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Managing Talents Worldwide : the expert point of view

Joanna Nowicki est Professeure des Universités en science de l’information et de la communication à l’Université de Cergy-Pontoise et collabore avec le Collège des ingénieurs dans le cadre d’un programme mis en place avec Sciences Po Paris. Her research topics include European thought, the other French-speaking world, cultural and political areas, cultural transfers, and political communication between East and West.

This month, Joanna Nowicki does us the honor of presenting how managing a diversity of talent has become one of the pillars of corporate strategy, and a topic to which Chargeurs attaches paramount importance.

“Cultural diversity in an organization is not only an additional opportunity but also an additional challenge. In order to meet this successfully, it is useful to first become aware of what the American anthropologist Edward Hall subsumed into one sentence: “The problem I have with the Other is my own.”

We are little aware of the extent to which our cultural mold can influence, condition or sometimes inform some of our behaviors, beliefs, values and convictions. Because they are shared by those around us and approved as rational, normal and adequate, we do not feel the need to call them into question. That is as long as we are not called upon to lead international teams or operate within them. Coming to terms with differences can be agreeable (novelty, exoticism and curiosity being the natural driving force behind open-mindedness), but whenever the issues of efficiency, team management or the exercising of responsibilities are no longer self-evident, the need to take account of cross-cultural communication becomes all the more imperative.

Once we realize that our culture can be analyzed using a grid constructed with the existing tools employed to parse cultural models, we are better equipped to describe, and then fathom the behaviors, beliefs and convictions of colleagues, partners or leaders coming from other walks of life. For everything can be explained, including prejudices, biases, stereotypes and incomprehensible knee-jerk reactions when this analytical work is performed with the expertise and contribution of shared experiences.

It is always better to anticipate the emergence of intercultural conflicts, which are much more difficult to deal with, by preparing participants to confront otherness, always a complex matter. One can, for example, use the inevitable surprises, miscommunication and misunderstandings to turn it into an opportunity to analyze the diversity of inputs, talents and visions in the service of joint action”.