Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization
Develop deeper cultural intelligence to thrive in a globalized world.
Cultural DNA is a thought provoking book for successful engagement with cultures around the world. Written by Gurnek Bains, founder and chairman of a global business psychology consultancy, this book guides leaders through the essential soft skills required to get under the skin and engage an increasingly connected world.
Presenting ground breaking original research and the latest evidence from neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and psychology, the deepest instincts of eight key global cultures are dissected. Readers will understand the psychological themes at play in regions such as the U.S., Latin America, Europe, China, India, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Australia. Additionally, an extensive database of 30,000 leaders provides insights to inform the reader.
The book addresses questions such as:
- What are the challenges for leaders from different regions as they move into onto the global stage?
- Why are Americans so positive?
- Why is China a world leader in manufacturing and India in IT?
- Why do overseas firms struggle in the U.S. market place?
- What are the emotional forces driving current events in the Middle East?
Each culture has attributes that developed over thousands of years to address unique environmental challenges. This DNA drumbeat from the past reverberates through each society affecting everything. As globalization marches on we can also learn important lessons from the world’s distinct societies.
Globalization demands that cultures learn to work within each other's needs and expectations, and the right mix of people skills, business acumen, and cultural awareness is key. Business and Political leaders will understand how each regions’ cultural DNA influences:
- Its economic and political institutions.
- People’s underlying consumer psychology.
- The soft skills needed to lead in that environment.
- How to best release people’s potential.
- The issues that need to be managed to anticipate and solve problems before they arise
Every now and again a new book comes along, that is a must read: Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point or a Seth Godin’s Tribes. Cultural DNA by Gurnek Bains, by virtue of its depth, originality and ambition, is that very book for all global leaders.
The Psychology of the Eurozone Crisis x
We Are Not All the Same and That Is Good xiv
Unconscious Bias xvii
Greater Similarity and Difference at the Same Time xix
The Globalization Challenge for Business xxiii
Defining Cultural DNA xxv
A Word About the Evidence xxviii
Why Bother with Differences? xxxi
Chapter 1 AmericaThe Change Makers 1
Founder Effects 3
The Peopling of America 4
Embracing the New 17
Assimilation over Accommodation 20
Mammon: Tamed and Untamed 26
The Triumph of Functionality 32
Increasing Plurality 35
Looking Ahead 37
Chapter 2 Sub-Saharan Africa: Under Nature’s Shadow 41
How Modern Humans Populated Africa 43
Nature’s Crucible: The Forces Shaping Africa’s Cultural DNA 45
Community and Beyond 51
Naturalness: Expressed and Denied 55
In the Moment 60
Metaphor, Analogy, and the Connectedness of Things 67
The Big Man and His Alter Ego 72
Looking Ahead 78
Chapter 3 India: Beyond This World 81
The Peopling of India 82
The Toba Event 83
The Forces That Have Shaped India’s Cultural DNA 85
Individual Paths 95
Inner Directedness 100
Horizontal Stratification 104
Mathematics: The Art of the Hindus 110
Ritualistic Thinking 114
Looking Ahead 119
Chapter 4 The Middle East: Ambivalence and Uncertainty in the Modern Age 121
How Modern Humans Populated the Middle East 122
Deserts and Civilization: The Twin Drivers of Middle Eastern Cultural DNA 124
The Rules of Life 128
The Commercial Instinct 134
The Best Ideas in the World 138
The Honor–Modesty System 143
The Other Sex 148
Concentric Circles of Belonging 151
Managing Contradictions and Tensions 153
Chapter 5 China: The Seekers of Harmony 157
The Peopling of China 159
The Forces That Shaped China’s DNA 161
The Drive for Harmony 165
The Authoritarian Compact 173
Concrete and Practical Inventiveness 177
Fast Slow 181
Bounded Sociability and Empathy 185
The Art of Copying 189
Future Considerations 193
Chapter 6 Europe: The Equal Society 195
The Forces that have Shaped European Cultural DNA 196
Equality and Elitism 203
Bounded Individualism 212
Analyisis and Structured Planning 218
Reserved Sociability 222
The Diminishing Drive for Mastery 225
The Opportunities and Challenges for European Culture 231
Chapter 7 The Far Continents 235
Latin AmericaThe Ever-Changing Melting Pot 235
Australia: Mateship in a Far-Off Land 244
GURNEK BAINS is the co-founder and Chairman of Young Samuel Chambers (YSC), a premier global business psychology consultancy, with 19 offices around the globe, including four in the US, two in Latin America, eight in Asia Pac and the Middle East, two in Africa, and three in Europe. At YSC, Bains works at the most senior levels in international business, coaching CEOs and helping companies create the organizational culture to drive their long-term success. He has a doctorate in psychology from Oxford University. He is also author of Meaning, Inc.: The Blueprint for Business Success in the 21st Century.
“The book should be very useful to those responsible for international relations, but particularly to managers working in multi-national corporations.” (The HR Director, April 2015)
"Bains steers an eclectic but carefully measured journey, in which he builds stepwise arguments, supported by anecdotal and empirical evidence from his own impressive global consulting history and wider sources." (The Marketeers, July 2015)
"Sometimes cultural stereotypes–Americans are positive, Africans are warm, Indians hate aggressive behavior–can actually be useful in helping expats navigate an unfamiliar world. In his new book about cross-cultural communications, business psychologist Gurnek Bains says that it’s a good idea to 'cherchez la difference,'so to speak." (The Wall Street Journal, May 2015)
"In his new book, Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization, Gurnek Bains discusses the soft skills required to engage leaders in a connected world." (Fortune, March 2015)
"Gurnek Bains presents ground breaking original research and the latest evidence from neuroscience, behavioral genetics, psychology and history to enable people to understand, empathize with and engage people from other cultures in our increasingly connected world. He argues that much previous work in this area has just scratched the surface and examines the deepest instincts of eight key global cultures to help readers understand the psychological themes at play in regions such as the U.S., Latin America, Europe, China, India, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Australia." (India CSR, May 2015)
"To be a CEO today requires taking a global perspective with an understanding of the cultures of others.The position is that understanding those with whom we do business will make doing business easier and more pleasant. The danger of falsely stereotyping people in the attempt to understand them will be greatly diminished by reading this book." (Fin24, May 2015)
"Bains steers an eclectic but carefully measured journey, in which he builds stepwise arguments, supported by anecdotal and empirical evidence from his own impressive consulting history and wider sources." (The Huffington Post, June 2015)
"Authoritative and thoroughly-researched, Cultural DNA is a must-read book for anyone who is interested in, and asking deeper questions about, the origins of modern cultures." (Dialogue Review, June 2015)