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Fish Can't See Water: How National Culture can Make or Break Your Corporate Strategy Hardcover – 23 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1st edition (23 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118608569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118608562
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.3 x 25.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 253,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review


This is a thought–provoking read for anyone working across cultures. (The CA, August 2013)

"With case studies from Asia, Europe and the US, the book offers a thorough insight into how even the smallest of cultural traits can affect businesses immensely.
(GulfBusiness.com, September 2013)

The book offers a readable tour through organisational culture (Professional Manager, September 2013)

in focusing on culture they are clearly onto something important Fish Can t See Water is full of interesting insights into modern business. (The Economist, October 2013)

The real challenge this book provides is that companies need to recognise that cultural change does not happen simply by chance or desire, but requires real management focus throughout the organisation. The opportunity that awaits those organisations that achieve this is extraordinary and creates long–term sustainable businesses. (Financial Advisor, April 2014)

Book Description

How national culture impacts organisational culture—and business success

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Kai Hammerich and Richard Lewis have selected and rigorously explored a subject of great interest to me: the dynamics of interaction between and among cultural values that are sometimes incompatible or at least resistant to compromise, accommodation, and consensus. Cultural differences almost inevitably result in cultural confrontations. They help to explain why many (if not most) mergers and acquisitions either fail or fall far short of original expectations. They also help to explain civil wars, tribal feuds, and dysfunctional families.

In this volume, Hammerich and Lewis focus on these specific phenomena:

o How values, beliefs, and assumptions are embedded in an organization by its founder(s) and leaders
o The "Lewis Model" that triangulates national cultures (i.e. linear-active, multi-active, and reactive national)
o The defining traits of key nations (e.g. France, Italy, Great Britain, and USA)
o The "Cultural Dynamics Model" ® and the concept of a cultural dynamic
o Lifecycle periods (e.g. organizational, such as those discussed by Ichak Adizes in Corporate Lifecycles: How and Why Corporations Grow and Die and What to Do About It)
o The growth period during which companies expand the nature and extent of their operations
o The maturity period with its phases of efficiency, scale, and in some instances consolidation
o "Whither the West" in terms of the impact of what Tom Friedman characterizes as a "flat world" has on western nations as they compete globally
o An existential crisis whose details are best revealed within the narrative, in context

How can business leaders "see the water that surrounds them," water that may be red with ferocious competition, white with uncertainty, or blue (as W.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yngve Traberg on 29 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent and inspirational book on how national culture in powerful, yet often invisible ways, can accelerate or or derail corporate strategy execution.

The book uses the Lewis model (from Richard D Lewis' book: When Cultures Collide) to define and describe national types and their uniqueness, complemented by the new Cultural Dynamic model.

The two authors, who come from very different and diverse background, use their two models to explain how national and business cultural influencers impact work and management practices over the business cycle - and through this the effectiveness of strategy execution.

This book confirms the simple truism that "Culture eats strategy for lunch".

The many cases of global corporations such as Sony, Samsung, P&G, GM, Walmart, Nokia and Toyota, are clearly extensively researched.

While the topic of corporate is prone to stereotyping and cliches, the authors manage to convincingly present a new line of thinking in each case to explain how the national culture profoundly impacted the success of these companies - yet, often without the management or board noticing the critical enabling or derailing cultural dynamics.

However, the book is also practical and suggests how Western companies can more effectively deal with other cultures, and how companies can improve their response to the inevitable corporate crises and how each nation face their own unique challenges from globalisation.

Fish Can't See Water: How National Culture Can Make or Break Your Corporate Strategy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At least a decade ago I read Mind Your Manners: Managing Business Culture in a Global Europe and was fascinated by the insights into cultural differences in business and how important it was to factor culture into business communications and operations. I was therefore keen to learn new insights in this more recent publication. In a world of increasing globalisation the authors argue that a key obstacle to success is the inability to understand the different world view of customer and partners and that this is increasingly important in a service based economy. If we are the fish in the water, we don't 'see' the water that is our own culture and do not understand that others are swimming in a different water. They argue that national traits can explain the rise and fall of companies such as Nokia and Austin Motors.

There are a number of sweeping generalisations but this is an interesting read and may help if you work with other nationalists and cultures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John L. Youngblood on 24 May 2014
Format: Hardcover
Authors Kai Hammerich and Richard Lewis have teamed to produce an illuminating examination of the profound impact national cultures have on corporations as they expand their work force and customer base beyond their borders. As an American educated in the U.S., I particularly appreciate that this book is written from a non-American perspective. Business writing seems to be dominated by Americans and in this day we need more analysis and advice from those whose professional lives and expertise emanate from outside the United States. The conceptual framework and case studies in this book combine for a compelling discussion of strategic planning in a world where multinational companies succeed or fail based upon their ability to acknowledge and respond to the clash between cultural roots and global growth. An excellent book.
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