Summary of Fish Can’t See Water

How National Culture Can Make or Break Your Corporate Strategy

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Fish Can’t See Water book summary
Just as fish can’t see water, people are often blind to their own national and corporate cultures.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

7 Style


Cultural dynamics can “enable or derail” companies, so firms wishing to expand beyond their national borders must understand and adapt to different cultures. International headhunter Kai Hammerich and communications expert Richard D. Lewis discuss and dissect the cultural blindness in which most organizations operate. The authors provide case studies of global companies to illustrate how national traits affect organizational lifecycle stages. Though academic in tone, this study provides crucial insights into different regional and national cultures, while covering France, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Great Britain and the United States in greater detail. getAbstract recommends this astute guide to executives and managers within global organizations, as well as to international business travelers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How national traits and corporate strategy interrelate,
  • How three overarching national cultural models shape corporate cultures, and
  • What “golden rules” you need to remember when interacting with those outside your national culture.


“Corporate Culture”
Like yin and yang, corporate strategy and culture are inseparable. National attributes influence different dimensions of corporate culture. Companies are subject to “national influencers,” the “water people don’t see,” just as fish are unaware of the water in which ...
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About the Authors

Kai Hammerich is a managing director for Russell Reynolds Associates, a global search firm. British linguist Richard D. Lewis is the author of When Cultures Collide.

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