The Oxford Handbook of International Business

By Alan M. Rugman; Thomas L. Brewer | Go to book overview

I would certainly agree that not much credence should be put in any one number supplied, particularly when careers and/or cash are being decided upon. Rather the numbers provide the reader with a notion of how different cultures can be. Swiss and Mexicans do indeed think very differently about time, and both Swiss managers and Mexican managers benefit from this knowledge when they are involved commercially. This knowledge allows both to be more patient.

In the second half of the chapter the evidence is quite clear that culture affects thinking and behavior of both factory floor workers and CEOs (Harrison, McKinnon, Wu, and Chow 2000 ; Shane 1994 ; Wiersema and Bird 1993). Thus, two conclusions are paramount here: (1) Human Resources Management practices must be applied globally with consideration of cultural differences and consultation with locals. The latter is crucial, but a point often lost on ethnocentric home-office folks. (2) Corporate executive boards dominated by one cultural group, as they are in the United States, are bound to make huge mistakes of omission. Breadth of thinking is crucial in the culturally diverse global marketplace. I agree with Nick Forster (2000) that there are no global managers. Global management teams are the real key to future success in international enterprise.

In closing I am quite encouraged by the publication of the new book, Culture Matters (Harrison and Huntington 2000). It is an edited book including some twenty-two articles on topics related to culture and its influence on economic progress. My favorite title among them is Lucian Pye's 'Asian Values: from Dynamos to Dominos'. Hopefully the book will help rekindle the interest in culture's pervasive influences that Max Weber (1930) and others initiated so long ago.


References

Adler, Nancy J. (1997). International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior (3rd edn.). Cincinnati, Oh.: Southwestern.

Aigner, Dennis J., and Kraemer, Kenneth L. (1994-2000). Orange County Executive Survey. Irvine, Calif.: Graduate School of Management, University of California.

Allinson, Christopher W., and Hayes, John (2000). 'Cross-National Differences in Cognitive Style: Implications for Management', International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11/1: 161-70.

American Prospect (2000). 'The Internet and Linguistic Diversity', Mar. 27-April 10.

Anterasian, Cathy, Graham, John L., and Money, R. Bruce (1996). 'Are US Managers Superstitious about Market Share?', Sloan Management Review, 37/4: 67-77.

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