Cultural identity and its impact on today’s multicultural organizations

Photo : Cultural identity and its impact on today’s multicultural organizations

Within the context of the internationalization of organizations and, in particular, growing numbers of staff members from different cultures, the number of studies on the management of cultural differences has increased considerably. However, as several authors have observed, studies on cultural differences and the concept of cultural identity remain limited, in large part due to the influential studies of Hofstede, which led to increased interest in national cultures.

The objective of this study is to demonstrate the importance of cultural identity, which is a broader concept than national identity and only partly determined by it. Cultural identity is based on the distinctiveness or specificity of a given community, encompassing certain characteristics common to its people. A distorted view can significantly hinder understanding and communication with citizens of a specific nation. Today, as many authors observe, there is renewed interest in the complex, multidimensional process of identity construction in cross-national, cross-cultural work settings.

The aim of the present study is therefore to review the processes involved in the formation of cultural identity and its importance for understanding individuals’ distinctive, culture-specific traits and to show how individuals with plural identities influence and transform contemporary organizations. Finally, a research program focused on recontextualizing cultural identity in contemporary organizations is proposed.

The research of Helena Karjalainen.

Author(s)
  • Photo :

    Helena Karjalainen Helena Karjalainen is an Associate Professor of Cross-Cultural Management. She joined EM Normandie in 2008. She has a PhD in modern literature from the Université Stendhal (Grenoble 3) and a PhD in management science co-supervised by the Université de Metz and Université Trier, Germany. She also has research supervision accreditation (HDR) in management science from the University of Paris-Est, awarded in 2019. Her thesis is on the management of multicultural teams. Her research interests are global human resources management, organisational behaviour and cooperation within organisations. She is particularly interested in issues relating to cultural identities and the impact of culture on behaviour, as well as leadership and management in different cultural environments. Helena Karjalainen is Associate Dean of Research at EM Normandie.

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