Senate Votes to Ban Imports of Syrian Art and Antiquities – The New York Times

As the organization Saving Antiquities for Everyone recently commented, “On Wednesday, the US Senate voted on banning the import of all art and artifacts from Syria, in an attempt to curb the looting and trafficking of antiquities of illicit objects by the Islamic State, and other armed groups. The vote comes on the heels of the task force’s report titled ‪#‎CultureUnderThreat‬ which “urged the White House to appoint a senior director to coordinate the government’s actions against blood antiquities and to increase resources for stricter enforcements by customs officials, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service.””

via Senate Votes to Ban Imports of Syrian Art and Antiquities – The New York Times, written by Steven Lee Myers

 

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The ancient Temple of Bel in Palmyra, Syria, was almost completely demolished by the Islamic State in August 2015. / Bryan Denton for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Wednesday to ban the import of virtually all ancient art and artifacts from Syria to discourage the looting and trafficking of illicit objects by the Islamic State and other armed groups.

The Senate voted by unanimous consent, reflecting broad bipartisan support, but it did so after months of delay and debate over the legislation, which the House of Representatives passed last year. The bill’s provisions would fulfill commitments the United States supported at the United Nations Security Council more than a year ago to try to choke off the trade of so-called blood antiquities that the Islamic State, the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda and other groups use to help finance their military operations in Syria and Iraq.

The Senate’s action, which closed a loophole in American law, came on the day that a task force of prominent advocacy organizations, museums and universities called on the Obama administration to take far more aggressive steps — including military operations — to halt the destruction and looting of cultural sites in Iraq and Syria.

In addition to calling on Congress to pass the legislation the Senate voted on, the task force’s report, titled “#CultureUnderThreat,” urged the White House to appoint a senior director to coordinate the government’s actions against blood antiquities and to increase resources for stricter enforcements by customs officials, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

“The U.S. response to cultural racketeering is currently decentralized and implemented on an ad hoc basis, with several agencies involved but no single agency coordinating the efforts,” the report said.

It went on to lament the slowness of enacting provisions that the United Nations Security Council had called for in February 2015. “The lack of action has kept the United States market open to the import of Syrian antiquities, making it a potential source of funding for extremist organizations,” the report said.

The report was coordinated by the Antiquities Coalition, the Asia Society and the Middle East Institute and it reflected broad frustration at the inability of the United States and other governments around the world to stanch the rapacious looting that has occurred since Syria’s civil war began in 2011.

The rise of the Islamic State in parts of Syria and Iraq has exposed dozens of ancient sites to destruction and looting. Although only some looted objects have surfaced so far — most have been seized by customs officials — experts say they believe that many have already made their way to markets in Europe and beyond using well-established criminal trafficking routes.

Russia’s representative at the United Nations, Vitaly I. Churkin, last month singled out the trafficking of objects through Turkey, whose relations with Moscow have been badly strained by Russia’s intervention in Syria. In a letter to the Security Council, Mr. Churkin cited specific companies, shops and websites in Turkey used by smugglers to get items from Syria’s war zones onto the world’s markets.

The United States, as the task force’s report noted, accounts for 43 percent of the global art market, making it a potential leader in demand for illicit imports.

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Almost half of natural World Heritage sites under severe threat, says WWF – CSMonitor.com

As the Global Heritage Fund commented, “A new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) states that more than 11 million people – more than the population of Portugal – and over half of our natural World Heritage Sites are in danger, with mining and logging at the top of the threat factors. Millions of people rely on these natural resource for sustenance, survival, shelter and medicine; 90% of natural World Heritage sites provide jobs and benefits that extend far beyond their boundaries. The report emphasizes the inherent link between heritage sites and their contribution to both economic and social development, as well as global failures to protect them. “The challenges to World Heritage conservation, combined with the effects of climate change, are unprecedented in human history,” according to an official UNESCO statement.”

We need not only to protect these kinds of places for their own sake, but also to recognize the deep interrelationship between humanity and the rest of environment, making industrialization more sustainable and our heritage sites more adaptable.

via Almost half of natural World Heritage sites under severe threat, says WWF – CSMonitor.com, written by Story Hinkley

“Natural World Heritage sites, from the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef to the Swiss Alps, provide local communities with natural resources and jobs.”

Peter Ford/ The Christian Science Monitor: A meadow outside Binzhongluo on the Nu River in Southern China.  The area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is said to be perhaps the most biologically diverse temperate region on earth.

Are economic growth and environmental conservation mutually exclusive?

Not at all, says a new report on United Nations World Heritage sites commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). On the contrary, healthy environments often boost local economies, meaning that industrial expansion in natural heritage sites is a threat to those who live there, too.

World Heritage sites numbering 229 have been designated in 96 countries because UNESCO believes their “outstanding universal value” should belong to all people in the world, from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to Machu Picchu in Peru. But WWF’s report, released Tuesday, estimates that almost half of these sites are threatened by industrial activities such as construction, mining, oil and gas exploration, illegal logging, or overfishing.

Eleven million people live within these 229 sites, interlinking the livelihoods as well as food and water sources with the area’s preservation. More than 90 percent of natural World Heritage sites provide jobs and two-thirds of the sites are important sources of fresh water.

“The well-being of communities is being put at risk by harmful industrial activities that degrade the environment, and that compromise the ability of these places to provide economic and non-economic benefits that are so fundamental to local populations as well as to our global community,” Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, writes in the report, calling for governments and businesses to “fulfill their commitments” to the World Heritage sites.

“Conserving the environment does not hurt economic opportunities, it allows us to build sustainably on these irreplaceable assets,” Roberto Troya, WWF’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, says in a press release. Tourism, recreational activities, and exports that rely on the environment all boost local communities.

And while World Heritage sites make up only 0.5 percent of the Earth’s surface, they can offer a model for partnership between economic and environmental goals around the world.

In the wetlands of Ichkeul National Park in Tunisia, for example, a sustainable management plan has saved bird populations and helped double the number of tourists coming to birdwatch, hike, and camel trek with local guides. A new buffer zone around Chitwan National Park in Nepal has brought the community back on board, committing half of tourism revenue to local development, and returning people’s vital rights to sustainably source wood and thatch inside the park. And Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines has ramped up their management of local fisheries, leading first to increased fish stocks and later to increased tourism and incomes.

“We need to wake up to the fact that people don’t just protect these sites, these sites protect people,” Mr. Lambertini says in a press release.

The report proposes five principles for promoting the mutual well-being of all Heritage Sites’ inhabitants: assessing the sites’ direct and indirect value; long-term thinking; local stakeholders; informed, transparent policymaking; and enforcement.

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Iraq’s Artifacts of Exile « LobeLog

The looting and destruction of ancient artifacts and sites in Iraq over the last few decades, with a focus on the thefts from the Baghdad Museum, are infamous touchstones of the modern cause of heritage preservation – thousands of works with incalculable value for understanding human history have been lost or destroyed, with only half of the items famously stolen from the Baghdad Museum ever recovered.  This great loss, occurring in the chaos of war, has become an iconic event in the heritage field due to how rapidly and with how much publicity the thefts occurred, but more importantly due to how many “firsts” of human artistic achievement and technology fell victim to the attacks.  As a result, resources and attention have since been given to Iraq when possible for recollecting, conserving, protecting, or reconstructing the lost and destroyed works.  

In the case of works of heritage threatened by war or natural disaster, sometimes the only was to preserve them in the long run is to document them and recreate them for purposes of display, education, study and defiance.  As this article demonstrates, these reconstructions may even take the form of art projects meant to evoke the lost works, rather than mimic them exactly, all while making new statements about the significance of these ancient cultures in this globalized age.  These works can be displayed in museums or galleries elsewhere in the world, rather than returned to the countries of the artifacts’ origins, as ambassadors for the lost lives and histories affected by war and bigotry.

via Iraq’s Artifacts of Exile « LobeLog

lion

Published on April 6th, 2016 | by John Feffer

In the initial aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, looters swept through the National Museum in Baghdad and carted off 15,000 items of incalculable value. Some of these items were destroyed in the attempt to spirit them away. Some disappeared into the vortex of the underground art market. Only half of the items were eventually recovered.

In February 2015, after a dozen years in limbo, Iraq’s National Museum reopened. But it was a bittersweet reopening, and not only because of the thousands of missing treasures. That February, Islamic State (ISIS or IS) militants recorded themselves smashing priceless objects in the central museum in Mosul, a city in northern Iraq that IS had occupied since June 2014. U.S. troops had largely left the country, and Washington had declared the war over. But the destruction of Iraq—its heritage and its people—was still ongoing.

Michael Rakowitz is involved in a massive reclamation project. Since 2007, in a project called The invisible enemy should not exist, the Iraqi American artist has been recreating the lost treasures of Iraq. He and his studio assistants locate the description of the objects, along with their dimensions and sometimes a photograph, on the Interpol or Oriental Institute of Chicago websites, which have been set up to deter antiquity dealers from buying looted artifacts. Then they set to work.

“To date, we’ve reconstructed 500 of the 8,000 objects,” Rakowitz says. “It’s potentially a project that will outlive me and my studio.” In addition to the objects looted from the National Museum, they’ve begun to reconstruct pieces that IS has destroyed in Mosul, Nineva, and Nimrod.

Rakowitz recently gave me a tour of an exhibit of these reconstructed objects at the George Mason University School of Art, which was part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Project. The largest piece on display is a brightly colored lion that stands about three feet tall.

“The Tell Harmal lion was destroyed,” Rakowitz says of the lion that once stood in the main temple of the Babylonian city of Shaduppum (today known as Tell Harmal) over 3,500 years ago. “Looters tried to take the head off the lion, and not knowing how fragile the terra cotta was, the entire head shattered beyond repair. We don’t just reconstruct the head but the entire lion: to give the viewer a sense of what that lion’s ghost might look like.”

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Our Natural History, Endangered – The New York Times

Whether it is anti-intellectualism, anti-science, the belief that that such places are boring and outdated, or the simple prioritization of donating to other organizations over museums, there are numerous factors that are turning people – and critical funding – away from natural history collections.  However, these collections and the museums that curate them have long been centers of learning about our planet and the diversity of life it sustains.  As they have served as sources of data and homes to laboratories important to the further development of our scientific understanding of this world, many of these collections have also inspired visitors, young and old, with tangible and fascinating examples of scientific fields ranging from biology to geology, paleontology to biomechanical avionics.  And practically speaking, they do more than provide value through education and research – they also tend to bring in money through tourism, which can help both the museums and the communities around them.  

All of these are reasons to protect and maintain our natural history collections, and yet many of them seem under attack.  So what can these museums do to remain respected, funded, and attended in the cultural shifts of the 21 century?

via Our Natural History, Endangered – The New York Times, written by Richard Conniff

The Spectrum of Life, at the American Museum of Natural History, an evolutionary trip through the amazing diversity of life on Earth. CreditMatthew Pillbury/Benrubi Gallery 

When people talk about natural history museums, they almost always roll out the well-worn descriptive “dusty,” to the great exasperation of a curator I know. Maybe he’s annoyed because he’s spent large sums of his museum’s money building decidedly un-dusty climate-controlled storage sites, and the word implies neglect. (“Let me know,” the curator advises by email, “if you want to hear me rant for an hour or so on this topic.”)

Worse, this rumored dustiness reinforces the widespread notion that natural history museums are about the past — just a place to display bugs and brontosaurs. Visitors may go there to be entertained, or even awe-struck, but they are often completely unaware that curators behind the scenes are conducting research into climate change, species extinction and other pressing concerns of our day. That lack of awareness is one reason these museums are now routinely being pushed to the brink. Even the National Science Foundation, long a stalwart of federal support for these museums, announced this month that it was suspending funding for natural history collections as it conducts a yearlong budget review.

It gets worse: A new Republican governor last year shut down the renowned Illinois State Museum, ostensibly to save the state $4.8 million a year. The museum pointed out that this would actually cost $33 million a year in lost tourism revenue and an untold amount in grants. But the closing went through, endangering a trove of 10 million artifacts, from mastodon bones to Native American tools, collected over 138 years, and now just languishing in the shuttered building. Eric Grimm, the museum’s director of science, characterized it as an act of “political corruption and malevolent anti-intellectualism.”

Other museums have survived by shifting their focus from research to something like entertainment. A few years ago, in the Netherlands, which has a rich tradition of scientific collecting, three universities decided to give up their natural history collections. They’re now combined in a single location, at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, and the public displays there struck me on a recent visit as a sort of “Animal Planet” grab bag, with cutout figures of a Dutch version of Steve Irwin steering visitors, with cartoon-balloon commentary.

The pandering can be insidious, too. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, which treats visitors to a virtual ride down a hydraulic fracturing well, recently made headlines for avoiding explicit references to climate change. Other museums omit scientific information on evolution. “We don’t need people to come in here and reject us,” Carolyn Sumners, a vice president at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, explained to The Dallas Morning News.

Even the best natural history museums have been obliged to reduce their scientific staff in the face of government cutbacks and the decline in donations following the 2008 economic crash. They still have their collections, and their public still comes through the door. But they no longer employ enough scientists to interpret those collections adequately for visitors or the world at large. Hence the journal Nature last year characterized natural history collections as “the endangered dead.”

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9 Things Museums Can Do To Improve The Way We Experience Art

Sustainability for museums means staying relevant to the changing needs and expectations of target audiences as culture and technology shift over time.  It also means working to increase accessibility and engagement for people who have previously not felt welcome in the museum environment.  Based on a report recently released by the Center for the Future of Museums, this article highlights some fundamental techniques on which museums can focus in order to continue staying relevant and increasing the range of people likely to spend time in their institution.

via 9 Things Museums Can Do To Improve The Way We Experience Art from the Huffington Post, written by Katherine Brooks

GUYLAIN DOYLE VIA GETTY IMAGES

 

Let’s explore the ways museums can prepare for the future.

What will an art museum look like in 10 years? How about 100 years? If history is our example, it won’t change all that much, sticking to the tried and true structure of paintings on walls, sculptures on pedestals, visitors herded through halls at distinct times under distinct rules.

While the general layout and purpose of museums like the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art haven’t changed radically, they have made small and sometimes effective alterations since their creations over a century ago. They’ve begun catering less to the already artistically-inclined and more to the masses of people eager to learn about art and cultures they’ve never encountered. They’ve incorporated new technologies and managed their collections in the face of changing communities. But how are they preparing themselves, now, for what the future has to bring?

The Center for the Future of Museums (CFM), part of the American Alliance of Museums, released the 2016 edition of TrendsWatch earlier this month, an annual report highlighting the various trends museums should take into account as they move deeper into the 21st century. For this year’s report, the recommendations revolve around identity and how museums help shape and interpret the ways we see and define ourselves. From signage to virtual reality technology to co-working spaces, the CFM lays out a potential future for museums who wish to adapt to our changing times and selves.

Behold, nine things museums can do to improve the way we experience art:

MIZANUR RAHMAN VIA GETTY IMAGES
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Update on my Research Project and the Purpose of this Blog

I am currently a fifth-year graduate student in Cornell’s Ph.D. program in the History of Art, Archaeology and Visual Studies, and am in the early stages of my dissertation research.  This blog is part of a long-term project contributing to the research I do in preparation for my dissertation, in which I intend to focus on the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City.

I will be exploring the controversies over the control of the site since 2001, with particular attention to the fact that a private foundation has maintained the site since the 9/11 attacks, in contrast to the National Park Service (NPS) control over other related sites and memorials.  I intend to look into the social, legal and economic differences that have resulted from NPS versus private control over this urban landscape of loss, commemoration, and healing, and how those differences have affected what has happened to the site.  Importantly, I am curious about how these varying approaches to control have affected the determination of which stakeholders’ stories of significance about the site have been incorporated into the designs for the Memorial and Museum.  I will be combining studies of preservation law, opportunities for community engagement, the active production of heritage narratives, the creation and selection of memory, the relationship between rehearsals of absence/loss and the process of using heritage narratives for healing, negotiating the complications of urban heritage sites, the intersections of private and public ownership of heritage sites and narratives in US law and culture, and how all of these factors manifest in the design of memorials and their associated museums.

Previously, my research had focused on World Heritage Sites and related policies for their curation and cultural resource management, particularly in terms of community involvement in the management and interpretation of sites, which followed earlier phases of research on sustainable tourism practices at cultural and heritage sites.  My goals for my dissertation project have clearly changed over time, during which period I did not keep up with posting on this blog; however, I intend to return to this project as a place to reflect on my research, and I am taking this blog in a new direction that will better reflect my current research plans.  As of this writing in May of 2015, these goals will still incorporate elements of sustainable practices, tourism, and the maintenance of archaeological sites that I had explored in the earlier incarnation of this blog, but will also focus more significantly on material specifically tied to the topic of my dissertation.

As I started this blog 2 years ago in response to a set of research projects that were the beginning of my in depth work in this field, a number of the posts on this site are from that time period, and reflect my focus from that time.  As they are still an informative part of my work, even with the shift in primary concentration for my research, I have decided to continue on the same blog site and leave those writings available here.  I also have a series of writings that I have worked on in the interim that I intend to add to this site as part of my work to update this to reflect my current progress.  As I do so, please feel free to comment or ask questions!  I would be happy to build a place of dialogue about this topic as I move forward with my research in this field.

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Returning to the blog

It has been a busy school year and I have unfortunately not posted here in quite some time. Soon, though, I intend to fix this by updating a number of sections about me and my work, and adding some new material that I have written in the last year on historic preservation law, the history of “heritage” as an idea tied to industrialization and the highly politicized nature of museums in the modern era, and the arguments for and against repatriation. My interests and framework have grown a lot over the last year and it will be good to address those developments in this space. I will also come back to a regular schedule of posting reflections on readings, news articles, and material from the start of my dissertation research. I’d like to use this as a platform for reflection, a collection of relevant topics in the news, and a touchstone in my research process over the coming years.

Also, I am currently at a conference on “Heritage and Healthy Societies” at UMass Amherst, and I am eager to write up some thoughts about what I’ve been learning here, so look out for that too! It’s been exciting to be surrounded by others thinking about the heritage field and how it ties in with the life of  communities outside the academy in some crucial ways, so I will definitely have material to think about and learn from based on the talks and conversations happening here.

Please check back soon to see what I add, and feel free to “follow” the blog and contribute comments!

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Review of “The Earthscan Reader on NGO Management”: The Role of NGOs in Sustainable Development and Heritage Management around the World

This text on NGO management is an edited collection of essays focusing on issues in the goals, efficacy, structure and administration of non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs), and is itself organized in a textbook-like fashion, with an apparent audience of people already immersed in NGOs.  As a result, it succeeds in incorporating both breadth and depth on the topic, but is at times rather dense in style.  Additionally, these essays mostly discuss patterns in NGO behavior and experiences, rather than focusing on individual case studies, which was surprising.  Overall, though, this book provides a thorough portrayal of many of the challenges that NGDOs have faced in recent years – some only in an implicit manner by way of the language and assumptions that authors use throughout their discussions of these organizations.  Many of these points, both those explicitly and implicitly addressed in the text, indicate that NGDOs often struggle to acquire or maintain their legitimacy in the areas in which they practice, but that their cultural contexts at home often easily lead to misplaced high expectations for the degree to which they can affect change in their areas of practice.

This is based on a great many factors, some of which I will address here.  To begin with, it is clear that the concept of NGOs as (usually) organizations that extend from wealthier and more stable societies in Europe and America into poorer areas of the world in order to provide aid money and services is an outgrowth of Christian ideals of charity work, complete with the benefits and contradictions that come with that history.  More specifically, NGOs work under the premise that it is necessary and right to work in these less privileged areas, distributing funds and resources in a manner highly reminiscent of alms-giving, along with other activities that had been carried out almost entirely by religious groups for centuries before the relatively recent growth of secularism in Europe and America.  By pointing out this assumption, I am not arguing that such charity work is inherently misguided at all times; however, I was struck by the fact that apparently more of the success stories alluded to throughout this text took place in other regions whose cultural history included a comparable structure for charitable activities run by comparable organizations (Catholic communities in Latin America and Muslim communities in India, for example), in contrast to the greater number of allusions to struggles for long-term success in regions with historically radically-different social and religious structures (such as some regions of Africa).

Although I nowhere saw the above correlation explicitly addressed in any one essay, this pattern made me wonder if there was a causal relationship between the greater ease with which these organizations found in-field support and built long-term bonds with local communities, on the one hand, and the possible pre-established expectation in those cultures that aid organizations are acceptable, useful and even welcome parts of society.  If so, then that would mean that NGDOs in those areas could increase their effectiveness by building on elements of shared cultural expectations.  In contrast, those in regions of the world that historically have a different approach to charity would need to significantly shift how they structure their activities and communicate with local powers and stakeholders in order to achieve greater acceptance by the relevant social groups, thereby likely increasing their level of success.  For example, in Hindu communities in India, where the conception of poverty as a karmically earned condition has created a common historical resistance to charity work on the scale and in the form that Euro-Americans conceive of it, NGOs would need to have a drastically different approach to convincing local authorities of the need to assist the poor than they would in other societies that encourage charity in their own right.

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Review of “Cross-Cultural Management” (Part 2): Implications for UNESCO, Sustainability and World Heritage

(This review is a continuing study of the text first analyzed here.)

In the second half of this book, David Thomas explores the primary responsibilities of managers and how they manifest in cross-cultural contexts, as well more specific challenges affecting the work of those involved in international organizations of various types.  By examining how the broad patterns of cultural behavior analyzed in the first section of Cross-Cultural Management interact with the expectations for successful management in contrasting cultural environments, Thomas is able to provide concrete examples that support his underlying premise that cross-cultural interactions in business can significantly benefit from greater awareness – or suffer from the lack thereof – of how certain behaviors are interpreted and valued in the cultures at play.

Elaborating on the processes involved in the expression of cultural standards in organizations on which he focused earlier in the book, the author uses criteria of comparison from the studies he had mentioned earlier on to break down some reasons why certain organizational structures and patterns of social interaction are more successful in certain world regions than in others.  Moreover, he ties all this in regularly with the challenges that managers of cross-cultural organizations face when seeking to effectively make decisions, communicate and negotiate, function as a leader, support group work, or carry out international assignments, etc., as he clearly believes that the paths by which managers can do these things depend on the degree to which they know about, respect and sometimes incorporate the preferred cultural systems of relevant employees, coworkers and supervisors.

There’s a lot of credible-seeming information in these chapters about what it takes to navigate the complexities of such an environment, with the effect of making me wonder how any one company manages to successfully do so, as a result of the extensive opportunities that could arise for insult or inefficiency from misunderstandings or contrasting assumptions about how to interact.  Given that around the world there are clearly a wide range of leadership styles that are valued, encouraged, or expected, along with varying levels and modes of superior/subordinate involvement, I would expect that the fact that UNESCO, for one, is primarily driven by European institutional models affects the efficacy of the organization when it tries to work with specific cultural groups across the globe to carry out its policies.

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Review of “Cross-Cultural Management” (Part. 1): The Effects of Cultural Assumptions on Heritage Management Practices

This review is of the first major section of the text Cross-Cultural Management: Essential Concepts, in which David C. Thomas addresses common assumptions about norms for social interaction that can affect interpersonal behavior in organizations, particularly on the management level.  The rest of the book, which will be the subject of my next response, focuses on specific challenges faced by managers in various roles, and how dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds can affect the success of leadership, negotiations, decision-making, work groups, structures of international organizations, and international assignments in cross-cultural associations.

This first section, in analyzing the fundamental issues that affect the above activities in any relevant organization, sets up the methodological and conceptual basis for the rest of the text, despite the fact that it doesn’t go into great depth with issues in management per se.  Overall, it presents the need for greater awareness among those dealing with colleagues, employees, managers, etc. of the sometimes quite opposed assumptions about such things as valued social behaviors, organizational structures and criteria for success that people from different cultures can bring to their business interactions, as well as the complexity involved in reaching understandings about these assumptions.

Usefully, Cross-Cultural Management includes sections on the then-current state of research into dominant patterns of difference and similarity for relevant value systems around the world.  The studies discussed are primarily those that have surveyed participants from a number of countries in order to identify and distinguish common criteria that Thomas, among others working on issues in cross-cultural management, believes managers can use to perhaps better assess how they should structure their expectations of work-related behavior in cross-cultural environments.  These criteria include valuations of individuality/collectivity, acceptance of hierarchical differences in power, desires for stability and harmony, emotional openness, in-group/out-group dynamics, egalitarianism, adaptability in favor of preserving one’s environment over one’s own desires, orientations towards the past, present or future, and sources of social status based on ascription or achievement, among others.

The studies that Thomas cites inherently tend to simplify complex social patterns into concise terms, creating stereotypes that could be useful guidelines for social expectations only if one also takes into account the fact that any given individual from a stereotyped society may not actually fit into the tendencies so described.  If a manager does not take these stereotypes as completely accurate, and is flexible when figuring out how to appropriately incorporate knowledge of a foreign culture into specific, real-life situations, then these studies and Thomas’ presentation of them could be beneficial for the appropriate audiences.

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