Cross Cultures


call for tag members

Our Cross Cultures Thought & Action Group is currently looking for new members.

The Cross Cultures Network launched in February 2013 was chaired most recently by Cinthya Quijano. Since July 2017 the TAG has been on hiatus. If you're interested in reviving the Cross Cultures TAG, email

The purpose of the TAG is to become the go-to source of practical advice and guidance about how to increase engagement internationally and to produce practical ways to improve engagement for employers and employees in a multi-cultural work environment.


  • That growing British business through international expansion is a critical part of strengthening the British economy
  • That there are better and smarter ways to work across international boundaries, countries and multi-cultural businesses
  • A happy and motivated workforce releases more of the capability and potential of people at work both here in the UK and abroad, which serves to unlock the potential of business and international markets – and that there is an undeniable business case to support this


  • To grow awareness about the power and potential of engaging people in culturally appropriate ways in different countries
  • To develop a powerful range of evidence to support this
  • To provide practical ideas and tools to equip people in developing and employing approaches to increase engagement internationally
  • To inspire people to get involved in the movement by facilitating access to like-minded communities, experts and leaders



  • ‘Engaging Internationally – Best Practice and Principles’in November 2013.
  • ‘Engage the World 2015 – Dialogue Across Cultures’in November 2015.

Literature & Research

Essential books and studies in cross cultural differences:

Edward Hall – ‘Beyond Culture’ available from Amazon

Ronald Inglehart – World Values Survey –

The Globe Study –

Fons Trompenaars – ‘Riding the waves of culture’ – available from Amazon

Check out Geert and Gert Jan Hofstede’s personal website for literature reference, explanation of cultural dimensions, research tools and


Research Group

The purpose of this activity group is to initiate and conduct research studies into the influence of cross cultural differences in employee engagement.

National cultures differ along the Individualism – Collectivism continuum. Engagement models differ, but all include an emphasis on treating people as individuals, rather than treating everyone as the same. Engage for Success wants to explore whether elements of individualisation (e.g. empowerment, recognition), exhibit similar or different dynamics in relation to Employee Engagement in regions with a different national culture.

Strategy Group

The purpose of this group is to build an accessible ‘resource bank’ of good practice and case studies that demonstrate ways to develop and implement strategy across cultures, by fully engaging employees, to achieve greater business success.

Do you and your company want to be as seen a leading inspiration to other organisations by showcasing your story and success?

We are looking for great examples from organisations that have successfully delivered strategic change across cultures.

This is an opportunity to share your success, be profiled as an engaging organisation and help others to benefit from best practice in cross-cultural engagement. In return, you will receive the full research findings and therefore valuable insights and proven best practice to share with your team and organisation.

Knowledge Bank

The purpose of this activity group is to collect and update content to be shared for the practical use of practitioners.

The group has initiated a translation project to identify the conceptual equivalents of Employee Engagement in other cultures. Read the latest translations and related comments.

Discovery Workshop Group

The purpose of this group is to run the project ‘Discovery Workshop’ that aims at collecting transcripts of facilitated sessions with employees from organisations around the world about what engages people in other cultures. This group has been working on this project since 2013 and has already collected transcripts of workshops from a number of countries.

To participate in the Discovery Workshop project, please download our reporting template or email

Meet Our Past Contributors

Cinthya Qujano, Group Chair

Cinthya is an Organisation Development Professional. She is Director & Principal Consultant at Change Differently Ltd. She has an international upbringing having lived in 5 countries (and working in 2!). Her experience over the last 10 years has been both as an external and internal consultant. She has worked across sectors and industries, with large multinationals, local SMEs and within the Higher Education context. Her special interest in the group revolve around some very curious questions about working and living in an international environment: How national culture influences organisational culture in an international setting and how this applies to engagement strategies across the globe? How national culture influences how people respond to engagement surveys? How to embrace the diversity of cultures within multinationals to create an engaging culture? How can leaders impact on engagement when dealing with an international team, even sometimes remotely?

Céline Berger, Strategy

Director and founder of RécréAction
For 15 years, Céline has been passionate about:
Facilitating communication across large organisations.
Empowering individuals to achieve their goals.
Getting the best out of people using creative, collaborative and fun approaches.
Inspiring them to feel, think and act differently.
Making organisations happier and more effective.
This is all she cares about!

Donnie MacNicol, Strategy

Donnie leads consultancy, training, facilitation and mentoring assignments for Team Animation. He specializes in developing an organization’s project leadership capability. Widely recognized as contributing to the ‘people and organizational side’ of project management thinking, he is in much demand as a speaker and writer. He is passionate about delivering value by incorporating the latest behavioural, organisational, cultural and human resources thinking. Donnie’s book, Project Leadership (with Sarah Coleman), will soon be followed by a second on Organisational Project Management, which is primarily focused on closing the Strategy Execution Gap.

Larraine Solomon, Strategy

Larraine is the Managing Director of Inspiring Conversations, a delivery focussed communication and engagement consultancy.  With nearly 20 years’ experience leading communication functions in large complex organisations, she specialises in helping business leaders and employees across the globe to connect with each other, develop meaningful dialogue and achieve significantly better business results. Prior to establishing her own business, she held key senior positions at Lloyds Bank, HMRC and Thomson Reuters as well as leading consultancy organisations.  Larraine is passionate about working with people and teams to drive a step change in engagement with a corresponding impact on business priorities.

Roopa Nagori, Research

Equipped with nineteen years of experience in HR Consulting, Training and Education Consulting, Roopa is a Teaching Fellow at Coventry University London Campus. Her previous experience includes projects with the Management Development Institute of Singapore, The Open University and London School of Accountancy and Management, Roopa brings a diverse and global mindset to the group. Her experience in HR consulting has been in three countries; India, Singapore and the UK and has involved managers from various sectors; healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the finance. Her consultancy and training work includes workshops to improve the skills and competencies of executives and to prepare organisations to achieve certifications like ‘The Investors in People’ award. As a chartered member of the CIPD (MCIPD), she regularly participates in HR seminars and networking events and presents papers in international education conferences. Her research interests include cross-cultural learning &development practices and employee engagement. Roopa is working at publishing papers in the area of Employee Engagement and is with the group to contribute to current research initiatives in Cross-cultural Employee Engagement practices.

Sara Wilbourne, Strategy

Sara is a publisher, editor, traveller, communications specialist, writer and life-long student. With over thirty years of international publishing and communications experience at her back, and a sustained affair with the potency of the writing process guiding her forward, she is currently development director at Passage a creative publishing agency.

Ben Whitter, Team Member

Ben is a globally recognised leader and expert within Organisational Development, and is the founder of Tsunami Leadership™ worldwide. Ben currently leads the organisation and people development function at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China, the first and leading Foreign-Sino University in China. Ben is the first OD professional within UK higher education to hold such a role overseas. Ben’s work, across sectors and major organisations, has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally at the highest levels and he is a winner of the prestigious ‘best in the UK’ Training Journal Award ’12 , which celebrated his creation, development and delivery of officially one of the best HR-led programmes in the UK and Europe across all sectors. Ben is a popular writer and thought leader within HR/OD around the World and is a regular feature in leading HR publications. His recent global hit “Bye, Bye HR?” is a trending topic within the global HR community and has ignited enthusiasm around developing the employee experience within workplaces and the future shape of HR to move the engagement agenda forward.  A key figure and adviser to Consultants/OD/HR/L&D professionals around the World, Ben’s approach has been backed publicly in Parliament by MP’s and by the Royal family. Ben is also a two-time Judge of Start-Up Weekend Shanghai, a TedX speaker, and has also held director roles within the community sector.

Dr. Hyun-Jung Lee, Research & Events

Dr. Hyun-Jung Lee is a Tenured Assistant Professor at the Department of Management, London School of Economics (LSE) since 2003. She obtained her PhD in Organisational Behaviour from LSE. Born in Seoul, South Korea, and trained as psychologist, Dr Lee’s research focuses on cross-cultural management, multicultural identity, and cosmopolitanism. She has taught undergraduate, Master, and Executive level courses in Europe and Asia in the past two decades. She has advised and trained various organisations including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motors, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, the Rolls-Royce, and UN & OECD organisations. She was Assistant Professor at the KAIST Business School, Korea, before joining LSE. Outside her academic career, Dr Lee is a classical music and opera critic, has written numerous articles on the classical music industry, opera reviews, and interview pieces of musicians for professional classical music magazines, and studied the History of 20th Century European Painting at the Royal Academy of Art.

Sally Long, Strategy

Sally has lived and worked in both Switzerland and the UK.  She has been an HR  professional for over 12 years; her professional experience gained within an international and multicultural business environment.  She also has a strong commercial and business awareness of the FMCG sector.  In both countries she successfully led engagement projects which had a notable and lasting impact.  As a result, she was recognized for her efforts.

Seema Bennett, Strategy

Seema has a background in sales and business development and is the Sales Director for everywoman. She has a degree in Biology & Molecular Biology and 15 years of experience in the Biotech field.  She began her career at DuPont in the UK in research and technical services and expanded her experience into sales and business development for Europe. After leaving DuPont she continued her career with Amersham International (GE) in the drug development area until 1998. Seema then lived abroad with her family in Finland and China and was involved in many activities, including co-authoring a book on hiking and working for several charitable institutions, chairing several International women’s groups. On her return to the UK in 2004, she established an Interiors Company and ran this successfully as Managing Director for several years before joining the board of a wearable sensors technology company in 2010. She joined everywoman in 2014 and is part of the senior management team to further promote the advancement of women in business by partnering with companies on the range of everywoman products and services.

Adina Luca, Research and Events

A consultant with 17 year experience in understanding the needs of multinational companies and their multicultural staff, Adina’s expertise is in solving Europe/Middle East/ Africa clashes in translating management, human resources management and marketing principles across borders. Adina’s background includes entrepreneurship, HR and finance consultancy. She developed programmes for understanding the role of culture in virtual teams and managing outsourcing projects, implemented employee engagement programmes with Gallup and delivered intercultural management training sessions as an independent consultant. Adina trained in Hofstede’s theory, holds a license for intercultural competency assessment and has written a book on the impact of culture on management and HR.

James Court-Smith, Research

James is a Data Scientist and Engagement expert, with 15 years consulting experience and a deep understanding of both customer and employee dynamics. He is passionate about distilling meaning from data, harnessing its value and putting it to use in evidence-based approaches. Stillae Ltd, which James co-founded in 2010, provides HR Analytics and advises on Engagement Programme architecture and optimisation. Before Stillae, James was Head of Gallup’s Employee Engagement Practice in Europe for several years. He got involved in E4S by contributing to the MacLeod Report in 2009 and has been a Senior Advisor to the movement since 2011. He helped to pull together ‘The Evidence’ Report, notably completing the 4-year longitudinal study linking Employee Engagement to store-level KPIs at Marks & Spencer. He also authored ‘Further Evidence’ and is serving on the Thought and Action Group Steering Committee.

Deborah Goodall, Strategy

As a former Director of Communications for Merck , a multinational pharmaceuticals company, Deborah has led communications and change programmes in culturally and technically complex environments. In the last ten years she has continued to work internationally as a trained communications coach and change facilitator. She has a particular interest in the impact of language , storytelling, narrative and organisational and relationships systems at work . Now a Director at Fruitful Conversations, she helps organisations develop the skills of productive and worthwhile dialogue.

Nicole Utzinger, Strategy

Nicole has been working internationally as change communications professional, executive coach and facilitator for over 20 years. As part of the initial start–up team of the Dubai International Financial Centre, she was responsible for the design and creation of DIFC’s organisational culture and employee engagement initiative. As director at EMEA Communications Consulting she now focuses her attention on cross-cultural employee engagement & change programmes as well as designing and delivering high-profile organisational development projects across Europe and the Middle East.

Ruth Warner (Lawton), Team Member

Ruth is HR Director Employee Engagement for GKN plc. Having taken on this newly created role in January 2012, following a 20 year career in various HR operational and Global roles more latterly focusing on global leadership populations, Ruth has had the privilege of being full time seconded to the core team of Engage for Success,  where she worked with a team to launch the E4S website.  Having returned to her role in GKN with a much clearer concept for employee engagement, she has now implemented many of the great lessons that she learnt.  Ruth jumped at the opportunity to remain firmly connected to the E4S movement by joining this Cross Cultures team as she sees tremendous potential benefits from its work to support businesses with global reach and with employee relations outside of the UK.

Stephen Spencer, Strategy

Stephen has seen many developments and approaches in employee engagement over 20 years operating at divisional level HRD level. He has operated in many manufacturing business environments (mainly automotive supply, chemical and textiles) and varied cultures (world-wide operations, different management styles).  Currently he is working at GKN plc (£7.5bn sales, 51,400 people, 33 countries) as HRD with a focus on Group special projects. Stephen believes that the ‘engagement mission’ combines the ever present drive for sustainable business improvement with doing things the right way for people and the+F29 E4S activity will generate academically rigorous research, from which will come an internationally deliverable expertise which will enhance business performance and the experience of those involved.

Csaba Toth, Team Member

Csaba is the European Managing Partner of ICQ Consulting, which helps clients understand and optimise the diversity of their employee and customer base where individuals have different behaviour and communication styles due to their cultural background such as their generation, gender, profession, nationality and personality type. ICQ Consulting has proven track-record to transform businesses through  DIVERSITY ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Karen Dempster, Strategy

Karen is a Communications practitioner with over 17 years’ experience and a background in Public Relations and Marketing. She more recently set up Fit2Communicate working with clients on fast-paced, global transformation programmes and introducing a robust approach to employee health and performance. Prior to that she worked for Zurich Financial Services for 15 years in a number of UK, European and global communications roles.  Her experience includes channel management, managing Communications teams, enabling employees to live the brand, implementing a shared services communications function, working as a communications advisor with senior leaders and communicating strategy and change globally. Prior to Zurich, Karen worked for PPP Lifetime Care, The Natural History Museum, and The Wellcome Trust. Karen is passionate about translating strategy into ‘what’s in it for me’ to employees.

Lesley Kaye, Strategy

Lesley is a senior HR development consultant, coach, facilitator, trainer, interim executive and tutor in both the UK and overseas, with a real passion for optimising organisational and team performance. She is a Fellow of the CIPD and set up her company in 1999 after many years of working in the corporate environment. She now works with a range of blue chip organisations and personal clients who want to effect positive change, maximising their potential to achieve challenging business or personal goals.

Steve Crompton, Events

Steve is an Enterprise Social and Office 365 Consultant specialising in strategic digital business transformations in the UK at Content and Code. He previously worked at Yammer (acquired by Microsoft) where he led strategic enterprise-wide change programmes through improving business effectiveness, by employee engagement, innovation and collaboration initiatives. Steve is passionate about how organisations work and how they will continue to work in the future, he is a regular speaker at academic institutions and international industry events on these topics. Steve graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business Management and Finance from Durham University. His research analysed the productivity effects of Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs), and his findings led him to develop a framework for the optimal point of productivity based on open and closed cultures in the context of ESN. Steve’s research is now used by the US based boutique consultancy, Enterprise Strategies.

Smita Nath, Team Member

Smita is a consultant with Questions of Difference and specialises in the design and implementation of innovative projects that focus on building partnerships and bringing out the best from all involved. Smita delivers value through a focus on diversity. She understands the importance of an approach to work and life that is inclusive, connective, curious and open to learning new approaches. Particularly when delivering projects on issues such as emerging talent, leadership and change. Smita is skilled at working with organisations and individuals experiencing challenging situations and enabling them to deliver results. Smita nurtured this passion as an international human rights professional working for several years in war torn areas such as Northern Uganda with survivors of the conflict and with ex-combatants of Liberia’s fourteen year civil war. She has helped enable partnerships between clients in Indonesia and Argentina so that they focus on finding common purpose and passion and worked with organisations across the world from Latvia to Indonesia to Brazil. This experience proves invaluable to her work today because it has shown her that people can always move forward – even in the most challenging of situations.

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Articles on Engagement from HEC Paris

Specialising in management education and research, HEC Paris offers a complete and unique range of educational programs for the leaders of tomorrow: Masters programs, MBA, PhD, Executive MBA, TRIUM Global Executive MBA, open-enrolment and custom executive education programs. Founded in 1881 by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, HEC Paris is a founding member of Université Paris-Saclay. It boasts a permanent faculty of 110 professors, more than 4,000 students and over 8,500 managers and executives in training each year. HEC Paris was ranked second business school in Europe by the Financial Times’ overall business school ranking in December 2014.

About Knowledge@HEC

Knowledge@HEC demonstrates the results of business-related research of HEC Paris faculty. For more information, please visit

Culture & Economy: Understanding the Dynamics of Globalisation

Does the economy influence individual values and culture? Yes, say Jacques Olivier and his co-authors in a March 2014 research paper. They demonstrate that removing trade barriers impacts the way people behave in a way that further increases the rate of globalization. Below, we look at the reasons why.

Valérie Gauthier, Professor at HEC Paris and holder of the HEC-Pernod Ricard Leadership Chair, describes how a switch from top-down leadership, with the emphasis on authority, to open leadership based on trust and sense, can revolutionize management modes.

As international sales forces increase, the question of standardized management becomes more pressing. The research of Dominique Rouziès, Vincent Onyemah, and Nikolaos Panagopoulos suggests, however, that the effectiveness of sales force control models are largely influenced by national culture.

Many people seem to experience uncontrollable prejudices against visible minorities. According to new evidence identified by HEC professor Eric Uhlmann and University of Virginia professor Brian Nosek, we are surprisingly more aware of our own prejudices than previously thought. Even more significantly, the researchers find that we blame those prejudices on cultural socialization in order to avoid having to confront our own racism.

Many people seem to experience uncontrollable prejudices against visible minorities. According to new evidence identified by HEC professor Eric Uhlmann and University of Virginia professor Brian Nosek, we are surprisingly more aware of our own prejudices than previously thought. Even more significantly, the researchers find that we blame those prejudices on cultural socialization in order to avoid having to confront our own racism.

Tomasz Obloj, HEC Paris Professor (Strategy and Business Policy Department) shows why most organizations do not anticipate the actual consequences of the incentives they deploy. This video illustrates two important problems created by incentives: the incentives’ life cycle, or ‘cobra effect’, and the incentives’ competitive effect, or ‘blood donor dilemma’. 

The 2015 terror attacks in Paris have triggered a renewed debate on the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and/or multi-religion society in Europe. A multi-ethnic society inevitably creates multi-ethnic workplaces, hence ethnic diversity is rapidly increasing in all parts of business, both in domestic and in international operations.

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