Magazine article People & Strategy

Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization

Magazine article People & Strategy

Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization

Article excerpt

Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization

Authors: Gurnek Bains

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons | 2015 | 320 pages

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Gurnek Bains' new book, Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization, is an absolute must-read for any executive wanting to better understand the complexities of operating in an increasingly global environment. Whether seeking to do business in other countries, or managing a multicultural employee population in the U.S, Bains' research sheds much-needed light on the deep psychological and cultural instincts of different societies. Bains' work incorporates the latest psychological, biological, and neurobiological research documenting that fundamental beliefs systems are literally and figuratively embedded in our DNA.

Too often (perhaps in the spirit of inclusiveness and political correctness) our discussions of cultural differences are superficial. Indeed, the idea that people's underlying psychology might be fundamentally different is difficult for many people to accept. Perhaps we shy away because we fear (with good reason) that the risk of exploring profound differences may reinforce narrow and frequently false stereotypes about people.

However, social worlds are complex and result in highly specific adaptive cognitive and emotional strategies that allow populations to thrive. Our brains are finely tuned instruments that help us navigate the specific environment in which we develop. Bains explores the biological and adaptive foundations of eight of the world's major regions:

* America: The Change Makers

* Sub-Saharan Africa: Under Nature's Shadow

* India: Beyond This World

* The Middle East: Ambivalence and Uncertainty in the Modern Age

* China: The Seekers of Harmony

* Europe: The Equal Society

* The Far Continents: The Melting Pots of Latin America and Australia

In addition to a fascinating look into each of these cultures, Bains traces migration patterns that have begun to disperse these cultural perspectives all over the world. …

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