Cross Cultural Management

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CROSS-CULTURAL MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA : PROBLEMS, OBSTACLES, AND AGENDA FOR COMPANIES Nathalie Prime, Groupe ESCP-EAP ABSTRACT Within the context of opening of South African economy, the purpose of this paper is to explore cross cultural management issues in South African multicultural organisations. Using an emic approach, sixteen business cases were studies to explore the following questions : (1) What are the major problems and obstacles to be faced by South African firms to create a non racial integrative corporate culture ? ; (2) What agenda could be agreed upon by corporate management to efficiently manage cultural diversity in a transitional environment ? Within the context of opening of South African…show more content…
He gave the initial vision for the new SA (« the Rainbow Nation ») while the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created to take care of the national pain. Finally in spite of the racial tensions, there is a lack of bitterness on the part of most Blacks, and a strong spirit of reconciliation and patience. Due to these specific conditions, SA is considered a place where it is particularly important to look at the issue of universality of Western-Anglo-Saxon management practices in a global marketplace. Many have noted the failures of « true sophisticated » Western management practices in Southern African organizations (e.g. Mbigi, 1994). Like other transitional economies, an « indigeneous management » is strugling for development admist influences from Western and non-Western cultures (Jackson, 1999). But unlike most other countries, the Southern African businessphere is ontologically characterized by the interpenetration of different cultural influences that call for an integration at the time of globalisation (Lessem, 1996). b) Cultural diversity and management challenges in South African organizations Western and non-Western people and cultures have for a long time lived in South Africa, but seperated ethnic development has led to a cultural patchwork rather than melting pot (Maylan, 1986). With a population exceeding 41.2 millions of people (Richmond and Gestrin, 1998, 1995 estimates), more
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