CONTEMPORARY CULTURAL CHALLENGES IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2N124363
Module Leader Marissa McDonagh
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Management
Trimesters
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

International Economic Issues & Challenges' module and 100 UG credit points at level 1 (foundation) year modules or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module aims to equip students with an advanced understanding of the main cultural challenges that managers may encounter when implementing strategy in an international business context. Building on students' previous studies of generic business and IB management topics, this module aims to enhance module participants' cultural awareness and sensitivity via the development of their knowledge and understanding of the cultural dimension of international business and management. The module examines the main cross-cultural management challenges that managers may encounter across three levels of the international business environment. Specifically: at the Macro (national) level; the meso (corporate) level and at the interpersonal level (intercultural and cross-cultural communication). Although this is a 'self-contained' module, students should view this module as building on their prior studies of the business environment, national cultures, economics, marketing and management. The delivery of this module is derived from a contingency approach to the development of students' cultural understanding and sensitivity which aims to foster their awareness and comprehension of how national culture may impact on the task of managing key international business functions within complex and dynamic international business environments. Summary of UN 'PRIME' related challenges and themes: A major underlying theme embedded across the module is how national cultural differences may impact on the legal, cultural, and ethical dilemmas that confront the managers of international businesses and how such dilemmas may be successfully addressed.

Syllabus

Culture and the challenges for the management of Multinational Enterprises The nature and definition of national culture from different theoretical perspectives; National stereotypes and key dimensions of culture (two levels of culture, Hofstede's four dimensions of culture, Trompenaar's seven dimensions of culture, the GLOBE project's nine dimensions of culture) Social perceptions: the understanding and awareness of the impact of national cultural vis-e0-vis socialization, social conditioning, personal biases and subconscious assumptions, self-reference criteria, group norms; The impact of the above on cross-cultural leadership, communication and negotiations ; Implications of National culture for management style adopted within the MNE; Application of the above to specific national & regional contexts Part 1: The West; Preparing for a foreign assignment: The Sources of Information.. The second part of this module builds on the cultural issues introduced in Trimester A to address the functional implications stemming from MNE's operating across national cultures; The Global-local dilemma, International marketing mix, content and formulation decisions; Comparative industrial relations contexts and models, key people management issues; Managing ethical and social responsibility challenges in multinational enterprises; The implications of developments in the IB regulatory and policy environment; International Business: key management and governance issues; Evaluating solutions to culture 'clashes' in Transborder mergers and acquisitions, Strategic Alliances, and in distribution channels, Preparing for a foreign assignment: the practical challenges of cultural assimilation and cultural adaptation: Managing Culture Part 2: The East

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how managers may respond to the cultural challenges that may be encountered when conducting international business. Specifically be able to:1). Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of cultural theory in relation to cross-cultural management and demonstrate a capacity to adopt a systematic and 'critical' approach to comprehending and applying cultural theory.2). Compare and contrast the key frameworks for comparing cultures, and critically evaluate their usefulness for managers' assessment and comparison of Western and Eastern (National) cultures and the implications for preparing for expatriate placement(s) and dealing with ethical dilemmas when conducting international business. 3). Demonstrate an understanding of how linguistic signals and non-verbal behaviour may produce cross-cultural communication issues and outline what steps may be taken by managers to adapt to intercultural contexts and to minimise the consequences of 'culture shock'. 4). Evaluate the potential sources of barriers to successful cross-cultural negotiations and explain how knowledge of cultural theory may be applied to overcome such barriers and challenges.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module team has designed the module to provide a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, student centred seminars, applied or action learning exercises, tutorials, independent learning, collaborative and cooperative leaning. The teaching and learning strategy will consist of a blend of lectures, tutorials, student led-seminars, directed study and independent student learning. Theories and concepts will be primarily introduced in lectures, hand outs and by directed reading. The subsequent application and analysis of materials will be delivered, mainly, through student led seminars in the form of group work, presentations and collaborative and cooperative case-study analysis. Formative assessments will be used as a means of further developing students' knowledge and understanding of the key principles, concepts and theories of the management of cultural challenges in international business operations. The focus of seminar discussion and activity will be based on practical exercises and scenarios using topical examples. This will require student centred VLE participation and classroom based interactions (such as role-playing, live cases and collaboration with GCU Erasmus partners via Skype and on-line collaborative and cooperative learning ) to facilitate optimal intercultural student peer to peer learning and engagement with the cultural challenges of conducting international business. Overall these activities are intended to foster deepening of knowledge and understanding of cultural theories and frameworks to enhance the students' cultural intelligence and competences in order to be capable of applying theory to practice and further enhance further their problem solving skills. A number of methods will be used to assess (on a summative and formative basis) participants level of academic attainment. Student formative feedback will be on-going, and summative feedback will normally be provided no later than 3 working weeks after submission. During each seminar /workshop, students will receive feedback from the tutor on their contribution and participation and the extent to which they have adequately addressed formative and summative tasks. Formal performance and assessment feedback will normally be provided to the module participants within 3 working weeks of submission. In addition, students will be encouraged to seek continuous support from members of the module delivery team. Learning throughout this module will be supported via the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in the form of a GCULearn dedicated website, which is designed to enhance the students' learning experience via the use of `e-tivities and other VLE based directed learning. The GCULearn supported site will also provide a vehicle to display lecture and seminar materials, provide contact points for access to information to both staff and other class members and as a framework for further discussion of student led seminar topics, associated reading. Key websites and bulletin boards will also be made available as a source of further knowledge development. Technologies such as Turnitin a9 and Copycat a9 will be utilisd by tutors on a routine basis for student summative written submissions. Apart from the formal class contact time, it is anticipated that independent and interdependent learning will occur, both individually and in teams, including further reading, blackboard participation, seminar preparation, group work, run-through of group preparations etc. Although the module will draw heavily on the core text, there will be other reading material posted on the GCULearn website to support students' learning and underpin the work required for formative and summative assessments. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

Books and articles: -567 Core Reading: Browaeys, Marie-Joelle and Price, Roger (2011) Understanding Cross-Cultural Management, Financial Times Press, Harlow, Essex. . ISBN: 978-0-273-73295-2 -567 Luthans, F. & Doh, J.P. (2009) International Management: culture, strategy and behaviour (7thEd), McGraw-Hill Irwin: New York, N.Y. -567 McFarlin, D and Sweeney, P. (2011) International Management: Strategic Opportunities and Cultural Challenges (4th Ed) Routledge: New York, N.Y. -567 Indicative Further Reading: Adler, N. 1992. International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. Kent Publishing. Boston. -567 Becker, K. 2000. Culture and International Business. International Business Press. New York. -567 Black, J. & Mendenhall, M. 1990. Cross cultural training effectiveness: a review and a theoretical framework for future research. Academy of Management. Vol. 15, No.1. -567 Dodd, C.H. (1998), Dynamics of Intercultural Communication, 5th ed., McGraw-Hill. -567 Hampden-Turner Charles M. and Trompenaars, Fons (2000) Building cross-cultural competence : how to create wealth from conflicting values Yale University Press, New Haven. Ferraro, G. 2002, The Cultural Dimension of International Business, 4th Edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. Cavusgil, S. Tamer and Pervez, N. Ghauri (2002), Doing Business in Emerging Markets: Entry and Negotiation Strategies, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Hofstede, G. (1991) Cultures and Organisations: Software of the Mind, Harper Collins, London Hofstede, G.J, Pedersen, P.B (2002). Exploring Culture Exercises, Stories, and Synthetic Cultures. Boston: Intercultural Press Mead, R. (2004), International Management: Cross-Cultural Dimensions, (3rd Edition), Blackwell Business: Oxford. Prasad, Benjamin and Pervez N. Ghauri Eds. (2004), Global Firms and Emerging Markets in the Age of Anxiety, New York: Praeger Publishers. Thiagarajan S. (2006) Barnga: A Simulation Game on Cultural Clashes, Intercultural Press Indicative Journals: -567 Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal International Journal of Business and Management International Journal of Cross Cultural Management Journal of International Business Studies, Indicative Online sources: Examples of Websites Utilised: www.academyofmarketing www.FT.com/home.uk http://www.harzing.com/weblinks7.htm http://www.adinochang.com/archives/chinese-culture-versus-german-culture.html -567 http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol9/issue4/singh_baack.html http://www.geert-hofstede.com/ Journal of Management Studies

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Critical thinking Creativity and problem solving skills Group Working skills Independent Learning Skills Writing and oral presentation skills Planning and management skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 93.00
Seminars (FT) 11.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Assessment (FT) 72.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
CW2 Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% 1500 word essay
CW1 Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Group Presentation and Summary Report(peer assessment)2000 words