The Cultural Imperative : Global Trends in the 21st Century

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Will the tidal wave of globalization homogenize the world? Or will culture, which drives human behavior, maintain its influence?In The Cultural Imperative: Global Trends in the Twenty-first Century, Richard D. Lewis explores these questions and examines the forces that keep us tied to our cultural heritage. According to Lewis, throughout history and across the globe, we all have worn cultural spectacles, glasses tinted with our own cultural biases. These glasses ensure that our individual cultural traits will always be a part of us, as they are a part of the very way in which we see the world.As he examines the world after 9/11, with focus on the rise of Islam and the current state of the West, Lewis disproves the theory of inevitable globalization and identifies the forces that ensure that cultural perspective will always play a role in our lives.Richard Lewis's approach has been an absolutely marvelous way to get my students to appreciate how and why cultures are different, and how to benefit from this. It is great to see him now turn his practical wisdom to the future in such a spellbinding, readable and timely new book. A real imperative for understanding cultural trends! -Ulla Ladau-Harjulin, Principal Lecturer FRSA, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Helsinki, Finland A very revealing and sometimes shocking vision of confrontation and/or cooperation of world cultures in the twenty-first century. A must-read in MBA programs and to be highly recommended to everyone involved with the study or practice of cross-cultural interaction and management. -Peter N. Shikhirev, PhD, Director, Centre for Social and Psychological Studies, Graduate School of International Business, Academy of National Economy by the Government of Russia Richard Lewis has developed a rich and powerful tool that serves to disseminate cultural complexities, which allows for leveraging opportunities and minimizing threats. Such issues would be paramount in any international business situation. A global mindset is imperative for us all. -Marta Szabo White, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, J. Mack Robinson School of Business, Georgia State University [The] thesis of the book is the argument linking cultural dimensions of nations to national competitive advantage. Richard Lewis develops a simple yet convincing model for understanding the historical evolution of the major national cultures and their juxtaposition to the rest of the world to day. The value of [The Cultural Imperative] is its new way of weaving a new explanation for considering the role of national cultures, language development, national aspirations and history in understanding the sources of future conflicts relating to global economic development. -Arie Y. Lewin, Professor, Director Center for International Business Education and Research, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University Richard Lewis' extensive experience and knowledge of many cultures provides rich anecdotes coupled with interesting insights and opinions. The book stimulates personal reflection on the continuing importance of culture in a globalizing economy. -Susan Schneider, Chaired Professor of Human Resource Management, HEC University of Geneva ContentsPrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Genetic, Economic, and Cultural Determinism1 From 2,000,000 B.C. to A.D 2000: The Roots and Routes of Culture2 Culture and Climate3 Culture and Religion4 Cross-Century Worldviews5 Cultural Spectacles6 Cultural Black Holes7 Cognitive Processes8 The Pacific Rim: The Fourth Cultural Ecology9 The China Phenomenon10 Americanization versus Asianization11 Culture and Globalization12 Empires- Past, Present, and FutureConclusionEpilogueAppendix A: Cultural Categorization CharacteristicsAppendix B: Leadership TestAppendix C: National TraitsAppendix D: National Communication StyleGlossaryBibliographyAbout the AuthorIndex
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931930352
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 634
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard D. Lewis was knighted in 1997 by President Ahtisaari of Finland for his services to the country spanning fifty years. He is chairman of Richard Lewis Communications, an international institute for cross-cultural and language training with offices in more than a dozen countries. Richard Lewis lectures and consults worldwide with clients that include Mercedes-Benz, Nokia, Rolls Royce, Volvo, Deutsche Bank and Unilever. Among his many books are When Cultures Collide and Finland: Cultural Lone Wolf. For more information, visit his website at
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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction: Genetic, Economic, and Cultural Determinism xix

Chapter 1 From 2,000,000 b.c. to a.d. 2000: The Roots and Routes of Culture 1

Incomplete Version of History 1

Culture-Genetics or Cultural Programming? 3

Roots and Routes 7

Chapter 2 Culture and Climate 13

East Side Story 14

The Effects of Climate 16

Summary 26

Chapter 3 Culture and Religion 29

Influences on the Religion-Culture Connection 32

Islam 37

Hinduism 44

Judaism 47

Jainism 49

Sikhism 50

Buddhism 51

Shinto 53

Christianity 55

The Globalization of Religion 60

Chapter 4 Cross-Century Worldviews 65

The Categorization of Cultures 67

Intercategory Comparisons 76

Chapter 5 Cultural Spectacles 91

The English and the French 92

The Germans and the Italians 99

The Americans and the Japanese 106

Conclusion 112

Chapter 6 Cultural Black Holes 115

Cultural Black Holes, by Country 121

State-Induced Black Holes 126

Chapter 7 Cognitive Processes 129

Language and Thought 132

Collective and Individual Thought Processes 137

Logic, Logic, Logic 144

Concept of Time 147

Changes in Cognitive Habits? 149

Chapter 8 The Pacific Rim: The Fourth Cultural Ecology 157

Riverine Cultural Ecology 159

Mediterranean Cultural Ecology 160

Atlantic Cultural Ecology 161

Pacific Rim Cultural Ecology 162

Chapter 9 The China Phenomenon 167

China's Achievements 168

China's Decline from Preeminence 170

Phenomenal China 177

Enduring Chinese Cultural Traits 180

Conclusion 187

Chapter 10 Americanization versus Asianization 191

The American Era 191

The Japanese Model 192

Asianizing 193

Masculinity and the WesternIntellectual Tradition 195

East and West 198

The Asian Model 204

Summary 220

Chapter 11 Culture and Globalization 223

Globalization 224

Information Technology and Globalization 227

The Standardization of Culture Itself 229

The Answer: Cultural Adaptation 236

Chapter 12 Empires-Past, Present, and Future 245

Cultural Traits as Predictors of the Future 246

Past Empires 248

Impending Chinese Dominance 249

Future Alliances: Who Wants China? 251

Most Nation-States to Survive 257

Conclusion 261


After September 11 271

The Rise of Islam 272

The Moorish Legacy in Europe 274

The Crusades 277

Coexistence 278

Islam's Own Problems 282

What the West Has to Learn 286

Whither the West? 291

Appendix A Cultural Categorization Characteristics 295

Appendix B Leadership Test 299

Appendix C National Traits 307

Appendix D National Communication Styles 311

Glossary 313

Bibliography 319

About the Author 323

Index 325

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