Riding the Waves of Culture

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Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the relevant copyright, designs and patents acts, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers.

RIDING THE
WAVES OF
CULTURE
Second Edition

RIDING THE
WAVES OF
CULTURE
UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL
DIVERSITY IN BUSINESS

FONS TROMPENAARS
AND
CHARLES HAMPDEN-TURNER

NICHOLAS BREALEY
PUBLISHING
LONDON

This new edition first published by
Nicholas Brealey Publishing Limited in 1997
36 John Street
London
WC1N 2AT, UK
Tel: +44(0)171 430 0224
Fax: +44 (0)171 404 8311

671 Clover Drive
Santa Rosa
CA 95401, USA
Tel: (707) 566 8006
Fax: (707) 566 8005
http://www.nbrealey-books.com

Reprinted with corrections 1998
Text © 1993, 1997 Intercultural Management Publishers NV
Charts © 1993, 1997 Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd
The rights of Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner to be identified as the authors of this work have been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
ISBN 1-85788-176-1
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the
British Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording and/or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publishers. This book may not be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise disposed of by way of trade in any form, binding or cover other than that in which it is published, without the prior consent of the publishers.

Printed in Finland by Werner Söderström Oy.
Digital processing by
The Electric Book Company, London, UK, www.elecbook.com

CONTENTS

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

IX

1 AN INTRODUCTION TO CULTURE

1

The impact of culture on business
How proven formulas can give the wrong result
Culture is the way in which people solve problems
The basis of cultural differences
Structure of the book
REFERENCES

2
5
6
8
11
12

2 THE ONE BEST WAY OF ORGANISING DOES NOT EXIST

13

What the gurus tell us
Neglect of culture in action
Culture as a side dish?
An alternative approach
SUMMARY
REFERENCES

13
14
16
17
19
19

3 THE MEANING OF CULTURE

20

The concept of culture
The layers of culture
Culture directs our actions
Culture as a “normal distribution”
Cultures vary in solutions to common problems and
dilemmas
SUMMARY
REFERENCES

20
21
24
24
26
27
28

4 RELATIONSHIPS AND RULES

29

The universal versus the particular
Universalist versus particularist orientations in different
countries
Universalism versus particularism in international business
Reconciling universalism and particularism
Test yourself
Practical tips for doing business in universalist and
particularist cultures
REFERENCES

31
33
38
43
47
48
49

5 THE GROUP AND THE INDIVIDUAL

50

Concepts of individualism and communitarianism
Does modernisation imply individualism?
Which community?
Is individualism a corporate requirement?
Individualism versus communitarianism in international
business
Individualism, communitarianism and motivation
Differences in organisational structure
Reconciling individualism and communitarianism
Test yourself
Practical tips for doing business in individualist and
communitarian cultures
REFERENCES

52
53
54
56

67
68

6 FEELINGS AND RELATIONSHIPS

69

Affective versus neutral cultures
Degrees of affectivity in different cultures
Intercultural communication
Reconciling neutral and affective cultures
Test yourself
Practical tips for doing business in neutral and affective
cultures
7 HOW FAR WE GET INVOLVED

69
72
74
76
77

Specific versus diffuse cultures
Negotiating the...
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