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Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business Hardcover – 15 Sep 1997
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A controversial book examining the effects of cultural differences on management. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
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. Which are the more important guides to actions; our inner directed judgments or the demands of the outside world?
- Choosing among achievers. How does the national culture assign status? By ascription or achievement?
- Conception of time. Does the culture perceive time as sequential and linear or as synchronous and cyclical?
Without rehashing the minutiae of their experimental method, I found some of the insight fascinating. For example, the authors confirm that status in France is ascribed based on graduation from any of the elitist engineering schools. They also confirmed that "French managers...were more emphatic about "knowing all the answers" than managers from other cultures. This observation rings true with my experience working for a French company.
Most importantly, the authors conclude that the resolutions of the seven dilemmas are not necessarily irreconcilable. As the economies of communitarian cultures like India, Japan and Brazil become more developed, their organisational models will challenge the assumptions of the Weberian, individualistic "Protestant" model that has dominated the literature since the systematic study of management began. The authors remind us that various cultures resolve the same cultural dilemmas in the process of creating wealth as we do. It is a timely message and one that no international-oriented manager can ignore. The book deserves my 4 stars
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