SIEM / Spaces of International Economy and Management

Events & Conferences

Contact information

Professor Dr. Rolf D. Schlunze

Humboldt University of Berlin, Department of Economic Geography / Ritsumeikan University, College of Business Administration

Manager training events

Intercultural Management Workshop at the DJW Symposium

The SIEM workshop held at the 30 anniversary meeting of DJW on June 18th, 2016 was divided in presentation, role play and wrap-up. Dr. Rolf Schlunze gave a short presentation and conducted role plays with the audience splitting up into small groups. Ms. Yuki Itakura from moderated the wrap-up. Rolf presented cultural dynamics and insides from a co-leadership case introducing the five situations that business people can face during intercultural negotiation processes: cultural avoidance, cultural dominance, cultural accommodation, cultural compromising and finally cultural synergy. Explaining about a co-leadership case he showed important characteristics of two co-workers and the development of their mindset in order to produce intercultural synergy. He showed that even managers with divergent preferences and learning styles can adjust to each other by reconciling cultural differences. Creating new values by managers with creditability and synergetic power can function as a multiplication effect within and between organizations. In Rolf's role play participants learnt how to negotiate in an intercultural setting. Techniques like not judging, being open to listening, showing respect when communicating a problem were practiced and various controversies were discussed later. Wrap-up: During the wrap up the participants presented their workshop experiences. Rolf's group explained that they had been too fast in compromising and that in reality more resistance in the form of attempts of cultural dominance can be expected. It was clear that cultural synergy is an outcome of dynamic processes that includes loops of learning on both sides, when Ms. Yuki Itakura mentioned that German clients often ask why Japanese business people do not express what they want while Japanese business people often wonder why Germans cannot anticipate what they want. In conclusion, we found that German business partners need to learn to read the atmosphere 「空気を読む」and develop this skill to a degree that it might become a success key doing business with Japanese people. Therefore, together we are calling for the formation of a workgroup on intercultural management sharing our experiences and practices in order to create cultural synergy in the particular intercultural workplaces.


Introducing the workshop schedule


Presenting about intercultural synergy


Discussing during the role play


Wrapping up the workshop experiences


©DJW, Fotos: Stefan Wallocha