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Intercultural Management - New Zealand

Being a Manager in New Zealand
Management Guide New Zealand

The business set up in New Zealand is egalitarian and to ensure successful cross cultural management it is important to remember to treat each and every person with equal respect and deference.

Intercultural adaptability relies on an understanding of New Zealanders direct communication. Avoid "hard sell" techniques and do not take a relaxed attitude as indicative of a lack of attention to detail.

In New Zealand there is a sense that all people in the organization have an important role to play and all are valued for their input. Therefore in this culture, managers will lose no respect in consulting employees.

The Role of a Manager

Cross cultural communiciation will be more effective when working in New Zealand when you remember that the most productive managers in New Zealand recognize and value the specialized knowledge that employees at all levels bring. Employees expect to be consulted on decisions that affect them and the greater good of the organization.

Managers tend to be task-oriented, but do not generally micro-manage their staff. Managers emphasize achieving a goal, productivity and profits and expect their employees to do their job in a professional manner.

Successful intercultural management will remember that the role of the leader is to harness the talent of the group assembled, and develop any resulting synergies.

Approach to Change

New Zealand’s intercultural competence and readiness for change is high. Businesses in New Zealand have a high tolerance for risk and a ready acceptance for change. The underlying mindset is that change, while difficult, usually brings improvements and that hard work and innovation will bring a better tomorrow.

Underlying this readiness for risk and change is a generally optimistic and positive mindset, which believes that hard work and innovation will bring a better tomorrow. Successful entrepreneurs who have achieved enormous wealth are admired as heroes and icons as evidence of New Zealand’s land-of-opportunity mythology.

Approach to Time and Priorities

The expectations of intercultural expansion and global business have caused the New Zealanders to adopt relatively strict standards of adhering to schedules. Adherence to schedules is important and expected. In New Zealand missing a deadline is a sign of poor management and inefficiency, and will shake people’s confidence.

Since New Zealanders respect schedules and deadlines, it is not unusual for managers to expect people to work late and even give up weekends in order to meet target deadlines. Successful intercultural management will depend on the individual’s ability to meet deadlines.

Decision Making

In large companies managers tend to be task-oriented, but do not generally micro-manage their staff. They emphasize achieving a goal and productivity and expect their subordinates to do their job in a professional manner. Since New Zealanders are both egalitarian and avid sportsmen, they understand the benefits to be gained by working in teams to achieve a common goal.

It is important to follow through on commitments as it fosters a feeling of trust. If you do not do what you say you will do, you will be branded as unreliable. This is true whether you are the boss, the employee, or a visiting colleague. Under promising and over delivering are keys to building trust the New Zealand way.

Managers are appointed to their positions based on their performance, trustworthiness, and honesty. Kiwis try to maintain a balanced life style, although this is becoming increasingly difficult in a global economy.

Boss or Team Player?

The egalitarian belief of New Zealanders supports a collaborative and participative management style. New Zealanders are often quite comfortable working in teams and do not expect to be singled out for their contribution.

Communication and Negotiation Styles

To ensure successful cross cultural management, you must understand that the negotiating process takes time. Do not attempt high-pressure sales tactics. Demonstrate the benefits of your services or products rather than talking about them. Start your negotiations with a realistic figure. Since this is not a bargaining culture, New Zealanders do not expect to haggle over price. Do not make promises you cannot keep or offer unrealistic proposals. Kiwis do not generally trust people who have to oversell. They are quite direct and expect the same in return.

Want more? Go to the Intercultural Management Guides page

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