Working Papers, Hanken School of Economics
Finnish-French Fundamental Cultural Antagonisms in Organising
Abstract: Seeking to challenge the belief that within-West cultural
differences should be seen as insignificant in organisations, this paper
seeks to demonstrate how two given Western European ‘organising cultures’
(i.e. Finnish culture and French culture, as they are expressed in the
process of organising) can contrast, if not conflict, with each other.
Further, it aims to help the reader realise what kinds of fundamental
‘cultural antagonisms’ these contrasting organising behaviours may come
from, to help her/him understand ‘the other culture’ better, and thus allow
for a first step towards an improvement of Finnish-French intercultural
interactions in organisational contexts. After shortly introducing what
should be understood here as ‘cultural antagonisms’, the paper addresses
four fundamental Finnish-French antagonisms, regarding the vision of the
organisation (‘functionalist vs. personalist’), the relative importance of
‘consensus vs. dissensus’, the typical trade-off between reliability and
flexibility, and the striking differences in communication, respectively.
These four fundamental antagonisms are found to be closely interrelated and
integrated, serving as explanation, justification and legitimisation for
each other. That does not mean, however, that differences, however striking
they may be, should merely be a threat to co-operation: some implications
introduced at the end of the paper suggest that, provided people are aware
of them, cultural antagonisms can also be seen as opportunities for a more
fruitful work interaction.
Keywords: Cross-Cultural / Intercultural; Finnish; French; Antagonisms; Organising; (follow links to similar papers)
23 pages, May 3, 2004
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