Intercultural interactions in multinational subsidiaries: Employee accounts of “the dark side” and “the bright side” of intercultural contacts

Małgorzata Rozkwitalska , Michał Chmielecki , Sylwia Przytuła , Łukasz Sułkowski , Beata Basińska


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to show how individuals perceive the quality of nterculturalinteractions at work in multinational subsidiaries and to address the question of what actually prevails intheir accounts, i.e., “the dark side” or “the bright side.” Design/methodology/approach – The authors report the findings from five subsidiaries located in Poland and interviews with 68 employees of these companies. Findings – The “bright side” dominated the interviewees’ accounts. The phenomenon of high social identity complexity or common in-group identity can help explain the findings. The results also shed some new light on the associations between the context of subsidiaries and the perception of the quality of intercultural interactions. Research limitations/implications – The paper contributes to the literature on cultural diversity and intercultural interactions in multinational subsidiaries. As the “bright side” of interactions was emphasized in the interviews, it particularly supports positive cross-cultural scholarship studies. Yet the explorative research does not allow for a broader generalization of the results. Practical implications – Managers of multinational corporations (MNCs) should do the following: shape the context of MNCs to influence the dynamics of intercultural interactions and the way they are seen by their employees; emphasize common in-group identity to help their employees to adopt more favorable attitudes toward intercultural interactions; look for individuals with multicultural identity who display more positive approaches to intercultural contacts; place emphasis on recruiting individuals fluent in the MNC’s functional language; offer language training for the staff; and recruit employees with significant needs for development who will perceive more opportunities in intercultural contacts. Social implications – The research demonstrates that the multicultural workplace of MNCs may be recognized by employees as activating the positive potential of the individuals and organizations that make up a society. Originality/value – The accounts of intercultural interactions are analyzed to illuminate some significant foundations of how individuals perceive such interactions. The study provides a qualitative lens and highlights the positive approach to intercultural interactions. It may redress the imbalance in prior research and satisfy the need for positive cross-cultural scholarship
Author Małgorzata Rozkwitalska - WSB University in Gdańsk
Małgorzata Rozkwitalska,,
, Michał Chmielecki - SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS)
Michał Chmielecki,,
, Sylwia Przytuła (MISaF / IOaM / KZK)
Sylwia Przytuła,,
- Katedra Zarządzania Kadrami
, Łukasz Sułkowski - Jagiellonian University (UJ)
Łukasz Sułkowski,,
, Beata Basińska - Gdańsk University of Technology (PG)
Beata Basińska,,
Journal seriesBaltic Journal of Management, ISSN 1746-5265, (A 15 pkt)
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets1
Keywords in EnglishCross-cultural management, Qualitative research, Cultural barriers, Multinational subsidiaries, Positive cross-cultural scholarship research
ASJC Classification1405 Management of Technology and Innovation; 1406 Marketing; 1407 Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management; 1408 Strategy and Management; 1403 Business and International Management
Languageen angielski
Rozkwitalska_Chmielecki_Przytula_Sulkowski_Basinska_Intercultural_interactions2017.pdf 270,19 KB
Score (nominal)15
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 1; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 0.758; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 1.149 (2) - 2017=1.103 (5)
Citation count*8 (2020-01-12)
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.