When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully across Cultures (revised edition)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 1 July 2000




(2000), "When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully across Cultures (revised edition)", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 24 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/jeit.2000.00324eae.003



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully across Cultures (revised edition)

When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully across Cultures (revised edition)

Richard LewisNicholas Brealey Publishing2000ISBN 1 85788 0870£14.99 (paperback)

Keywords: Management, National cultures

Richard Lewis provides a global guide to working and communicating across cultures and countries from Mexico to Malaysia, from Belgium to Brazil. A bestseller in its original edition, it has now been expanded and updated to include 43 countries, all the Baltic States and the republics of Central Asia.

International business is inevitably vulnerable to powerful pressures generated by a variety of national beliefs, taboos and customs. A knowledge of these is vital and the unsuspecting can pay dearly for their mistakes.

People of different cultures share basic concepts but view them from different angles and perspectives. Focusing on the cultural roots of national behaviour can give new insights, minimise the effects of culture shock and enable us to interact successfully with other people; by doing this we can also foresee and calculate how others will react and respond to us.

When Cultures Collide provides an understanding of how other cultures think, how they accord status, structure their organisations and view the role of leader - and explains how culture affects our behaviour. To this is added the often overlooked dimension of language; for example, how Japanese often react in a certain way simply because they are thinking in Japanese. Richard Lewis offers the tools to battle cultural insensitivity and gives a clear model for understanding, dividing the world's cultures into three general categories:

  1. 1.

    Linear-active cultures, where people are task-oriented, highly-organised planners, doing one thing at a time, concentrating hard on it and doing it within a scheduled timescale. Germans and Americans are often mainly linear-active.

  2. 2.

    Multi-active cultures, where people are people-oriented interrelators. People from multi-active cultures are very flexible and will often do several major things almost simultaneously, and completing a human transaction is often seen as the best way to spend their time; Arabs and Italians, for example, are broadly multi-active.

  3. 3.

    Reactive cultures, where people are respect-oriented listeners, such as the Japanese and the Finns, and generally prefer to listen before they leap; they often regard silences as a meaningful part of discourse.

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