Monday, December 2, 2013
INSEAD Erin Meyer on Multi-Cultural Issues
Erin Meyer, Adjunct Professor at INSEAD, speaks very knowledgeably and practically about cross-cultural management issues. She acknowledges the complexity of such issues and calls for a shift in thinking from cross-cultural to multi-cultural. To wit: In a global team, members from different cultures may perceive and experience particular individuals in a myriad of ways. They have a constellation of perceptions and experiences, then, that at times may align and resonate and at other times may collide and conflict. This is cultural relativity.
My caution on Meyer's advice? Learn from her teaching and guidance, but realize that this is just a starting frame of reference. While research and analysis may surface trends or patterns in specific cultures, how individuals in those cultures actually think, behave and interact may be very different from such trends and patterns. In other words, her teaching and guidance do not preclude the need to understand particular individuals in your global team and to forge meaningful relationships with them.