Intercultural management and organizational change

Establishing offices abroad; having an international labour force; practicing talent management across boundaries or acquisition by a foreign company: intercultural management is one of the most exciting challenges of our times. A leadership style which is different from yours; agreements that do not seem to get follow up; careless comments which hurt; tedious decision making or diversity without inclusion: the list of possible issues is long and cultural competence to prevent them is key.

Culture has an influence on all aspects of your organization:

  • Leadership
  • Internal communication and information flow
  • Planning, performance and monitoring
  • Customer service and client relationships
  • Motivation of personnel and HR policy
  • Marketing and branding
  • Negotiation
  • Etc. etc.

As Peter Drücker mentioned: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. You may have an excellent strategy, but if the culture is not aligned with it, it will quickly become a dead letter.

Culture is complex and multi-layered. De Vonk is able to look both at ‘national’ cultural differences as well as organizational culture. We bring the complexity back to its core and together with you we determine the right pathway to change.

We use various models and scientific research of culture. Most notably:

  1. The Hofstede 6D model of national culture (cultural differences among countries, translated to the workplace)
  2. Genchi Genbutsu, a tool from The Toyota Way, which translates as ‘go and see for yourself’
  3. African management philosophy.

We give training in intercultural management. On top we facilitate trajectories with the unique possibility to take both national cultural differences and the organizational culture into play. These transformational change processes may create space for a confluence of cultures.

National cultures

Tensions among colleagues; high staff turnover; the breaking down of negotiations; negative feelings of anger or betrayal and even wild strikes: just a few possible consequences of cultural differences. The dimensions of national culture provide for a neutral language to discuss sensitive topics. Mastering these differences and similarities increase the effectiveness of the individual, the team and the organisation as a whole. You may find that rather than a nuisance, the diversity can create synergy and even a competitive advantage.

A national culture trajectory usually looks like this:

  1. Interactive knowledge transfer of the basic cultural differences and the identification of the biggest pain points and the overlaps within the organisation
  2. Co-creating solutions which are acceptable to all parties
  3. Operationalising solutions into behaviour and standardized operating procedures
  4. Anchoring the new ways of working into the organisation

It is my goal to proverbially teach my clients ‘how to fish’ and to bring them to such a level of cultural insight that they can apply the six dimensions in various situations and at those difficult moments where they need them most.

Organizational culture

For change management trajectories in a multicultural environment, we strive to create space for a confluence of cultures. Our approach consists of five key steps:

  1. Create awareness of your own and other’s unconscious cultural patterns.
  2. Analyse the deep cultural layers to find key similarities and differences. The Hofstede’s 6D model is used in conjunction with other models.
  3. Research the practical manifestations of these cultural patterns. The Toyota tool Genchi Genbutsu (go see for yourself) is used to find inspiring and resonating concepts within the cultures present. The most salient outcomes of step 2 and 3 form the building blocks for a new, collaborative culture.
  4. Translate the building blocks into innovative management tools, co-creating organizational design and new ways of working.
  5. Implement and fine-tune change, for which multiple tools organizational development tools are used.

For more information about this approach, please see the book, written by Vonk and Silva on Cultural Confluence (2024), on that book-tab on this website.

Diversity and inclusion

Diverse, well managed teams are more effective and innovative than homogeneous teams. Diverse, badly managed teams, on the other hand, are a liability to the organization. The question is how to achieve the first and to prevent the latter. Diversity demands inclusion and it sets specific requirements for management.

Together with colleagues from Cultural Insights, De Vonk will be able to create awareness and train employees. On top we will support you to facilitate the necessary conversations and co-create procedures which includes various voices and ideas. At the same time we coach management into successful diversity management and leadership.

Geographic specialty

Seen in the light of background and experience, the geographical field of expertise of De Vonk is made up of Europe and the emerging economies of Africa and the Middle East. Within the Friends of Hofstede we have direct contact with well qualified consultants from all over the world.

For more information don’t hesitate to contact me and you will become inspired in one of the open training courses.

Recent clients