Warner M. and Joynt P. eds. Managing across cultures: issues and perspectives. 2nd ed. London: Thomson learning, 2002. xii, 284 p. ISBN 1-86152-973-2. £27.99.
The second edition of "Managing across cultures: issues and perspectives" has been revised and updated since it first appeared in 1996. The new edition includes contributions from many of the most outstanding authors in the field of cross-cultural and comparative management, such as Derek Pugh and David Hickson, John Child, Nancy Adler, Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars, Rosalie Tung, Frank Heller, and Fred Luthans amongst others.
The cultural, cross-cultural, and intercultural issues are varied and investigated from different points of view. The introductory chapter raises the issues of definitions of culture and limitations among various categories of cultural phenomena. The authors of the book are concerned with cross-cultural issues, both generally and also more specifically in different parts of the world and countries. They examine culture in the commonly known sense as cultures of nation-states and regional groupings and also at a corporate culture level. Howewer, the main focus in the book is management-related cross-cultural issues. The contributors explore management process across different cultures and how organisations cope with globalisation in practice.
Several of them take up the "culture free" respective "culture specific" management discussion (Braun and Warner, Child). Child's double article is especially enlightening for those who want to do cross-national organisational analysis. And I especially enjoyed Goodall's chapter about teaching intercultural communication and cross-cultural management.
The reviewed book might be interesting and useful for information professionals for two reasons.
First: a significant amount of information related research (especially in information management) is conducted on organisational level. As many business and public organisations at present operate in multicultural or global environment, information scientists should take cross-cultural factors into account. The influence of organisation cultures on information behaviour and the role of information culture are known in information research. So, acquaintance with other culture-specific research in the management field can reveal new aspects, problems and help to conceive new ideas in our own field.
Second: cross-cultural influences in organisation are connected to communication process, information transfer, sense-making, and ICT usage. These are of direct interest to many information professionals and researchers. Child discusses several cultural information theories, Arruda and Hickson include features of information behaviour while investigating differences of British and Brasilian desicion-makers, many authors turn to learning the features of organisations while discussing cross-cultural organisational problems.
The new edition holds some disappointingly old or superficial material, but on the whole it is interesting and worthy of attention.
Dr. Elena Macevičiūtė