Chief executives of organizations have long sought to foster homogeneous cultures that exemplify their vision of company goals and facilitate overall effectiveness. This is no small task, given the competing perspectives and priorities of the different functions that are represented within the contemporary business organization. The internationalization of business has further complicated this task. In many multinational businesses, employees who hold the same nationality as that of the location in which the company headquarters are located are a numerical minority, quite often only a small percentage of the total workforce. To what extent can the divergent perspectives of such multinational workforces be melded into a unitary global culture?

Initial indications underlined the magnitude of the task. In the 1960s, the IBM company was among those ...

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