93254 - Cross-Cultural Management Laboratory

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Claudia Manca

  • Credits 3

  • SSD SECS-P/10

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Business Administration (cod. 0897)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student gains ability to effectively navigate cultural differences in the international workplace, connect with others across differences, and communicate in a way that builds trust and inspires people from diverse backgrounds to collaborate. At the end of the course the student is able to: • Apply conceptual frameworks to systematically understand the cross-cultural contexts of international business, and theoretical concepts relating to culture, differences, and inclusion; • Demonstrate understanding of culture and cultural differences in the workplace, identify and develop the competencies of an effective global manager, demonstrate cultural sensitivity and emotional intelligence in business and the workplace; • Build connection with others across differences in a way that is comfortable, authentic, and compelling; • Develop and deliver evocative stories that inform and inspire; • Communicate his/her value and contributions to others with confidence and to maintain an inspiring presence in culturally diverse settings; • Understand and leverage the nonverbal aspects of communication for more effective relationship building.

Course contents

Course overview

This course aims to develop cultural intelligence by providing knowledge that would help students thrive in a culturally diverse world, and transform such diversity into a source of value, in the best interests of all those involved.

Building on the insights coming from different disciplines, including psychology, anthropology and sociology, students will develop a deeper understanding of the role of culture - and multiple cultures - in management and organizations. They will build awareness regarding the potential benefits and obstacles to effective cross-cultural communication and engage in a critical approach to explore how cultural differences can impact leadership, group effectiveness and negotiations.

Topics will include:

  • The concept of culture and its main constituents
  • The different tools for comparing relative differences across cultures
  • Intercultural interactions and the related concepts, including intercultural competence and cultural intelligence
  • Examining negotiations across cultures, presenting dilemmas, culturally responsive strategies and tactics
  • Emic and etic perspectives and their application to the management of humanitarian aids
  • Critical analysis of the diversity markers and the related power implications
  • Different perspectives on diversity and their impact on individual and group functioning


Pedagogical objectives

The emphasis in this course is placed on helping students develop and reflect upon their own approach to manage across cultures, to better understand themselves and others in the process.

Consistently with this focus, the pedagogical objectives include:

  • Experience the process: being part of a culturally diverse group, students will work side-by-side with their colleagues throughout the group discussions, simulations and role games. By doing so, they will benefit from sharing knowledge of international experiences with their peers.
  • Explore different perspectives and angles on the same topics: students will be confronted with different views on the same issue. They will be asked to discuss the ethical dilemmas and social responsibilities of companies handling different cultures.
  • Explore different approaches and strategies: students will be presented with different approaches to handle cross-cultural situations, so they can opt for those that are best suited under specific circumstances.



To prepare for the exam, students should use the following resources provided on Virtuale:

  • Reading package provided by the teacher, with teaching notes and research articles
  • Case study package

Additionally, to support their study, students may consider purchasing the following books:

  • Hofstede, Geert, 2003 Cultures and Organisations, Software of the Mind, Profile Books
  • Meyer, Erin, 2016 The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done Across Cultures, PublicAffairs
  • Mahadevan, Jasmin, 2017 A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Cross-Cultural Management, Sage


Teaching methods

Target audience

The course should appeal to curious individuals interested in learning more about their and others' behaviors in cross-cultural settings, and who are open to different perspectives on the topic. Students who would like to work for international companies or wish to prepare themselves to spend some time abroad could get valuable insights from this course. Those who would like to work in consulting, sales and human resource management will particularly benefit from its contents.

This course is firmly based on active participation by all students. Hence, everyone is expected to take part and contribute to class discussions. Students will be embedded in a cross-cultural learning environment; therefore, learning will also come from discussing insights, concepts and points of view with their peers.

Some of these discussions will require the preliminary reading of the material provided by the teacher. On these occasions, everyone must come to the class having read the required material beforehand to be ready for discussing it with the class.


Teaching approach

The class will be interactive, and it will integrate the following different methods:

  • Traditional lectures by the instructor
  • Guest lectures by industry experts
  • Case discussions and student case presentations
  • Analysis of academic research and its connection with real-world examples
  • Simulations and role games

Assessment methods

Examination and grading criteria

The examination includes three components, all contributing to the final grade with a relative weight indicated by the percentages into the brackets:

  • Active participation in the class activities, such as guest lectures, group discussions and role game (40%)
  • Case analysis and discussion (10%)
  • Oral exam (50%)


Exam (and re-exam)

The written exam lasts 2 hours. It consists of 5 closed questions and 3 essay, open questions that are focused on understanding if one has reached the intended learning objectives.


Case analysis and discussion

The case will verge on analyzing a real-world company implementing a new policy to compose a culturally diverse workforce. The discussion of the case aims to strengthen students' understanding of the managerial challenges of handling differences, and critically examine the actions that may support or undermine fair treatment and inclusion.


Requirements for non-attendants

Although being valued and highly recommended, attendance is not compulsory. However, those who cannot attend the case analysis and discussion will be asked to deliver a complementary assignment. This assignment consists of a reflection on the case material to be developed according to the teacher's guidelines.

Office hours

See the website of Claudia Manca