How is regionality reflected in family businesses in German-speaking countries? What makes these companies special? Do they exhibit a special corporate culture? In order to answer these questions, Prof. Dr. Christoph Barmeyer (Chair of Intercultural Communication) and Prof. Dr. Julia Ricart Brede (Chair of German as a Second Language / German as a Foreign Language) are conducting a research project with family businesses in German speaking countries (esp. Germany and Austria).
The basic idea of the project is to trace the construct of identity of the German-speaking area in the sense of a so-called "Modern German" and to make visible and reflect commonalities, but also regional differences.
Methodically, the project is realized in the form of qualitative company case studies. The initial focus is on clothing and brewing industries. Interviews have already been conducted with the executives of the companies Auzinger (traditional clothing), Vaude (outdoor clothing and equipment) and Trigema (sportswear) as well as with the Traunsteiner Hofbräuhaus (brewery). Further interviews are planned. The idea for the research project goes back to a research atelier of the Faculty of Humanities at the university of Passau; the project was assisted by Clara Willmann as a student assistant.
Professor Christoph Barmeyer participated as a presenter and discussant in the panel (11.12.2020) and workshop (12.12.2020) "Dealing with the Pandemic: Learnings across Nations from Culturally Informed Leadership", organised by Professors Nancy Adler, McGill University, and Sonja Sackmann, Universität der Bundeswehr, as part of the international online EIBA conference. Intercultural Scholars from different countries reported on the situation and measures in their countries: Bangladesh (Marufa Akter Mimi), Denmark and Sweden (Anne-Marie Søderberg), Germany (Christoph Barmeyer), France (Cordula Barzantny), United Kingdom (Fiona Moore), Italy (Giovanna Magnani), Austria (Christof Miska), Rwanda (Jeremy Solomons), Spain (Sebastian Reiche), Switzerland (Sonja Sackmann), Turkey (Justin Marcus) and USA (Nancy J. Adler). In the discussions it became apparent how differently (successfully) countries deal with the pandemic on an institutional as well as on a cultural level (values and social practices). Topics discussed were political leadership (democratic versus autocratic); freedom (health versus economy, role of data protection); trust in political systems, politicians, scientists, technical progress (vaccines); global access to vaccines (humanism), intercultural learning and social good practices; social entrepreneurs as global intercultural bridge builders. The screenshot shows most of the discussants.
Together with Professor Sylvie Chevrier (Université Gustave Eiffel, Paris) and Professor Mette Zølner (University of Aarhus), Professor Christoph Barmeyer headed the section "Culturally sensitive research in organisations" in the context of the EURAM (European Academy of Management) online conference. The conference took place from 4 - 6 December 2020 on the topic "Exploring the Future of Management".
This section was dedicated to exploring the complex role of cultures in organisations using qualitative methods, as for example, language and intercultural relations in working environments, international transfer and recontextualisation or the interaction of cultures and power relations in different organisations. The twelve article-based lectures dealt with a wide range of topics such as phenomenological and interpretative research approaches, cultural hybridization tendencies in multinational organisations and intercultural simulations in university teaching.
As in previous years, this section again allowed for a constructive exchange of knowledge among the participants, who came from different countries and also brought together interdisciplinary perspectives of research.
Professor Barmeyer also took part in a symposium on 5 December 2020 on the topic of "Understanding Migration. Perspectives, Concepts, Methods" and presented a case study of a migrant entrepreneur with reference to biculturalism.
On November 12 and 13, 2020, Professor Barmeyer and the PhD candidates Madeleine Bausch and Sina Grosskopf were virtually represented at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. In the evening of November 12, they gave three lectures on the topic of Constructive Intercultural Management as part of the weekly Linguistics Circle: Professor Barmeyer on intercultural negotiation in a German-French organization, Madeleine Bausch on the transfer of quality management practices between Germany and Brazil, and Sina Grosskopf on biculturalism as a resource for organizations. After the individual presentations there was time for discussion and a lively exchange about interculturality with the participants.
On the second day, twenty-five workshop participants were guided through the world of online experiments as teaching and learning forms in intercultural communication. The workshop focused on the question of how online experiments can be used for intercultural training. This was impressively demonstrated using the example of an experiment on ethical dilemmas. Here, too, there was a lively discussion, so that the workshop was an enrichment for both the participants and the three trainers.
As every year, Madeleine Bausch and Professor Christoph Barmeyer taught two courses ("Introduction to Intercultural Communication" and "Intercultural Management") in the master’s program "Intercultural Management" at the Turkish-German University in Istanbul. Due to the corona pandemic, teaching took place in digital space. Thanks to lively discussions and group work on interculturality in organizations, a high level of interactivity could be achieved, despite the online format. As in previous years, the courses included presentations by guest speakers: Clemens Blanke, Marketing Manager of the company UZAY KIMYA SAN presented intercultural challenges in international sales of cleaning products and addressed the topic of intercultural collaboration in a Turkish family business. Claudia Salvischiani, working at the management consultancy Beyond Scaling, inspired the students with a lecture about career and self-development. The screencast shows the students of the current year.
Within the context of the project seminar "Interculturality in the context of flight migration", another successful project called "Solidarity Bread" has been launched. Under the theoretical premises of the contact hypothesis and intercultural communication theories, practical projects are implemented each semester to promote intercultural exchange between Germans and refugees. One of these projects is "Solidarity Bread", which aims to promote intercultural exchange and voluntary work with refugees by baking and sharing bread together. Bread is baked together at various meetings and donated to those in need. A part of it is eaten together and thus an exchange is promoted in a cosy atmosphere. A first, very successful meeting took place in March. You can find more information here and in the newspaper report of the PNP.
Dr. Martina Maletzky gave a keynote speech at the first digital career event "Regional meets International" at the University of Passau on July 3, 2020, providing food for thought on how to deal positively with diversity in companies. In addition to reasons for hiring ethnic minorities and dealing constructively with diversity in companies, she also addressed aspects of German culture that can be interpreted both positively and negatively. In Germany, for example, factual and rule-based orientation, direct communication and a high degree of self-control are considered important aspects of working life, but they are also associated with weaknesses. For example, exaggerated objectivity can lead to a sober working atmosphere and emphasized correctness can be associated with stiffness. Here, opposing cultural standards can have a complementary effect and lead to a positive compromise. For example, an employee from an Arab culture may appear more warm-hearted and personal, which can be a clear advantage in many fields of work (e.g. in the service sector). In the spirit of Constructive Intercultural Management, which is a concern of the Chair of Intercultural Communication, Dr. Maletzky emphasized that it is important to promote positive perceptions in everyday business life in order to create synergy effects.
Since May 15, 2020, Professor Christoph Barmeyer has been a member of the professorial board of the PhD program "Imprenditorialità ed Innovazione" (Entrepreneurship and Innovation) at the Parthenope University of Naples, Italy.
The PhD program, which involves five scientific disciplines and over 30 professors, deals with all processes involved in the creation and development of new companies and the management of innovation projects. Research topics include technology start-ups, academic and business spin-offs, social and cultural entrepreneurship, but also main types of innovation such as technology push and demand-pull innovations, innovations related to the business model of companies, innovations related to organizational models or design driven innovation. The PhD program offers courses and seminar activities including international research initiatives at Italian and foreign universities or research institutes.
Founded in 1919, Parthenope University, where 15,000 students are enrolled, contributes to the development of knowledge through innovative, international and multidisciplinary research. For further information on doctoral training, click here.
Between 9th and 14th of March 2020, co-authors Professor Christoph Barmeyer and Madeleine Bausch met with Professor Ulrike Mayrhofer in Nice at the IAE Nice, University of Côte d'Azur, to work on the English version of the textbook "Constructive Intercultural Management", which will be published by Edward Elgar in 2021.
In addition to an intensive week of work, Professor Barmeyer and Madeleine Bausch gave presentations on 12 March 2020 to IAE colleagues on the topics "Constructive Intercultural Management. Conceptualization, applications and future directions" and "The transfer of quality management practices from German MNC to Brazil". We would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Ulrike Mayrhofer and the IAE Nice for the warm welcome and the catering programme, as well as BayFrance for supporting the German-French project.
Sina Grosskopf has been an elected council member of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management (IACCM) since March 2020. The IACCM was founded at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration to create a network of researchers and practitioners interested in intercultural issues. The Council makes the basic decisions on the activities of the Association, organizes the annual conferences and is basically responsible for the scientific development of the research community. More information can be found here.
Maria Wilhelm, currently working at the Transfer Centre of the University of Passau, has received the "Prix d'Excellence" of the Government of Québec for her Master's thesis at the annual conference of the Society for Canadian Studies (GKS) on 14.2.2020. The master's thesis, written as part of a research project by Professor Christoph Barmeyer and Professor Allain Joly (HEC Montreal), addresses the role of incubators in creative cities and compares the innovation ecosystems of Munich and Montreal. Based on 29 qualitative interviews with a wide range of actors and further case study material, it shows that incubators in both cities contribute significantly to the networking of different actors, the creation of a common understanding and the bundling of success factors. Furthermore, Munich presented itself as a technical-innovative city, characterised by top-down processes, and Montreal as a technological-creative city with a distinct and rather unstructured creative class.
The Prix d'Excellence is awarded annually and honours outstanding academic work related to Quebec. In addition to Ms Wilhelm, another thesis by Jana Nürnberger of the University of Regensburg was awarded.
The photo shows (from left) Dr Benedikt Miklos, Jana Nürnberger, Maria Wilhelm
Upon the invitation of Dr. Barbara Covarrubias Venegas, General Secretary of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management (IACCM), the research assistant Sina Grosskopf represented Professor Barmeyer in Vienna on January 31 and February 1, 2020. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss future activities and positioning of the Association. Furthermore, conferences were planned in Seville in October 2020 and in Malta in 2021. The Association was founded in 1997 to create a network for and by researchers and practitioners from various fields interested in intercultural issues. Present on the two days were the President of the Association Prof. Chiara Cannavale (Università degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope/Italy), Vice-President Prof. Slawomir Magala (Rotterdam School of Management/Netherlands), Secretary General Dr. Barbara Covarrubias Venegas (Visiting Professor University of Valencia/Spain), as well as the regular council members Dr. Carolin Debray (University of Warwick/ Great Britain) and Dr. Henriett Primecz (Corvinus University Budapest/ Hungary). In addition to Sina Grosskopf, Grant Douglas from France (IÉSEG School of Management) and Senem Yazici from Austria (WU Vienna) were also present. After the successful conference participation of the chair team in Paris 2019, it is a great enrichment to participate in upcoming events of the IACCM. We are looking forward to the future cooperation!
On Tuesday, 21st of Janaury 2020, Dr. Martina Maletzky had the opportunity to interview Prof. Dr. Dr. Vertovec. He talks about his biography, his research and what inspired him to his research.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Steven Vertovec is the Founding Director of Max-Planck-Institute for the research on multi-religional and multi-ethnic societies in Göttingen and in addition, is currently working as Honorary Joint Professor of Sociology and Ethnology, University of Göttingen. For more information on the VHB project have a look at our VHB Project Page.
At the invitation of Sylvie Chevrier, Professor of Human Resource Management at the Université Gustave Eiffel, Professor Barmeyer and research assistant Sina Großkopf were in Paris from 8-10 January 2020. The participated in the workshop "Enhancing the professional integration of migrants" which was a follow-up meeting to the working sessions with colleagues from all over Europe in September 2018 and December 2018. In addition to the scientific exchange, practice-oriented presentations by Aurore and Wintegreat, organisations dealing with the professional integration of migrants, took place. The result of the three-day research stay is the preparation of an application concept for further implementation. With well-known scientists from France (Jean-Pierre Segal, Sylvie Chevrier and Aurelie-Sara Cognat), Denmark (Mette Zølner), Hungary (Henriett Primecz), Great Britain (Fiona Moore and Peter Lugosi), Switzerland (Eric Davoine) and Italy (Maria Margherita Mattioda and Damiano Cortese) interesting discussions were carried out and the basis for a research group to be continued was established.
The photo shows the research group of scientists and representatives of practice 2020
As part of the Bachelor lecture Introduction to Intercultural Communication and Intercultural Management (8.01.2020) Prof. Dr. Barmeyer and Sina Grosskopf conducted a group interview with three Syrians living in Passau: Rama Suleiman, Anas Alhashmi and Maher Qawas. The interview referred to intercultural challenges in Germany and how to deal with them. This included conscious reflection on one's own socialization in two different cultural systems, the Syrian and the German. Such individuals can be described as bicultural, i.e. they are shaped by different cultural and linguistic systems that unite them in their personality. What is particularly interesting here is that by combining the two cultures, they display a unique intercultural competence. They can use this to build bridges in different situations. They then adopt different perspectives and exhibit characteristics such as flexibility, openness, empathy or tolerance of ambiguity.