The current interest in intercultural management, on the part of both managers and researchers, has arisen because of recent developments. Many corporations now view the whole world as both the market for their products and services and a source for their personnel. This has led them to become transnational corporations.
Global managers are becoming more homogeneous. Shaped and conditioned by multiple cultures, they are becoming adept at dealing with and managing diversity. Having always lived in a multicultural environment, they feel comfortable laying themselves open to different and even new cultural influences. As global managers increase in number and efficacy, they will constitute an elite cadre. Transnational corporations have to invest in catering to their needs. Competent young men and women everywhere will aspire to join their ranks. Their entry will however be limited by whether they possess an intercultural orientation to begin with.
Since intercultural management is an emerging area, there is scope for both practitioners and researchers to take a proactive stance in shaping it. The shape the field assumes is of significance, given its importance.
This book suggests that a particular configuration of organizational variables should be in place for intercultural management to be successful. These variables include a structure enacted by organizational members , strong core values, core values that place an emphasis on intercultural competencies, a corporate strategy that is global in scope but capable of local adaptation, communication that has a common content but whose processes reflect local culture, relevant expatriate management practices, and empathy for the external environment and culture.
Areas in the field of intercultural management that require more attention are teamwork and leadership.
There are a few managers who argue that the world is becoming so small we will soon reach a stage where we are all citizens of the world. It is not so much that we will be living in a world without borders, as that there will not be many cultural differences to separate countries and regions. It would be as if everybody was part of a global United Nations. This is not going to happen in the short run. In fact, it is unlikely to happen in the twenty-first century. The reality is that there are considerable cultural differences separating not only countries , but regions within countries. The cultural impact of religion also plays a role.
The shared meanings that a cultural group uphold are often very deeply felt at an emotive level. This has enabled those values to survive the test of time. Just as it is difficult to envisage a world subscribing to a single religion, it is unlikely that the world will become a monoculture. Hence the need for skills in intercultural management is going to remain for a long time.