Edited by Arja Ropo, Perttu Salovaara, Erika Sauer and Donatella De Paoli
Chapter 10: Culture matters: space and leadership in a cross-cultural perspective
There is little doubt that globalization – the integration of markets, capital, nation states and technologies – represents a major paradigm shift that impacts corporations and their managers, and that multinational corporations have to face several new challenges. One is the challenge of developing a (global) corporate culture, a set of values that are understood and acted upon across the subsidiaries around the globe. However, Telenor, a Norwegian multinational, represents a rare case where office design has deliberately been used as a strategic tool in order to transfer the company’s values and leadership philosophy to its Asian subsidiaries. Based on the Telenor case, I have come to two (preliminary) conclusions. First, even though Telenor thinks that implementing its open-space office solutions in a ‘take it or leave it’ style has been quite successful, it is uncertain whether a more ‘soft’ implementation, leaving room for local adaptions, would have been even better. Second, looking at spatial solutions in order to create a more coherent culture across MNCs should definitely be part of the international human resource management (IHRM) toolbox. Today, IHRM is still concerned with traditional activities such as staffing, compensation, performance appraisals and so forth.
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