Book Review: “International Management – Culture, Strategy and Behavior” – by Fred Luthans and Jonathan Doh

Some books are great, some books are fantastic, and some are at the average. Some are really bad and some are really outstanding. For me, “International Management – Culture, Strategy and Behavior” is neither of these – but just a bit above average.

Do not get me wrong. A book on international business focused on organizational management/human resources is a new focus. In the current world, where we trade continuously across the borders, we forget very often that the most important thing to do is probably to interact efficiently with our foreign counterparts. Yet, “International Management – Culture, Strategy and Behavior” is not exactly my type of book…

…Which still means that this is a nice study text. There are very few books focused on the cultural interactions at a global level. And few authors dare to approach such a subject. In this respect, “International Management – Culture, Strategy and Behavior” does a very nice job – it lays out the main theories and summarizes them in a meaningful manner for all the would-be students, so that they extract maximum value out of it. Take for example the chapter on cross-cultural communication and negotiation – it does not simply spell out all the available theories on the topic and then puts it to work. The authors are also thinking about you in practice, so the chapters are full with practical tips. The cross-cultural communication chapter starts with a tip on how to avoid the “us vs. them” mentality” – and I found it an useful advice, the sort of which we always now in approval for but forget to put it in practice.

The non-conformism of the book is apparent all over the chapters. This refreshing approach for example comes in place in the classification of the corporate cultures types. In Europe, as an MBA student, you are usually bombed with Charles Handy’s types of organizations based on Greek cultures. In an US MBA, of course you have to know by heart Mintzberg’s types of organizations. Well, the focus in this book is on the … Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner’s four types of corporate culture (family/Eiffel tower/guided missile/incubator). Did I make you curious? Then turn at page 179 and have a look, it is quite interesting.

All in all, “International Management – Culture, Strategy and Behaviour” is a different study text in the hot and controversial area of the international interactions. And it is interesting enough to have a look at it in a rainy afternoon, when you are really bored of lying around…

Summary:

Part One: Environmental Foundation1 Globalization and International Linkages

2 The Political, Legal, and Technological Environment

3 Ethics and Social Responsibility

Part Two: The Role of Culture4 The Meanings and Dimensions of Culture5 Managing Across Cultures

6 Organizational Cultures and Diversity

7 Cross-Cultural Communication and Negotiation

Part Three: International Strategic Management

8 Strategy Formulation and Implementation

9 Entry Strategies and Organizational Structures

10 Managing Political Risk, Government Relations,and Alliances

11 Management Decision and Control

Part Four: Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

12 Motivation Across Cultures

13 Leadership Across Cultures

14 Human Resource Selection and Development Across Cultures

Skill-Building and Experiential Exercises

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    One comment

    1. Mikel says:

      Read it, likeԁ it, thank you for it

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