Case Study. Cognitive flexibility and multicultural co-operation

The process of globalization is something that is evident and has been acceleration during the last decades. There was some slowdown in this process during the first phase of Covid-19 pandemic. There were even some predictions that the pandemic will stop the globalization and even return to the previous system with closed borders and economies. However now we see that the globalization is not slowing down but again taking pace. Changed working habits and increased use of virtual tools have allowed the international co-operation to increase even more. There are still some areas where the impact of pandemic is still an obstacle e.g. logistics and transportation are still struggling to deliver different products from the place of manufacturing to the place of consumption.

The increased international co-operation also demands sufficient understanding of culture related issues and ability to adapt to different international cultural environments. So cognitive flexibility can be attributed to the ability to switch quickly between the communication with people representing different cultures. Here also one should remember that not all cultures are equally flexible when it comes to the switching of different tasks or concepts. So even if you have the ability to switch and adapt to the communication with different cultures it is important to have a sufficient knowledge about particular specific attributes of the culture that you are communicating with. So far there have been multiple attempts to explain cultural aspects and break them down into smaller variable that are explaining a cultural aspects of the behaviour. One such example is Geert Hofstede and his 6 cultural dimensions: masculinity, power distance, Individualism, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation and indulgence. These dimensions help to understand what is likely to be expected from a particular culture and can help to adapt easier to the cross cultural communication. It can be expected that knowledge about those indexes can help to decrease the switching time and cost and improve the cognitive flexibility.

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  1. What those dimensions indicate? What can you expect in cross cultural communication in case the representatives are having close or very different index values?
  2. What strategies can you suggest for a company to make the cross cultural communication easier and decrease the time and cost for switching- improve the cognitive flexibility in cross-cultural communication.
  1. The dimension describes the main cultural attributes that affect our daily lives and especially our work.
  2. First of all be aware and accept the cultural differences. Learn more about the culture of the partners that you communicate with. Take a look at main attributes of the culture (e.g. the 6 dimensions) and explain for the employees what to expect in case the cultural differences are more significant.


Globalization, international co-operation, cross cultural communication.