Making Cross-cultural Research Relevant to European Corporate Integration: Old Problem - New Approach

M. SEGALLA, L. Fischer, K. Sandner

European Management Journal

February 2000, vol. 18, n°1, pp.38-51

Departments: Management & Human Resources, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Traditional cross-cultural research may no longer be useful for the problems facing Europe's cross-border companies. Past research, built on largely North American ideas about individual and organisational values, cannot be easily applied to business problems requiring policy choices concerning employee management. Furthermore it is questionable whether past research actually measures values important to companies which must design policies to integrate their large multi-country workforces. Advances in research methodology indicate that new approaches to generating cultural knowledge may yield better results. This paper reports the results of a study of European managerial values designed to uncover European values using more appropriate methodology. The authors conducted a six-country study of over 900 managers working in 70 companies in the European financial sector. The results of this study suggest that although European managers have widely-differing solutions to common managerial problems there is an underlying logic that guides their choices. The reasons given for these choices suggest that integrating systems of employee management in Europe will be difficult but not impossible.