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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

Cross-Cultural Management

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The premise for discussion in this course – and for our discussion of the textbook (Mead and Andrews, 2009) on which the course is based – is that a systematic and critical understanding of 'culture' is important for international managers. You will study the importance of culture in management and develop skills that will help you to analyse when national culture is, and is not, an influence on decision-making.

In studying this course you should enhance your current performance as a student and/or as a practitioner of international management. In addition, you should enhance your career prospects as a manager working in contexts where an understanding of cross-cultural issues is an important ingredient for success.


Study Guide

You will receive a looseleaf binder containing eight 'course units'. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings. The unit files are also available to download from the Online Study Centre.


Richard Mead and Tim G Andrews (2009) International Management: Culture and Beyond, Fourth Edition, Chichester UK: John Wiley & Sons.


You will receive a compilation of further readings: recently published articles or seminal writings which augment and illustrate the main text.

Online Study Centre

You will have access to the OSC, which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the OSC, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the course using discussion forums. The OSC also provides access to the course Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

When you have completed your study of this course you will be able to:

  • identify some of the factors that influence how decisions are made in cross-cultural management contexts
  • identify, describe and explain key models used for comparing cultures, critically assessing the practical value of these in the context of cross-cultural management decision-making
  • critically assess some of the ethical issues inherent in cross-cultural and international management decision-making against a background of ‘globalisation’ and ‘culture shift’
  • identify, describe and explain significant aspects of overlap between national and organisational cultures, critically assessing the impact of culture-specific expectations defining these on international HRM decision-making
  • identify and analyse the role of effective communication in contexts for international and cross-cultural management generally, and specifically in the field of international marketing
  • critically discuss the role that managers play in response to stakeholder perceptions of wants and needs and in the design and administration of systems for managing incentives and rewards
  • identify and analyse how disputes and conflicts arise, and how they might be resolved in cross-cultural management contexts
  • demonstrate skills relevant to analysing and managing staffing decisions in headquarters and subsidiaries of international organisations, taking into account issues of diversity, such as gender.

Scope and syllabus

Course units

Unit 1: International Management and Culture

  • 1.1 The Significance of Culture for International Management
  • 1.2 Factors That Influence Management Decision-Making
  • 1.3 Strategic Decision-Making - the PESTEL Framework
  • 1.4 The Significance of Culture in Strategic Decision-Making
  • 1.5 Comparing Cross-Cultural and International Management
  • 1.6 Implications for International Management Practice
  • 1.7 Unit Summary and Review References

Unit 2: Comparing Cultures

  • 2.1 The Group as a Basic Unit for Comparative Cultural Analysis
  • 2.2 Identifying and Responding to Differences in Culture
  • 2.3 Identifying Differences in Culture-Specific Perception - the Kluckhohn- Strodtbeck Model
  • 2.4 Hall's Model of High and Low Context Cultures
  • 2.5 Comparing Attitudes towards Managers
  • 2.6 Comparing National Cultures: the Hofstede Model
  • 2.7 The Strengths and Weaknesses of Hofstede's Model
  • 2.8 Comparing Researcher and Practitioner Views
  • 2.9 Conclusion

Unit 3: Shifts in the Culture

  • 3.1 Culture as a Factor in People's Response to Change
  • 3.2 Recognising the Significance of Shifts in Culture
  • 3.3 How Economic Factors Influence Shifts in National Cultures
  • 3.4 How Foreign Intervention Causes Shifts in Local Cultures
  • 3.5 Summary Exercise

Unit 4: Organisational Culture

  • 4.1 Culture and Organisations
  • 4.2 Defining and Comparing Organisational Cultures
  • 4.3 Controlling Organisational Cultures
  • 4.4 The Influence of National Cultures on Organisational Cultures
  • 4.5 A Case Study from Singapore
  • 4.6 Summary Exercises

Unit 5: Culture and Management Communication

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Successful Communication across Cultures
  • 5.3 What is 'Appropriate' Communication Within & Across Cultures?
  • 5.4 Interpreting Contexts for Management Communications Within and Across Cultures
  • 5.5 The Cross-Cultural Significance of Non-Verbal Communication (NVC)
  • 5.6 Cross-Cultural Management Communications: Practical Implications
  • 5.7 Managing Culture-Specific Perceptions - Responding to Demographic Change
  • 5.8 Summary Exercises

Unit 6: Needs and Incentives - An International Management Perspective

  • 6.1 Comparing Perceptions of the Value of Work
  • 6.2 Understanding and Managing People's Motivation to Work
  • 6.3 Connecting with People's Changing Needs and Wants
  • 6.4 Designing and Managing Incentive Systems
  • 6.5 How Ethics Motivates - Corporate Social Responsibility
  • 6.6 Work as a Motivator - Case Studies from the NPO Sector
  • 6.7 Applying Theories of Motivation - Herzberg
  • 6.8 Motivation, Innovation and National Culture
  • 6.9 Summary Exercises

Unit 7: Dispute Resolution and Negotiation

  • 7.1 Examples of Disputes in Work-Related Contexts
  • 7.2 How and Why Disputes Arise
  • 7.3 Culture and Dispute
  • 7.4 Language - Cause and Resolution of Conflicts and Disputes
  • 7.5 Resolving Disputes and Conflicts - a German-American Case Study
  • 7.6 Disputes Arising in IJVs - Balancing Trust and Control
  • 7.7 Balancing Trust and Control - Sino-Foreign IJVs
  • 7.8 Summary Exercises

Unit 8: Global Staffing - Cross-Cultural Dimensions

  • 8.1 Staffing to Control - Exploring the Gaps between Theory and Practice
  • 8.2 Managing for Control - an International HRM Perspective
  • 8.3 Global Staffing Choices - Expatriates or Local Managers?
  • 8.4 Retaining the Loyalty of Local Managers - a Gender Perspective
  • 8.5 Staffing IJVs - Balancing Trust and Control
  • 8.6 Staffing Implications - a Case Scenario from the Gulf
  • 8.7 Summary Exercises

Method of assessment

You will complete two Assignments which will be marked by your tutor. Assignments are each worth 15% of your total mark. You will be expected to submit your first assignment by the Tuesday of Week 5, and the second assignment at the end of the course, on the Tuesday after Week 8. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. In addition, queries and problems can be answered through the Online Study Centre. You will also sit a three-hour examination on a specified date in October, worth 70% of your total mark. An up-to-date timetable of examinations is published on the website in April each year.