In an era when people and money are flowing fast across international boundaries, physically and virtually, culture crashes have become increasingly frequent, says international business consultant Michael Landers. A culture crash is what happens when someone unwittingly offends, frustrates or mystifies a person from a different culture. This can lead to lost business, hurt feelings, damaged relationships, even international incidents, as when Bill Gates shook his South Korean host's hand with one hand when he was supposed to use two (very disrespectful).
So are culture crashes inevitable? No! All cultures fall into certain broad categories, and if you can figure out what kind of culture you're dealing with you can avoid committing a major faux pas. Landers first helps you become aware of your own culturally conditioned behaviors, perceptions and values, which seem so "normal" you don't even notice them (kind of like thinking you're not the one with an accent). Then he shows you how to figure out where a culture lies along continuums like individualistic vs. collectivist, direct vs. indirect, punctual vs. relaxed, and formal vs. informal. Filled with dozens of instructive and entertaining stories, this book will point you in the right direction as you navigate through the new global era.
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