Which better country to use as the foil for discussion on cross cultural relationships than Uganda? A country to the west of Kenya, north of Tanzania, south of South Sudan and east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Geographical boundaries or cultural diversity does not evoke differences akin to a steep precipice as Uganda has taken the East African stage in recent years in cross cultural relationship. Metaphors divining from its co-location in East Africa are abundant, whether you agree with them or not.
Cross-cultural relations have become a common trend in modern society. These include marriages such as the late Hon. James Francis Wapakhabulo, former Emergence of Cross-Cultural Relations Speaker of Parliament, whose wife is Tanzanian and currently serving as Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kenya.
Education which has brought thousands of Kenyans, Tanzanians, South Sudanese and Rwandese to Ugandan educational institutions, such as Kampala International University. Religion where traditional African religious beliefs have been eroded by Christianity and Islam, brought by the colonialists and early Arabtraders.
Globalization, in my opinion, is one of the primary causes contributing to the occurrence of this phenomenon. People in the world are no longer isolated from their geographical locations and culture.
Music too has played a diverse contribution in promoting cross culture. Proof that cultures are colliding: the recent upsurge in cross-pollination among musicians. Uganda has a classical example of such a musician, Navio – his music is hip-hop. I compare his music to the American hip-hop singers Black Eyed Peas. Navio would have definitely borrowed a leaf from them, and sure enough his music is loved here at home.
In the contemporary world of business, a cross cultural merger is a well-known phenomenon. As its name suggests, a cross cultural merger is the joining of two companies that belong to two different cultures. The privatized Uganda Commercial Bank was merged with the former Grindleys Bank, which Standard Bank already owned.
With the growing impact of globalization, such phenomena are generally regarded with a favorable impression. However, besides having its undeniable advantages, cross-cultural mergers have their own set of drawbacks.
The advantages that a cross –cultural merger brings to both the companies are myriad, the most significant of which is a better and more comprehensive sharing of ideas, skills and other resources between the two enterprises.
It also offers a diversification of product and service offerings, utilization of operational expertise and research and development. Increased generation of business is another factor that adds to the list of benefits.
Furthermore, cross cultural mergers generally result in enhancement of industry rankings, which proves to be an added boost to the goodwill of both organizations. The companies involved in such mergers always end up acquiring a greater market share in the respective markets that they are operating in.
The drawbacks, however, would be that of the inevitable cultural disharmony that couldn’t be avoided no matter how amiable the work atmosphere is.
However, one might ask whether cross-cultural and international relations are always beneficial. On one side, international relations can reduce the gap that exists in both cultures. This gap is being reduced because people from different cultures and nationalities have an opportunity to understand each other in a very objective way.
With the ongoing East African integration whose principles encourage cross-cultural relations, this reality will demolish all the negative stereotypes that people perceive in their minds. East African people are able to better understand one another, resulting in a better and more peaceful reason.
By Nancy Babalanda