3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2004
Trompenaars, Fons and Peter Woolliams Business Across Cultures. Capstone Publishing Ltd. Chichester, England, UK: 2003.363 pages soft bound.
I think that we should consider this book to be a primer for the Business Culture Series coming out from Capstone Publishing by the Trompenaars/Hampden-Turner Group. It truly sets the framework for their Marketing Across Cultures, Managing People Across Cultures, and Corporate Cultures texts.
Additionally, it demonstrates the evolutionary growth and development of the T/H-T authors from their earlier innovative and insightful Riding the Waves of Culture, The Seven Cultures of Capitalism and 21 Leaders for the 21st Century books.
Trompenaars and Woolliams have set a new framework from which to look at the dimensions of culture in organizations. They see culture as the contextual environment defining much of the essence of the relationships between an organization and the environment in which it operates. This new thinking removes culture as a topic per se and allows companies and organizations to place dilemmas within their contextual configuration.
Such dilemmas relate to values which are expressed in behavior, communication, attitudes, and key decision making. Reconciliation of dilemmas seeks to restore the harmony which is requisite for synergistic solutions to enhance the effectiveness of the organization. However, as the authors state, before reconciliation there must come the recognition of the dilemma and the respect for the opposing views.
As a primer for the Business Culture Series, the authors address the organization as a cultural construct and look at the organization of meaning and its integral role in the development of the key value dimensions that are essential elements of Trompenaars research. We also get insights into the authors' perception of corporate culture and the techniques for managing change and continuity across cultures.
Three chapters provide us with the tip of the iceberg for their subsequent books on marketing across cultures, managing HR dilemmas across cultures, and finance and accounting across cultures.
The penultimate chapter presents the integration theory, an approach that allows us to determine the propensity for the individual to reconcile dilemmas which they see as a direct measurement of leadership. They call this "trans-cultural competence". They see managers as working to accomplish specific objectives with leaders dealing with dilemmas of seemingly opposed objectives which they continually seek to reconcile.
The final chapter is a documented "proof of the pudding" chapter with examples of how the reconciling process actually works in practice. It provides both techniques or reconciliation as well as insights to its practicality.
While reading this book is not a prerequisite for reading the rest of the books in the series, it is an extremely valuable and helpful overview of the thought processes of the THT group and is an excellent guide to the paths that they are following.
David C. Wigglesworth, Ph.D., an interculturalist, is an international management and organization development consultant with D.C.W. Research Associates International, 2606 Parkdale Drive, Kingwood, Texas 77339-2476 USA. Tel: 281-359-4234; Email: email@example.com