Successful Professional Women of the Americas
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Successful Professional Women of the Americas

From Polar Winds to Tropical Breezes

Betty Jane Punnett, Jo Ann Duffy, Suzy Fox, Ann Gregory, Terri R. Lituchy, Silvia Inés Monserrat, Miguel R. Olivas-Lujan and Neusa Maria Bastos F. Santos

This accessible and original book relates the fascinating story of successful women across the Americas: women who are managers, business owners, university professors and administrators, doctors, lawyers and government ministers.
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Chapter 3: Culture and Personal Characteristics for Professional Success

Betty Jane Punnett, Jo Ann Duffy, Suzy Fox, Ann Gregory, Terri R. Lituchy, Silvia Inés Monserrat, Miguel R. Olivas-Lujan and Neusa Maria Bastos F. Santos

Extract

3. Culture and personal characteristics for professional success Miguel R. Olivas-Luján and Betty Jane Punnett If we go back 25 centuries, we find that Herodotus, the famed Greek historian of the fourth century BC, commented on the difficulties that King Darius faced because of the cultural differences between the Greeks and the Callatian Indians (Punnett and Ricks, 1997, p. 144). Today, we find books and articles that offer advice to both women and men on how to interact successfully with people from other cultures (Axtell, 1993; Axtell et al., 1997; Hall and Hall, 1990). Cultural differences and the issues engendered by such differences, are clearly not new or a modern phenomenon. However, cultural differences and their impact remain an ongoing area of concern, as noted by Punnett and Shenkar (2004, p. 7): ‘we selected the topic of culture for its ongoing centrality in international management research and for the superficiality with which this subject is handled in other disciplines’. We found in our study of successful women that even while they were quite similar in many ways, they often expressed values which distinguished one national group from another, as the following examples illustrate. We see these differences as reflecting their cultural backgrounds, while the similarities reflect the drives that led them to be successful, in spite of obstacles. The women from Barbados, Jamaica and St Vincent in the English-speaking Caribbean all expressed a high need for achievement and early...

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