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Riding the Waves of Culture

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In an era where global expansion is becoming the norm, the book Riding the Waves of Culture provides managers and corporations with the essential knowledge and tools they will need to make global expansion successful. Written by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, the book gives corporate managers a step-by-step guide on how to successfully implement their business plans in a way different cultures can both accept and embrace.

Riding the Waves of CultureThe second edition of the book contains fifteen chapters. The book begins by giving an introduction to culture and explaining the importance of culture on business. Many basic concepts are presented in this chapter, such as culture is the way in which a group of people solves problems, and when repeated over time, the solution then becomes a basic assumption upon which that society operates.

Chapter Two explains the importance of realizing that an organization and its policies will not have the same meaning for individuals from differing cultures. In order to be successful, organizations must realize that cultural perceptions play a key role in the degree of acceptance for such policies.

Chapter Three delves into the specific meaning of culture. The chapter begins by commenting that what one culture holds as vital, another culture may view as unimportant. The chapter then discusses how concepts vary from culture to culture, and how these differing concepts can lead to misunderstanding and confusion. A bell graph is given in this chapter to depict the differences between culture as a normal distribution and what happens to that distribution when stereotyping is figured in.

Chapter Four revolves around relationships and rules, and explains the difference between the universal versus the particular in terms of cultural orientation. For example, while a universalist may object to a certain situation because of the rules that are broken, a particularist may object because of the hurt feelings inflicted upon the innocent party. In order for an organization to handle situations in which problems occur, it is vital that the company first understand the cultural orientation of the country in which it operates.

Chapter Five discusses the concepts of individualism and communitarianism and whether or not individualism is a result of modernization. The concept of individualism is also discussed in terms of whether or not it is a corporate requirement. The end of the chapter points out the differences in organizational structure and suggests ways for reconciling individualism and communitaranism as well as tips for business conduct within different cultures.

Chapter six is especially important because it discusses intercultural communication. Regardless of how good a company’s product is, if the management of the company fails to communicate according to that cultures rules, the product will not sell. Chapter six also points out the differences between affective and neutral cultures and gives tips on how to deal effectively with both.

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