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Unit 4 managing across cultures (1)

Unit 4: MANAGING ACROSS CULTURES
SECTION 1: READING
PRE-READING TASKS
 PART 1: TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Read the following case studies, discuss and find out.
CASE STUDY 1
AN OFFICE PARTY
An American manager by the name of Bill Morris worked for an American multinational firm. One year he
was transferred to France. When he began working in the French office, he wanted to get to know his
employees and show them that he was friendly and interested in a good work relationship. He decided to
throw a party for the whole office. He thought it would be a good way to get acquainted with everyone in a
less formal environment. He invited everyone in his office, including secretaries and executives, for a big
party in his elegant apartment. Everyone accepted the invitation. He was pleased that no one had declined his
invitation.
At his apartment Morris served a buffet of snack foods and drinks. The employees could help themselves to
whatever they liked. The manager liked this casual style of parties. As an informal and relaxed host of the
party he could show them that he was an open person and easy to talk to. Morris feels these are important
qualities of a manager and boss.
The party, however, was not a success. The employees were very uncomfortable as guests.
Vocabulary
Circle the words that are most similar in meaning to the words in italics

1. He decided to throw a party for the whole office.
a. to go out with a group of people.
b. to have a party
c. to go to a party
2. He thought it would be a good way to get acquainted with everyone.
a. to get to know
b. to get tired of
c. to please
3. He thought the workplace was too formal to get to know the employees well.
a. relaxed
b. impersonal
c. busy
4. He was pleased that no one had declined his invitation.
a. had said maybe to
b. had said yes to
c. had said no to


5. At the house he served a buffet of snack foods and drinks.
a. a small amount
b. a meal eaten around a table
c. food to be eaten away from the table
6. The employees could help themselves to whatever they liked.
a. help each other eat
b. serve themselves
c. do
7. The manager liked this casual style of parties.
a. relaxed
b. impersonal
c. happy
8. As an informal host of the party he could show them that he was an open person and easy to talk to.
a. person who gives a party
b. person who goes to a party
c. person who makes jokes at a party
9. The employees were very uncomfortable as guests in his home
a. servants
b. friends
c. invited people
10. They also were not used to socializing together.
a. spending time together while working


b. spending time together as friends
c. spending time together while eating
Discussion
1. Why did Bill Morris decide to throw the party?
2. Why did Morris want his party to be casual?
3. According to Morris what are good social qualities of a manager and boss?
4. Why do you think the party was not a success? Why were the employees uncomfortable as guests?
CASE STUDY 2
GIFT GIVING – A Saudi-German Encounter
Bouchaib Alsadoun, a Saudi businessman, invited Johann Wuerth, a German businessman, to dinner at his
house. Johann entered the elegant house and offered his gift of a bottle of Scotch whiskey and a box of butter
cookies to his host. Bouchaib was embarrassed by the gifts and quickly put them away. They then sat down
in the living room area. Bouchaib offered Johann a cup of coffee, which he quickly accepted. Bouchaib
thought his guest was a bit rude. As they drank coffee Johann complimented Bouchaib on an art book on the
living room table. The Saudi businessman responded by offering him the book. Johann, embarrassed, said,
“No thank you! It is very kind of you, but I can’t accept it!”Bouchaib was offended by his guest’s behavior.
Although Johann sensed this, he couldn’t imagine how he had offended Bouchaib.
Discussion
1. What three actions offended Bouchaib? Why do you think these offended him?
2. What can Johann do now that he has offended his host?
3. Can a misunderstanding like this one really affect the business relationship? If so, how?
PART 2:
Section 1: Further Discussion
1. What is a multinational company? Can you tell the names of some multinational companies?
2. What is culture? What are the elements of culture?
3. Why should managers take cross-cultural management into consideration?
4. In Vietnam, what gains respect within an organization, long service or achievements?
5. Can a young, dynamic aggressive manager with an MBA rise quickly in the hierarchy?


Vocabulary preparation
Match the words in the box with the definitions below
collectivist
compromise
confrontation
connections
eye contact
improvise
interrupt
intuition
logic
lose face
1. an invented word combining worldwide and regional concerns
2. thought based on reason and judgement rather than feelings and emotions
3. a face-to-face disagreement or argument
4. reducing demands or changing opinions in order to agree
5. understanding or knowing without consciously using reason
6. people of influence or importance with whom you are associated
7. to do something when necessary without having already planned it
8. respect, prestige or importance given to someone
9. believing that the group is more important than the individual
10. to be humiliated or disrespected in public
11. to cut into someone else’s turn to speak
12. looking directly at the people you are talking or listening to


glocalization
status

WHILE-READING TASKS
MANAGING ACROSS CULTURES
Richard Lewis is well known in the field of cross-cultural communication and the author of When
Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully Across Cultures and The Cultural Imperative: Global Trends in
the 21st Century. Read about his model of three types of cultures.
Managing a global multinational company would obviously be much simpler if it required only one set of
corporate objectives, goals, policies, practices, products and services. But local differences – cultural habits,
beliefs and principles specific to each country or market – often make this impossible. The conflict between
globalization and localization has led to the invention of the word ‘glocalization’. Companies that want to be
successful in foreign markets have to be aware of the local cultural characteristics that affect the way
business is done.
Richard Lewis has classified different cultures according to three ‘poles’ representing different types of
behaviour. Businesspeople in ‘linear-active’ cultures such as Britain, the USA and Germany are generally
organized and rational, try to act logically rather than emotionally, plan in advance, and like to do one thing
at a time. They believe in respecting rules, regulations and contracts, and so are what the Dutch theorist Fons
Trompenaars calls ‘universalists’ – they think rules apply to everybody. They are not afraid of confrontation
but will compromise when necessary to achieve a deal. They are essentially individualist.
‘Multi-active cultures’ in Southern Europe, Latin America and Africa attach more importance to feelings,
emotions and intuition, and relationships and connections. People like to do many things at the same time;
they are flexible, good at changing plans and happy to improvise. They believe in social or company
hierarchy, and respect status. They are essentially collectivist, and also what Trompenaars calls ‘particularist’
– they believe that personal relationships and friendships should take precedence over rules and regulations.
People in ‘reactive cultures’ in Asia prefer to listen to and establish the other’s position, and then react to it.
They try to avoid confrontation, and don’t want to ‘lose face’ or cause someone else to. They rarely interrupt
speakers and often avoid eye contact. They try to formulate approaches which suit both parties.
Other countries have cultures which show combined characteristics of two of these poles, and can be
represented along the sides of a triangle.

Comprehension questions
1. Why is it important for companies to be aware of local cultures?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2. What are the differences between individualists and collectivists?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
3. Who is more likely to think: ‘I’ll let them speak first.’?


…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
4. Why is it important for companies to be aware of local cultures?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
5. What are the differences between individualists and collectivists?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
6. Who is more likely to think: ‘I’ll let them speak first.’?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
7. Who is more likely to say, about other people: ‘They can’t be trusted because they will always help their
friends or family’ – universalists or particularists?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
8. Who is more likely to say: ‘Oh, you can’t trust them, they wouldn’t even help a friend?’
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
9. Look at the Lewis Model. What are the implications of each color (blue, red, yellow)?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Check your understanding
Which type of culture do these people belong to: linear- active (L), multi-active (M) or reactive (R)?
1. They are punctual.

12. They are patient, but sometimes impatient.

2. They are emotional.

13. They react to partner’s actions.

3. They are unemotional.

14. They do not talk too much.

4. They often change plans.

15. They avoid offending and upsetting people.

5. They plan ahead step by step.

16. They often interrupt speakers.


6. They are flexible.

17. They do not interrupt speakers.

7. They are people- oriented.

18. They consider relationships as important issues.

8. They are task-oriented.

19. They give great value to face.

9. They like to do only one thing at a time.

20. They always take rules / regulations into account.

10. They like to do several things at once.

21. They do not like to look at each other in
communication.

11. They are impatient.

22. They listen rather than speak.


What does each of the underlined parts refer to?
1. ‘. . . if it required only one set of corporate objectives, goals, policies . . .’ (Para. 2)
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2. ‘They are essentially individualist’ (Para. 3)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Find words with the following meanings
1. based on reasons rather than emotions = ………………..
2. take priority = take ………………..
3. create or devise a plan / a strategy = ………………..
4. reach an agreement with mutual concession = ………………..
POST-READING TASKS
Vocabulary review (new context): fill in each blank with a suitable word
rational – confronted – principles – precedence – inventions – improvise – compromise –
globalization – emotionally – belief – aware – intuitions – represents – reacts 1. ……………….. is the process of making something such as a business operate in a lot of different
countries all around the world.
2. The ……………….. of Management are the essential, underlying factors that form the foundations of
successful management.
3. He was highly motivated by his own ……………….. in the value of hard work.
4. There is no doubt that our lives would be very different without the ……………….. of Thomas Alva
Edison
5. Students are required to give ……………….. explanations in their assignments.
6. Can you explain what the bar chart ………………..?
7. Nursing is an ……………….. and physically demanding job.
8. To ……………….. is to make a deal between different parties where each party gives up part of their
demand.
9. Have you ever been ……………….. by a hostile, angry person?
10. What do you think about a society where money takes ……………….. over everything?
Discussion – Pair work
1. Which type are you typical of? Why?
2. In your company, or in your country in general, is it acceptable to:
• show that you are emotionally involved in your work?
• make eye contact with hierarchical superiors?
• wear fairly casual clothes to work?
• make jokes in meetings?


• disagree with superiors in meetings?
• occasionally arrive late for work or meetings?
• socialize with superiors and / or subordinates?
3. In your company or culture, is it considered acceptable to:
• gesticulate (make hand and arm movements) while you talk?
• move very close to someone as you talk to them?
• blow your nose in public?
• look at someone in the eyes for a long time while talking to them?
• look at someone in the eyes for a long time while they are talking to you?
• laugh loudly at work, and in meetings?
SECTION 2: LISTENING
Listening 1: Managers and authority. Listen to two MBA students at the Judge Business School
talking about cultural differences, and answer the questions. (Krishna is from Malaysia, Carlo is from
Italy)
1. What concepts does Krishna say are important in management in Singapore?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2. How does this differ from the European countries Krishna mentions?
……………………………………………………………………………………………………
3. From what Carlo says, how similar is Italy to Switzerland and Britain?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Listening 2: Managers and cultural diversity. What would happen if the world became truly
globalized, and everyone travelled, or worked with people from different cultures? Listen to three
MBA students at the Judge Business School, and answer the questions. (Lakshmi is from India, Janine
is from South Africa, Carlo is from Italy)
1. What does Lakshmi describe as an advantage of international management schools?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2. Why does Janine say that American businesspeople now have different attitudes?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
3. What skill or ability does Janine say allows people to be more self-aware?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
4. What expression does Carlo use to describe corporations becoming truly international?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
5. What does Carlo say happens if companies move a lot of executives and managers around?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
6. What is the saying or proverb that Janine quotes? What does it mean?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
7. What is the Japanese version of this saying that she heard? What does it mean?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
Listen to the recordings again and fill in the blanks with the words you hear.
 Listening 1
KRISHNA SRINIVASAN (1 word)
What I noticed in – I worked in both in Switzerland and in Malaysia – and the context of a manager is very
(1) ……………….. in these two countries. In Singapore the (2) ……………….. on (3) ……………….. and
the (4) ……………….. of the manager is very important. No matter you put a group in a team, once the
manager says something it’s kind of accepted by everyone else, no one (5) ……………….. it, whereas in
Switzerland and UK what you observe is once the manager says something, people can challenge him. So
manager in the western context is more a (6) ……………….., who encourages people by his (7)
……………….., either his vocal talent or his technical attitude [astute], whereas in the Asian (8)


……………….. I still feel that the emphasis on superiority, power, is still very (9) ……………….., so the
manager has to have the (10) ……………….. power.
CARLO DE STEFANIS (1 word)
My theory in Italy we’ve still got, (1) ……………….. is important, as is seniority, in respect – if I make a
(2) ……………….. especially with the Anglo-Saxon world, in Italy seniority, the years you have spent in a
certain (3) ……………….., in a certain company, give you formal authority, in a way. On the other hand I
think that it is accepted, (4) ……………….. accepted in Italy, to make your point with your boss, (5)
……………….., so to discuss about a position and problems in an open way.
 Listening 2
LAKSHMI JAYA (2 words)
I mean I think here diversity in, say, management schools plays a very (1) ……………….. ………………..,
because take for example Judge Business School, we have people from forty-six (2) ………………..
……………….., so you’re working with these group of people at (3) ……………….. ………………..
through your programme, and it kind of like gives that (4) ……………….. ……………….. to you, to be
able to like work with cross, people from cross-cultural backgrounds. So I think (5) ………………..
……………….. does help a lot, and your ability to be, work with like, cross-cultural people.
JANINE GEORGE (3 words)
I think the difference nowadays is also the fact that there’s a lot more awareness (1) ………………..
………………... The fact that there are so many business schools, (2) ………………..………………..
running with regards to culture, the differences in aspects regarding the US versus China, and so forth,
people are (3) ………………..………………... And I think with this, an American now going into China,
has a (4) ………………..……………….., or at least I hope so! That people are now more aware of these
situations and sort of aspects of emotional intelligence allow people to use those (5) ………………..
……………….., to be able to be a bit more effective in their management styles ...
CARLO DE STEFANIS (4 words)
I read somewhere that now there are a (1) ………………..………………..……………that are (2)
………………..………………...……………… This was an article, I mean, about a more general context,
but it’s true that companies like IBM, or General Electric, that are moving (3) ………………..
………………..……………….., and even middle management across the countries, contribute to (4)
………………..………………..………………. of different cultures and to smooth, in a way, (5)
………………..………………..……………….., I think.
JANINE GEORGE (more than 4 words)
There’s a saying that says ‘(1) ………………..………………..………………..’ I went on a Japanese course
where it said, ‘When in Rome, learn what the Romans do, so you can become a better Japanese.’ So I think
that in a way sums it up perfectly, in (2) ………………..………………..……………….., right, but I think
in a way we’re just going to become a lot more profound in what we do, and learn a lot more what (3)
………………..………………..………………...



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