Navigating internationalization from a people perspective

Case study: International Fashion Company

Transforming from a decentralized, country-led structure towards an international matrix organization is a huge challenge. To make this a success requires an international organizational culture and people strategy.

Think global: Creating excitement for international cooperation 

In times of multiple crises, becoming a more resilient and future-oriented organization was a key objective for our client. One step on this journey was to move from a decentralized, country-led structure towards an international matrix organization. 

Running our Cultural Diagnostics outlined clearly: though there were many opportunities for more alignment, synergy and community, the status quo saw people feeling a strong sense of belonging to their local organization and a lack of collaboration across countries.

To make transformation a success and bring thinking and acting with an international mindset to life, we worked together with our client to develop an international organizational culture and people strategy.

What we achieved together

Based on our Cultural Diagnostic, which gave us an understanding of the “as-is” picture, we derived clear cultural ambitions in a co-creative process with an international culture working team and the board. One of the key cultural ambitions was to become a truly international company where an internationalist vibe is felt throughout the organization. 

We activated this ambition with a set of quick-win measures that are powerful and signal change to the organization e.g. launching an international mentoring program and developing a concept for an international leadership development program. The international culture working team served as a sounding board for all initiatives – this was the first time that employees worked together in an international setting. 

Our key insights:

  • Understanding the status quo via a Cultural Diagnostics is key
  • Know your culture’s ambitions
  • Engage the organization with playful, co-creative formats 

In a second workstream, we reviewed the current HR processes across all countries and defined an international target picture that leverages synergies across all countries while retaining country-specific processes and services where necessary.

On our joint journey, we were able to move the organisation away from a “yes, but” attitude and towards an appetite for exploring and engaging in international cooperation. It unlocked the potential of shared experiences and best practice while fostering an internationalist spirit. This shows once again the essential role culture plays in managing large-scale organizational change.


quotes gathered  from nearly 60 interviews across countries

> 20

international employees brought together to live in an international spirit for the first time 


long-term culture drivers generated

Contact us 

You want to take a more comprehensive look into your culture or would like to run Culture Diagnostics? Let’s talk!