Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Leadership in Multi-Cultural Management: the geographic influence
Originator Charles Lothingland
Department Independent university and corporate lecturer, 2 Duryard Grange, Exeter, EX4 4QY
Tel. +44 (0)1392 495897
Fax +44 (0)1392 495897

The globalization of mega projects and the resulting increase in expatriate manpower and mass migration has revolutionized management. International corporations are fast becoming aware of the necessity for their managers to learn particular leadership qualities and skills so that they can successfully develop multi-cultural staff, teams and integrated workforces.

This is especially relevant today as Britain becomes a multi-ethnic nation. Companies are having to adjust to a new progressive style of management to understand and utilize abilities from a diverse spectrum of experience, varied-cultural attitudes and a vibrant surge of energy and ambition. As this is outside the normal curriculum of business studies I have devised a special series of modules based on some fifteen years experience of senior management of multi-cultural projects in Saudi Arabia, Europe and America.

Initially, I take three examples of modern mega projects where forty or more different nationalities have been forged into workforces and trans-national management teams. Overseas' students are encouraged to explain their nationality's work requirements and expectations from management. In a following group discussion the different cultural conceptions are analysed and a search is made to define the universally accepted qualities of leader-management.

Then I take the class through a brief history of how Britain developed into a multi-cultured, varied-ethnic, different religious nation through two millennium. Then students, by role acting, are encouraged to recreate the attitudes of the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Huguenots, Irish, Jewish, West Indians, Ugandans, Pakistanis, Indians and Yemenis who consequently invaded or migrated here.

Then we examine the insights learned from the international projects and apply these to progressive understanding of the changed management requirements of the 21st century corporations.

These modules range from "awareness" seminars to being an essential part of post-graduate diploma and Master's programmes on leadership in business studies for full-time students and international company managers.


Business studies
Multi-cultural teams

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Page created 22 December 1997
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