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The Culture Map

The Culture Map

by Erin Meyer

ERIN MEYER

“The way we are conditioned to see the world in our own culture seems so completely obvious and commonplace that it is difficult to image that another culture might do things differently. It is only when you start to identify what is typical in your culture but different from others, that you...

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The majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding of how culture is impacting their work. This is especially true as more and more of us communicate daily with people in other countries over virtual media.

When you live extensively...

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ERIN MEYER

“Leaders have always needed to understand human nature and personality differences to be successful in business--that's nothing new. What's new is the requirement for twenty-first century leaders to be prepared to understand a wider, richer array of work styles than ever before and to be able...

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Cultural patterns of behavior and belief frequently impact our perceptions (what we see), cognitions (what we think), and actions (what we do).

Many of the cultural differences—varying attitudes concerning when best to speak or stay qu...

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It is common, to work across cultures for decades and travel frequently for business while remaining unaware and uninformed about how culture impacts you. Millions of people work in global settings while viewing everything from their own cultural perspectives and assuming that al...

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Eight scales that map the world's cultures

Each of the eight scales represents one key area that managers must be aware of, showing how cultures vary along a spectrum from one extreme to its opposite. The eight scales are:

  • Communicating: low-context vs. high-context
  • Evaluating: direc...

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  • In cultures where low-context communication styles are prevalent, people assume a low level of shared context — few shared reference points and comparatively little implicit knowledge linking speaker and listener. In low-context countries like the United States and the Neth...

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Evaluating: direct negative feedback vs indirect negative feedback

Erin Meyer’s Evaluating scale offers insights into how to give effective performance appraisals and negative feedback in different parts of the world. The spectrum goes from “direct negative feedback” to “indirect negative feedback”.

With direct negative feedback, the feedback is deliv...

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  • When providing an evaluation, be explicit and low-context with both positive and negative feedback. Don't launch into the negative until you’ve also explicitly stated something that you appreciate about the person or the situation. The positive comments should be honest and stated in a deta...

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Persuading: principles-first vs applications-first

There are two types of reasoning we can use to persuade:

  • Principles-first (or deductive) reasoning derives conclusions or facts from general principles or concepts. People from principles-first cultures generally want to understand the why behind their boss’...

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ERIN MEYER

“When interacting with someone from another culture, try to watch more, listen more, and speak less.”

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