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2011/2012  KAN-CBL_MCSR  Managing Cultures as Strategic Resources

English Title
Managing Cultures as Strategic Resources

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture
Course Coordinator
  • Eric Guthey - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management
Main Category of the Course
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to
  • • Define “culture” from multiple conventional, alternative, and critical perspectives, and explain the differences between those perspectives.
  • • Explain the similarities and differences between national, ethnic, professional, and corporate cultures, and explain the academic and managerial debates over these similarities and differences and their significance
  • • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of conventional approaches to cross-cultural management, and account for the widespread popularity of such techniques
  • • Distinguish between ethnographic and statistical methods of understanding culture, and explain how and why scholars of management and organization have used them to explore the function of culture in organizations
  • • Explain how individuals and organizations use culture as a strategic management tool and a symbolic resource in global business settings
  • • Apply these concepts and perspectives to the analysis of cultural dynamics in a wide range of case studies and ethnographic accounts of business activities in global contexts.
Bachelor degree. Knowledge of intercultural theory, organizational behavior, and corporate strategy is an advantage, but not a precondition for participation. The course is offered as required component in the first year of the MScBLC concentration in Leadership and Management Studies, but is also open to students in other graduate programs at the CBS, including international students. This course is an approved CEMS elective.
Managing Cultures as Strategic Resources:
Assessment Oral with Written Assignment
Marking Scale 7-step scale
Censorship Internal examiners
Exam Period May/June
Aids Please, see the detailed regulations below
Duration 20 Minutes
Individual oral examination on all material covered in the course - based on a two- three-page written synopsis which is to be handed in two weeks before the exam. The subject of the synopsis is chosen by the student. It is not graded, but it serves as a starting point for the examination
Course Content
This course explores how leaders, managers, and employees mobilize organizational, national, and professional cultures as strategic and symbolic resources in a variety of different contexts. Readings and lectures emphasize that cultures are not static determinants of behavior, and that individuals exchange and interact with their own culture and with other cultures in ways that contribute to the shape of the contexts in which they find themselves. In this manner the course provides students with an alternative to conventional approaches to cross-cultural management, which most often characterize fundamental cultural differences as a business problem. The alternative approach developed in this course provides students with a practical understanding of cultures and relationships as strategic and symbolic resources they can mobilize to their own advantage and to the advantage of the companies in which they work.

Participants will examine readings that focus on uses of culture, intercultural competence, cultural identity and cultural diversity as strategic, organizational, and promotional tools. At the same time, participants will explore the theory and practice of intercultural management, discuss the strategic management of cultures as a cultural phenomena in its own right, and consider the ethical issues highlighted by an intercultural perspective on business activities. The course will also consider various methods for approaching and understanding cultures, concentrating in detail on ethnographic methods and on Joanne Martin’s three perspective approach to cultural dynamics.
Teaching Methods
Class time will include lectures and discussion groups in which students will explore theoretical perspectives and apply them to specific case studies. All of these elements of the course will emphasize both the translation of theory into managerial practice and the evaluation of practice from a variety of critical and theoretical perspectives.
Indicative literature:
Galit Ailon (2007) Global Ambitions And Local Identities: An Israeli-American High-Tech Merger (Berghan Books).
Gideon Kunda (1992) Engineering Culture: Control and Commitment in a High-Tech Corporation (Temple University Press).
Joanne Martin (1992) Cultures in Organizations: Three Perspectives (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
StanleyA. Deetz, Sarah J. Tracy, Jennifer Lyn Simpson (1999) Leading Organizations through Transition: Communication and Cultural Change(Sage).