Seven Attributes of the Most Innovative Cultures

Innovation is culturally agnostic in one sense and highly culture-sensitive in another. While in theory, nothing prevents every country in the world from having its own Silicon Valley (although it would look different from place to place), there are seven cultural “universals” shared by every truly innovative society.

The End of Globalisation?

Political science suggests that a reversal, or even collapse, of globalisation is a distinct possibility.

How Emerging Markets Can Finally Arrive

Throughout much of human history, economic output was firmly yoked to the size of a country’s labor force. Because productivity growth was negligible, the countries with the largest populations, such as China and India, could put the most people to work. They reigned as the world’s largest economies. Things changed suddenly during the late 1700s. A number of economic, institutional, and other factors coalesced in … [ Read more ]

Think Differently – Or, Think of the Differences

Professor Pankaj Ghemawat argues that four key propositions he has put forth regarding international business also apply to intranational business – working within national borders. Recognize local biases and regional differences to help unlock strategic opportunities at home as well as abroad.

NAFTA’s Impact on the U.S. Economy: What Are the Facts?

When President Bill Clinton signed the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in December 1993, he predicted that “NAFTA will tear down trade barriers between our three nations, create the world’s largest trade zone, and create 200,000 jobs in [the U.S.] by 1995 alone. The environmental and labor side agreements negotiated by our administration will make this agreement a force for social progress as well as … [ Read more ]

The Double-Edged Sword of Overseas Experience

Executives who accumulate international experience are no more likely than others to advance their career at multinational companies.

Erin Meyer

At a deep level, no matter where we come from, we are driven by common physiological and psychological needs and motivations. Yet the culture in which we grow up in has a significant bearing on the ways we see communication patterns as effective or undesirable, to find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, to consider certain ways of making decisions or measuring time “natural” or … [ Read more ]

3 Situations Where Cross-Cultural Communication Breaks Down

The strength of cross-cultural teams is their diversity of experience, perspective, and insight. But to capture those riches, colleagues must commit to open communication; they must dare to share. Unfortunately, this is rarely easy. In the 25 years we’ve spent researching global work groups, we’ve found that challenges typically arise in three areas.

What Leadership Looks Like in Different Cultures

What makes a great leader? Although the core ingredients of leadership are universal (good judgment, integrity, and people skills), the full recipe for successful leadership requires culture-specific condiments. The main reason for this is that cultures differ in their implicit theories of leadership, the lay beliefs about the qualities that individuals need to display to be considered leaders. Research has shown that leaders’ decision making, … [ Read more ]

Erin Meyer

We all come from somewhere. Where we come from affects the way we view things, and the way we understand one another. In every international situation, some things are cultural, and some things are personal. If it’s cultural, then you need to help people in the room understand that, for example, when someone speaks in a way that is startlingly direct, that’s because where he … [ Read more ]

Erin Meyer

The advantage to having people from all over the world on a team is that you may find that you have more innovation and creativity, and that you’re closer to your local markets. The disadvantage is that multinational teamwork is usually a lot less efficient than monocultural teamwork. When we’re all from the same culture, we don’t have to talk about how we work together. … [ Read more ]

The Globally Effective Enterprise

Today’s technology enables integrated operations that can change the globalization penalty into a premium.

Erin Meyer

There are two basic types of trust: cognitive trust and affective trust. Cognitive trust is based on the confidence you feel in another person’s accomplishments, skills and reliability. This is trust from the head. Affective trust on the other hand, arises from feelings of emotional closeness, empathy or friendship. This type of trust comes from the heart. In all … [ Read more ]

Andy Molinsky

If you’ve ever received any cross-cultural training … chances are… it has focused on differences: differences in communication styles (like how Japanese workers are less direct than Germans) or differences in values (like how Americans have more individualistic values than those in China). It may have even focused on differences in etiquette — like how in the United States you can write on the back … [ Read more ]

The Past and Future of Global Organizations

After more than 50 years of trying, the search for an ideal model of the global organization remains elusive. But intriguing new experiments are under way.

Whom to Send Where? Getting International Assignments to Work for Multinationals

In multinationals with subsidiaries scattered around the world, communication is key – and complex. So what’s the best way to get firm knowledge flowing in the right directions? A large scale survey of over 800 subsidiaries in 13 countries finds that the relatively novel trend of “inpatriation” may be more useful to businesses than the traditional expat assignments for two-way knowledge flow.

David Gartside, Colin Sloman

[Globally] HR professionals will need to understand regional or country differences regarding the number, quality, and types of skills available, typical turnover rates, employment regulations, costs of labor, healthcare policies and costs, talent mobility policies, cultural norms and values, the strength of the employer brand, and the specific employment value proposition that will attract and retain people.

Based on these data and insight, HR will … [ Read more ]

Giving Negative Feedback Across Cultures

Managers in different parts of the world are conditioned to give feedback in drastically different ways. Understanding why can help you critique more effectively.

Making Sense of Globalization

The DHL Global Connectedness Index, now in its third edition, shows that not all flows of trade, capital, information, and people are alike.

Erin Meyer Can Make Your Global Team Work

The INSEAD professor shows how people can communicate across cultures.