The Cultural Imperative – Global Trends in the 21st Century

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

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



Harris, P.R. (2004), "The Cultural Imperative – Global Trends in the 21st Century", European Business Review, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 427-428.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The Cultural Imperative provides seminal insights into twenty‐first century global trends from the perspective of an intercultural expert. The author himself is chairman of a global cross‐cultural consultancy who previously wrote another classic, When Culture Collide. For 35 years, Richard D. Lewis has been a serious scholar and practitioner in the fields of applied and anthropological linguistics. He has lived and worked in numerous nations, while engaging in varied vocational activities – from television media and corporate consultant, to tutor to the Japanese Imperial Family. His expertise in languages, business management, and intercultural education deserve his readers’ careful attention!

In this latest work, Lewis takes both a historical perspective on the subjects of cultures and civilizations, while attempting to forecast critical trends. His premise is that embedded core cultural beliefs will resist the inflitration or erosion of modern times and changes. This observer envisions a nation's culture as a “blueprint for survival and success”, that is an all‐embracing pattern of an entire way of life, including a shared system of values, social meanings, and agendas, passed on from one generation to another. Despite the accelleration of change in the past and present centuries, Lewis concludes:

The concept of a global village sharing a global culture is a cosy one, and the twenty‐first century, with its galloping facilities and trade links, would seem a suitable time frame for its realization. However, cultural barriers, though permeable, are formidable.

That quotation along should convince professors, consultants, executives, and managers of the need to carefully consider the messages of this volume. In 12 chapters, Lewis examines both globalization and cultural differences, widely analyzing cultural developments, while making some predictions for the decades ahead.

Besides an astute introduction and conclusion, plus epilogue, the writer provides three very valuable appendices, glossary, and bibliography. The many exhibits with conceptual charts and diagrams are chock full of information and insights that make this book worth buying. Its publisher, Intercultural Press, has long been a fountainhead of resources for those in transcultural communications and consulting. However, this work and the next, represent a new level of publishing sophistication in this unique field, especially suitable for those in international business.

Related articles