Die Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte: Eine didaktische Metapher des Interkulturellen Managements

The Black Forest Cherry Cake: Metaphor Of Intercultural Management

Scientific Study, 2013
31 Pages



I. The Black Forest Cherry Cake Metaphor of Intercultural Management

II. Intercultural Management Instruments


I. The Black Forest Cherry Cake Metaphor of Intercultural Management

Any cultural journey has a beginning and an end. An African proverb says that one always returns to one's own culture. The beginning and the end are circularly connected. On returning, however, one has a more differentiated perception of the place one has once left. Ideally one learns from the history of one's personal journey.

The time and cultures transcendent Christian Bible testifies to the immense learning provided by the personal traveling experience as well as to its risks and the need of an anchoring in God in the process. For only in Him all insoluble diversity related struggle and strive are resolved.


illustration not visible in this excerpt

Quelle: Die Bibel Das Buch Jesus Sirach, Kapitel 33 , Universität Innsbruck;

Hegel, whose birthplace is about 50 meters down the road from where I am writing these lines, maintains that „we learn from history that we learn nothing from it“. Collectively that seems to hold and it seems to be due to our mental programming as we said previously. This idea has also been modeled by Heidegger in the „memory-anticipation“ model, which is visualized in part II. One can logically explain it. Can one change it? The answer to this question is the tenor of my transcultural management approach, in which I identified a superordinate command and control function of the entire psycho-cultural architecture. See Transcultural Profiler or Management Model that integrates the generations of intercultural research and the Synopsis of Modern Intercultural Studies in part II. A solution to the problem articulated by the two great German philosophers! At the individual level one certainly can change if one is passionately enough committed to it. Change at the collective level requires what has been called a critical mass.

We can indeed evolve in circles, spiraling ever higher on our journeys. This has been said by the poet T. S. Eliot and quoted by one of the finest culture experts, namely Charles Hampden Turner in Building Cross-Cultural Competence:

„We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.“

It is reflected in his dilemma theory. The double helix metaphor of synergy implies that at every turn of the helix a more sophisticated fine tuning of interfacing cultures occurs.

I have been using circle metaphors repeatedly in Transcultural Management – Transkulturelles Management, 2009, from where this chapter is taken: The 360° synergy model, visualized in part II, illustrates that we can achieve the highest synergy by leveraging the totality of the potentiality inherent in the full circle 360°. In other writing I have likened culture and the highest cultural wisdom to a circle. When the centre and periphery engage, the cultural diversity issues come to a term. One can cluster the world's cultures as a cake as has been done by the British management scholars Hickson and Pugh. And on closing the circle of the intellectual culture journey here and now it is befitting to draw once more on a circular metaphor which concretizes and grounds the lofty insight into what I have called the highest cultural wisdom. My here and now is the capital of the Land (federal state) of Baden-Württemberg. One of the well-known culinary specialties of the region of the Black Forest in Baden - which was politically united with Baden Württemberg half a century ago and whose diverse cultures lack full integration - is the Black Forest Cherry Cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte). However, another internationally known cultural artifact of the same region is the Black Forest Clock. Both are very à propos in the sense that they are local cultural highlights and metaphors to practically concretize this approach to culture.

The Black Forest clock serves as a circular, cyclical metaphor of the culture journey and intercultural evolution and development. At a personal level this timeless artifact for the measurement of time symbolizes the closing of a circle in time and space, the reintegration into my home culture, which is the Land of Baden, its northern part. The Clock is typical of the southern part of Baden, where the Black Forest is located.

The famous local clock with the indigenous Black Forest cuckoo telling the hours, symbolizes the closing of the circle of the journey in time and space close to where it began long ago. Based on T. S. Eliot

“I arrive where I started

And know the place for the first time”

which means that I have a new awareness of an old place. The Black Forest Cherry Cake on the other hand combines, as a three dimensional circular culinary artifact, what has been said above about the circular conceptualization of culture, with a pragmatic understanding of the meaning of culture. This local coffee party patisserie specialty can teach us a lot about culture. It is a didactic instrument, simple, and everybody can relate to it, at least in this part of the world. It provides a local cultural and concrete approach to a universal, abstract phenomenon which constitutes a challenge to awareness. As such it can bridge the concrete and the abstract in a familiar way.

The main design features - inner and outer - of the gateau is that it constitutes a monoblock flat cylindrical whole, with a seamless coating of white cream and some 12 cherries circularly disposed to mark the slices for cutting and serving. The inner structure and composition highlights a system of layers, while the cherry forms the top of each multi-layer slice. The 12 ocataves transcultural management model, depicted in part II, can easily be represented by these vertical layers of cherry, whipping cream, chocolate, marmalade, dark sponge mixture etc. Thus, as in the twelve octaves transcultural management model we have an approximately 12 times 12 dimensional integrative model of the totality of culture and the management of cultures, based on the principle of functional integration and subordination. The touch of liquor, of spirit (cherry brandy) which permeates the entire cake and provides its unique flavour, can be likened to the noetic integrative spirit of the 3D model which is required to successfully manage transculturally. Thus we have added a culinary model of culture that is accessible to the child as well as to the manager. And as an exquisite patisserie which is truly delightful it can prepare a terrain suggestive not of the plight of transcultural managerial challenges but rather one of delight.

This localized approach to the intercultural world in its totality, the entire cake, is reconciliatory in its very essence and from the very start. Such a conceptualization and pedagogical tool can teach culture in an unthreatening way, as it conveys a sense of sociability in a homy atmosphere. The entire cultural edifice is naturally grafted onto the symbolical cultural roots and rituals embodied by the Black Forest Cherry Cake culture metaphor. People from other cultures may use their culture typical analog with similar engrafting and integrative effectiveness. As everyone has a different cultural background s/he will have to customize the culture edifice to his own cultural roots in order to maintain his or her cultural integrity while opening up to the process of intercultural evolution and transcultural management imperatives.


(1) The ORJI Model (Ed Schein) – Observation-Emotional Response-Judgement-Initiative - highlights the importance of continuous checking and questioning routines in intercultural encounters in order to effectively manage intrapsychic processes.
(2) The MIS (misperception-misinterpretation-misevaluation) Factor Process (N. Adler) highlights the culture contingency of perception and how it is processed. Empathy and cybernetic thinking to manage the diverse perceptual cultural filters are helpful.
(3) The PIE (perception-interpretation-evaluation) Metaphor highlights the need that the various phases of the intrapsychic process management in the intercultural interfacing process must be kept apart.

The integration of items 1-3 is visualized in a multi-model on the following page.

The application of all instruments can be greatly enhanced if they are correlated to what has been shown in other chapters. They are to be contextualized in a superordinate understanding of culture with all-integrative impact, i.e. the inter-transcultural complementarity that underpins a metaphorical “quantum cultural effect”.


Excerpt out of 31 pages


Die Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte: Eine didaktische Metapher des Interkulturellen Managements
The Black Forest Cherry Cake: Metaphor Of Intercultural Management
Interkulturelle Didaktik
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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intercutural education, intercultural management training and development, internantional diversity consulting
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D.E.A./UNIV. PARIS I Gebhard Deißler (Author), 2013, Die Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte: Eine didaktische Metapher des Interkulturellen Managements, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/229727


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