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Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business [Hardcover]

Alfons Trompenaars
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Feb 1994
As U.S. organizations continue to explore overseas business opportunities, they will be challenged to adapt to the new market's local characteristics, legislation, fiscal regime, socio-political system, and cultural system. This book eases this transitory process, showing the emerging breed of international managers how to build the skills, sensitivity, and cultural awareness needed to establish and sustain management effectiveness across cultural borders.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 215 pages
  • Publisher: Irwin Professional Publishing; First Printing edition (1 Feb 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786302909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786302901
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,189,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Fons is recognised around the world for his work as consultant, trainer, motivational speaker and author of various books on all subjects of culture and business. As founder and director of Trompenaars Hampden-Turner (THT), an intercultural management firm, he has spent over 25 years helping Fortune 500 leaders manage and solve their business and cultural dilemmas to increase global effectiveness and performance, particularly in the areas of globalisation, mergers and acquisition, HR and leadership development.

Listed regularly as one of the world's most influential, living, management thinkers, he has been awarded the International Professional Practice Area Research Award by the American Society for Training and Development. Voted one of the top 20 HR Most Influential International Thinkers 2011 by HR Magazine. He is also ranked in the Thinkers50 to be one of the most influential management thinkers alive in November 2011 and shortlisted as making substantial strides in the contribution to the understanding of globalization and the new frontiers established by the emerging markets.

His 13 books include best seller and 'Book of the Year' "Riding the Waves of Culture", "Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business", "Culture for Business" co-authored with Charles Hampden-Turner (he is the co-author with Charles Hampden-Turner of six other books on cross-cultural business and organizational issues), "Riding the Whirlwind: Connecting People and Organisations in a Culture of Innovation", "Innovating in a Global Crisis" and "The Global M&A Tango: How to reconcile cultural differences in mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships".

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Read the book that is revolutionizing international business!

With over 50,000 copies sold in its first edition, Riding the Waves of Culture dispelled the idea that there is only one way to manage, and was the first book to show professional managers how to build the cross-cultural skills, sensitivity, and awareness required in today's global business environment. In this second edition, Fons Trompenaars and co-author Charles Hampden-Turner reveal the seven key dimensions of business behavior, and how they combine to form four basic types of corporate culture:

-The Family (Japan, Belgium)
-The Eiffel Tower (France, Germany)
-The Guided Missile (US, UK)
-The Incubator (Silicon valley)

This revised and updated edition features completely new sections including:

-An in-depth examination of one of the world's most multicultural nations­­South Africa­­and how recent events make it an ongoing laboratory of intercultural reconciliations
-A detailed analysis of how gender differences within the United States affect workplace and problem-solving behavior
-Current research findings on how ethnic differences within a society can be more troublesome than international differences­­and how some managers are keeping the peace
-A systematic program for uncovering, understanding, respecting, and reconciling cultural differences at all levels of the organization --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Fons Trompenaars is managing director of United Notions, an international management and training consulting group with clients that include Motorola, Mars, Shell, Eastman Kodak, Heineken, and Apple Computer. Trompenaars, an accomplished consultant and author, has given over 1,000 cross-cultural training programs in 18 countries. He received his Ph.D. from the Wharton School of Management at the University of Pennsylvania.

Charles Hampden-Turner is a leading management consultant with a DBA from Harvard. He has authored over a dozen books, including Maps of the Mind, and with Fons Trompenaars coauthored The Seven Cultures of Capitalism and Mastering the Infinite Game. Hampden-Turner is a past winner of the Douglas McGregor Memorial Award and is based at the University of Cambridge Judge Institute of Management Studies. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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This book is about cultural differences and how they affect the process of doing business and managing. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Peppering the book with anecdotes, Trompenaars and Hampden Turner take a logical, cogent and clear approach to how people are different when they conduct business.
This goes far beyond simple stereotypes of "Northern Europeans are colder than Southern Europeans" and attempts to explain why these differences come about. They then suggest alternate approaches to interactions between different cultures.
The book is general in approach and teaches skills that are relevant globally. This means that if you're after specifics of (say) how rural Korean cultures interact with the Japanese, you'll find the book a bit thin!
However: I wish I'd had this book when I started working in a European team.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding and Managing Diversity 30 Jun 2006
By Mr. Ross Maynard VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I knew I'd like this book when I read the first paragraph - "It is our belief that you can never understand other cultures. Those who are married know that it is impossible ever completely to understand even people of your own culture". And that, pretty much, is the theme of the book. That said, the authors use seven dimensions of culture to help us understand how and why people might think in different ways. This I found enlightening and even entertaining, though spending nearly 150 pages examining these dimensions is perhaps overcooking it a little. The book certainly does give you a different perspective, a new way of thinking about diversity, but it doesn't provide any easy answers. There are no miracle formulae or quick fixes to managing diversity. The conclusion is more to be open, and stay in a positive frame of mind. Take time to consider different people's needs and priorities from different angles. Inspirational stuff, if a little stodgy in parts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's an Exciting Minefield Out There 24 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of the management thinking that has emerged in the last three decades was conceived in the United States and Western Europe. Therefore, a lot of the "management speak" have a distinct Western tint to them. Most of us assume implicitly that what works in the United States must work in Southern Europe or in Japan. However, as many employees of multinational companies can attest, many management initiatives, which were conceived in good faith at the company headquarters in London or New York fail abysmally on the ground in Italy or Nigeria. Why does this happen? Could it be that the Nigerians and Italians are simply perverse and pre-capitalist in their thinking? Why can't they simply get how a modern multinational should be run?

Thank goodness, the answers are not so simple. Messrs Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner explain eloquently in this wonderful book that all cultures differ in their approach to solving the following three problems:

- Relationships with people;
- Attitudes to time; and
- Attitudes to the environment.

There is an inherent tension in the way different cultures solve these problems. The authors use over 30,000 interviews from different professionals from over 50 countries to show how different nationalities resolve the following seven cultural dilemmas.

- Making rules and discovering expectations. Does the culture value universal or particular rules of conduct?
- Constructing and deconstructing. Are phenomena analysed into their parts or are the phenomena integrated and taken as a whole?
- Management of communities of individuals. Does the culture value the rights of the individual over and above those of the group?
- Internalising the outside world.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative and insightful book 21 Sep 1998
By A Customer
Having read a number of books on intercultural management, I can only say that in my opinion, "Riding the Waves of Culture" is by far the best book on this subject. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner present the results of their research on cultural differences in a most engaging way. Their book is a quick read that is full of wonderful anecdotes about cross-cultural business dilemmas. The stories are presented in a way that demonstrates great awareness of and respect for very diverse approaches to business. The authors also offer a methodology for reconciling value differences that incorporates the best of both worlds.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Theoretically sound, at the same time the book is written beautifully, and I successfully used it as the basis for a multicultural teambulding programme in Amsterdam, with eight countries and six languages represented.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Lifes educational steps 15 Oct 2001
By A Customer
I first read this book three years ago and have continued to recomend it to friends and collegues. Having worked internationally for 15 years I often had people experiences but didn't understand the why. This book helps you understand the different cultural dimensions, and where different cultures fit. I now understand some of the why.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For Business Poeple and Managers 20 April 2009
This is a shorter, and more condensed version of the authors' earlier book 'Building Cross Cultural Competence'. In this book, the authors' target managers and business people who are looking to understand cultural differences and how to deal with them in a variety of circumstances and situations. Each chapter begins with am introduction to one of the dimensions, a discussion of how the differences manifest themselves and concludes with 'tips' on how to deal, and how to do business, with the different culture explored in that chapter.

The authors use the same six dimensions of culture introduced in their earlier work (universalism vs. particularism; individualism vs communitarism; specificity vs. diffusion; achieved status vs. ascribed status; inner direction vs. outer direction; and sequential time vs. synchronous time), but they present these dimensions in a much more accessible and simple manner with more emphasis on what each dimension actually means for business people and how it affects business-related situations.

This book has become the reference for business people and managers in the area of culture. Simple and very well written without losing credibility; this is a book that will enlighten and guide any manager in dealing with people from other cultures. While in some ways it is a 'western-centric' book (targeted to Western - especially US - managers), it remains very useful for managers from other cultures since the authors have attempted to keep the examples and discussion culturally neutral.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex at times - but insightful
At times this book is overly complex and its mix of trying to use the style of the " one minute" series of telling through characters can be a little contrived and distract... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Gary Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and rigorous surf-board
This is a classic in exploring organisational culture, using data gathered from global workshops and interviews. Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by John Holland
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding how each other work helps create a common operating...
Charles Hampden-Turner, Fons Trompenaars - `Riding The Waves of Culture', offer fabulous insights into the minefield of diversity in the `global village'. Read more
Published on 12 July 2009 by I. Claffey
5.0 out of 5 stars For business poeple and managers
This is a shorter, and more condensed version of the authors' earlier book Building Cross-cultural Competence: How to Create Wealth from Conflicting Values. Read more
Published on 17 April 2009 by Layla Halabi
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
If you are doing a business course read this. I read it as part of my studies, then read it again for pleasure- you learn so much!
Published on 23 Mar 2004 by Mr. S. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars good range of coverage
Was needing advice for a cross-cultural project between American and British teams. Good insights, though chose a more specific book, "Working with Americans" (Stewart-Allen,... Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2003 by Cheryl Burnside
3.0 out of 5 stars A first glimpse at some of our cultural differences.
May this book trigger your interest and curiosity further on the human species. How fortunate we are to be different ! Read more
Published on 18 Nov 1998
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