Culture is the shared assumptions, values, and beliefs of a group of people which result in characteristic behaviors (Hobfoll, 2001). People communicate with each other from different cultural background. Culture as a factor influences the following facets of organizational life. Employee voice, through direct or indirect methods, plays an important role in organizational communication. It is evident that computer-mediated communication has become very common in work life, just like through the media of e-mail, mobile phone and even MSN, which facilitates our communication and makes lives at work easier. Nevertheless; some people choose the face to face communication pattern. In their belief, it helps have a relationship with other people directly; however, people can communicate indirect voice including the media of the work council and some union. Also through collective bargaining, people contact each other and change ideas and thoughts with each other freely. And the same condition of supervisory boards.
In this essay the author will critically evaluate the relationship and impact between culture and employee voice in the context of modern corporations. In the conduct of this discourse, definitions and discussion of culture will be presented followed with explanation and discussion on culture and employee voice in organizations. Some examples will be used to illustrate the basic premise that this culture-voice coupling can be an area of tension for the employee relations practices of multinational corporations.
2.0 Discussion on Culture and Employee Voice in Organization Management.
2.1 Culture and Employee Voice
Basically, organizational culture is the personality of the organization, which comprised of the assumption, values, norms and tangible signs of organization members and their behaviors (Hobfoll, 2001). When the members of an organization work together, they soon come to sense the particular culture of an organization. For example, the culture of a large, for-profit corporation is quite different than that of another corporation. Culture plays a vital role in modern society, especially in international businesses among companies. Different culture represents different thoughts, values and way of thinking owing to the different social background (Hobfoll, 2001).. In modern organizations, people work together in the same company may come from different places even different countries. Therefore, the communication between them is of great importance to the development of company. And the concept of culture is particularly important when attempting to manage organizations.
Employee voice refers to the participation of employees in influencing corporate decision making. Employees are given a voice through informal and formal means to minimize conflict, improve communication and encourage staff relation through motivation and fair treatment. Employee participation is a form of empowerment and motivation that leads to increased productivity and retention. The term ’employee voice’ provides a useful way to examine both its purpose and practice, which is allowed to transfer union and non-union, individual and collective. The purpose of the voice as the articulation of individual dissatisfaction overlapped with notions of employee contribution through communication channels. Second the articulation of voice as collective organization was rather less central than other individualistic definitions of voice (Jeffrey and Linn, 2001).
In contemporary organizations, competitive advantage can come from ideas employees communicate to supervisors for improving processes, products, and services. One approach to studying employee communications with supervisors is voice behavior. Different culture has different behavior norm and moral constraints for its employees in a company. Culture will exert great influence on the way employees communicate with each other. Meanwhile; employee voice is a way to represent the organization communication. And the voice of employees conveys their certain culture. Take the Japan Company and American company as examples. In Japan Company, employees are required to hold the creed of discipline and they have high performance work system. Japanese employees should be in charge of their own business individually rather than cooperate with others (Bae, et al., 2001). While in American company the culture is quite different. The employees usually behave directly to others and most of times they will share with the work. What the difference of them show in the aspect of their human management. In some famous Japan companies like SONY, whose employees will be divided into different groups and keep the groups as separate as possible according to their different cultures so as to avoid the cultural clashes with each other. But the feedback of this system is that it is difficult to hear different voices from employees, which will of course constraint the quicker and healthier development of the organization. The condition is opposite of the American company. It can be seen that employee voice in organizations can be greatly influenced by organizational culture. Thus, managers should consider cultural factors when managing employee voice.
In all, culture plays an important role in both international business and international human resource management, which has great impact on employee voice, an effective way of organizational communication in organizational management. In modern business world, the fierce competition between companies mainly depends on their cultural advantage through the effective management. Culture difference between employees in companies may lead to the dominant troubles in communication (Hobfoll, 2001). The securing of credibility, the nurturing of goodwill, the motivation of a workforce and the development of a marketable product, all translate into the ‘bottom-line’ of the success or failure of a business activity. In this regard, the securing of these ‘prizes’, in the international context, has prompted multinational corporations to seek to establish a corporate culture across borders, and conduct appropriate measures with employee voice.
2.2 Direct Employee Voice and Indirect Employee Voice
Employee voice is attained through both direct voice and indirect voice. Direct employee voice includes general conversation between employees and employers, email communication, employee surveys and notice board at the workplace. While indirect voice includes work council, union, collective bargaining and supervisory board. (Jeffrey A L, Linn V D, 2001)
The direct voice is most certainly one of the most impressive forms of mediumship whereby the people present are able to very clearly hear Spirits speak aloud in their normal voices, exactly the same voices as they were known by in physical life, and to engage in long conversations with them. The indirect voice represent that enjoy a high-quality, cost-effective, public-switched voice solution for calls to local, national and international, phone destinations. (Burke, R. J. 2001). ‘Organizational values, work experience and satisfactions among managerial and professional women’. Direct and Indirect Voice services are specifically designed for business customers concerned about the quality and cost of their voice communications. Indirect access is the simplest way to enjoy all the benefits of becoming a customer of one of our partner supplies. (Buelens, M. and H. Van den Broeck 2007) Our partners’ indirect voice services allow you to take advantage of their own highly working networks. This, combined with a detailed approach to building dependable interconnections with other operators across the UK ensures a reliable telephony service for all your communications needs. While direct voice can provide employees an opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts directly, even face to face. This kind of voice is easily to be heard and accepted by the company.
Through the direct employee voice, people can exchange ideas and thoughts with others directly. And this kind of communication can reflect some problems existing in employees. While through the indirect employee voice, it is probably not easy to achieve the result of communication between employees, maybe it will cause some misunderstandings. The experience of the McDonald’s EWC suggests that where workforce has low levels of unionization and employees are opposed in principle to the prescribed arrangement, a non-union firm can frustrate even the limited aims of the Directive. Furthermore, legally underpinned national-level substructures, which are often assumed to make such European-level bodies accountable, may fail to do so in practice. Multinational corporations have been defined as enterprises which own or control production or service facilities in more than one country. (Enderwick, P. 1986) It is the dimension of ownership and control of value-adding activity that sets the MNC apart from the organization which simply trades internationally. Moreover this feature of ownership or control brings with it the challenge of managing human resources in different national contexts. It is within this field of organizational life that this essay will be concerned. This can be contested territory for multinational corporations. There will be a practice and experience in the organization’s country of origin but the form and content of this may not fit comfortably or favorably in other countries where there is a different cultural disposition to ‘voice’.
Culture as a factor influences the different facets of organizational life in regard of member’s behavior, belief and human management of an organization. In some certain, employee voice reflects by culture plays an important role in the organization management. The role of employee voice as the articulation of individual dissatisfaction overlapped with notions of employee contribution through communication channels. In the conduct of this discourse, definitions and discussion of culture have been presented followed with explanation and discussion of employee voice. Therefore; the conclusion about this culture-voice coupling is that organizational life should pay primary attention to the culture difference between its members. Only in this way the further development of an organization might be possible.