CFC Research Project: Improving Employee Performance at Multicultural Workplaces
Empowering Diversity, Enhancing Performance
Dr. Vijesh Jain, CFC Researcher
CFC Model Pioneer. Ex Dean/Director B Schools. A BITS, Pilani, and IIFT, New Delhi graduate, and a Ph.D. from University of Mysore. First-ever Certified Global Business Professional from India, cert. by NASBITE, USA, and the first-ever recipient of Dr. Jagdish N. Sheth Award for best Ph.D. research, conferred by BIMTECH, Delhi NCR. Authored five books in the areas of Export Import Documentation and Cross-Cultural Management. Recently completed two online certified courses related to entrepreneurship in emerging economies and technology entrepreneurship from Harvard University, USA. Pioneer of CFC Cross Cultural Model based on 15 years research in understanding the impact of level of comfort of the local cultures with foreign cultures at Multicultural workplaces.
This research proposes a framework and methodology to examine and measure the level of comfort experienced by employees from different cultural backgrounds at workplaces in multinational companies. The study has explored in so many years factors influencing comfort levels, such as communication, cross-cultural training, diversity management practices, and organizational policies. It also investigated the impact of comfort on various outcomes, such as employee satisfaction, job performance, and intercultural collaboration within multinational firms.
About CFC Research
It all started 15 years back in the classroom of cross-cultural management lecture at IILM Business School, India, when this thought occurred to me about the culturally seasoned minds working at common working places in global companies. That is where the research started, moving into my Ph.D. research at BIMTECH. Collaborating with seasoned researchers from different countries, the idea became more and more strong. 15 years in making today CFC model is well tuned to help business organizations to improve their business prospects by improving employee performance, gaining a competitive advantage vis a vis the competitors in the global markets.
Multi-cultural workplaces in multinational enterprises (MNEs) have been found to be the providers of the best team performances. Most multinational firms focus on strategies to bring cultural diversity to workplaces to improve performance. However cultural diversity at multinational workplaces also poses new challenges especially relating to friction and discomfort between team members having diverse cultural backgrounds. It calls for the management of a multi-cultural workforce by the team managers in such ways as to reduce such friction or discomfort. The aim should be to improve ‘interpersonal comfort’ among multicultural team members.
In order to achieve this effectively and to smoothly face day to day cultural glitches of managing such teams, it may be helpful to understand the structure of ‘cross-cultural comfort’ among team members and also to identify and understand the variables influencing such comfort, particularly the level of comfort of local cultures with foreign cultures (CFC) at workplaces. Such intercultural comfort is likely to originate or be influenced by several implicit factors and dimensions which may vary among team members having different cultural backgrounds.
Therefore this research focuses on understanding this variation in the ‘level of comfort’ of local dominant cultural groups with other foreign cultural groups at multinational workplaces. The training based on CFC research also refers to a set of studies done by other CCM scientists, to identify the role of different observed and latent variables having a significant bearing on the variation of ‘level of CFC'. These studies also identified a few important and logical ‘control variables’ which may significantly control this variation. I also studied the significance and nature of the impact of these ‘control variables’ on the ‘level of CFC’ and have described them in my apex and comprehensive book titled Multinational Workplaces: War of Culturally Seasoned Minds, and available on Amazon Store & Kindle unlimited worldwide.
Impacts of these control variables such as country of residence, city of residence, income group, age group, education level, and gender have been studied. However ‘country’ had been treated in this research as the chief control variable and has been discussed in more detail. A typical CFC training starts by describing the theoretical foundations of cross-cultural management, multinational workplaces, global cultures, workplace cultural management, and similar topics. The latest concepts of cross-cultural management, management of multicultural teams, dealing with people’s issues, and others is also discussed. The importance and process of effective leadership for inspiring multicultural teams is also highlighted. A path of understanding world cultures is discussed which can be very helpful for international team managers to understand the cultural ethos and lifestyles of employees with diverse cultural backgrounds.
Methods of understanding cultural differences through the concepts of cultural dimensions is also touched upon. Somewhere, studies done by the authors for the primary theme of this research and their results are also discussed. In the first study of CFC research involved a theoretical framework for the ‘level of comfort’ of local cultures with foreign cultures (CFC) using a plethora of published information available for a set of identified countries. In order to further confirm the findings of this research and to identify the specific observed and latent factors or variables affecting the intra-group comfort level, two primary data-based studies were also done and are used in training. The first was a ‘pilot study’ and the second was a ‘comprehensive study’ on two sets of selected countries. In the later part of the training, research done by the authors to study the concepts from country to country perspective has also been described and applied, i.e. the study of CFC among ‘country pairs’. Finally results and analysis from these studies have been interpreted at the end of the training. The main aim of this training is an attempt to familiarize team leaders and managers with people's issues in MNE teams.