1 Going global: How to succeed in International Business! (29 pages)

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20 Global Management: A dance with icebergs

how to do it

”, says Ullrich Gunther, based at Luneburg University

economic psychologist.


The first step towards cultural understanding is acknowledging

that every individual represents an iceberg. Above the surface, we
can see and evaluate their behavior and actions. Below the sur-
face are their invisible capabilities, values, and attitudes. With
every encounter between project partners, there is the danger that
the submerged parts of each ind

ividual’s iceberg will crash under

the surface of the water. The more alien a culture is, the greater is
the difference in world outlook, and the less one is able to under-
stand the iceberg below the water line. And here is where the real
risk is; it is much more likely that assumed behavioral similarities
are in fact quite false. Similarities in behavior and the usual rituals
of the global business world are often misunderstood as repre-
senting much more cultural commonality than what is really the
case. And with that, the risk of a collision increases.


Source: Nike Heinen, “In der Kulturfalle”, commercial journal from

18.05.2009; on the internet under www.handelsblatt.com.

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