Akteos gives you a few keys to understand Cross-cultural Management theories.

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Acculturation: a phenomenon occurring during continual contact with groups of dufferent cultures, bringing out changes in the original culture

Corporate culture: all the company's rules, in-house jargon, shared values and standards expressed in codes, rites and myths relating to the company's history. Corporate culture has many sources: the national or local culture, the significant events marking the life of the company. It unites the workforce and can thus become a factor for performance, cohesion and better communication between staff.

Cross-cultural: taking into account the interaction between people of different cultures when making arrangements, mixes between various cultural contributions to overcome differences that may be an impediment to communication.

Cross-cultural competence: an individual's ability to analyse and understand situations where people and groups from different cultures are in contact, and consequently cope with and capitalise on them in a professional context - Olivier Meier, Management interculturel, 2004.

Cross-cultural communication: a form of communication between people from different cultures; both an interactive process whereby we all refer back to our own culture when in contact with another, and a source of misunderstanding stemming from the different meanings given to a particular message, be it verbal or non-verbal.

Cross-cultural learning: a process whereby people of different cultures acquire through their interactions knowledge and behavioural patterns allowing them to gradually improve mutual understanding and the ability to live together.

Cross-cultural management: a new type of management factoring in and tackling cultural differences between staff in management in general, with a veiw to improving communication in the company and in its international exchanges.

Cross-cultural risk: arises from the incomprehension and misunderstandings inherent in cultural differences, for instance during negotiations the company holds that could imperil the results.

Cultural adaption: process based on the changes undergone by the attitudes and opinions inherent in our own culture, whereby we can better interact with people from different cultures.

Cultural diversity: cohabitation of different cultural systems within a particular group.

Culture: all the values, attitudes, and opinions specific to a particular country.

Culture in a non-predominant context: explicit culture, the information is conveyed in the words of the message –Edward Hall.

Culture in a predominant context: culture relying heavily on the environment of the message –silence, tone, distance etc–, the words themselves being of secondary importance –Edward Hall.

Culture shock: the unease felt when confronted with another culture and attempting to adapt to unfamiliar cultural practices –Centre d'Apprentissage Interculturel du Canada.

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Iceberg of Kohls

Click on the picture to enlarge it


A theory developed by Kohls to express the different levels of the cultural codes. 

Basically, the culture iceberg has
3 levels:

  • The morphological level, the visible part of the iceberg, corresponds to the explicit situations, acts and behaviour patterns of a particular culture: its language, history, specific habits and customs and institutions.
  • The structural level is the part just below the surface of the water. It illustrates the new ways of thinking, norms, main ideologies and predominant values embbeded in the culture.
  • The mythical level, the bottom of the iceberg, represents what is commonly termed ‘the collective unconscious’.

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