Managing Cultural Differences: Global Leadership Strategies for Cross-Cultural Business Success / Edition 8

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The international nature of modern Business means that individual and organizational success is no longer dependent solely on business acumen- our ability to understand, communicate and work with people in different countries and cultures around the world is more important than ever as more companies rely on their global reach to achieve the best profit and performance. For this reason, international business and cross-cultural management are key topics in undergraduate business, MBA and executive education programs worldwide as companies and institutions prepare current and future business leaders for the global marketplace.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Managing Cultural Differences should be a required text for all students (graduate and undergraduate) who are preparing for careers in international business, foreign service or developmental change, in either the public or private sectors.

Having spent a good part of my professional career working both abroad (Malawi, India, and Indonesia) and in the United States (Indian Reservations and in Appalachia,) this book is of great value to anyone working or living in a cross cultural environment, both at home or abroad.

A five star publication."

W. B. Leach, PhD
Peace Corp staff, University of Kentucky Center for Developmental Change, and University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Retired)

“the bible of multiculturalism” - New York Times News Service

"All in all, this is one of the most complete books about management in the modern global world. The cross-cultural dimension of the book makes it a must-read for any young or experienced manager working internationally out of corporate headquarters or working full time overseas."
— Christopher Howard-Williams, International consultant and executive education provider

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781856179232
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/22/2010
  • Series: Managing Cultural Differences Series
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 586
  • Sales rank: 542,405
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Moran, Ph.D., is a Professor of Global Management, Emeritus at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, USA.

Dr. Philip R. Harris is President of Harris International, Ltd. in LaJolla, California. He is Series Editor of the Managing Cultural Differences Series and co-author of B-H books Managing Cultural Differences, Multicultural Management 2000, and Transcultural Leadership. He is on the advisory board of the European Business Review.

Sarah Moran has worked extensively in the areas of organizational and cross-cultural relations. She co-facilitated employee relations workshops with internal teams for Motorola and Intel employees to use cross-cultural management strategies to better manage global responsibilities. She has also worked with high level military nurses serving the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force regarding fiscal priorities regarding health care concerns. As a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council with The Hartford Company she worked implementing diversity awareness strategies to improve employee productivity. As a corporate examiner with Arizona Quality Alliance, she formulated an onsite examination strategy which included an analysis of organizational performance, development and leadership. Sarah earned her Masters in Organizational and Intercultural Communications from Arizona State University. She is currently a PhD student focusing her studies on Cross Cultural Management in the Organizational Behavior research area of Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, at Montreal, Canada.

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Read an Excerpt


Global Leadership Strategies for Cross-Cultural Business Success
By Robert T. Moran Philip R. Harris Sarah V. Moran


Copyright © 2011 Robert T. Moran, Philip R. Harris, and Sarah V. Moran
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-85617-924-9

Chapter One


The world has changed, and so must people living in this changed global world.


* Twenty-five percent of the population in China with the highest IQs and 28% in India are greater than the total population of North America. Implication for parents, teachers, and politicians—China and India have more honor kids than most, if not all countries.

* China will soon be the number one English-speaking country in the world.

* Every 6 min, 60 babies will be born in the United States, 244 babies will be born in China, and 351 babies will be born in India.

* In the United States, 1 out of 2 people are working for a company for whom they have worked less than 5 years.

* The top 10 jobs that are in demand in 2010 didn't exist in 2004, according to a former U.S. Secretary of Education.

* One out of 8 couples married in the United States in 2006 met online.

* If MySpace were a country, it would be the 11th largest in the world.

* There are over 2.7 billion searches performed on Google each month.

* The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years.

* Predictions are that by 2013 a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computation capability of the human brain.

Vérite en-deça des Pyrénéés, erreur au delà. (There are truths on this side of the Pyrenees that are falsehoods on the other.)

In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail for India, going west ... he called the people he met "Indians" and came home and reported to his king and queen, "The world is round." I set off for India 512 years later ... I went east ... I came home and reported only to my wife and only in a whisper, "The world is flat."

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes—Marcel Proust, French novelist, 1871-1922

More people will graduate in the United States in 2006 with sports and exercise degrees than with electrical engineering degrees. So, if we want to be the massage capital of the world, we're well on our way.


In the twenty-first century, leaders in business, government, and the professions cope with the phenomenon of globalization. It prompts them to cross borders more frequently and to communicate with persons from other cultures, either in person or electionally.

This chapter provides a rationale and an imperative for all individuals working "globally" to understand and respect their counterparts, and to develop the skills required to work effectively in today's complex world. Ways to analyze and understand other cultures are presented, along with how to use the suggested strategies. Seeing global issues through "multiple lens" or "by hearing with new ears" is also important.

Why does the world appear flat to some, round to others, and what are the advantages or disadvantages of either? Thomas Friedman writes about his insights during an interview with Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys Technologies Limited:

"Outsourcing is just one dimension of a much more fundamental thing happening today in the world," Nilekani explained. "What happened over the last (few) years is that there was a massive investment in technology, especially in the bubble era, when hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in putting broadband connectivity around the world, undersea cables, all those things." At the same time, he added, computers became cheaper and dispersed all over the world, and there was an explosion of software-e-mail, search engines like Google, and proprietary software that can chop up any piece of work and send one part to Boston, one part to Bangalore, and one part to Beijing, making it easy for anyone to do remote development. When all of these things suddenly came together around 2000, added Nilekani, they created a platform where intellectual work, intellectual capital, could be delivered from anywhere. It could be disaggregated, delivered, distributed, produced, and put back together again—and this gave a whole new degree of freedom to the way we do work, especially work of an intellectual nature ... And what you are seeing in Bangalore today is really the culmination of all these things coming together.

The point is, the playing field in the global marketplace is being leveled for some, and thus "flat." That is an advantage for many and a disadvantage for others. In either view, cultural competing is a requirement. Culture does count.

The coauthors of this book have worked for global organizations for many years. In the 1960s and early 1970s, we had to convince many business and government leaders that "culture counts." From the industrialized world, the perspective often voiced was, "We tell them what to do, and if they want to work with us, they do it." This is rarely or never the situation today.

We no longer have to convince anyone with any global experience that culture counts. And when organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and political organizations ignore, dismiss, or minimize culture, the costs are often significant. This chapter will present proven frameworks, models, and paradigms relevant to working skillfully in today's global business and geopolitical world. We believe managing cultural differences skillfully for all individuals, organizations, NGOs, and governments from all countries is a human and business imperative. Understanding the environment is a fundamental requirement for maintaining a competitive advantage. To successfully adapt to changes in the environment is a requirement for survival. Culture impacts relationships and business operations. Schein states it profoundly:

Consider any complex, potentially volatile issue—Arab relations, the problems between Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians, corporate decision-making, getting control of the U.S. deficit, or health-care costs, labor/ management relations, and so on. At the root of the issue, we are likely to find communication failures and cultural misunderstandings that prevent the parties from framing the problem in a common way, and thus make it impossible to deal with the problem constructively.

McNamara et al. cite a dialogue about the Vietnam War between Colonel Herbert Schandler and Colonel Quach Hai Luong that illustrates dramatically the importance of culture in perception. The dialogue took place in Hanoi in 1998, when military historians from the United States and Vietnam came together to try to understand the lessons of the Vietnam War to be carried forward to the twenty-first century.

Colonel Quach Hai Luong: I want to ask you: What do you think the American objectives were in Vietnam? Colonel Herbert Schandler: Our objectives in Vietnam, as stated by our various presidents, were the following. First, to establish an independent, noncommunist South Vietnam whose people had the ability to choose their own leaders and form of government. A second objective was to convince North Vietnam—not to defeat or crush or obliterate North Vietnam—but to convince North Vietnam not to impose its will on the South by means of military force. We had no burning desire even to harm North Vietnam in any way. We just wanted to demonstrate to you that you could not win militarily in the South. Colonel Quach Hai Luong: But Colonel Schandler, if I may say so, this was a critical difference between your understanding of the situation and our understanding of it. Let me put it this way: your fundamental assumption is that Vietnam was two distinct—two rightfully independent—countries. On that basis, your objectives and strategies follow. We did not make that distinction. We saw only one country. All our strategies were based on this basic premise: that Vietnam is one country, unfortunately and artificially divided in two. Our war was for the purpose of protecting our independence and maintaining our national unity.

Now imagine how different the outcomes of the Vietnam War might have been if, at the beginning of this conflict, the military leaders and negotiators of the respective countries had used sophisticated problem-solving skills and dug deeper to understand the cultural meanings and implications of their actions and behind their public statements about the war. The same might be said of present conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Also supporting the notion that "culture" is important is Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Greenspan stated that he originally believed that capitalism was "human nature." After the collapse of the Soviet economy, however, he concluded that "it was not human nature at all, but culture." Culture is finding its place of significance in the experience of global individuals.

Cultures have always been distinct, mostly separate and independent. Over the past 100 years, and especially during the last 25, cultures and nations have remained unique, but have become increasingly more interconnected in complex and nonobvious ways. This book covers many topics, but the threads of culture, differences, and leadership run throughout.

"In the early 1990s, I happened to come across early 1960s economic data on Ghana and South Korea, and I was astonished to see how similar their economies were at that time. These two countries had roughly comparable levels of per capita gross national product (GNP); similar divisions of their economy among primary products, manufacturing, and services; and overwhelmingly primary product exports, with South Korea producing a few manufactured goods. They were also receiving comparable levels of economic aid. Thirty years later, South Korea had become an industrial giant with the fourteenth largest economy in the world. No such changes had occurred in Ghana, whose per capita GNP was now about one-fifteenth that of South Korea's. How could this extraordinary difference in development be explained? Undoubtedly, many factors played a role, but it seemed to me that culture had to be a large part of the explanation. South Koreans value thrift, investment, hard work, education, organization, and discipline. Ghanaians had different values. In short, culture counts."

Diamond's statement that, "We all know that history has proceeded very differently for peoples from different parts of the globe," is one we can all agree with. The specific data that humans all came from Africa are not disputed. Diamond questions, why did different people develop in different ways? His answer, "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences in peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves."

Change is also a part of our daily lives, and impacts all. If culture counts, managing cultural differences or skillfully leading in a global world becomes of paramount importance. Most of the following events took place after the year 2000 and share aspects of culture, differences, conflict, consequences, and leadership.

"An internationalist without being indifferent to members of one's tribe."—Albert Einstein wrote the words in a letter to a friend in 1919. Einstein was a genius, but these words suggest he was also quite wise.

The following three examples are relevant and from the experiences of Robert Moran. He was born in Canada, where he lived for 25 years, then moved to Japan and later settled in the United States. His stories, therefore, have a north american flavor.

A Friendly Encounter

"In our neighborhood, trash is picked up every Monday and Thursday. I was born and spent my early years in Canada, and everyone then called the trash "garbage." One of my early chores as a young boy was to take out the garbage.

I still take out the garbage, usually on a Sunday night for an early Monday morning pickup. One Sunday, as I left a full bucket on our street, I met a neighbor who was taking her dog for a walk. We exchanged friendly pleasantries, and she asked about our adult children. She was genuinely interested.

"Elizabeth is still living and working in France," I said, "and we are about to have a second American/French grandchild." I told her that Sarah was working in Taiwan, Molly was in San Francisco working for the Gap, Rebecca was a volunteer bush pilot in Tanzania flying medical personnel to the Masaai, and Ben, our youngest, was in West Africa finishing his first year as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Our neighbor looked at me, and in a matter-of-fact way responded, "Well, at least you have one 'normal' one."

We believe our five adult children are all "normal," at least most of the time. Working and living in San Francisco—and working in Taiwan—are equally "normal" in today's world."

You Can't Trust the French

"Many years before the above encounter, about 20 years ago, I took a sabbatical from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, where I have been a faculty member since 1976. With two stuffed duffel bags each, my spouse and I left for France with our five young children. I was going to teach at a grande école—a French Ivy League university—in the suburbs of Paris. We wanted our children to learn another language and have a genuine experience of another culture.

For several weeks, we had not yet met any other foreigners as we tried to find an affordable used car, a house to rent, and schools for our children. We had only met French people who, without exception, helped us figure out how things worked in their sometimes-bureaucratic country.

Our youngest child, Ben, however, who was seven at the time, had met an American whose name was Jack, and he asked if Jack could come over and have dinner with us. We immediately agreed. As it was my turn to cook, with the help of my eldest daughter, we decided that fish—4 trout from the local marché—would be the entree.

As Jack was our guest, I presented the fish on a platter to him first. As I did this, my daughter said, from across the table, "Be careful, everyone, there may be some small bones in the fish." Jack, also 7 years old, looked at me and responded, "Okay ... (sigh) ... You know, you just can't trust the French."

Surprised at his comment, I asked him where he had first heard it. "My mother says that all the time," he responded.

Later that night, when I was dropping him off at his home, I met Jack's mother. She told me that she hated living in Europe and wanted to go home to the United States. She was lonesome, missed her friends, and did not really like living in France.

Of course, there is nothing abnormal about being lonely and finding a new environment difficult to adapt to. But her feelings and attitudes clearly influenced Jack, who might have been less disparaging and closed to his new environment had she felt differently."

The All-American Girl

"Last spring, as my work at the university slowed down, my spouse and I were able to spend a little more time together, and we were ready for a new adventure. So we rented a small house in the French countryside, thinking that we would spend our time studying French, the first language of two of our grandchildren.

When my spouse told one of her friends that we were leaving for several weeks, her friend responded, "That's not for me—I'm an all-American girl!"

Remaining an "all-American" would be a safe bet, I suppose, if the world in which we live had not changed drastically in the past 20 years from huge forces of globalization. In fact, leading economists comfortably predict that in a generation, the center of worldwide economic activity will shift out of the United States and into Asia, where countries are already preparing to take over this role.

Our world has been most influenced by the victors of a war that concluded over half of a century ago—namely, the United States, Western Europe, and Russia—but rising economic powers such as India, Brazil, and China are increasingly asserting themselves in the international arena. The United States will no longer be able to maintain its role as sole superpower.


Excerpted from MANAGING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES by Robert T. Moran Philip R. Harris Sarah V. Moran Copyright © 2011 by Robert T. Moran, Philip R. Harris, and Sarah V. Moran. Excerpted by permission of Butterworth-Heinemann. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Ch 1 Global leaders and culture; Global leaders and communicationGLOBAL LEADERS AND CULTURE
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Global Leaders Learn from Other Management Systems
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16

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