Business Leadership and Culture

Business Leadership and Culture

National Management Styles in the Global Economy

Björn Bjerke

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.

Chapter 2: Corporate Culture

Björn Bjerke

Subjects: business and management, business leadership


Page 33 2—  Corporate Culture A Reminder Culture is the intersubjective aspect of life. It is learnt, much of it at a very young age, and it is reinforced through social pressure. The result is that culture belongs to a  whole group, not to its individuals, and we cannot avoid it. It paramountly determines our behaviour, at the same time as it gives us an anchoring point, an identity, a  social place and a world view. Because of the human need for order and consistency, our basic assumptions about humankind, nature and social activities become patterned into what may be called  cultural 'paradigms' (Schein, 1984, p. 4); these assumptions form a coherent pattern. This pattern or framework is used to structure experience—to give meaning to  thoughts and actions (Dredge, 1985, p. 412). It is transmitted in many ways, including long­standing and often unwritten rules, shared standards and even prejudices. Within this general understanding of what culture means, it can be defined as being slightly different from one situation to another. Every such definition becomes, at  least partly, a theory, a model or an interpretation (depending on your basic attitude to what research is for), and it suits a purpose. My purpose is to discuss business  leadership in the light of national cultures. In order to gain an analytical focus and edge, I have chosen to separate culture (as norms, values, assumptions, beliefs and  so on) from the way it expresses itself (as behaviour, language, organizations, institutions, artefacts and...

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