ISSN: 1648 - 4460

International Journal of Scholarly Papers


Transformations  in
Business & Economics

Transformations in
Business & Economics

  • © Kaunas Faculty of Humanities
    Vilnius University, 2002-2003
Rethinking Hofstede: Intercultural Management in Poland
Greg Allen

ABSTRACT. This paper examines the suitability of Geert Hostede's research methodology on inter-cultural management to the specific scenario of Western managers in Poland. It suggests that while Hofstede's five dimensions of culture provide a sound basis for such research, a qualitative methodology is better suited to properly analyse the problem.

A new methodology which has been put into practice is described as are some of the findings and analyses of this research. Cultural friction, which hampers the success of such international ventures, is comprised of three problematic areas based on the research data: trust, resistance and communication. These concepts are defined and their significance is explored.

This paper is based on data gathered through interviews with both foreign managers working in Poland as well as Polish managers with experience dealing with foreign managers. Although the interview format is based on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the data are not intended to be placed into predefined categories. Both foreign and Polish managers point to certain areas of ‘friction’ in these inter-cultural relationships, where differences are especially detrimental to the company.

The main areas of friction are: (1) Trust - not possessing a clear understanding of what motivates the other; (2) Resistance – not wanting to ‘give in’ to the other; (3) Communication – misunderstanding the message behind the words.

It is important to note that these three categories are not mutually exclusive, but are rather a general differentiation that comes from the data. Each of the three is responsible for adding friction to the day to day running of a company. Being aware of these and being knowledgeable about the local and organisational culture of the other, helps superiors from Western Europe and subordinates from Poland avoid inter-cultural conflicts.

KEYWORDS: inter-cultural management, cultural audit, stereotyping, trust, resistance, communication.

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Scholarly papers Transformations in Business & Economics
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