“Intercultural management is extremely important” says business expert
- “Intercultural management is extremely important” says business expert
He has witnessed great economic and social changes in Spain during the past three decades. However, Stan McDaniel believes that a lot remains to be done: opening up the field for entrepreneurs, increasing competitiveness among companies, improving the use of English as the language of business, and invoking a greater appreciation for the multicultural society of the future.
“Intercultural management is extremely important, and it´s not being emphasized at all. In a lot of European countries, cultural management is almost a core subject, which you can study in university training courses. We have a course here on intercultural management, which we do in Amsterdan every year. This is very useful in giving students a real sense of globalization and internationalization. In the Valencian Community, when someone wants to work abroad, or if a company has persons from different nationalities working in it, it is just assumed that things will eventually fall into place, everyone will work efficiently and there will be no problems. You´ll adapt, they will adapt. But there´s much more to it.
What these specialized courses help you do is take a look at your culture, and at other cultures, see how messages are exchanged, how confusion or misunderstanding can arise? it´s very difficult to work with a multicultural team. These courses train students to experience other cultures and see how people feel, how they think. It used to be expected that everyone adapt themselves to the dominant culture, but nowadays it´s changing. And in Spain, people need to be more aware of these changes. Generally Spanish people see this as unnecessary.
Languages are also very important. Everybody can´t learn every language, so it becomes important to be able to communicate using the language of business, which more and more is, of course, English. This needs to be seen as a multicultural asset, because most business people throughout the world conduct their business in English.
With the carreras de grado coming with the Bologna process, this will also start to change here in Spain and in Valencia. Intercultural communication, intercultural management, will become important skills. We have to go that way, because even today, some schools here have up to 80% immigrant children, and immigration will increase. Take Holland as an example: there are over 300 different cultures coexisting and working together in places like Amsterdam. This will be increasingly important if you want to be competitive in the business world.
In any given company there, you will have Dutch persons working with Indonesians, with Spaniards, with Africans, and here we have to help people become aware that this opportunity exists, and we have to professionalize ourselves to be able to take advantage of talent, no matter where it comes from. In Spain most people still aren´t aware of it yet. You have to be more tolerant and more prepared.”
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