Wiley.com
Print this page Share

Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization

ISBN: 978-1-118-92891-2
320 pages
March 2015
Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization (1118928911) cover image

Description

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.

See More

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction ix

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 America—The Change Makers 1

Founder Effects 3

The Peopling of America 4

Positivity 11

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

Ahimsa 87

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 America—The Ever-Changing Melting Pot 235

Australia: Mateship in a Far-Off Land 244

Conclusions 255

Notes 259

Index 271

See More

Author Information

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.

See More

Reviews

“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)

See More
Back to Top