Varona Madrid, Federico (2007). Multicultural management.
La comunicacion en la era de la globalización y su impacto
en la empresa
.La Coruña, España: Editorial Netbiblo.
(See book cover)


Book review by Dr. George Cheney (February 2, 2008)


This book is a timely, cogent, and practical exploration of management with respect to different cultures.  This topic is pressing not only because of the complexities of globalization itself (something much clearer to us in this decade than in the previous one) but also because of the changing nature of private firms and other organizations. In this handy, accessible book, Professor Varona offers valuable recommendations for any manager (or administrator) who deals with the multiple cultures and diverse groups of employees (not to mention clients and other constituencies).


Throughout the book, Varona takes the perspective that management is not a one-way process but rather something that should involve dialogue and appreciation for history, culture, and the aspirations of other people.  In this vein, he begins the book with a chapter on learning to listen.  This kind of sensitivity sets Professor Varona's book apart from most texts and handbooks in this area.


Among the other topics treated in Varona's book are nonverbal as well as verbal communication, conflict, decision making, and feedback.  In each chapter, Professor Varona strikes a nice balance between the treatment of current theory and research and offering of practical guidelines for the reader.  Each chapter is structured in a helpful manner, including sections on the importance of the topic, the making of international comparisons, delving more deeply into issues of culture (and difference), and how to enhance everyday management. In every chapter, Varona succeeds as a "translator" of theory, putting it to work for the reader while not oversimplifying it.


This book should be in the pockets--and on the desks--of managers in multinational organizations and, indeed, all organizations where diversity of the workforce is strength to be understood and respected.  For consultants in all sectors, Professor Varona's book provides a needed intellectual and ethical corrective to most books on "diversity management" that, frankly, see "The Other" merely as a factor or variable to be dealt with as expeditiously as possible by the manager or policy maker. In addition, Varona's book will be a wonderful supplement to textbooks in multicultural communication and multicultural management, especially where one of the aims of a course is to move students reflections to ponder and provide tools to use in their work.


Professor Federico Varona's Multicultural Management will elevate discussions of this important topic while also improving the lives of employees in our increasingly diverse world of work.


George Cheney


Professor of Communication, Director of Peace & Conflict Studies, and Director of

the Barbara & Norman Tanner Human Rights Center, all at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA


Adjunct Professor of Management Communication, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, NZ