Intercultural Management - Cayman Islands
Being a Manager in the Cayman Islands
The business set up in the Cayman Islands is hierarchical. Cross cultural management needs to take into account that despite the casual, almost laid-back atmosphere, the Cayman Islands are a British Dependent Overseas Territory and the business community adheres to many British protocols.
Cross cultural management, when working in the Cayman Islands, will be more successful when bearing in mind that each person has a very distinct role within the organization and management would not be expected to consult with lower-ranking individuals when decision-making.
Role of a Manager
In the Cayman Islands, as in other hierarchical societies, managers may take a somewhat paternalistic attitude to their employees. They may demonstrate a concern for employees that goes beyond the workplace and strictly professional concerns.
Approach to Change
The Cayman Islands’ intercultural adaptability and readiness for change is apparent but because tradition is valued, change is not readily embraced simply because it is new.
Approach to Time and Priorities
The Cayman Islands is a moderate time culture and therefore there may be some flexibility to strict adherence to schedules and deadlines. Nevertheless, the expectations of intercultural expansion and global business have caused the Caymanians to adopt relatively strict standards of adhering to schedules.
When working with people from the Cayman Islands, it’s advisable to reinforce the importance of the agreed-upon deadlines and how that may affect the rest of the organization.
Although many businesses retain hierarchical structures, decisions are often made after reaching a consensus of the stakeholders. Few individuals have full authority to make binding decisions concerning anything but mundane matters.
Teamwork is becoming increasingly important in most organizations. The best ideas and solutions often come from having many people meet to discuss an issue.
Caymanian managers will praise employees, although not generally in public. Subordinates expect their efforts to be recognized and rewarded. Most Caymanians are suspicious if praise is excessive or undeserved.
Boss or Team Player?
If you are working with people from the Cayman Islands, it is important to remember the role that hierarchy plays in teamwork and collaboration. Traditionally, the supervisor is seen to hold that position because of superior knowledge and skills. It would traditionally have been unthinkable for someone of a higher position to collaborate with someone from a lower status.
This is changing somewhat in younger generations, particularly those employed by multinational corporations. If you would like to encourage participation it is important first to clearly establish a non-threatening work environment and communicate clearly that their participation is desired.
Successful cross cultural management will recognize that teamwork is becoming increasingly important in most organizations where they believe the best ideas and solutions often come from having many people meet to discuss an issue.
Communication and Negotiation Styles
Most Caymanians only speak English so to avoid cross cultural misunderstandings, if you are not fluent in English, hire an interpreter. You should avoid confrontational behavior or high-pressure sales tactics and you should not make promises you cannot keep or offer exaggerated claims about your products or services.
Tact and diplomacy are critical to successful business ventures.