Different cultures can have radically different leadership styles, and international organizations would do well to understand them.
British linguist Richard D. Lewis charted these differences in his book “When Cultures Collide,” first published in 1996 and now in its third edition, and he teaches these insights in seminars with major corporate clients.
From structured individualism in the U.S. to ringi-sho consensus in Japan, the charts seem intuitively correct, if not unilaterally true across a country.
Lewis acknowledges the risks of dealing in stereotypes: “Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm.”
He argues that these patterns won’t change any time soon: “Even in countries where political and economic change is currently rapid or sweeping, deeply rooted attitudes and beliefs will resist a sudden transformation of values when pressured by reformists, governments or multinational conglomerates.”
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