January 08, 2015

Intercultural strategy

Intercultural Management

Acting on the cultural perception of the company and its activities helps prevent the creation of a bad image.

Intercultural strategy

Taking the intercultural dimension into account at the strategic level promotes the success of international projects.

The heavier the investments, the greater the stakes, the less the company can afford to neglect intercultural matters.

The French group Danone experienced this: after more than two years of litigation, the company ended up selling its 51% stake in its joint venture with the Chinese Wahaha. Was this predictable in 1996 when the adventure began? Could Danone have avoided this outcome?

Integrate interculturality into your strategy

Perceiving and taking into account intercultural hazardsmeans preventing a number of difficulties, detecting the emergence of possible conflicts, anticipating stuck situations and being able to deal with them at the grassroots level. McDonald's has understood this well by integrating interculturalism into the company's deployment strategy. The fast food group not only took into account cross-cultural food data but also adapted the McDonald's concept according to the culture of each country. The group also wants its suppliers and subcontractors to be trained in intercultural management. Integrating intercultural issues into your overall strategy means preventing risks rather than solving problems.

Companies have encountered difficulties in Finland for not having measured the impact of the intercultural dimension on their activity. They would undoubtedly have better evaluated the completion times and lost less money if they had taken this into account and if they had taken into consideration, for example, the perfectionism of the Finns and their need to carry out careful checks. Interculturalism therefore comes into play when responding to a call for tenders.

Become aware of the values ​​conveyed

The intercultural dimension permeates all the components of an international strategy. It underlies each stage, from the study to the delivery of a project through all phases of negotiation, and of course beyond the completion of the project.

Why didn't the French consortium led by EDF, GDF, AREVA and TOTAL sell the EPR to the United Arab Emirates? Why did the negotiations fail? Why did the Koreans win? The impact of different corporate cultures was not trivial and the lack of consensus between French companies did not reassure the Emiratis; on the other hand, they found another echo among Koreans who value consensus.

It is therefore important to become aware of the values ​​we convey and to know those of the cultures present. This implicit data can condition future deployments of the strategy. This is an essential element for the sustainability of investments.

Acting on the cultural perception of the companyand its activities helps prevent the creation of a bad image. The positive image of the company is built not only in front of foreign customers and in target countries, but also internally.

Deploy interculturality on the ground

The men and women who validate a strategy are the driving forces behind its deployment. The slightest difference in value upstream of the project can lead to considerable distortions in what happens subsequently, on the ground.

Outsourcing and offshoring decisions in India or Morocco are a typical example. They are very often taken without taking into account the intercultural aspect. Hence sometimes some major disappointments. On the other hand, when the intercultural dimension is integrated at the highest level of the hierarchy and from the start of the project, the results are convincing.

Giving importance to intercultural perception therefore makes good economic sense; it is a wise investment as the development of human and cultural potential is strategic. By subsequently logically integrating the intercultural dimension in the field, we give employees the intercultural intelligence of the strategy.How many misunderstandings does the company protect itself from during deployment?

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