The Cross-Cultural Management Intensive Programme (CCMIP) is funded by the IDEP Cyprus (www.llp.org.cy) under the ERASMUS LLP of the European Commission. The CCMIP is awarded to the European University Cyprus ( www.euc.ac.cy ), the 2013 coordinator and host. At the same time it is a EuroMed Research Business Institute initiative designed to promote the idea of Cross-Cultural Management training between students and academics of different cultural backgrounds throughout Europe.
The European Single Market has gone a long way towards allowing for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. Institutions, organizations, businesses and individuals, can operate, compete and coexist within a supranational society of people with divergent cultural backgrounds from 27 member states; a complicated canvas that becomes even more so from the increasing influx of immigrants seeking a better life in Europe. Externally, European organizations expand their scope of activities following EU's leading position in the global political and economic arena.
This reality is reflected in the complexity of the European business, governance and administrative environment that demands a high level of cultural competency. Organizations and their managers need much more than "cultural awareness". They need to develop a high level of cross-cultural know-how, directly related to the challenges they are facing in their professional lives that can potentially become an organizational resource. Effective training and exposure to culture-related management issues will improve managers' effectiveness in a wide spectrum of international and home settings.
Yet, Higher Education Institutions across Europe are reluctant in taking on the issue of cross-cultural management. A recent search found only a handfull of courses built into regular undergraduate programmes. At the postgraduate level, cross-cultural management is well represented in Nordic management schools, especially Finland and Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands. This is not the case, however, in most other European countries. Furthermore, there is a lot of variation regarding the quality and perspective of cross-cultural management training delivered by educational or vocational institutions.
The interdisciplinary nature of CCM training is certainly an issue. To the extent that "cultural values are considered as basic motivators in life and prescriptions for peoples' behaviour", culture affects every human activity, organization or structure. Hence, an effective course should address cross-cultural management from an all round perceptive, examine a wide range of controversial subjects and explore methods of smoothing/resolving cross-cultural differences or even exploit their existence.
An initiative of the Cross-Cultural Management Research Committee of the EuroMed Research Business Institute, this programme is the collective response of the partner institutions to the situation described above. Students and academics from different cultural backgrounds will meet and work together to address controversial issues caused by cultural differences in all facets of modern management and create opportunities from overcoming their prejudices. This is expected to be more effective in defeating the reluctance of European Universities than introducing the subject on an institution-by-institution basis. At the same time, the proposed approach will serve better the, so much needed, establishment of a commonly accepted high standard for cross-cultural management training across Europe.