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February 6, 2012 / Sian Moore

‘East Meets West’ workshop: Call for papers

East meets West: experiences of Chinese and Indians businesses working in Europe

Lessons from cross-cultural encounters

Seminar to be held at the Hamilton house, 9 May 2012, 10-6 PM

Organised by Ulke Veersma, Wim Vandekerckhove, Patrick McGurk and Barry Curnow, University of Greenwich, Business School

Keynote speaker: Prof. Dr. Geert Hofstede (em.)

Geert Hofstede, an influential Dutch social psychologist, is the well-known pioneer in research on cross-cultural groups and organisations. He has played a major role in developing a framework of various dimensions of national cultures. The data collected across a huge number of countries demonstrate national and regional cultural differences which are persistent over time. See also www.geerthofstede.eu

The cross-cultural management literature is mainly based upon the experiences of Western managers and the needs of multinational companies having to deal with non-Western cultures. In the current geo-political landscape a transformation is taking place with the effect that Western multinationals are no longer the key players. Increasingly, companies from so called BRIC- economies take over their place in global business. The shock of Corus being taken over by Tata, just a couple of years after the merger of British Steel and the Dutch company Hoogovens, is just one example of the shifting power relations and, once again, the increasing relevance of other cultures becoming more dominant in global business.

The Work & Employment Relations Unit (WERU) at the University of Greenwich is hosting a seminar on this theme on 9 May 2012. The seminar taps into this new configuration of international economics and the cross-cultural issues, which arise from the interaction between companies and businesses from India and China in the East and the UK and Europe in the West. Workshops will focus on experiences of Indians and Chinese business working with European and British industry and vice versa. The aim is to exchange such experiences and to learn from the different approaches applied. A special focus will be on the development of policy instruments of multinationals to deal with cross-cultural issues that arise from the interaction between the countries at stake. The target audience is therefore not exclusively an academic one, but also intended to include consultants on cross-cultural training and HR managers in multinational companies and organisations.

Questions that will be addressed are, among others:

  • Which cross-cultural management issues are most relevant for Chinese and Indian managers on expat missions in Europe and the UK?
  •  What are the main problems for Chinese and Indians when interacting with people from the West – be it as entrepreneurs or working within organisations?
  • How fit or unfit are policies of Indian and Chinese companies for the European and British workforce?
  • Which global strategies do Chinese and Indian multinationals tend to have, and how are they different from British and European companies?

Various cultural topics will be addressed in the workshops, such as the concentration or, rather, the dispersion of power within organisations, decision making, communication and teamwork, and other more typical HR issues such as reward management and employment relations.

We invite contributions – papers and presentations – for the following workshops:

–          Experiences of Chinese and Indian expats. Traditionally expats have moved from the UK or Europe to, especially China in the East. What about the reverse? What are the drawbacks and pitfalls for Indians and Chinese operating in the UK and Europe? Which strategies can be developed?

–          Culture shock and cross cultural training. Although they have experiences of moving from one place to the other, most expats will retain a primarily national mindset – perhaps developed into a ‘third culture’, built upon experiences with other cultures. How much is a global mindset needed to perform well as a manager in a multinational? What are the main conditions to be met? How much do they need to ‘go local’ or develop a universal, global, mindset?

–          British and European expats working with Chinese and Indians: some British and European multinationals have now a long standing practice of operating in especially China. How much are their experiences different from the growing number of Chinese and Indian multinationals operating in the UK and Europe? What kind of policies are or could be developed? How can some of the lessons be relevant for the reverse investment?

The final part of the one day seminar is a plenary discussion, when speakers from various backgrounds with a range of experiences working in various cultures and researchers will exchange their views on the future of expats from the East and West and East-West interaction. In this final session, lessons will be drawn from experiences discussed in the various workshops.

We welcome papers that report research outcomes concerning multinationals, specific approaches to cross-cultural training or expatriate policies, and human resource management approaches that relate to managing cultural diversity.

Paper and presentation abstracts should be of maximum 500 words and sent to Ulke Veersma by e-mail U.Veersma@gre.ac.uk. Deadline: Saturday 31 March 2012. The organisers will notify the acceptance of papers on 15 April.

For further information on the venue, fee and further details please check our website:

http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/schools/business/services/events/weruseminar

For the Greenwich Maritime campus of the University of Greenwich: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/campus/greenwich

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