Volunteers in a non-profit often feel like sheep seeking a Shepard; hoping for someone to uncover the possibilities within them. I have an incredible group of three talented young women striving to make a difference in the world around them. Talent and heart have not been enough to ignite passion that brings a consistent level of service to our program participants. Berger and Luckman (1966) define social constructionism as a reality that’s created to make meaning of things. Our volunteers have created a social construct where investment in the work is only worth while when it’s directly benefiting the individual. By understanding the cultural context of the organization, the work, and the community we will be able to create a clear invitation of the possibilities moving forward.
In Nahavandi’s scenario my first step would be collaborating with the team to discuss concerns they have with the upcoming negotiation; using openness to breed loyalty (Nahavandi, 2015). When considering to send my top negotiator, the woman, or the next in command, a young man, I would place an emphasis on safety. Anomalies challenge the paradigm (Kuhn, 1962), if this was the first time the Saudi company worked with famale negotiators there would be greater concern for her effectiveness and the way she would be treated. When working with other cultures and other value systems it is easy to misjudge because we simply do not know them (Wren, 1995). As a top leader within the company or organization building relationships with any prospective clients would be key, however, my obligation as a leader remains to the followers within the company. Refraining to send the top negotiator simply becau...
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... example of family cross-cultural organizational culture places an emphasis on relationships; taking care of individuals to accomplish tasks, as well as being a strong caring mentor (Nahavandi, 2015).
Conclusion, Translating Idea Into Action
The best way to dissolve the social construct holding back my volunteers is to invite them into the organizations culture; working together to create a new construct that emphasizes being others centered. After spending years mentoring the soon-to-be volunteers I have an understanding of their need for strong support, mentoring, and the value of relationships. Trompenarrs’ family cultural approach offers the strongest leadership style for uncovering the possibilities within our volunteers, thus expanding the possibilities for engagement. “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” —African Proverb.
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