Communication Strategies in Human Resource Management in an Intercultural Perspective

  • Annelise Grinsted (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


The presentation investigates the cultural barriers in the implementation of a personnel policy (developed in Denmark) in the region of Central America and the communication strategies necessary to overcome the cultural barriers and carry through the process.

Case: Ibis is a membership-based and independent Danish development organization (NGO) working globally, nationally and locally to secure people equal access to education, influence and resources. The work is carried out in cooperation with popular organizations and to a lesser degree with, especially local, authorities. Ibis employs about 30 people in Denmark, more than 150 locally-hired staff in Africa and Latin America and about 50 expatriate advisers to support approx. 200 development projects in 12 countries.

In a document approved by the Ibis Executive Committee, June 20th of 2001 the first steps to an overall personnel policy for Ibis's permanent staff at field offices, expatriate advisers and employees are taken. On the basis of the overall personnel policy, local and more detailed policies in each of the Ibis countries are to be elaborated taking their point of departure in the overall personnel policy, existing agreements and the local context valid of the country.

Central America - in Ibis terms - consists of 4 countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This paper will focus especially on Guatemala.

Hofstede maintains that the institutions of a country governments, legal systems, school systems, organizations, family structures, etc. are the result of the mental programming of a given culture. However, "Nations should not be equated with societies", writes Hofstede. In 1527 Central America was the territory of indigenous people and in Guatemala, specifically, of a large number of Mayan people. So although Guatemala is a nation in legal terms, there are 2 large societies with a number of sub-societies: the Ladinos (with Spanish and other foreign ancestors (can be mixed with indigenous people) and the 23 indigenous groups of which 21 are Mayan.

To what extent is the Guatemala culture influenced by the influence of the Spanish and to what extent by the original civilizations? What are the implications when a Danish (Western) organization attempts to transfer values through a personnel policy? Where are the conflicts and why? And can they be overcome?

The process lasted approx. 3½ years.

Emneord: intercultural communication
Period9. Jun 2006
Event titleABC 8th European Convention "Dialogue, Challange and Opportunity"
Event typeConference
Conference number8
LocationOslo, Norway


  • intercultural communication