Gartner Research

Transforming Cultural Conflicts Into a Competitive Advantage

Published: 01 August 2013

ID: G00255444

Analyst(s): Jorge Lopez , Ken McGee


As globalization proliferates, IT professionals are experiencing increasing friction when dealing with people from different occupational, corporate, regional and national cultures. This report provides guidance on surmounting the most common challenges when cultures collide.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Question
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • How This Report Will Help


Executive Summary

  • The seeds of cultural disharmony
  • Cultural conflicts are among the most destructive enterprise forces
  • "Unfreezing, changing and refreezing" to successfully integrate cultures
  • Move over, intuitive geniuses — let CIOs resolve cultural conflicts and build lasting relationships

Cultural Conflicts Are Among the Most Destructive Enterprise Forces

  • Definitions of culture abound
  • Cultural conflicts are inevitable
  • Triggering events will only increase over time
  • Resolving cultural conflicts will become a coveted competitive advantage

"Unfreezing, changing and refreezing" to successfully integrate cultures

  • Resolving cultural conflicts rapidly and effectively is vital to a CIO's success, especially for those who are new
  • Unfreezing old beliefs and behaviors opens a constructive path to cultural transformation
  • Changing inherited cultures relies on extremely clear goals and expectations
  • Refreezing to establish the new culture depends on reinforcing desired behaviors

Move over, intuitive geniuses — let CIOS resolve cultural conflicts and build lasting relationships

  • Turning theory into action
  • Resolving cross-border cultural conflicts
  • Resolving merger and acquisition cultural conflicts
  • Prescribing a new culture to avoid conflicts in a divestiture
  • Conclusion

Appendix: Case Studies

  • IndustrialCo combats cultural resistance with radical change
  • Re-engaging Montgomery College's IT organization with open, transparent communication
  • A new CIO faces cultural challenges at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario

Appendix: Tools

  • Merging Cultures Evaluation Index (MCEI)

Further Reading

  • Related content
  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Websites

©2020 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.