Summary of The Cultural Advantage

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The Cultural Advantage book summary
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While author Mijnd Huijser may not add extra depth to the literature on national, organizational and team culture, he does a credible, helpful job of highlighting the work of pioneers in the field. His accessible approach features brief anecdotes about cultural dilemmas followed by explanations of the cultural issues at stake. The author’s “Model of Freedom” is a graphic representation of cultural axes and dimensions, though readers who are unaccustomed to such graphs may find it more confusing than helpful. getAbstract believes this useful book offers a brief, broad and somewhat casual beginner’s guide to the subject of culture in business – and provides interesting, accessible insights – and recommends it to those who need a solid introduction.

About the Author

Mijnd Huijser is the founder of a management and culture consulting company in Amsterdam. He is co-author of Profit of Peace: Corporate Responsibility in Conflict Regions.



Model of Freedom

With the right model, you can graphically represent different cultures, organizations, teams and players according to their cultural behavior. For example, the graphic “Model of Freedom” illustrates the full range of cultural behaviors across four segments: “authority, rules, individuality and roles.” High or low scores on the graph indicate how a society ranks in each category. These distinctions matter greatly if you are doing business across cultural boundaries.

Depending on their culture, people may achieve authority through their actions or accomplishments, or have it ascribed to them due to their status. Ascribed authority is a quasi-natural endowment and unchallengeable; achieved authority can be temporary. Ascribed authority is relatively unimportant in the United States, for example. Americans do not revere aristocracy or age. But Americans value energy, success and achievement – the sources of achieved authority.

Regardless of culture, parents possess ascribed or “natural” authority. The extent of this authority and how it is administered varies from culture to culture. Usually, an individual’s first experience with rules occurs in ...

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