Assessing Inter-Cultural Communication Challenges in the STANBIC Standard Bank S.A. Core Banking Replacement Program - Part 5



3.1 Introduction

Lewis (et al. 2009) has made an excellent point that people use the word ‘research’ a lot but people do not always appreciate the meaning. For this study, research is the process of thoughtfully designing, step-by-step, a project to gain both knowledge and a better understanding of the topic. The purpose of the research has been to gain first hand data about Banking and Inter Cultural Communication. The bank chosen for the analysis is the STANBIC Standard Bank base in South Africa. Based on the nature of the research a descriptive qualitative research approach would be the most effective. Key variables, as discussed by Collins and Hussey (2003) describe qualitative approach. The interview style for this research was semi-structured. Firstly, specific questions were prepared and asked of each respondent. Secondly, allows the respondent elaborate when they demonstrated particular knowledge relating to one or other of the questions.

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3.2 The population and sample

The research is limited to the Core teams involved in the program on a senior level of the programs and includes South Africa (Centre), Country (Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda) and India (Infosys) teams. The interviews focus on a representative sample of the population and include resources from all the key resources, spread across Centre, Country and India. The sample included different nationalities, genders and cultures, and represents at least 10% of the target population as the defined research population is round 95 individuals involved on a Senior level in the implementation of the Core Banking replacement. The population is limited to countries already implemented, or in the process of implementation by August 2012. The population is limited to resources from: Namibia, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa (Centre) and Infosys (the Indian vendor).

3.3 The questionnaire design

The qualitative survey for explores the challenges and risks of inter-cultural communication in the CORE banking replacement program. The survey required development of questions, choosing a sample, acquiring permission and contacting the participants to set up a meeting. One of the criteria for the employees was employment at STANBIC in one of the three teams. The three intercultural teams surveyed in this qualitative research study; they are (a) STANBIC Standard Bank S.A. Centre (located in South Africa- denoted as Centre). (b) Countries with bank branches (Nigeria, Namibia, Uganda, Botswana, Swaziland or denoted as Country), and (c) Infosys®, the vendor setting up Facile (denoted as Infosys). Not all the interviews were face-to-face because some of the participants were in a STANBIC foreign branch.

Interviews were the research strategy. The first step was to decide which of the three types of interviews would be appropriate for this study. A researcher has the choice of designing interviews as a) structured with standardized questions, b) semi-structured which has questions prepared but is more informal than a structured interview, and c) unstructured which allows the interviewee to ask more in-depth questions when applicable. The researcher is the interviewer. The person answering the questions is both a participant and a respondent. Often when the research method used is interviewing the participants are respondents because they respond to questions rather than simply having their behavior observed.

Some program disciplines do not occur in Country, as Centre drives the project. Each discipline is a stream lead designates each discipline (Table 3.1) that will engage in the strategic planning and coordination sessions scheduled on a regular basis. The stream leads engage each other to coordinate and execute day-to-day task in delivering the program.

Table 3.1. Number of resources in the Centre and Country core teams

  Location of Team Lead
  Centre Nigeria Namibia Botswana Tanzania Uganda Total 
CIB, PBB and Channels x x x x x x 6 
Functional x           1 
Core banking application x           1 
Business readiness x x x x x x 6 
Infrastructure x x x x x x 6 
Data cleansing and migration x x x x x x 6 
Enablement and Integration x x x x x x 6 
Testing (SIT/UAT) x x x x x x 6 
Solution Design x           1 
Release Management and Configuration x           1 
  10 6 6 6 6 6 40 

3.4 Data collection

A qualitative research methodology has been used. The participants of the research was limited to the core teams (stream leads) of Centre, Country and Infosys (India vendor). The countries Nigeria, Namibia, Botswana and Uganda) engage in day-to-day engagement between the teams. The total research population is approximately 40 team leads.

For the research, a finding is valid information when from a minimum sample size of 10 percent of the research population and divided by country, discipline and sex. The interviews have semi-structured questions. Each interview is recorded, summarized and content analysis applied. The identity of the research respondent is confidential to ensure the interview responses are truthful and not influenced by fear of reprisal. (Collins and Hussey. 2003)

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Table 3.2 Questionnaire used by the interviewer in the survey

Section 1

Do you believe there are cultural communication challenges and barriers, affecting the program between the various parties (Centre, County, India)? If yes, please elaborate.

In your view, what is the impact of the cultural communication challenges on the success of the program and how would you evaluate it?

Section 2

2.1 Do you believe there are perceptual communication challenges that affect the way Centre (SA) and Country engage and communicate?

2.2 In your view, what is the impact of the perceptions on the success of the program and how would you evaluate it?

Section 3

3.1 Do you believe the experience and knowledge of the various teams (Centre, Country and Infosys) affect the way Centre (SA) and Country engage and communicate?

3.2 What according to you are the reasons for these challenges?

3.3 In your view, how can these communication challenges be addressed?

Section 4

4.1 Do you believe there are limitations affecting you that other key parties (Country, Centre and Infosys) have not considered, which affect effective program communications?

4.2 In your view, what is the impact of these on the success of the program and how would you evaluate it?

4.3 What according to you are the reasons for these changes?

4.4. How can the program address these communication challenges?

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