What is context? Why is consideration of context important for global management?

Context in Global Management

Context refers to the environment or the background of activity. The background or the settings point out to the situation and events that surround an occurrence. In the global management, the context may be based on the physical setting, the words and expressions used in the setting and the specific circumstances under which the events occur.

In global management, context helps to understand the various workplaces and their culture. This allows the manager and the workers to perform their specific duties with adequate emotional, social and contextual intelligence. From the way people relate and communicate to one another in an organisation, it is possible to understand the context. For example, when employees only believe in taking orders from their supervisors, a context of autocratic organisational culture will be created. Similarly, when an organisation does not accept innovations and employees’ autonomy, a conservative context will be developed.

When analysing an organisational problem, the understanding of the context helps to develop an understanding of the behaviours depending on the situations. Also, it assists in the creation of a cultural picture with specificities and expectations. This does not only help to understand the problem but also to develop solutions that will be in line with the culture and the context of the organisation.  Further, this understanding will also help to avoid overdependence on the stereotypes in global management. This gives the managers an opportunity to consider the situations and the cultures of an organisation before making important decisions prematurely.

According to Edgar Schein, the adoption of a specific culture by an organisation is a process that takes a lot of time. During this time, the organisation and even the employees undergo considerable changes and adjustments to the internal and external environment. According to his model of organisational culture, cultural variations are the major causes of misunderstandings in an organisation. One main strength of this model is that it strategically distinguish between artefacts, values and assumed values and their impact on the organisational culture. This, therefore, allows the user of the theory to view an organisational culture as a variable by-product of the organisational activities. However, the model fails to take into consideration the external culture and how the outside environment can influence the organisational practices. The model is thus not enough to understand organisational culture fully.

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