chapter  2
30 Pages

Intercultural analysis in management: Decompartmentalizing the classical approaches


For nearly 30 years, researchers (Hofstede, 1980 ; Laurent, 1983 ; d’Iribarne, 1989 ; Trompenaars, 1994 , to name but a few) have studied international management practices from a comparative perspective. Their studies aim to better understand the practices and attitudes of corporate leaders, managers and employees in the different countries and cultures of the world, fi rst in a context of the internationalization of fi rms, then in a context of the globalization of economic exchanges. These two phenomena have resulted in more and more people working in cultures other than their own, a situation that has caused its share of diffi culties. Indeed, the experience has revealed that, contrary to what many Western executives believed, management is not a fi xed and universal set of rules and practices but rather a mosaic of local practices, as these studies have shown and tried to explain. Usually, the so-called national culture has been the principal explanatory vector. Thus, if management practices in different countries do not conform to management theory as developed in the United States, it is because the individuals who make up each of these societies have their own way of seeing the world and interacting with one another (their culture), and consequently they are not content to reproduce a Western or American management model: they transform it, appropriate it, infuse it with their culture.