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European leadership in cultural synergy

Philip R. Harris (Harris International Limited, La Jolla, California, USA)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



This paper explains the concept of cultural synergy and provides a contrast of societies that could be characterized as having high or low synergy, as well as organizational culture that reflects high and low synergy. Within organizations, the research insights reported here center on behaviors and practices that contribute to synergy and success among teams, particularly in terms of international projects. The concluding section describes people who are truly “professionals” in their attitude toward their career and work, and how they can mutually benefit from the practice of synergy. Real European leaders actively create a better future through synergistic efforts with fellow professionals. The knowledge work culture favors cooperation, alliances, and partnership, not excessive individualist actions and competition. This trend is evident, as well as necessary, in corporations and industries, in government and academic institutions, in non‐profit agencies and unions, in trade and professional associations of all types. In an information or knowledge society, collaboration in sharing ideas and insights is the key to survival, problem solving, and growth. But high synergy behavior must be cultivated in personnel, so we need to use research findings, such as those outlined in this paper, to facilitate teamwork and ensure professional synergy. In addition to fostering such learning in our formal education and training systems, we also should take advantage of the increasing capabilities offered to us for both personal and electronic networking. Contemporary global leaders, then, seek to be effective bridge builders between the cultural realities or worlds of both past and future. Cultivating a synergistic mind‐set accelerates this process.



Harris, P.R. (2004), "European leadership in cultural synergy", European Business Review, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 358-380.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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