Culture is still an issue for organisations both internally and externally, and becoming increasingly complex as markets, customers and employees go ‘global’. Culture is a multidimensional concept: organisations need to negotiate their own corporate culture; the national cultures of the nation‐states in which they operate; ethnic differences at regional and pan‐national levels; differences in the industry cultures of the market sectors in which they operate; and the various functional or professional cultures of the people that work within the organisation. While each of these dimensions poses its own issues, it is the interaction between them that is of key concern. When one dimension clashes with another the results can have a negative effect on the organisation; this clash is called a ‘culture impact’. Like earthquakes along fault lines, cultures are static until an event occurs which rocks the steady state. These events cannot be prevented, but they can be predicted and prepared for. And good preparation can mean the difference between survival and destruction. So it follows that negotiating culture requires the organisation to identify its position within the dimensions of culture, to understand the expectations and perception of these culture groups, to foresee when and how these groups will clash, and to plan strategies for dealing with the impact.
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