The Doctrine for Cultural Engines in Intercultural Management Training

Key words: culture, ethnocentrism, cultural value models, cultural forces, cultural intelligence, instructional psychology



Cultural engines represent a body of knowledge on the forces of any given cultural group that has been revealed exclusively following the application of the following criteria and must meet each and every one of them.

  • Only the members of a given cultural group can identify them. The construction must respect Lévi-Strauss’s argument that it is impossible that someone from a culture place a true judgment on someone from another culture and follow an EMIC posture.

  • It must be a shared agreement among the members of a given cultural group.

  • 7+/–2 members of a cultural group identify them at least, and the cultural engines must be identified by a group of various people from the given culture.

  • They are composed of 7+/–2 elements of nominal data. There is a need to focus on the essentials and to seek the manageable set of common denominators that reflect the forces of a given cultural group.

  • The cultural engines are acknowledged by the members of the given cultural group and are viewed as supporting many behaviors. (The members of the given cultural group designing their cultural engines should express confidence that these forces can be found in the many walks of their culture. In addition, this should help seek reliability.)

  • They are considered by the members of the cultural group as a combination of critical forces that are essential to the cultural group. This point focuses on the validity of the findings.

  • The members of the cultural group consider them as a positive formulation of their strengths. The cultural group members should be pleased with their findings and express confidence when sharing them with people from other cultural groups.


Cultural engines are disruptive to the academic perspective because they bring an additional emic-static perspective to the numerous cultural value models developed after static-dynamic etic modes and cross-cultural communications models and mimicry developed after the dynamic–emic perspective.

Cultural engines are disruptive to international business and intercultural management teaching because they bring a new dimension into the discussion of the often implicit forces of cultures and the differing impact on the often implicit approach cultural members adopt in their interactions with people from other cultures.

I believe empirically that cultural engines help address the issue of ethnocentrism in intercultural management training and intercultural interactions, in general, and I think this is the critical performance issue in the intercultural management interactions in international business contexts.

Cultural engines bring a new dimension to the appreciation of the continuum in the value-beliefs-attitude-behavior. They represent shared implicit beliefs on the forces of a given cultural group exclusively determined by the given cultural group. In a business context, the cultural engines provide relevant additional knowledge to better understand and anticipate cultural behaviors and ways of thinking from members of other cultural groups and, therefore, enable to better prepare business persons to adjust to various dominant cultural approaches.

My idea to disrupt with cultural engines is to bring a complementary stand-alone methodology, body of knowledge, and learning activity for sensing intercultural forces from any given cultural group and working towards adjusting behaviors to build mutually intercultural beneficial relationships. This would provide an additional means to enhance understanding on the complexities of cultures and adjust behaviors for optimal performance. Twenty years of empirical experience by teaching intercultural management sessions and a doctoral thesis on the subject have brought a solid case for cultural engines.

I believe academics and businesses should join hands to research and appreciate at what levels cultural engines impact intercultural effectiveness and international people’s performance, address the issue of ethnocentrism, and expand the scope of research to all countries in the world as the cultural engine research has focused so far on only the 75 dominant economic countries.


Further research questions

Assessing the impact of cultural engines on ethnocentrism?

Exploring the cultural engines of all other world countries?

Applying grounded theory to cultural engines findings?


Frank Rouault, DBA +33 (0)6 08 71 72 34 Paris, France



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