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6. Intercultural Context

High-Context vs. Low-ContextMany of our projects bring together people with different cultural background. This expertise and the experience from more than 15 years of international work make the difference at Ute Clement Consulting. We know that intercultural trainings as isolated measures are not the miracle cure for the successful globalisation of companies. 

In each project phase, we think and act in intercultural terms, irrespective of whether we are designing workshops, planning major events or accompanying the process. We do not deal with intercultural matters in a course of training; instead, we tackle the intercultural problems where they arise, and this distinguishes us from intercultural training institutes.

Model of different culturesWhen companies merge or globalise, there is a diversity of topics, problems and issues of integration. Some of them may be caused by intercultural factors, e.g. a different understanding of collaboration/project work, other ideas about processes and values. For us, intercultural working means seeing the differences based on what the participants share. These differences are then either transferred to a common ground, or it is important to leave them as they are (e.g. preservation areas in PMI processes).

Developing cultural competenceHow are national, organisation-specific, and project- or personnel-related topics linked to one another in a specific context? The context, and here in particular the balance of power, determines cooperation to a large extent, and this also applies at an intercultural level. Culture shows itself to be a relevant difference for us, if only one of many. It is important to make these differences visible. But what comes next? This is where the real part of our work starts: ‘Arriving at commonalities via existing differences’. Frequently, this involves building bridges between ‘classical’ opposing interests such as, for instance, those between research and sales.  

In this situation, it may be more useful to support individual team members with personal coaching. In another situation, it may be better to use cross-cultural coaching. In teams with an international composition, it is absolutely vital to work from a cultural perspective as an additional differentiation. From our experience, it is particularly necessary, with remote teams especially, to create a conflict solving structure together on site that endures at a distance. This may develop into a "We" feeling and, based on this, into a particular, desired team culture. This is the basis for the development of mutual understanding and trust.