Assessing Inter-Cultural Communication Challenges in the STANBIC Standard Bank S.A. Core Banking Replacement Program

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Research report presented in partial fulfilment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Business
at the University of Stellenbosch

Supervisor:

Degree of confidentiality:

Declaration

By submitting this research report electronically, I declare that the entirety of the work contained therein is my own, original work, that I am the owner of the copyright thereof (unless to the extent explicitly otherwise stated) and that I have not previously in its entirety or in part submitted it for obtaining any qualification.

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Abstract

Rapid communications with the development of Information Technologies (IT) and Information Systems (IS) has not lead to better global communications. The diversity of languages, habits, behaviours and cultures in the world has introduced new challenges. STANBIC Bank Africa is a good example of an institution that has grown by embracing technological advances but is facing the need to develop communication strategies. STANBIC Bank has 1,222 branches on the African continent. Diversity is strength in many ways until it leads to communication problems. Challenges arise when miscommunication are made due to different languages and to different cultural behaviours. For example, different cultures differ in how they show respect to their managers, how they problem solve and how they deal with risk. A simple difference such as personal distance may cause resentments and misunderstandings between colleagues. This research has undertaken a literature review on communication strategies and a survey of a selected sample of employees at STANBIC in order to evaluate the communication environment at the institution with the consideration of three main areas. Those areas are the Bank Centre in South Africa, the employees and the Indian vendor Infosys. Many communication challenges exist, such as in resource management sharing, person-to-person miscommunications, preferred type of communication and sometimes intolerance. The interviews from employees indicated that many problems were solved over time but that clear structure for consistent communication and for human resource management (HRM) interventions would be welcome.


Key words:

  • Cross-border
  • Inter-cultural
  • STANBIC Standard Bank
  • South Africa
  • Communication strategies
  • Infosys, India
  • HRM
  • IT/IS
  • Knowledge

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List of acronyms and abbreviations

ATM Automatic Teller Machines

Centre South African location of the Standard Bank Centre

CIB Corporate and Investment Banking

Country Country (not South Africa) where the STANBIC branch is located and Infosys®, the Indian vendor, implement Facile

Facile core banking IT solution from Infosys®

FDI Foreign Direct Investment

GDP Gross Domestic Product

GLOBE Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness

ICT Information Communications Technology

Infosys Infosys®, the Indian Vendor

IP Information Programming

IS Information Systems

IT Information Technology

PBB Personal and Business Banking

PP Project Performance

SA South Africa

STANBIC Standard Bank Group, SA

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