Coaching and Cross Cultural Management: a paper

on BLOG, Career Coaching, Coaching 19 Feb, 2013

Coaching e Cross Cultural Management: una pubblicazione

Today I speak of my paper about cross cultural management and coaching.

A few months ago, the eleventh annual conference of theInternational Association of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management (IACCM) was hosted by the Neapolitan University “Parthenope”. On that occasion, I and two colleagues of mine (Rossella Canestrino and Pierpaolo Magliocca, both economists and researchers) presented a paper entitled "Cross-border knowledge transfer within MNCs: the role of international executives in managing cultural diversities".

Starting from a case study we analysed some issues related to the cross-cultural management and, in particular, we studied the “knowledge transfer”, which is closely linked to the involved individuals’ culture, to the context in which the interactions take place and to the management style adopted by the executive. We supported and proven the idea that the knowledge transfer’s effectiveness in a company depends on the managers’ ability to manage and include members from different cultures, overcoming cultural barriers and promoting a climate of cooperation, that is stimulating and non-judgmental. A cross-cultural team cannot and should not be handled minimizing the related issues “because we all work so for the same company", but requires a careful preparation of the leader. And, up to my personal experience, this does not always happen.

Ideal managers and executives for cross-cultural projects and teams have to be open-minded, pro-active and it is preferable that they have already had an experience abroad, which helped them to break their "addiction" and their dogmas about their culture of origin. These leaders are good “contextual listeners” and, well aware of the issues associated to the cross-cultural management, do not minimize its complexity and use a coach approach to facilitate the achievement of business results.

In our paper we adopted the Globe model (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness Research Program) "contaminating" it with some dimensions from the Cultural Orientations Model “TMC” (Training Management Corporation). In particular, we studied the following dimensions, there seemed to influence more than others the communication style and the willingness of team members to cooperate: Assertiveness, Institutional Collectivism, Collectivism and Group Distance from Power.

We compared both practices ("as is") and values ("should be") of each dimension for each country involved in the case study. Each attribute was interpreted to understand an aspect of the issues encountered in the case study and our conclusion was that the coach-approach is key to improve the knowledge transfer in a cross-cultural team because it inspires a corporate vision, supports a healthy business climate and gives empowerment to team members.

The reactions to our paper from the IACCM Committee and fro the other participants at the conference was very enthusiastic and we also received requests for publication in international cross cultural management journals.

Some of the numerous questions addressed during the discussion focused on the difference between coaching and mentoring in the management of cross-cultural teams and projects (among other things, an intervention on mentoring preceded ours). I and my colleagues are firmly convinced that in this context it’s more beneficial a coaching skill, attitude and style than the knowledge/experience transfers typical of mentoring.

If you want more information on the paper, do not hesitate to contact me.






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