Industrial/Organizational Psychology & Globalization

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  • 0:04 The Big Picture in Business
  • 0:45 Diverse World, Diverse…
  • 1:58 Ready to Go Global?
  • 3:10 Putting the Pieces Together
  • 4:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Millraney

Lisa has 27 years of experience treating speech, language, memory and swallowing disorders. She has a master's degree in speech pathology from Vanderbilt University.

In this lesson, we discuss the roles globalization and industrial/organizational psychology play in business. We learn about the importance of cultural diversity in the work force and the need for cross-cultural awareness in today's business world.

The Big Picture in Business

Business has changed dramatically in recent years. Not too long ago, a business' main competitors were across the street or around the corner. Now, they may be across the country or halfway around the planet! In order to be successful, business owners must consider how their work relates to people all over the world. Industrial/organizational psychologists (I/OPs) teach owners, managers, and workers how to expand, find new diverse workforces, and use the workforce to improve business performance. These professionals play a major part in helping companies get up to speed in the vital area of globalization, or making their businesses relevant and competitive everywhere.

Diverse World, Diverse Workplace

For a company to be a player on a global stage, inclusiveness is key. A business cannot relate to other nations and cultures if they are not looking beyond their borders or open to diverse ideas. By recruiting employees from all kinds of regions, a company expands their pool of talent, bringing a variety of work experiences into the fold.

Those employees don't necessarily have to work in the company's home office or even home country, either. The rise of virtual teams, work groups that interact through new technology, makes it simpler for workers to share the load and their ideas about how to do their jobs. Studies have shown that in the virtual work team setting, especially on a global scale, the traditional means of group leadership (having one person at the helm) is not as effective as sharing leadership roles. Several people may take point depending on their unique skill sets and perspectives, as well as on the team's current goals. Dividing leadership roles also helps everyone feel like their ideas are valued.

Incorporating a variety of cultures and being aware of their differences in the workplace requires extra effort. Different cultures communicate in different ways, and misunderstandings are likely if employees don't know that. Business behaviors vary widely, and it is important that people traveling for their job, interviewing and hiring foreign employees, or interacting with fellow workers, keep that in mind.

Ready to Go Global?

To illustrate globalization in action, let's look at Fred and George. They are brothers and entrepreneurs. Several years ago, they started a small business in their middle-America hometown. Business boomed, and now they are the proud co-owners of Gadgets Incorporated. Their gadgets are sold via the internet all over the world, and they are hoping to take their business international. However, they are concerned about how complex it will be. They bring in Tyrone, an industrial/organizational psychologist, to help them and their team prepare for and implement the big leap.

Tyrone starts his work by interviewing the brothers, their managers, and a random sampling of their current employees. He finds that while they have little knowledge of international differences in cultural and business practices, they are open and willing to learn. He begins training the owners and managers how to recruit, interview, and hire diverse workers. He teaches them how to research the other cultures, what differences to look for, and how to make their new employees' ideas and perspectives work for them and their company.

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