The Culture Map

Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

Why does your Swedish colleague have so many problems leading his Chinese team? How do you foster a good relationship with your Brazilian suppliers while sitting at your desk in Europe? How do you navigate the tricky task of performance reviews when your American employees precede negative feedback with three nice comments, while the French, Dutch, Israelis, and Germans skip the positives and get straight to the point? What is the best method for getting your team based on four continents to work together effectively?

Globalization has led to the rapid connection of internationally based employees from all levels of multinational companies. Where once an employee might have been expected to primarily collaborate with colleagues from his own country, today many people are part of global networks connected with people scattered around the world. Yet most managers have little understanding of how local culture impacts global interaction. Even those who are culturally informed, travel extensively, and have lived abroad often have few strategies for dealing with the cross-cultural complexity that affects their team’s day-to-day effectiveness. The Culture Map provides a new way forward, with vital insights for working effectively and sensitively with one’s counterparts in the new global marketplace.

Based on her work at INSEAD, the “Business School for the World” based in Paris, Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business.  She combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice for working in a global world. Whether you need to motivate employees, delight clients, or simply organize a conference call among members of a cross-cultural team, the eight dimensions featured in The Culture Map will help you improve your effectiveness.  By analyzing the positioning of one culture relative to another, the dimensions enable you to decode how culture influences your own international collaboration.

The book is also filled with engaging, real-life stories and anecdotes from around the world that impart important lessons about global teamwork and international collaboration, including:

  • Takaki explains to his multinational colleagues the importance of “reading the air,” or picking up on the unspoken subtext of a conversation, in Japanese communication
  • Sarah sends e-mails to several Indian IT engineers only to understand later that she has offended and isolated their boss by not going through him
  • Sabine doesn’t realize her job is in jeopardy after her performance review, as her American boss couches the message in a positivity rarely used in France.
  • Ulrich’s Russian staff perceive him as weak and incompetent as he employs the egalitarian leadership techniques so popular in his native Denmark.
  • Bo Chen – who has something urgent to say – waits patiently to be called on while his American colleagues jump in one after the other.  His opportunity never comes.

Now available in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, German and French. Currently being translated in Italian.

Culture Mapping Tools

Country Mapping Tool

Based on Erin Meyer's book The Culture Map, this tool allows you to click on whichever countries you are working with and receive a cultural mapping of the selected countries/cultures. With this tool you can view how two (or more) cultures fall on the eight culture map scales, comparing how each builds trust, gives feedback, and makes decisions.

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Personal Profile Tool

Respond to 24 questions about your personal approach to communicating, leading teams, and building relationships . The results reveal your own positioning on the eight culture map behavioral scales. See how you compare to others of your own culture and then map your results to that of various countries, all on one graph.

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Team Mapping Tool

Building on the Personal Profile Assessment, the Team Mapping tool allows you to compare your answers from the assessment with those of other members of your team along the eight dimensions introduced in The Culture Map. You can see on one graph the results of how you and other members have responded to those same questions and also compare multiple team members' maps to the various countries you are working with.

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