A leading business educator and strategist argues that a true global business culture is unlikely to emerge from the global economy.
Most people would agree that the past decades have brought about not only a great deal of economic globalization, but also a certain level of cultural globalization. Indeed, in big cities in most parts of the world, one can now find the same foods, brands and music.
At the same time, however, the idea of a “global culture” or even a “global business culture” remains elusive. This point is cogently argued in an intriguing blog post by Maury Peiperl, Professor of Leadership and Strategic Change at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland.
According to Peiperl, dealing with foreign cultures in business is nearly as big an issue as it ever was. “I spend my working days teaching managers from around the world, and they never ask ‘What will the business culture of the future look like?’ Instead, they frequently want to know, ‘How can I work better across different cultures?’”
Peiperl points out that despite economic globalization and the information technology revolution, cultural barriers of all sorts remain strong and are not about to change. With some regret, he concludes that he will likely never live in the global culture that he once expected to.
I might even take his arguments a step further. Could it be that the very concept of “the global economy” actually accentuates cross-cultural communication problems simply by lulling us into the false idea that cultural barriers no longer exist?