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Intercultural training in times of globalization

Even today there seems to be a widespread belief among managers that management practices are either good or bad, but universal in any case.

In this sense, cultural differences were becoming less and less important in a globalized world. The importance of cultural issues would only be acknowledged if going on an overseas assignment towards Asia or Africa.

To me this has become a strange idea. Of course management practices can be good or bad and that’s why we’ve got all those BMPs by the way, but up to a quite big extend this condition depends on the culture they are used at. And cultural differences between European cultures can be surprisingly big.

At ABCHumboldt we’ve been teaching seminars on Intercultural Training for the last twelve years. At the beginning the point was raised by our language teachers, who had noticed that there was a constant trickle of questions in their classes, which were more related to cultural issues than to actual language teaching. To make sure, that there was a real need on the side of our clients, we conducted a survey among the expats at a large multinational owned Barcelona based carmaker. The results were very clear: widespread cultural misunderstandings and stereotype based cultural interpretation were obstructing intercultural understanding and frictions at work were common.

Today our seminars are a state-of the-art and tailored to measure product with highly interactive elements like case studies, critical incidents and simulations. An experienced and highly skilled team, assessed by the intercultural faculty of a German university develops and runs seminars, which are focused on the preparation of foreign executives, managers, technical staff or expats and their partners.

Contents are prepared in close co-operation between the client and ABCHumboldt, so that ultimately cultural differences can be reinterpreted as chances for synergies and new ideas.


Wolfram Pfennig. Head of Intercultural Dept.