Structural Mechanisms


A transnational organization can employ various types of coordinating mechanism to hold it together as a unified entity. Thus Credit Suisse (see case study) is able to accommodate Project Copernicus within its distinctive structure because it is connected to the rest of Credit Suisse by coordinating mechanisms.

Within the Copernicus project, a lot of emphasis is placed on such structural dimensions as the weekly Monday meetings. This brings project members into contact with each other and obviates the emergence of culturally distinct work groups working apart from each other. Bringing together an intercultural work force may involve organizing a large number of trust-building lunches and dinners. Personal contact among members inevitably leads to positive outcomes in the long run.

A problem that can arise in allowing local branches to evolve their own structures is that people might lose sight of the overall objectives of the transnational corporation. The managers interviewed for this book all opine that this problem can be dealt with by insisting on professionalism everywhere. This involves having clear performance evaluation criteria and standards. Thus, members have individual professional goals to which they can work. They also have to work with their colleagues, some of who may have culturally different backgrounds. The structure should help to bring diverse people together and enable them to connect at the human level.

It is tempting for a global company to try to achieve economies of scale and ease in functioning through standardization. Inappropriate standardization can actually lead to negative synergy. There is a difference between mindless standardization, and drawing from a common pool of resources, practices that can be transferred to another context. Thus, although the Credit Suisse headquarters in Zurich is well aware of the structure at Project Copernicus, and the efficacy of that structure, it is not considering adopting that structure for itself. The reason has nothing to do with intercultural management. The structure of Project Copernicus would not suit the nature of operations at Zurich.




Intercultural Management
Intercultural Management: MBA Masterclass (MBA Masterclass Series)
ISBN: 0749435828
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 98
Authors: Nina Jacob

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