1 Going global: How to succeed in International Business! (29 pages)
24 Global Management: A dance with icebergs
In the same way that a group of new project partners will
go through various phases of integration and cooperation, an ex-
pat on international assignment will experience a dynamic process
of discovery, starting with an initial culture shock, and then cau-
tiously test the cultural waters until they discover for themselves a
culturally appropriate strategy for success. Often unrecognized,
returning home after a foreign assignment can also be fraught with
difficulties and unpleasant surprises. The returning expat discov-
ers what changes occurred in his absence, and colleagues dis-
cover that the co-worker who left on a foreign assignment comes
back a changed person.
The challenge of cooperation in international teams really
depends on the particular composition and intercultural compe-
tence of team members. Hence it cannot be managed through a
simple checklist of criteria. Even someone who gained interna-
tional experience working in a developing county or in Eastern
Europe ten or fifteen years ago will find that the lessons learned
then are not necessarily applicable today. So many regions are
currently undergoing, or have already undergone, rapid change.
Business in Hungary, the Czech Republic, China or Saudi Arabia
is rather different today than what it was even a few years ago.
For example, it would have been unthinkable for a Saudi Arabian
man to admit that he had conducted business with a woman in
Europe. Following a conference in Nuremberg which started an
international cooperation, one such gentleman wrote to me, “Dear
Mr. Wietasch…”. Global business has changed on a fundamental
‘International Dynamics’ is based on the belief that every
intercultural project is influenced by a complex cultural dynamic.
To succeed within this dynamic, the team members require an