Drawing on relevant academic and professional literature on culture and management, write a report on how Events Managers from two different national or ethnic backgrounds might plan, execute and manage a Local City Film Festival. Make recommendations on how the two managers could work better together.
Managers of international business corporations and institutions agree that understanding the nuances and subtleties associated with foreign cultures is an essential aspect of successful operations there. What has come to be termed as “culture intelligence” is an important ingredient for running a trans-national enterprises and events. This is applicable to the case of conducting a local city film festival as well. Several studies and research projects done on this subject have also inferred the same. The rest of this essay will explore this topic in detail, by reviewing relevant academic sources.
To begin with, modern theories of management such as Transformational Leadership and Leader Member Exchange (LMX) identify and emphasize the relevance of cultural knowledge for successful management. This also holds true for management of one-off events such as the Local City Film Festival in discussion. These Transformational/Charismatic leadership theories that take into account aspects of local culture offer the promise of above par outcomes in terms of individual participation and overall success of the event. (Bowdin, 2006) Furthermore, conventional management theories based on the mistaken belief that “one size fits all”, no longer holds true in light of worldwide economic globalization. Successful management practices and business processes in the United States and Europe does not imply that they can be applied anywhere in the world. To the contrary, management styles, values, ethics, priorities and methods vary from one cultural group to another. Yet, many modern managers are not willing to embrace a region-specific management approach, based on local sensibilities, sentiments and values. The reason why managers are slow to adopt this principle can be partially attributed to the fact that the phenomenon of Globalization induces a certain standardization/generalization of commodities. The management is pulled in two opposing directions by globalization. First, they are required to standardize their commodities in order to achieve economies of scale and keep quality factors in check. Secondly, they are expected to adopt culture-specific specialized business practices. Many international managers apparently flounder in striking a balance between these two imperatives (Bowdin, 2006).
Applying the aforementioned assessment to the case of the local City Film Festival, the films being showcased are not strictly commodities, for film festivals are usually conducted to propagate art and culture, and commercial prospects are only given secondary importance. Nevertheless, the festival serves as a branding exercise for its organizers. The brand image and brand reputation that is gained will reap dividends afterwards. Hence, it is quite evident that international event managers need to adapt their core processes and practices as per the dictates of the particular local cultural environment. And events organized abroad, which take into account local cultural expectations of the particular region will achieve impressive brand building.
At this juncture, a more comprehensive definition of regional/national/local culture is called for. National culture is defined as “the values, beliefs and assumptions learned in early childhood that distinguish one group of people from another”. It is profoundly inculcated in day to day life and is not easy to change. Culture represents a community’s preferred mode of organizing its affairs. It is important to note that when event management practices are inconsistent with these deeply held values, viewers are likely to feel dissatisfied, distracted and uncomfortable (Krugman & Wright, 2006). As a result, they may be less able or willing to appreciate the artistic merits of the film. In this context, the two managers for the local City Film Festival will do well to understand certain broad cultural classifications. For example, the Individualism-Collectivism divide is one such distinction. It is generally agreed that Asian cultures are community centric, and the emphasis is on communal well-being rather than individual success. On the other hand, Western nations are said to be individual-centric, where individual choice and progress are placed ahead of collective welfare. For the two event managers, who purview film shows across nations, remembering this distinction can be very helpful, as it is an important way of differentiating among national cultures. The choice of films is crucial for the success of the film festival. A simple rule of thumb which the two managers can adopt is to pick only those films whose content falls within the emotional registers of the local audience. Individual-centric cultures exhibit low social cohesion, as each member is expected to cater to their own needs and that of their immediate family members (Krugman & Wright, 2006). In such societies, an individual gains social mobility through his own efforts. Collective cultures, in contrast,