With an ongoing globalization of activities and companies, heterogeneity in companies' workforce has become a reality. Managing diversity has turned into a major challenge for companies' survival. As a matter of fact, large companies can no longer boast their national affiliation as the workplace is gradually turning into a general melting pot of people as well as work practices on a daily basis.
The impact of multiculturalism has evolved through time depending on the type of competitive environment and the firm's overall strategy. Today, no major firm operates in purely domestic environments.
Intercultural management is based on the analysis of cultural differences. These terms can only make sense once the concept of culture has been defined and cultural areas are set up, so as to allow comparison. Nevertheless, the word culture in itself refers to a lot of different meanings, hundreds as a matter of fact. However, the anthropologists Kroeber and Kluckohn offered one of the most comprehensive and generally accepted definition:
Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiment in artefacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other, as conditioning elements of future action.
Moreover the concept of cross-cultural management is another core concept because it not only explains how culture affects people's behaviors around the world (especially in business), but also explains how these differences can be dealt with. It has developed useful tools for entreprises which wish to prepare themselves adequately to the challenges of the 21st century.
[...] These features are of crucial importance in a multicultural team, where members share different views about agenda and decision. Hofstede's fifth dimension: long/short term orientation comes in handy to understand these differences. Les priorités ne sont pas les mêmes selon les pays . et les objectifs court-terme, long-terme n'ont pas la même valeur. (Reserve et Selection) Priorities vary from country to country long and short term objectives are not entrusted the same value. (Reserve et Selection) Stereotypes handicaping the cohesion of the group Only 20% interviewees report problems with stereotypes. [...]
[...] He determined this study in terms of group structure and behavioural tasks . The first stage to be achieved is the Forming-Phase. At that time group development is characterized by a high level of uncertainty from all participants. Team members tend to develop their own rules and define assignments specific to their “national” group. The next stage the Storming Phase distinguishes itself through the fact that minds begin to polarise, emotional over-control can be observed and people are likely to engage conflicts. [...]
[...] Moreover issues linked to intercultural management are considerable in the context of international mergers and acquisitions where employees from different countries have the possibility to work together. Nevertheless differences between organizational system are too often underestimate even they can cause misunderstandings and conflicts between partners. The underestimation of the cultural factor is quite surprising as the merger of companies is a major way of connecting people. People are the one who create, follow or deviate from rules and structures in companies. They make the organization live, run and make profits. Their intangible capital has to be developped through intercultural training. [...]
[...] In many cases, linguistic problems were linked with cultural differences. As one of the interviewee puts it: Le vocabulaire est différent. Derrière les termes d'objectifs, enjeux et rôles nous ne voyons pas la même chose. Même lorsque nous voulions mettre les choses sur la table, en définissant une stratégie, cela n'était pas possible. (Cap Gemini) The vocabulary is different. Behind the terms “objectives, roles and challenges”, people would not place the same meanings. Even when we wanted to set things clear by defining a strategy, it was not possible. [...]
[...] Comment avez-vous été préparé au travail en équipe internationale ? 9. Quelle était la durée de cette préparation ? 10. Qui a assuré cette préparation ? 12. A quels problèmes avez-vous déjà été confronté(e) dans un travail en équipe internationale ? Legend : a = stéréotypes handicapant la cohésion du groupe b = difficultés importantes à établir un calendrier de travail commun c = difficultés importantes à établir des objectifs communs d = difficultés à prendre des décisions en commun e = difficultés à communiquer efficacement ses impressions aux autres membres f = perte de confiance graduelle dans le groupe g = conceptions antagonistes du travail de groupe h = problèmes d'identification des rôles et des pouvoirs i = autres 14. [...]
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