Book Reviews,  Travel Notes

The Culture Map

Erin MEYER [1]

Following the Acknowledgements at the end of the book, I also owe one to my dear friend Ray, K. for introducing me this fascinating work. As languages, history and learning are always tempting for me and I have met many people from different parts of the world, with various cultural backgrounds, the book sparked my interest from the very beginning, because all of the above concepts are interrelated with the “Culture”

Erin Meyer, as a professor at INSEAD, one of the world’s leading international business schools, focuses her work in this book on how the world’s most successful global leaders navigate the complexities of cultural differences in a multicultural environment. She collects data from the observations and practices of executives, who lead international teams, and brings them under eight categories by successfully mapping the underlying cultural point of views. Experienced difficulties by these executives are in deed very prevalent and solutions/suggestions that Meyer provided looks to me very pertinent. 

So far I did not have such an opportunity to manage a multicultural team, but during my professional career and personal travelings I have witnessed many anecdotes of the book from the first hand. In this regard, I was already familiar with the many interesting stories that take place in the book and curiously read the suggestions of the author. So this book not only verified my personal findings, but also set them in a well-framed context. I think the eight broad categories that are developed from Henry Zinglersen’s work by the author address many problems and mismatches at todays global interactions.    

Although not all the countries scattered on diagrams, more or less you can guess a country’s place simply by comparing the qualities presented. For example Turkey is not plotted in most of the diagrams, but with the questions like:

“Who gives the decisions?, How are the meetings arranged, run and followed? For example: Is the agenda months ago determined and disseminated to participants;

Does a meeting starts-ends at the scheduled time; during the meeting how the non-agenda items handled and do the meetings end with a consensual decision or is it to the manager deferred?

Or how welcomed to openly disagree an idea when it does not make sense at all for you. And when you dare to do it even politely and with a proof does the manager take it personal or resents?” 

With such queries you can find a country’s place at the map or you can find your way through the cultural complexities. However, keep in mind that an individual or a business entity can have totally different culture from the culture of the country they exist in.

I wish you a pleasant reading.


Ergun UNUTMAZ, 11.10.2017


[1] Erin MEYER, Public Affairs, 2015, New York, USA.