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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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3

NATION-STATE TRAITS AND HOW THEY AFFECT CORPORATE CULTURES IN SEVEN COUNTRIES

Different cultures have diverse concepts of leadership. Leaders can be born, elected, or trained and groomed. Others seize power or have leadership thrust upon them. Leadership can be autocratic or democratic, collective or individual, meritocratic or unearned, desired or imposed.

It is not surprising that business leaders (managers) often wield their power in conformity with the national set-up – for instance, a confirmed democracy like Sweden produces low-key democratic managers; Arab managers are good Muslims; Chinese managers usually have government or Party affiliations.

Leaders cannot readily be transferred from culture to culture. Japanese prime ministers would be largely ineffective in the United States; American politicians would fare badly in most Arab countries; mullahs would not be tolerated in Norway. Similarly, business managers find the transition from one culture to another fraught with difficulties. Such transfers become more and more common with the globalization of business, but the composition of international teams and particularly the choice of their leaders requires careful thought. Autocratic French managers have to tread warily in consensus-minded Japan or Sweden. Courteous Asian leaders would have to adopt a more vigorous style in argumentative Holland or theatrical Spain if they wished to hold the stage. German managers sent to Australia are somewhat alarmed at the irreverence ...

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