Developing Sensitivity Across Cultures
In her article „Developing Sensitivity Across Cultures,“ published in November 11,
2012, Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop interviews Gilbert Ghostine, who has been a president of
Diageo Asia Paciﬁc, a maker of alcoholic beverages, since 2009. He was formerly managing director, Northern Europe, and president, US major markets and held various senior managerial positions in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States. With 12 questions Ghostine takes the reader on his journey of becoming a manager.
The ﬁrst two questions1 discuss Gilbert Ghostine´s role as a manager. Growing up
in Lebanon in tough circumstances and dealing with adversity helped him to learn and improve his leadership and decision making. He also says, that he is still learning today, because the leadership journey is an evolution. That is exactly what we discussed in class.
Managers learn to manage through job assignments, formal training and education and relationships, which of course includes the environment one is growing up and living in.2
Furthermore, Ghostine describes his view of leadership as a simple strategy that can be articulated, or communicated clearly to people, so that they can be engaged emotionally with the journey and feel valued. In class we said that a good leader acts as a role model and inspires people3; good communication and engagement are important aspects of good leadership. Sonia Kalesnikov-Jessop asks Ghostine in her fourth questions about his experience in managing a work force across cultures and he answers that value creation is the base everywhere. People have the same level of commitment and passion for the company and drive. Nevertheless, he says, there are some cultural differences. As a
“Do you remember the ﬁrst time you became a manager?“ & “What did you learn form those early days?“
“Management“ , Kreitner & Cassidy, p. 19 - 20
“Management“ , Kreitner & Cassidy, p. 16
example he lists that Americans are more outspoken and more engaged, Asians on the other hand are more respectful and less outspoken. In class we discussed some of these cultural differences and even watched some videos. We came to the conclusion that, in order to succeed, global and/or transnational companies have to hire global managers with cultural intelligence, the ability to interpret and act in appropriate ways in unfamilar cultural surroundings, and cross cultural competences.4 Because of the globalization, businesses are more and more confronted with a lot of different cultures and these abilities help to overcome the obstacles, for example language, cultural values, cultural customs etc., that are occurring. Furthermore, Gilbert Ghostine argues that, as a manager he had adapted his manager styles as he moved from one continent to another. In his opinion, a