Summary of Building Cross-Cultural Competence

How to Create Wealth from Conflicting Values

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Building Cross-Cultural Competence book summary
The key to doing business with people from other cultures is solving the cultural dilemmas that separate you. Or, to phrase it in terms of dilemma theory: how can an inner-directed universalist individualist make money with an outer-directed particularist communitarian?


6 Overall

6 Applicability

8 Innovation

5 Style


Don’t be put off by this book’s daunting terminology. Beneath the author’s unrestrained use of labels like universalism, particularism, individualism, communitarianism, specificity and diffuseness, lies an insightful analysis of cultural differences. After defining various nationalities under a host of polysyllabic headings, authors Charles M. Hampden-Turner and Fons Trompenaars illustrate the differences between them using engaging and easy-to-understand scenarios and stories from popular culture. The end goal of each of these sections is to explain to international business managers how cultural dilemmas can be reconciled. This lively method makes the book informative and interesting, so getAbstract recommends it to any executive who does business across cultures.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Which six archetypal dilemmas businesses face in developing cross-culture competency
  • How different cultures view even concepts as basic as time in varied ways
  • Why the values of other cultures aren’t wrong or bad – just different


Cross-Cultural Competence
Foreign cultures differ from each other, but not randomly or arbitrarily. Rather, foreign cultures mirror each other’s values. These mirror images reverse the order and sequence of our learning. Such a reversal is often scary because many people mistake the reversal...
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About the Authors

Charles M. Hampden-Turner is a senior research associate at the Judge Institute of Management Studies, Cambridge University. He is a director of research and development. Fons Trompenaars is president of Trompenaars-Hampden-Turner Group, a cross-cultural consulting and training company based in Amsterdam. Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars are co-authors of the Seven Cultures of Capitalism and Riding the Waves of Culture.

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