Accordingly, eight major civilizations have been identified in the New World Order. These include “Western, Confucian, and Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African civilization. The most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilizations from one another”. (Huntington, 1997, p.157) The author further adds that while distinct fault lines are evident between every pairing of these civilizations, the friction is no where greater than between the Western and Islamic blocs. For, barring few minor variations, the existing nation-states of Western Europe share many things in common. Similarly, while Confucian and Islamic schools of thought might appear to be discrete at first, they share a common deep rooted tradition. In effect, this segregates the strands of civilizations into two main categories – the West and the Rest. In the context of recent rise in Islamist terrorism, Islam appears to be the chief opponent of Western civilization (Bakhtari, 1995). As the two managers come from distinct ethnic backgrounds, it would serve them well to stay informed about prevailing fault-lines in the realm of civilizations, for this could find application in the way the local City Film Festival is conducted.
To elaborate on Huntington’s thesis, let us now study in detail the Middle East region. Being the richest source of crude oil, the Middle East region is very important for Western democracies that are its top clientele for oil exports. Given this fact, many Western nations, including the United Kingdom, have set up offices and operations in many countries in this region, including Iraq,Saudi Arabia,Kuwait,Jordan, etc. But for the Oxbridge trained modern manager, understanding the Arabic and Islamic way of life is not easy, for the two cultures are so starkly different (Bakhtari, 1995). It goes without saying then, that overcoming this cultural barrier is a decisive factor for succeeding in this part of the world. In the context of doing business in the Middle East, or for that matter organizing a film festival there, the following observation is especially true:
“Another challenge for these immigrant managers is assuming responsibility for achieving the organization’s objectives and goals within the framework of the new culture. The knowledge, expertise, and “know how” that immigrant managers have acquired at home may or may not be applicable in their new environment. Doing business in a new culture becomes a serious and challenging task for most immigrants…Moreover, research in determining the influence of culture on management style is limited. Even more lacking is research that examines the effects of culture on the management style of Middle Eastern managers working in American (new culture) organizations.” (Tayeb, 2000)
A key dimension to trans-national event management is the perceptions of masculinity and femininity within local communities. The more advanced national cultures tend to have more equity between men and women in terms of career opportunities, equal rights, income levels, etc. Conservative national cultures on the other hand tend to display a patriarchal arrangement of society, with women expected to assume roles that are subordinate to men. But the distinction between masculine and feminine cultures is not as simplistic as that. Masculine cultures are characterized by “doing and acquiring rather than thinking and observing, similar to the ‘orientation toward activity’ dimension of work” (Lindell & Arvonen, 1996). Further, these cultures value accomplishment and look down upon failure. On the other hand, feminine cultures tend to value affiliation and teamwork more and do not give importance to failures to achieve goals. While there is fluidity and abstractness in this concept, scholars have identified the cultures of such countries as Japan, the United States and Western European countries as Masculine. Nordic countries such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden typify feminine work culture. The two managers of the local City Film Festival should take cognisance of this aspect of their audience, so that the films they choose are congruent with local values and perspectives on gender stereotypes (Lindell & Arvonen, 1996).
In conclusion, it could be asserted that in a world economy that is dictated by the phenomenon of globalization, it is imperative for international managers to modify their approach to business based on the region they are operating in. The religious sentiments, community norms and personal values that comprise any given national culture need to be properly understood, not only for the management teams to achieve commercial success, but also to feel welcome in their host countries. Yet, in spite of the best efforts to manage the film festival, instances of cultural conflict could emerge. In such a scenario, skills of diplomacy and tact can go a long way in easing the situation. There are numerous other ways in which conflicts can be resolved. The suitability of a particular method is determined by the particular context in which the conflict arises. Several other factors also determine the most appropriate resolution method to be applied. For example, the nature of the conflict, the issues at stake, and cultural sensibilities of the people involved, the economic costs, etc are all factors to be considered. Once a general assessment of the conflict is made then steps can be taken toward reaching a solution. This can involve peaceful negotiations or mediations between the two managers (Rogers, 2007).