
Ubuntu (Mangaliso, 2003) brings the idea of paying attention to local cultures.

Is it possible to change corporate culture? If so, how?
I think it is possible to change a corporate culture, but it is not easy to do. When a company wants to change its corporate culture it is because things aren’t going well. It could be possible that the company is big enough, has great revenues and a good image on the public or clients, but inside it, something is creating unconformities between employees who are unmotivated to work towards the same task; and for that reason the company could be in risk of losing its best people. In this case a change in corporate culture must be taken into account. The first step to change the corporate culture is the recognition of the necessity of change it, after it is important that managers and directors change their view of employees and stop looking at them as assets and start treating them as investors who choose to come back every day because of the benefits they are receiving, give rewards, integrations and other activities that can create motivation and it can also contribute to the change of corporate culture into a more sustainable one.


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