Cross Cultural Differences: Global Map

Cross cultural differences are a potentially important element in conflict. My old friend Stephen Rhinesmith, an expert in such matters, used to say that 90% of conflict within cross cultural teams is nothing to do with cultural differences, but just good old team dynamics. But the 10% of problems that were cross cultural were the hardest to solve. 

I have always like this map of the global cultures from the World Values Survey. This map reflects the fact that a large number of basic values are closely correlated; they can be depicted in just two major dimensions of cross-cultural variation: Survival-Self Expression values along the bottom and Traditional-Secular values along the vertical axis, though of course national cultures are more complex than this. But it is like many models useful though an over-simplification.

Each country is positioned according to its people’s values and not its geographical location. To a large extent the two coincide, but the map measures cultural proximity, not geographical proximity. Thus, Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain are cultural neighbors, reflecting their relatively similar values, despite their geographical dispersion.

More information at:

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Maps, Middle East Conflict, Religious Conflict, Rise of China, The Rise of India, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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