Today there seems to be a widespread belief among managers that management practices are either good or bad, but universal in any case. To me this has become a strange idea..
Saying that management practices are universal implies that cultural differences are becoming less and less important in a globalised world. The importance of cultural issues are only acknowledged if going on an overseas assignment towards Asia of Africa.
Of course management practices can be good or bad and that’s why we’ve got all those BMPs by the way. But up to quite a big extent, whether management practices are good or bad depends on the culture they are used in. And cultural differences between European cultures can be surprisingly big.
At ABCHumboldt we’ve been running seminars on Intercultural Training for the last twelve years. At the beginning those cultural differences between European cultures were raised by our language teachers, who had noticed that there was a constant trickle of questions in their classes, which were more related to cultural issues than to actual language teaching.
To make sure, that there was a real need on the side of our clients, we conducted a survey among the expats at a large multinational company with a car manufacture in Barcelona. The results were very clear: widespread cultural misunderstandings and cultural interpretation based on stereotypes were obstructing inter-cultural understanding and even causing recurring frictions at work.
Today our seminars are a state-of the-art and tailored to measure product with highly interactive elements like case studies, critical incidents and simulations. An experienced and highly skilled team, assessed by the inter-cultural faculty of a German university develops and runs seminars, which are focused on the preparation of foreign executives, managers, technical staff or expats and their partners. The content is prepared in close co-operation between our clients and ABCHumboldt, so that ultimately cultural differences can be reinterpreted as chances for synergies and new ideas.
Klaus Schumacher is Founder and Director of ABCHumboldt Barcelona. ABCHumboldt came about as a result of the merger between abcCollege and Centro Humboldt. Owing to this association the institution is able to offer a wide range of language courses for young people as well as adults and companies.