How Culture Influences Working Styles

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THE IMPACT OF CULTURE ON INTERACTIONS: FIVE
LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Anne-Katrin Neyer
Anne-Wil Harzing

Version May 2008

Accepted for European Management Journal

Copyright © 2007-2008 Anne-Katrin Neyer and Anne-Wil Harzing. All rights reserved.

Prof. Anne-Wil Harzing
Email: anne-wil@harzing.com
University of Melbourne
Web: www.harzing.com
Department of Management & Marketing
Faculty of Economics & Commerce
Parkville Campus
Melbourne, VIC 3010
Australia

AN EXAMINATION OF THE IMPACT OF CULTURE ON INTERACTIONS:
SIX LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Anne-Katrin Neyer1)
Anne-Wil Harzing 2)

1)

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Department of Information Systems I, Faculty of
Economics and Business Administration, Lange Gasse 20, 90403- Nuremberg, Germany,
Anne-Katrin.Neyer@wiso.uni-erlangen.de

2)

University of Melbourne, Department of Management and Marketing, Faculty of
Economics and Commerce, Parkville Campus, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia, harzing@unimelb.edu.au Acknowledgements
This study was supported by funds from the 'Jubiläumsfondsprojekt Nr. 11618 of the
Oesterreichischen Nationalbank'. We thank Professor Gerhard Fink and Dr. Markus Pudelko for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Abstract
Using data collected from 25 interviews with Austrian employees in the European
Commission, we explore the conditions under which cultural differences do and do not influence interactions. Previous experience with culturally-determined behaviour and experience working in a foreign language is found to foster norms that reduce conflict based on cross-cultural differences. Time pressure, on the other hand, makes cultural differences, specifically the way that criticism is delivered and the extent of relational-versus-task orientation, more explicit. Our…...

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