Leading Across Cultures in Practice – by Fernando Lanzer Book Review

How resolving our differences shapes our culture

This book represents an overview of the differences between national cultures, and how those differences influence people’s behaviour in business, management, and, in work situations in general. The book manages to develop beyond simple work etiquette and a list of “do’s and don’ts.” Rather, it looks at the underlying values that determine how managers deal with their direct reports, how people communicate at work, what is considered a priority and what tends to be put on the back burner according to each country culture. All of this is communicated in an easy style that is not too academic or technical.

Lanzer Book Cover

Lanzer starts with a panoramic description of the basic concepts describing culture and how interest in the topic has grown due to globalization. He focuses on five of Hofstede’s dimensions and explains why he stops there and leaves out the others.

The book contains a valuable resource for trainers and intercultural enthusiasts – 150 pages describing real-life practical examples gathered from six countries that represent different types of cultures: the US and UK (Anglo Saxon cultures), Germany (Germanic cultures), the Netherlands (Dutch-Scandinavian cultures), China (Asian cultures) and Brazil (African and Latin American cultures).

These sections contain relevant stories that are directly transferable, though they could be better balanced: the section on the United States is more extensive than the part covering the UK for example.

No book is perfect and another book on dimensions and essentialism is not on the top of anyone’s list for urgent reading. And this book does not present new research, new data, or anything moving beyond culture value dimensions as an approach to understanding culture.

Near the end of the book, the author addresses some of the critical issues often raised in discussions with workshop participants: the relationship between culture values and religion and the dilemmas that each culture seeks to resolve. Lanzer has some slick and functional answers and concludes that these dilemmas are universal: what differentiates one culture from another is the way they find to resolve their main, contrasting issues.

Who should read this book?

The book will be of special interest to those getting acquainted with the topic of culture and diversity, and who seek a plain speaking and clear approach to the culture dimensions model as introduced by Professor Geert Hofstede.

Amazon link to buy the book;

https://www.amazon.com/Leading-Across-Cultures-Practice-Fernando/dp/1977620574/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509106338&sr=8-1&keywords=Leading+Across+Cultures+in+Practice

About the Author

Author Lanzer

Fernando Lanzer Pereira de Souza is a Dutch Brazilian psychologist and consultant who worked in AMRO Banco Real in HR & L&D in Brazil.

He founded the leadership and OD consulting firm LCO Partners 10 years ago with his wife Jussara who is also a psychologist and consultant.

He travels the world servicing his clients and visiting his four daughters who live on different Continents. Fernando is a former member and Chair of AIESEC International’s Supervisory Group. He now sits on the Board of Trustees of ISA – the International School of Amsterdam.

Film Clips – From International Intercultural Students

Tales from A Multicultural Classroom project – Films 

JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Our Tales from A Multicultural Classroom project (Tales) has it’s own channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6p0Wps-7OxNGSCmTTZrdVw
 
Our intercultural communication course for 1st year international business degree students and exchange students introduces a parallel workshop comprising simple video production techniques, including character development, script writing, story-boarding, shooting and editing. The results belong to the students, and they upload the videos to the channel voluntarily. We have had only one instance in which a video was not uploaded due to a student’s objection. Some of their work is shared here.
Here are a few favourites selected by Course Leader, Steve Crawford:
 
Stereofives
 
Five students from different nations try to solve the global financial crisis but run into stereotypical challenges:
 
 
Intercultural Plagiarism
 
Based on action research we conducted at our school, we discovered a phenomena we call “cheating without intent,” where students do not set out to cheat but find themselves in difficult circumstances that compel them to make bad decisions:
 
 
Dmitri’s Drama
 
A Russian student finds a difficult path to acculturation, and reaches a crisis point:
 
 
Lisa’s Acceptance
 
Newly off the press… A young girl discovers something new about herself in Finland:
 
 
A Cultural Deal
 
A Finnish girl finds herself in Italy to close a deal, and returns home empty-handed. (this video is often used with our critical incident analysis tool)
 

Trainer Resource Films – Marshmallow, Appreciative Inquiry and Norwegian Culture

  1. The Marshmallow Challenge Exercise and Debrief – A Ted Talk with Tom Wujec from design software company Autodesk              .team work at conference workshop

This film shows you the equipment list for the game and what the concept is. There is a wonderful and shocking debrief of who does well, who does not do well and the phases and needs that come out of the task.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0_yKBitO8M

Thanks to Tom Wujec and Ted Talks for publishing this.

  1. Appreciative Inquiry

Overview of the Appreciative Inquiry methodology and an example about a hotel with Jackie Kelm. The film expands on the positive core, the 5 principles, the 4D’s and more…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGNZ63hj5k

Thanks Jackie for making the film and publishing it on YouTube

  1. Norwegian Culture – Stereotypes and Beyond

Nice light TedX with Italian Pellegrino Riccardi about Norwegian culture that can provoke discussion and exchange in your training group. Wonderful example of the particularist perspective to parking from a Police Woman!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMyofREc5Jk

Thanks Pellegrino and TED for publishing this on YouTube.