Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 15, November 2007

Jakob Lauring

Obstacles to Innovative Interaction: Communication Management in Culturally Diverse Organizations


Cultural diversity has often been described as yielding competitive advantages like, for example, innovation resulting from the combination of different cultural perspectives. However, there are also substantial organizational problems related to managing cultural diversity, which need to be overcome in order for diversity to be a useful asset. Based on an empirical study of Danish multicultural companies, this article argues that the understanding of communication processes may reveal important aspects about the obstacles of managing cultural diversity. The main argument is that language-use is linked to social processes that can create boundary creation or social fragmentation within multicultural organizations.

Key words: cultural diversity, multicultural organizations, innovative interaction, innovative thinking.

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