Navigating the Cultural Minefield

by Erin Meyer

WHEN AARON ARRIVED IN MOSCOW to take charge of the manufacturing plant his Israeli-owned company had just purchased, he expected to settle in quickly. Although he’d grown up in Tel Aviv, his parents were Russian-born, so he knew the culture and spoke the language well. He’d been highly successful managing Israeli teams and had led a large organization in Canada. Yet six months into his new job, he was still struggling to supervise his team in Moscow. What, specifically, was he doing wrong?

Answering such questions isn’t easy, as I’ve learned from 16 years studying the effects of cultural differences on business success. Although there’s been a great deal of research and writing on the subject, ...

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