The International DNA of PWN Paris network

15 October 2019

On the 2nd of October I attended, the PWN Paris International HUB kick-off that was launched thanks to the contribution and the enthusiasm of two PWN members, Kerstin Leibold (German) and Valeria Bini (Italian) who spent several months preparing this program. 

This first session was related to the "Intercultural management and stereotypes and how to best deal with it". The lecture was given by two intercultural experts: Indira Bonvini (Intercultural Coach – Vice president Alumni Bocconi University) and Marianne Gaye Ayrault (Global Education and Training Director at The Union). 

40 participants, coming from 15 different countries, were attending this kick-off meeting with pleasure and interest. Concrete examples were given by the speakers and rich exchanges animated the conference.

I would like to share some content and key learning that I personally found enlightening from a professional standpoint. 

First of all, I understood that there could be 3 main reasons for failures within Intercultural Management: 

  1. The potential integration challenges are ignored 
  2. The synergies are overestimated 
  3. The integration of the management teams is very complicated 

Besides the fact that each company has its own culture, each one should become conscious of the variety and the complexity of their team’s cultures and anticipate possible misunderstandings! 


Secondly, I discovered what are the main cultural dimensions that differ according to the specific culture:

  1. Time perception (rare or abundant) 
  2. Communication style (implicit or explicit, direct or indirect, neutral or emotional) 
  3. Organization style (relation to power, control of the environment, stability vs change, competition vs collaboration) 
  4. Space control (the one you have and how difficult it is to become close to someone) 

Lastly, speakers pinpointed the cross-cultural skills you need in order to succeed with Intercultural Management:

  • You should know yourself perfectly 
  • You must be open minded 
  • You understand cultures and the rules of your company 
  • You know who the key players are 
  • You know the rules of the game you are playing 

BUT never forget that “CULTURE DOESN’T EXPLAIN EVERYTHING” and always explain what you want and what is important for you. 



  • Don’t be driven by cultural stereotypes and biases 
  • Always start from what you have in common 
  • Observe and build
  • Take your time to build trust   

Myself and many other international members, were waiting for some impulse to refresh the international DNA of the PWN Parisian network … Kerstin and Valeria just did it! Let’s help them to continue. 

Next workshops will take place on the 21st of November. All the PWN members involved in/or concerned with Intercultural Management should come!


Annette Cointement, PWN Paris member

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