wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Fons Trompenaars (1953- ) and  Charles Hampden-Turner (1934- )Fons Trompenaars

Trompenaars (Dutch, pictured right) and Hampden-Turner (British, pictured right below) are world renowned experts on managing different cultures.


Key books

The Seven Cultures of Capitalism (1993)

 Fons Trompenaars and Charled Hampden-Turner

In a globalized world, businesses must be sensitive to and learn from people’s native cultures, because they are the most important influence on their values and human relationships.


Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s research of 15,000 managers in the USA, Britain, Sweden, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany found that they differed in the following ways:


1. Universalism 

(applying rules universally)


USA, Britain, Germany, Sweden.


2. Particularism 

(applying rules to a particular situation)


France, Japan.


3. Analysis 

(analysing the different parts of a problem separately)


USA, Britain, Netherlands, Sweden.


4. Integration 

(interrelating the different parts of a problem)


France, Germany, Japan.


5. Individualism 

(emphasizing the individual)


USA, Britain, Netherlands, Sweden.


6. Communitarianism 

(emphasizing the organization as a community with different people to serve)


Germany, France, Japan.


7. Inner-direction 



USA , Britain, Germany.


8. Outer-direction 

(learning from others)

Sweden, Netherlands, France, Japan.


9. Status by achievement 


USA, Britain, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Japan.


10. Status by ascription (position)




11. Equality 

(equal treatment of employees)


USA, Germany, Britain, Netherlands, Sweden.


12. Hierarchy 

(emphasis on hierarchical power)


France, Japan.


13. Time as sequence 

(doing sequential tasks quickly)


USA, Sweden, Netherlands, Britain, Germany.


14. Synchronized view of time 

(converting tasks into a co-ordinated process)


France, Japan.


Key quotes on culture and globalization

Cultural preferences, or values, are the bedrock of national identity and the source of economic strengths and weaknesses.

Our future success depends on how well we understand the deepest motivations of our trading partners.



Riding the Waves of Culture (2nd edition, 1997), first written by Trompenaars in 1993


There is no ‘one best way’ of management.


What works in one culture may not work in another, because there are behavioural differences between them (as discussed in The Seven Cultures of Capitalism above).


Success depends on understanding our own culture as well as other people’s.


Key quote on culture and globalization

Understanding our own culture and our own expectations and assumptions about how people “should” think and act is the basis for success.



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