Erin Meyer is a professor at INSEAD, an international business school based in Paris. She’s specialized in cross-cultural communication and facilitation, and in her book explains the dimensions and differences between different cultures in the world, and how they can shape or interfere with exchanges in a multi-cultural environment.
The book introduces eight different cultural scales or spectra, and where the various national cultures position themselves on these scales.
Each of the eight scales represents one key area that managers must be aware of, showing how cultures vary along a spectrum from one extreme to its opposite. The eight scales are:
- Communicating: low-context vs. high-context
- Evaluating: direct negative feedback vs. indirect negative feedback
- Persuading: principles-first vs. applications-first
- Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
- Deciding: consensual vs. top-down
- Trusting: task-based vs. relationship-based
- Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoids confrontation
- Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time
The book is rich in examples and anecdotes that explain what these scales mean, and how they can express themselves in daily interaction. For each direction of each scale, examples and alternative ways of communication are shown, which have been working around issues that other groups have used successfully in trying to bridge the gap in culture between them.
A lot of helpful advice and a lot of context provided for past behaviour I have observed at work or elsewhere.
“The Culture Map”, Erin Meyer, EUR 9.99 (Kindle )