Danger and Opportunity
Bridging Cultural Diversity for Competitive Advantage
Routledge – 2014 – 304 pages
The Chinese characters for "danger" and "opportunity" form the word "crisis". Ancient Chinese wisdom sees an opportunity in danger. While cultural diversity brings challenges to the workplace, how do we turn these challenges into opportunities? Drawing on their extensive experience working with multicultural and multinational organizations, Lionel Laroche and Caroline Yang provide an in-depth analysis of cross-cultural dynamics in the workplace and offer practical suggestions at both the individual and organizational levels.
The book analyzes cross-cultural challenges in six areas: the relative importance of technical and soft skills; cross-cultural communication; cross-cultural feedback; hierarchy; individualism; and risk tolerance. It then provides a solutions framework that encompasses people, systems and environment to bridge the issues that arise from cultural differences. The analysis and solutions are applied in four business contexts: managing a multicultural workforce; competing in the global talent market; collaborating with joint venture partners; and working with offshore resources.
If you work with colleagues, managers, employees and customers from diverse cultures, if you are with an organization that has a multicultural workforce and/or global operations, or if your organization collaborates with joint venture partners or offshore resources from different cultures, then Danger and Opportunity: Bridging Cultural Diversity for Competitive Advantage is the book for you.
"Understanding and working with different cultures is a key success factor of any multinational corporation or overseas venture. This book not only enhances a reader’s cultural awareness, it outlines actions that can be taken to bridge cultural gaps and pave the way for the creation of effective programs allowing staff from different nationalities to work together at an optimal level. It also enhances a reader’s ability to assess local labour markets and identify strategies for success. Lionel and Caroline have created an excellent tool for HR professionals and senior executives to align different cultures with the corporate culture of their organizations."
- Christine Barwell, Vice President, Human Resources, Alamos Gold Inc., Toronto, Canada
"Laroche and Yang provide effective and fascinating ways to handle multicultural business contexts. Their recommendations and findings are based on observing, monitoring and resolving real life cases in the domain of cultural differences. This book will certainly help managers of global companies use cultural differences as opportunities to implement outstanding and robust internal and external processes from all possible perspectives (communication, reporting, hiring, performance management, development, risk management, and more) and therefore create very strong competitive advantages."
- Philippe Bastié, Ph.D. Global Head of Information and Grading, Euler Hermes Credit Insurance - ALLIANZ Group, Paris, France
"Promoting and championing diversity is critical to building a successful organization. Lionel and Caroline provide a practical approach to integrating simple solutions that foster an inclusive workplace culture. An insightful tool for leadership and employees alike!"
- Albert Elliott, former Vice-President of Human Resources, Communications and Administration at Total Exploration & Production, Canada
"This book will carry you to the next level of understanding multicultural environments. The way we communicate and behave is deeply rooted in our cultural background. Understanding cultural differences is the starting point of integrating oneself into new culture, or to managing multicultural teams, and Lionel and Caroline have captured the essence of cross-cultural communication. Whether you are a seasoned manager or an employee in a multicultural team, this book gives the essential guidance to understanding cultural differences and applying that insight to build effective teams."
- Andrej Zdravkovic, Senior Vice President, Giesecke and Devrient, Germany
"This book is really a blueprint for the powerful Diversity and Inclusion training program that Lionel and Caroline brought to our organization. Applying these principles will help organizations that are committed to finding ways to leverage Diversity and Inclusion into a competitive advantage."
- Richard Pinnock, Sr. Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, People and Organizational Capability, Walmart Canada Corp.
"Danger and Opportunity combines insightful analysis of cross-cultural issues in the workplace with practical solutions both for individuals and organizations. The part that resonates most with me is the examples and stories; my colleagues and I have experienced many of the challenges and situations described in this book. Having led teams of brilliant technical experts in several world-class organizations, I have found that the model analyzing the relative importance of technical and soft skills to be a tremendous help. The impact of risk tolerance on problem solving is also an enlightening model that I have applied in guiding technical teams to agree on the data they need to gather before making decisions. Danger and Opportunity is a must read for any manager leading multicultural technical teams and organizations."
- Maja Veljkovic, Clients Solutions Executive and Research Liaison IBM, Natural Resources Solution, Canada
"The staff of hospitals in large American and Canadian cities and the students in many North American medical schools come from diverse cultures. Understanding how to maximize the communications in such diverse medical teams and training programs is crucial. The authors’ discussions of the impact of culture on our communications, understanding of authority and risk taking behaviour are relevant to medical educators and administrators. Danger and Opportunity is an important resource for all that will have a positive impact on medical environments and ultimately improved patient care."
- Alison Eyre, MDCM, CCFP, Postgraduate Program Director. Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa, Canada
1. Introduction 2. Cultural Factors and Concepts - Part I 3. Cultural Factors and Concepts - Part II 4. Managing a Multicultural Workforce 5. Working with Offshore Resources 6. Collaborating with Joint Venture Partners 7. Competing in the Global Talent Market 8. Conclusion
Lionel Laroche is founder of MultiCultural Business Solutions, Canada. He consults on the impact of cultural differences in multinational organizations. Lionel has written two books, and runs regular training programs.
Caroline Yang is a cross-cultural consultant at MultiCultural Business Solutions, Canada. With over 15 years' experience in human resources, she has authored books on leadership, teamwork and global human resource policies.