In this session, the panel members will be confronted with two practical cases of problem situations in global software development projects. They will be asked to advise the protagonists of the cases, and to indicate if, and if so how, they have made use of the concept of culture in their advice. The panelists are people who are familiar with cross-cultural issues at many levels, through research work and experience. They receive the cases in advance. The aim of the session is to experience how culture can or cannot be used in IS practice, and to investigate what this implies for IS research. The concept of culture is widely used in the field of IS research in the network era, and the word “culture” crops up in titles of publications, panels, and conferences. But what does it mean? And how useful is it? Is it a chimaera that we IS researchers could do without? This panel assembles persons who have been working with the concept of culture in the domain of Information Systems. The panel will explore what meanings have been assigned to the concept of culture and how important these meanings are for IS researchers. The aim is not to establish what culture “is” in an absolute sense, but to investigate how the IS community can best use it. The panel starts with a working definition of culture as that which distinguishes one group of people from another. “That which distinguishes” might be values, symbols, rituals or heroes, or any kind of practice. “One group” might be an ethnic group, a nation, the members of an organization, those of a profession, a social class, or any other group, e.g. Web users. Two (unpublished) cases of actual and current events in multi-culture settings will be briefly introduced by the panel chair and interpreted by the panelists.
Hofstede, Gert Jan, "What Would You Do...? Multicultural IS Cases" (2000). ECIS 2000 Proceedings. 56.