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Challenges in working across cultures

Reflections of two executives

Authored by: Niels Porksen (Eli Lilly) , Lotte Kragelund (Velux A/S) , Mikael Søndergaard , Sonja Sackmann

The Routledge Companion to Cross-Cultural Management

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415858687
eBook ISBN: 9780203798706
Adobe ISBN: 9781135105709


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How do executives perceive and experience their work that takes them around the globe and requires them to work effectively with different cultures? What kind of challenges do they encounter? How do they deal with these challenges and what do they recommend as practitioners to practitioners, educators and researchers? To shed more light on these issues, we conducted interviews with two executives. Both come from the same country, Denmark, and both are in their mid-career and very successful in their work. They differ, however, in gender, in educational background, in professional training and in their work and cross-cultural experiences. Hence, their views differ in some respects and also complement each other. They highlight several issues that were discussed in prior chapters such as the importance of language, the changing nature of culture and the work context, the difficulties in understanding cultural differences – especially of cultures that are very similar. Their reflections and recommendations paint a big canvas with many colors that still leaves ample room for many other contextualized cross-cultural experiences.

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