GPM First


Are there ways of testing whether organizations are culturally compatible?

In Culture People | 2 comments

If you are planning to collaborate with one or several other organizations on a project, are there ways that you can assess their cultural compatibility with your own company? We check their finance and their track record on similar projects before we start working with new partners but how do we check for any cultural dissonance between them and us?


  • Tony Morden
    By Tony Morden

    Suggest reading Tony Morden's Ashgate-Gower "Principles of Management" Chapters 2, 3, 11, 19 and perhaps 28 on Knowledge Management. This book is fully internationalised and deals extensively with issues of cross-cultural management and trust.

  • Tom Boydell
    By Tom Boydell

    I find this a very interesting question. Some years ago I did a piece of research around this theme for consultants AT Kearney. The results were published in two books, both by Anne Deering and Anne Murphy. The first was The Difference Engine - 1998, published by .... wait for it .... Gower. The second was The partnering Imperative, 2003, Wiley.

    The research focused on two dimensions - view of difference (ranging from avoid through tolerate to value) and the reason for partnering - to avid negative consequences of not so doing compared with promoting the positive effects. Naturally enough this led to a grid with 6 positions. We devised an instrument that enabled people to plot their positions - leading to conversation, dialogue and action planning amongst prospective partnering ventures.

    Of course this only represents two dimensions of culture - which were chosen as particularly important - but no doubt something similar could be devised for other aspects. is there a project here anybody?

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