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A Social Psychological Perspective on the Perceptions of Cultural Differences

  • Katiuscia VaccariniEmail author
  • Francesca SpigarelliEmail author
  • Ernesto TavolettiEmail author
  • Christoph LattemannEmail author
Chapter
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Abstract

Building on social psychology and international business literature, this chapter aims at raising managers’ awareness on the opportunity to capitalize on cultural differences in cross-cultural business contexts. This work is based on survey data and interviews to European managers investing in China through FDI in the environmental industry. First, this work investigates managers’ perceptions of culture within the multidimensional concept of psychic distance, which is a 12 dimension-based construct. Second, it explores what culture stands for our managers following our findings, which show the relevance of the cultural dimension over the others. Third, we propose and illustrate the sociocognitive value of an intercultural laboratory as a potential “structured business practice” addressed to those early-stage managers who are about to approach the firms’ host country. The failing ethnocentric view is a common perspective adopted by managers in cross-cultural business settings. Therefore, the idea behind this chapter is to help international managers overcome this view and leverage on an inter-individual and collective construction of knowledge, stimulated by the intercultural laboratory activities based on group work. The focus is on “opportunities”—rather than “distances”—generated by cultural diversities. Next to this, enhancing the “dialogue” between different cultures as well as different research areas is a key approach in cross-cultural business settings, not only for managers having different cultural backgrounds but also for scholars belonging to different discipline areas of research.

Keywords

Social psychology International business Cultural differences Cultural diversity European investment to China FDI Environmental industry Managers’ perceptions Managers’ awareness Psychic distance dimensions Cross-cultural business settings Sociocognity value Intercultural laboratory 

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Free University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  2. 2.University of MacerataMacerataItaly
  3. 3.University of MacerataMacerataItaly
  4. 4.Jacobs UniversityBremenGermany

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