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Fish Can't See Water: How National Culture Can Make or Break Your Corporate Strategy by Richard D. Lewis, Kai Hammerich

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INTRODUCTION

The idea we present in this book is simple: national culture, through its influence on corporate culture, has a powerful but often-invisible impact on the success of global companies. What's more, the very same national traits that accelerated growth in one stage of the corporate lifecycle may derail that growth at a different stage or when an inevitable crisis hits. When you, as a leader of a global organization, become able to recognize the impact of national culture, you will be in a stronger position to lead your company. We will present you with two concepts, Richard D. Lewis' renowned Lewis model and Kai Hammerich's new Cultural Dynamic Model®1. This framework will give you a precise language and a stronger conceptual understanding to discuss how national culture affects your organization and how it differs from other business culture influencers that you are more familiar with. It will outline what you, as a leader, need to watch out for and what actions you can take during a period of transformation. In a global world where most processes and products can and will be copied, culture matters more than ever and, as we will show, can be a source of sustainable competitive differentiation! As they say: “Culture eats Strategy for lunch!”

In this chapter and the following two, we will take you through the key concepts in the book. First, let's share four examples of what we mean.

Playing football in Brazil and Germany: Countries will go about getting things done ...

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