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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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5

THE EMBRYONIC PERIOD

In this and the following two chapters, we will use the lifecycle model from the introduction to structure the discussion of our eight cases. They are organized to cover the three main periods shown in Diagram 5.1, with some of the cases spanning several phases.

A transformation point indicates where a company needs to transition its skills and capabilities to navigate the challenges of the next phase. This is a critical point where a company may stumble.

In this chapter, we discuss the embryonic period and the national and business traits that may enable or derail success. In the Austin Motors case, we showed how the embryonic period has a disproportionate influence on a company's embedded cultural universe. In this chapter we discuss three cases: first, Finnish Nokia that, in less than 10 years, became the king of the mobile industry, speeding through the innovation, geographic expansion and product-line expansion phases. After a strategy change, it reached the scale and efficiency phase as Nokia 2.0, when it was hit by an existential crisis caused by technology disruption from Apple and Google. We finish the chapter with two cases describing the global expansion of Finnish KONE, and finally American Walmart's fascinating international expansion into Germany, China and South Korea.

In Chapters 1 and 4, we illustrated the deep influence founders have on the embedded values. So let's first start with a quick look at the American tech industry and how the ...

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