Transcendent business culture?

Someone today suggested to me – in relation to Chinese, Korean, and American business designs – that there is a 'transcendent business culture' which set me thinking. It's a view echoed by Yougmaan Park, CEO Doosan, who was interviewed by McKinsey Quarterly in September 2008. Park makes the point that "Culture represents, country, race, language, history, and such. But when you add 'corporate' and make 'corporate culture' that's almost identical in most of the successful conglomerates globally." Making a similar lunge at the notion of a transcendent business culture is John Tomlinson in his book Globalization and Culture when he opens the discussion talking of … "the accomplished business-class passenger who displays his (mostly, 'his') credentials with the insouciance with which he enacts the social-cultural adjustments of arrival: the swift location of the taxi, the easy transit to the pre-booked international hotel … the assurance of finding all the facilities … that will allow him to function independently of context. … Distant places are culturally close for business executives …" Maybe there is a transcendent business culture but going too far down that road seems to lead to difficulties when a company sticks too rigidly to a business model that works in one geography – take WalMart pulling out of Germany, or the more recent pull back of Lenovo into its Chinese roots. (Economist August 13 2009). The global/local requires a nuance approach not a transcendent approach.

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