The best-selling cross-cultural analysis When Cultures Collide, Leading across Cultures (Richard D. Lewis, Nicholas Brealey, London 1996, 2003, 2009, 2011) examined the cultural characteristics of 85 nation-states on six continents. Although the study was geared to some degree to the business community, it dealt in principle with general national traits as they pertained to society as a whole, looking at the role they played in what has been sometimes termed “the clash of civilizations”.

It indicated that cultures developed on a grand scale, engendered by such mighty issues as history, geography, climate, religion and language, and evolved not just over centuries, but during historical millennia and indeed inheriting some characteristics from the pre-historic era. In human terms, cultures are ancient, powerful and incredibly complex phenomena, changing reluctantly, at glacial pace, possessed of great momentum and endurance.

When Cultures Collide also recognized the numerous layers within most national cultures: regional, professional, generational, educational, and those deriving from differences of religion, gender or class. Such variants spice, but do not basically change, the thrust of the national culture. People live and work inside countries and their behaviours, customs, habits, tastes, preferences and priorities conform with remarkable consistency to the national norm. It has been assumed that the Internet and other technological advances ...

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