Interbiz 2023 will introduce you to cross-cultural issues faced by managers of international teams and the benefits of a diverse workforce.
You will learn cultural characteristics of different nationalities and gain an understanding of the differences and challenges of working together in an international setting. You will learn about international economics and the characteristics of a multi-country regional economic community.
Your seminar learning will be completed with an assessed group project where you put your learning into action.
- 31 h — Lectures, workshops & business visit
- 6 h — Group case study
- 17 h — Cultural visits & events
- 2 h — A French Speaking World
- 1 h — Haut-de-France: A dynamic environment for researchers
- 3 h — Welcome & closing sessions
Programme At A Glance
Please note: this programme may be subject to minor modifications.
Lectures and Seminars
Minor modifications to the programme may occur.
(a)Introduction to Cross-Cultural ManagementCompanies operating in multiple countries must be sensitive to cultural differences in such areas as communication styles, decision making processes, and attitudes towards hierarchy and authority in order to be effective. Historical, geographical, social, and political factors all lead to differences in national culture. Geert Hofstede developed a model of national culture based on six dimensions that represent individual preferences for one situation over another that distinguish countries from each other.
(b)The Impact of Linguistic Policies on Economics and CultureThe European Union has 24 official languages across its 27 member states creating an obvious communications challenge. Language is closely related to our identity and culture. Multilingualism in the EU helps prevent linguistic disenfranchisement of those who only speak their national language, but it comes at a heavy economic cost and is a barrier to creating a common European identity. An alternative to multilingualism is lingua franca, which is increasingly English.
(c)How to Create Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the WorkplaceAccording to a survey from Monster (2022), 62% of job seekers would turn down a job offer if they feel the company did not value an inclusive and diverse workplace culture. Culture is an important value that organizations can offer prospective and current employees, customers, and the public. Central to culture is creating an environment where a wide swath of individuals can collaborate, communicate, and achieve short and long-term goals together. Empowering employees to bring their full selves to work every day isn’t just good for business, it’s just plain good.
(d)From Awareness to Action: Leveraging Cross-Cultural Experiences for Identifying Business OpportunitiesThrough an exploration of theoretical frameworks associating entrepreneurship and cross-cultural studies, you will gain insight into how culture impacts business and learn how to leverage this knowledge to identify business opportunities and create innovative business solutions.
(e)Cultural Differentiation, Migration and Populist Nationalism: a Comparison Between France and GermanyModern societies are characterised by cultural standardisation and cultural differentiation. Migrants’ differences can be recognized or become a target of discrimination. Radical right populist parties have accelerated the decline of multiculturalism in Europe and contribute to the ethnicization of national integration models. As the colour-blind French republican model is not very skilled to deal with discrimination, French civic and inclusionary nationalism has ceded increasingly to ethnic exclusionary nationalism. In contrast, Germany, a country which has for a long time denied the fact to be a “society of immigration”, migrants have been quite well integrated economically.
(f)Brexit and New Challenges in French-British Economic and Industrial CooperationsSince Brexit, cooperation between French and British firms turns to be harder due to legal and political issues. Nevertheless, local authorities like the Hauts-de-France region or Kent County Council try to stimulate binational linkage on both sides of the Channel. For example, Hauts-de-France have a permanent representative beside British institutions. A Franco-British Chamber is also working on bilateral synergies, particularly since Brexit. Hence the relevance of going into new cross-border initiatives and daily working practices between French and British partners since the late 2010s.
(g)Cultural Issues in Setting Up French Companies in ChinaThe opening up of China in the 1970s gradually allowed companies to settle on Chinese territory. Its market of more than 1.4 billion inhabitants, its production and modern transport infrastructures have made it an Eldorado for multinationals. Considered for a long time as a developing country, China is now asserting itself as a leader in the fields of technological innovation. Many French companies are now established there, such as Carrefour, Decathlon, l’Oréal and Alstom. The diversity of these large groups does not make it any less complex to thrive in the country. We will discuss the conditions for setting up these companies, their business model and the cultural differences that can hinder the development of a company.
(h)Language, Identity, and Intercultural CommunicationThis seminar will examine the interaction between a person’s native language and his/her identity, with a focus on how this impacts intercultural communication. The languages that we speak are inextricably entwined with our social and cultural identity. This in turn impacts how we interact with members of our own culture as well as those from other cultures. We will examine these questions with particular attention on intercultural communication in the global workplace.
(i)Planning the City Along with Multi-Cultural Design and Policies: Unity, Diversity, Proximity(Description pending)
(j)Company Visit to DécathlonDecathlon is the world’s largest sporting goods retailer. With over 90,000 staff from more than 80 nationalities spread over 2000 stores in 60 countries, Decathlon understands how to manage multiculturalism. Decathlon’s global headquarters as well as research and design centres, logistics, and concept stores are located near the University of Lille campus.
(k)How to Adapt to a Cross-Cultural EnvironmentNowadays, we are always more likely to travel, live and work in other countries. Adaptation can take time as cultural differences are sometimes hard to discern. In this lecture we will look at how to take a step back in a cross-cultural context and avoid common mistakes.
(l)Diversity and Multiculturalism in the US, UK, Canada and FranceThis seminar will use different but complementary themes to explore diversity and multiculturalism in each of these four countries. The themes presented are:
• ‘Challenging myths about diversity and multiculturalism in France’
• ‘Canada’s middle-class multiculturalism’
• ‘The United States: diversity vs. equality?’
• ‘Britain: a multicultural Eldorado?’
Group Case Study
Students will participate in a group case study.
The scenario for the case study involves a manager who is leading a team of employees from various cultural backgrounds, working together in a global bicycle manufacturing company. The team is tasked with developing a new bicycle for an international market, and the manager is struggling to navigate cultural differences and communication barriers that are impacting the team’s productivity and effectiveness. Each team member is assigned a role from a specific country.
The case study asks the team members to explore the following issues as related to their specific role and their interactions with other team members:
- Cultural differences in communication styles and how they impact team dynamics and decision-making;
- Differences in attitudes towards hierarchy and authority and how they affect the manager’s leadership style and the team’s response to it;
- Strategies for managing cultural differences and promoting cross-cultural understanding within the team;
- How to create a culture of inclusion that values and respects diversity while maintaining a shared vision and common goals for the team.
The teams will interview team members from different cultural backgrounds and gather insights from experts in cross-cultural management. They will investigate strategies implemented in other companies to learn from the experience of others.
The teams will present their findings and recommendation to a jury at the end of the program.
EXCITING VISITS & EVENTS
Gain a richer perspective on the Hauts-de-France region!
The Hauts-de-France region is typified by its maritime and Flemish borders, agrarian economy, ancient trade fairs tradition, former textile and mine industries steeped in the Catholic values of its captains and vivid memory of wounds inflicted by two world wars. France’s youngest region is now renowned for its competitiveness, dynamic cultural and social life, and a unique mix of Flemish cheerfulness and French elegance.
- OLD LILLE: Guided tour of streets, squares and monuments of the old town and its beautiful ancient architecture.
- CH’TI EVENING: Local cuisine in a traditional restaurant and introduction to the Ch’ti linguistic and cultural specificity.
- BRUGES, BELGIUM: Free time in the charming old Flemish city, also known as “the Venice of the North” thanks to its beautiful canals.
- Keen on discovering more sights in North-West Europe? You will have the opportunity to participate in these optional activities:
- EXCURSION TO THE COAST: Visit of the spectacular two Northern Capes Site (Opal Coast from which one can see the British cliffs).
- FIREWORKS: Sightseeing of the great fireworks in Lille on the French National Day (July 14th).
- Alternatively, you are free to travel wherever you want on your own expense.