Cross-Cultural Management in Practice

Cross-Cultural Management in Practice

Culture and Negotiated Meanings

Edited by Henriett Primecz, Laurence Romani and Sonja Sackmann

Based on the view that culture is dynamic and negotiated between actors, this groundbreaking book contains a collection of ten cases on cross-cultural management in practice. The cases draw on field research revealing challenges and insights from working across nations and cultures. Each case provides recommendations for practitioners that are developed into a framework for effective intercultural interactions as well as offering illustrations and insights on how to handle actual cross-cultural issues. This enriching book covers various topics including international collaborations across and within multinational companies, organizational culture in international joint ventures and knowledge transfer.

Chapter 2: On the Road Again: Culturally Generic Spaces as Coping Strategies in International Consultancy

Sara Louise Muhr and Jeanette Lemmergaard

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, international business, organisational behaviour, research methods in business and management, strategic management, research methods, qualitative research methods, research methods in business and management


Sara Louise Muhr and Jeanette Lemmergaard INTRODUCTION For a long time, research in cross-cultural management has discussed what culture is and how it can be identified (Sackmann and Phillips, 2004; Yeganeh and Su, 2006), as well as how culture influences management practices (Laurent, 1983) and organizational competitiveness (Redding, 1994). In this way, culture has long been an important part of management studies – both across countries and across organizations within the same country (Mohe, 2008). However, to obtain a deeper understanding of cross-cultural work and its effect on employees we find it important also to examine how employees, who work across cultures, cope with constantly changing working environments. This chapter therefore takes a different approach, as it is about subjective experiences in cross-cultural work. To do this, we analyse cross-cultural work in the specific situation of an international consultant. Working in constantly changing settings influenced by different organizational and national cultures makes the international consultant a ‘temporary worker’ (Garsten, 1999), who changes place of work on a continuous basis, and who’s sense of belonging is constantly defined and redefined (Fleming and Spicer, 2004). When international consultants operate in many different countries over a short period of time they are constantly surrounded by new people and new cultures. This constant change holds the risk of alienating the consultants and turning them into strangers in their temporary work environments. As argued by Sturdy (1997), the constant travelling and trying to ‘fit in’ are often experienced as pressure and anxiety – an experience the employees...

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