What is being emphasized here is that intercultural management is concerned with the effective functioning of diverse groups of people. Diversity can arise because of variations in ethnicity and nationality . Most of the existing literature deals with getting managers from different countries to work together in cohesive teams .
Ethnicity is not the only source of diversity requiring intercultural management skills. Diversity can also arise because of variations in corporate culture. An organization could have different branches/plants located in the same region of a country, employing personnel with comparable qualifications/competencies, and yet evolving with different cultures.
Diversity can arise because of gender differences. A traditionally male bastion throwing its doors open to women for the first time would need recourse to intercultural management. Similarly, an organization that suddenly increases its intake of personnel at the entry level may find itself dealing with diversity caused by generational differences.
In practice, several of these diverse elements may exist simultaneously in global organizations. In such organizations, intercultural management is a way of life. Much will depend on such organizations' capability to be flexible enough to accommodate diversity. At the same time, these organizations need integrative mechanisms to hold them together. Thus intercultural management is about the management of paradoxes, of ambivalences and ambiguities . It is also about accommodating a range of structural and behavioural dimensions that address different facets of organizational functioning. Intercultural management is expensive, but also yields a high return on investment. Hence it can even be recommended that global organizations retain specialists in the field of intercultural management. Problems that arise on account of intercultural management can then be anticipated and addressed. Otherwise, forces counterproductive to intercultural management can gain ground and become institutionalized.
Intercultural management may be viewed as a subset of international management. It might therefore be relevant to enumerate here those features of international management that are effective. Researchers in the field of intercultural management advocate these features as well. These features are:
fluid structural forms such as organic modes;
teams constituted of internationally representative managers;
leadership encompassing versatile skills appropriate for the global context;
motivation appropriate for diversity;
organizational cultures such as those characterizing learning organizations;
communication methods and systems;
negotiation for the mutual benefit of all the players;
human resource management systems and practices that reflect the dynamics of operating in a global context. These range from managing expatriates , to liaison with foreign consulates, to procuring visas and work permits .