Renate KRIEG (University of Applied Sciences, Werderstr), The Aspect of Gender in Cross-Cultural Management ¡V Women's Careers in Sino-German Joint Ventures, English/23 Pages, June 2003.

Abstract

¡§Women are better positioned to communicate in a cross-cultural setting, because they have to act within an environment of a different culture throughout their (professional) life.¡¨

What sounds rather like an overstating assessment of female advantages in a male dominated professional world has been taken up in the field of cross-cultural psychology. The phenomenon has not been examined further with regard to possible conclusions for the management of internationally engaged enterprises. In a survey on cross-cultural management in technology and capital intensive German invested enterprises in the PR China and Taiwan, German managers made comments to the effect that they experienced the co-operation with Chinese women as free from interference and relaxed in comparison to their work relation with male Chinese colleagues and employees. To explain this as larger cross-cultural competence of the female employees in foreign invested enterprises might be too far-fetched. After all, it is possible that in this case it might simply account for the establishment of a trusting and relaxed work climate. This does not necessarily mean that women are more capable of acting or able to assert themselves in a cross-cultural setting than their male colleagues. At the same time, the survey revealed that the adaptability of Chinese women to a different cultural setting in a foreign invested enterprise is not necessarily (or only as an exception) rewarded with professional upward mobility. Nevertheless, against this background the debate in cross-cultural research on the determinants for success in cross-cultural interaction gains new relevance. This also poses the question if cross-cultural competence is a critical factor for success, or if, on the contrary, at different hierarchical levels so-called ¡§soft abilities¡¨ might have a hampering impact on upward mobility.