I used to work for a multinational company in the automotive industry. I don’t know how much money the company spent on building a “corporate culture”, needless to say it felt important.
There is nothing wrong with that, after all, you have people from different cultures working together towards company’s goals.
I am still not sure whether this corporate culture is a solution to cultural differences or a genuine attempt to make employees feel like they belong in a social structure. You have probably heard Managers’ speeches like “We are a family”. (Then what about my real family?)
As you might have noticed I referred to the corporate culture as a possible solution which means cultural differences are seen as problems.
But cultural differences are problems only when faced with the method that the company followed so far to get successful results. A Japanese company follows a Japanese approach, a French company follows a French approach and so on.
Cultural differences are not problems, they are part of our reality.
I feel that these differences are not discussed in all honesty not only because of their complexity but also in fear of offending someone in the process. It’s like a relationship in a couple if you don’t address the differences they will build up exponentially. But people won’t talk about them, because it’s easier to break up than to lose your job.