Book Review: The Culture Map

culture map In June, I attended the international board meeting for Nurses Christian Fellowship International in Taipei, Taiwan. The president, Tove Giske, gave a presentation on the Culture Map. You see, our board is made up of 20 people from 6 regions of world, representing 18 different countries. Thus, “decoding how people, think, lead and get things done across the cultures” is important to the work of the organization.  Since, I work and live in area convergence of cultures, I knew I had to get the book and learn more of how to work cross-culturally.

The book reveals a framework or map decoding how various cultures communicate, evaluate, schedule, persuade, decide, disagree, and others. I will give an example. According to the Culture Map, the US culture views scheduling as a tight, linear, reference point. I can personally attest to this, for if I am not at least 5 minutes early, I am late, and I see efficiency in personal and business life as being “on-time” and “productive”. What the culture map points out, is on the other end of the scale for scheduling is “flexible time”. As I looked at the map, on the “flexible time” is China, which reminded me of a nerve-wracking, yet cultural-revealing incident. When in Taiwan, I was scheduled to be picked up for my airport transfer at 5:00. After multiple texts and an 1 1/2 hour later my escort showed up; and we nonchalantly left about 30 minutes after her arrival. I have to be honest and say, even with the delay, I was quite a few hours before my departure time. So there was no risk of missing the flight.

My escorted had came late for she had wanted to ride with me to the airport and continue to build on the “trusting”  relationship we had forged during my stay. Something, I would not have thought of. Why? According to the culture map, China and the US are once again on opposite extremes on how we build trust in business relationships.

The Culture Map by Erin Meyer is a must read for anyone who interacts cross-culturally, even if it is in your own home town.

 

 

 

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