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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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7

THE MATURITY PERIOD

In this chapter we discuss the maturity period. This period includes the latter stage of the efficiency and scale phase and the ultimate consolidation phase. We examine it through cases from three different continents: Japanese Toyota, Danish FLSmidth and American P&G.

As an industry matures, there is a drive towards more efficiency, often through sheer scale and a desire for a stronger market share position with its consequent higher profitability. Consolidation is the end game of an industry, with only a small handful of global or regional players in the segment. This period requires different capabilities from the earlier periods and again different national traits will impact success.

As we have observed earlier, a crisis can strike at any time of the lifecycle, and may take many forms. The mature company is set in its ways and hence change does not come easily, as evidenced by IBM in the 1990s. In our terms, this means that the embedded values have been solidly inculcated and reinforced in the work practices for a long period. The culture is now well defined, succinctly articulated and communicated and supported by all the substitute leadership mechanisms of the large corporation. However, the risk of an existentially derailing cultural dynamic also increases, as the long-established work practices in a well-organized mature company will reinforce the existing corporate culture.

The company is often protected by its strong market position and profits ...

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