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 4: American Culture

Björn Bjerke

Subjects: business and management, business leadership


Page 84 4—  American Culture Introduction The USA (also called 'America' in this study) is a big country in more than one sense. The size of its economy, for instance, is roughly 20–25 per cent of the world  economy. Its impact on the rest of the world is, therefore, difficult to neglect for anybody, particularly in business. Due to its size, but also due to the fact that it is built up by a mix of immigrants and their descendants, the American culture is more complex and varying than most  other cultures. Any attempt to delineate an American national culture is consequently hazardous (Samovar et al., 1981, p. 66). In the USA, white American middle­ class cultural characteristics are considered dominant, but even then they do not encompass many significant characteristics among, for example, American Indians,  Afro­Americans, Mexican Americans, and Japanese Americans. Nevertheless, it is generally understood that a relatively clear American business culture (of relevance to our leadership) exists. There is also an impressive amount of  research being done discussing this topic. And, even if in America, as in other countries, there is often a difference between the corporate culture of large corporations  and smaller companies, say in strength and/or family feeling (Trompenaars, 1995, p. 161), they may both be part of the national culture. In global discussions of culture, America is often placed in an Anglo­American group together with countries such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and  Ireland (Ronen and Shenkar, 1985, p. 449)...

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