1. Do people from different cultures choose different values to describe another culture?
2. What influence does your own culture have on the way you see people from other cultures?
3. How can you see people from other cultures without a bias from your own culture?
4. What stereotypes do people from different countries have about each other? (Give examples.)
5. What stereotypes are there of people from your country?
6. How do we get stereotypes? Where do they come from?
7. Have you ever been faced with stereotypes? How have you responded? (with anger at the person, with anger at the stereotype, with a joke, with an explanation of why the stereotype is wrong, with silence, your own ideas)
8. Is there some (a lot of) truth in stereotypes? Do you find such stereotypes dangerous?
9. What kinds of social activities in your town could be appropriate ways of entertaining visitors from other countries?
10. Which approach to training employees in international organisations do you think would be better:
a. standardised training methods
b. a mixed pedagogical approach
11. Multinational companies can either attempt to use similar management methods in all their foreign subsidiaries, or adapt their methods to the local culture in each country or continent. Which procedure do you think is the most efficient?
12. Do you think the culture of your country is similar enough to those neighbouring countries to have the same management techniques? Or are there countries nearby where people have very different attitudes to work, hierarchy, organisation, and so on?
13. Would you like the idea of matrix management or would you rather report to only one powerful boss?
14. Do you believe that it is possible to sum up national characteristics in a few words?
15. Why do norms and procedures which seem to work so well in one culture lose their effectiveness in another?
16. One Brazilian owner of a large manufacturing company introduced his relatively junior accountant who was his nephew as the key coordinator of a $15 million joint venture. Why a recently qualified accountant had been given such weighty responsibilities, including the receipt of their own money? Why his was the best possible choice among 1,200 employees?
17. How would you most like to learn, e.g. lectures, seminars, discussions, multimedia, case studies, others?
18. Do you think there are different ways of learning and teaching in different countries? Why? Can you think of some examples?
19. Which do you think is better for a multinational firm – strong central control of international operations or decentralised decision-making? Does it depend on the business the company is in? Does it depend on where the company does business?
20. Do you think people from certain countries would favour one kind of organisational structure over another? Can you think of some examples and give some reasons?
21. If you started up a company, what corporate culture would you prefer? (a “pure” one, or a mixed one?) Give your ideas.
22. What personal and professional skills do you need for a successful business career in your country, e.g. specialist training, knowledge of foreign languages, outgoing personality?
23. What qualities do you think you need in order to be a successful multinational manager? May be independence, interest in foreign languages or others?
24. Do you think the qualities required to become a top manager differ from country to country? Give your reasons.
25. If you were going to do business with a British (American, Italian, German, Chinese) company, what could the potential problems be?
26. Do you think how many international companies are not dominated by the culture of the home country – a lot, or just a few?
27. What do you mean by “global organisations”?
28. How would you define the phrase “corporate culture”? Give some examples of elements which make up the corporate culture of an organisation.
29. What kind of problems could you imagine in a joint venture between Swiss and Italian companies, especially if one of them is from private sector and the other from the public or state sector?
30. Here is an example of differences in business culture between Britain and France: the French desire for a rational and logical approach to decision-making compared with the British preference for going straight to the point. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach? What approach is more similar to your business culture? Think of some examples.