Plan B Option
According to most forecasts, the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for some time to come and could also affect this course. In case of a suspected case or illness, people could be quarantined and/or areas on campus could be closed. Travel restrictions may prevent both international students and faculty from being at WU at the beginning of the semester. These are just some of the possible scenarios for the winter semester. Hence, we need a plan B. Plan B for this course is to hold the course in synchronous hybrid mode (i.e., the course will be held in presence for a part of the participants; at the same time the course is streamed for all students who cannot be on campus).
At no time in human history has the contact between individuals and organizations from different cultures been greater. A product of intense globalization of businesses and societies over the past few decades, combined with mass migration prompted by challenging economic conditions in many parts of the world and spurred by breathtaking technological advances, the new world we live in necessitates abandoning the parochial “one-size-fits-all” assumption in management practices and acknowledging that culture shapes not only our social interactions, organizational practices and behaviors, but also what motivates our attitudes, feelings, and actions at the workplace. The traditional wisdom of “understand the other” is no longer enough; today’s managers must interact effectively with people in multiple cultures simultaneously, and “the others” are too numerous and too dynamic to capture. As a result of this globalization process at both societal and organizational level, it becomes more and more important for managers to recognize cultural differences, understand their implications, and use them to create competitive advantages for the organization.
Drawing on insights from diverse disciplines, this intensive course is designed to help participants develop a deeper understanding of the key issues in managing across cultures, including
- understanding how culture affects corporate strategy and management practice;
- recognizing, diagnosing, and mapping cultural differences;
- managing people, groups and organizations across cultures;
- leading culturally diverse teams;
- dealing with the cultural issues in cross-border alliances, mergers and acquisitions;
- adjusting to a new culture and developing cultural intelligence.
Participants are expected to attend all of the sessions.
The course is structured around five intensive 4-hour classroom sessions and a 2-hour discussion with a guest speaker. Each session is a module addressing a particular cross-cultural management challenge. A variety of learning methods and tools will be used, including group discussion, case analysis, experiential exercises, assessments, videos, and guest speaker(s).
The course grade will be computed as an average of 3 elements:
a) Participation (40%)
b) Pre-Module Assignment Questions (20%)
c) In-class group assignment (40%)
Given the interactive format of this course, active participation in class discussions is required. Participants are expected to attend all of the sessions. Classroom performance will be evaluated based on attendance, preparedness, and quality of contributions (please note the word ‘quality’).
b) Pre-Module Assignment / Case Questions
Active participation includes evidence of thorough preparation of course materials, particularly case studies. For the two sessions in which cases will be discussed (Session 1, Four Seasons Goes to Paris; Session 4, Can this Merger be Saved?) please write a 150-200 word statement on EACH of the three case questions and upload them on Learn@WU by October 11 (Session 1) and November 8 (Session 4).
c) In-Class Group Assignment
An in-class assignment will provide participants with an opportunity to apply the course concepts to a real-world problem. The assignment will require you to analyse a complex organizational problem, using the concepts, frameworks and tools provided in this course. A case study selected by the instructor will be handed out at the beginning of the last session, along with instructions. You will be asked to organize yourselves into small groups to conduct an in-depth analysis of the case and to come up with a set of recommendations to the top management on how to address the organizational, cultural, and HR problems facing this company. The deliverable will be a Powerpoint presentation, to be given at the end of the session. The presentation should lead to classroom discussion of the underlying issues, and it will be evaluated on the basis of the quality of insights that the presentation leads to for other participants; application of course concepts; and arguments given to support the conclusions and recommendations.
Please note: This course is limited to 30 participants. Students who attended or are planning to attend the “Global Management Practices” (“Responsible Global Leadership”) Core Course with Professor Stahl are not eligible for this course.