We now examine the discussions we have had till now and see what inferences we can draw about the subject matter of intercultural management. We also consider the developments that are likely to take place.
A few attributes about intercultural management have implications for both policy makers and administrators.
Several aspects of intercultural management involve the management of paradoxes or the bringing together of opposites. There is the issue of having shared core values to hold the organization together. At the same time, strategies that are responsive to local cultural imperatives have to be evolved. Policy makers have to gauge when to design approaches that are global in orientation and reflect the credo, vision and corporate culture of the organization. They also have to ascertain when to use methods that are local in character and scope. Sometimes the challenge is to reconcile the two orientations. At other times the challenge is to invent approaches that are capable of adaptation despite inherent dualities. This process of invention has to be an ongoing, continuous one, given the dynamic nature of intercultural management. The management of people from different cultures is accompanied by constant change in organizational behaviour, as the constituents influence and are influenced by organizational processes. One force that exerts influence in such situations is the ethnic culture of members . Externally as well, transnational organizations have to take stock of local cultures. These cultures themselves are in a state of flux and evolution.
High-performance corporations have devised approaches and systems explicitly to take cognizance of intercultural management. A few of their efforts have been documented in this book in the form of case studies. These case studies indicate that what is being actually attempted in practice is commendable and deserves to be studied and critiqued.
Many local managers of transnational corporations have displayed skill in applying corporate strategy and approaches to local cultures. At the same time, they have been able to put themselves in the mould of global managers capable of thinking in international contexts, and living in diverse cultures. Many of these global managers have had backgrounds compatible with their current roles, but all of them have learnt skills that enabled them to be effective in cross-cultural situations. This underscores the fact that many elements of intercultural management lend themselves to being learnt.
Global managers have to be schizophrenic in a way. They have to be comfortable in the local context. They also have to align themselves with international practices and mind-sets . Further, they have to be capable of continuously adapting to changing work environments as organizations evolve and adjust to the demands of intercultural management. It is in the past decade that corporations have had more diverse workforces. It is also in the past decade that globalization has become more widespread, and an increasing number of corporations have started operations in new locations and in different cultures.
Organizations have learnt to cope with the demands of globalization and enable their managers to be successful and happy in cross-cultural environments. The field of human resources management has expanded to include expatriate management. One approach to looking at culture is in terms of the shared meaning and values upheld by the people of that culture. It is therefore possible to envisage a manager as having membership in both a corporate culture and an ethnic culture. It is one of the objectives of human resources management to ensure that managers are not torn apart by any conflict between the demands of their corporate culture, and those of their ethnic culture.