Business Leadership and Culture: National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Business Leadership and Culture: National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Business Leadership and Culture: National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Business Leadership and Culture: National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Synopsis

'Throughout, Bjerke carefully cites the supporting literature of the general social sciences as well as that of management and business organization. The volume's cumulative development is impressive in its marshalling of the diverse approaches and insights while probing into the special characteristics of each of the five national cultures selected.... Recommended for international business collections, upper-division undergraduate through professional.' - J.C. Thompson, Choice How do business leaders think as a result of their national culture? This book provides a discussion and comparative analysis of five major cultures - American, Arab, Chinese, Japanese and Scandinavian - and how they reveal themselves in business practice. The author begins by introducing the concept of culture and why it is important, addressing issues such as values, beliefs and assumptions and the consequences of these. Bj¿rn Bjerke then goes on to address corporate culture and business strategy as well as some myths associated with national cultures. Looking at the five specific cultures he addresses cultural themes and presents a typified picture of the business leader in each of these. He concludes that there are five different capitalist systems governing these cultures, and that the business leader plays a different role in each. Extending this discussion, the author questions whether the culture-free business leader exists and, if so, what the characteristics of such a person might be. Business Leadership and Culture will enlighten students, scholars and business people about the consequences of culture for international business and management.

Excerpt

Business concepts come and go. One concept, which seems to have come to stay, is culture. It looks like one of those grand concepts. It burst on to the intellectual landscape of business in the early 1980s, and it has captured the interests of academics, journalists and businesspeople alike (Pascale andAthos, 1982; Hofstede, 1984; Peters andWaterman, 1984; Schein, 1985; Harris and Moran, 1987; Deal andKennedy, 1988; Rohwer, 1995; Trompenaars, 1995). In fact, the concept has a rich ancestry in business. It can be traced back at least as far as the writings of Mayo and Barnard in the United States in the 1930s.

People can have many theories about why the culture concept was able to catch their interest so thoroughly at this time; perhaps the time was ripe. Maybe the reason was people's growing international interest or maybe it was an increase in the interest of human beings. One thing is clear, however: the cultural idea has led people to 'reevaluate the attributes of organizational success which are not part and parcel of the "orthodox" rationalist paradigm' (Green, 1988, p. 121).

Culture can be used for many different types of analysis. It can provide the foundation or the background for many different kinds of understanding. This study is an attempt to understand business leadership in five different national and regional contexts and to do this through the culture governing these contexts. The contexts are the American, the Arabic, the Chinese, the Japanese and the Scandinavian.

One way to formulate the basic question of this study could be: How do business leaders think as a result of their national culture, and what are the consequences for how business leadership is exercised? Also, how do business followers think as a result of their national culture, and what are the consequences of how business leadership can or should be exercised?

THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN VALUES

There are many opinions about the content of a culture and these will be discussed more thoroughly later in this chapter. One common understanding . . .

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