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Understanding Global Cultures

Understanding Global Cultures
Metaphorical Journeys Through 34 Nations, Clusters of Nations, Continents, and Diversity

Sixth Edition
Additional resources:

March 2015 | 680 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
In the fully updated Sixth Edition of Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical Journeys Through 34 Nations, Clusters of Nations, Continents, and Diversity, authors Martin J. Gannon and Rajnandini Pillai present the cultural metaphor as a method for understanding the cultural mindsets of individual nations, clusters of nations, continents, and diversity in each nation. A cultural metaphor is any activity, phenomenon, or institution that members of a given culture consider important and with which they identify emotionally and/or cognitively, such as the Japanese garden and American football. This cultural metaphoric approach identifies three to eight unique or distinctive features of each cultural metaphor and then discusses 34 national cultures in terms of these features. The book demonstrates how metaphors are guidelines to help outsiders quickly understand what members of a culture consider important.
Preface: Understanding Cultures in Depth
Part I. Introduction
Chapter 1. Understanding Cultural Metaphors
Language Barriers  
Using Cultural Metaphors  
Constructing Cultural Metaphors  
Using Metaphor  
Reading and Using This Book  
A Two-Dimensional Typology of Cultures  
A Scaling Perspective  
Defining Culture or Identifying Its Determinants?  
When Culture Does, and Does Not, Matter  
Part II. Authority-Ranking Cultures
Chapter 2. The Thai Kingdom
Loose Vertical Hierarchy  
Freedom and Equality  
The Thai Smile  
Chapter 3. The Japanese Garden
Corporate Cultures  
Garden as Metaphor  
Wa and Shikata  
Seishin Training  
Combining Droplets or Energies  
Similarities and Contrasts  
Chapter 4. Bedouin Jewelry and Saudi Arabia
History and Geography  
The Desert Bedouins  
Bold Form  
Handcrafted Appearance  
Traditional Design  
Female Ownership  
Chapter 5. Dòn Gánh: The Two Sides of Vietnam
History of Occupation  
The French Defeat and Division Into Two  
The Metaphor: The Dualities of Dòn Gánh  
Chapter 6. Kimchi and Korea
South Korea  
The 60th Birthday  
Strangers by Day, Lovers by Night  
Kimchi’s Public Role  
The Irish of Asia  
Part III. Scandinavian Egalitarian Cultures
Chapter 7. The Swedish Stuga
Early History  
Modern Evolution  
Social Democracy  
The Swedish Summer Home  
Love of Untrammeled Nature and Tradition  
Individualism Through Self-Development  
Chapter 8. The Finnish Sauna
From Survival to Political and Economic Success  
Sauna: A Secular “Holy” Place of Equality  
Communication: Comfort With Quietude  
Chapter 9. The Danish Christmas Luncheon
Interdependent Individualism  
Geographic Ambivalence  
Part IV. Other Egalitarian Cultures
Chapter 10. The German Symphony
Postwar Evolution  
The Symphony Orchestra  
Diversity of Musical Instruments  
Positional Arrangements of the Musicians  
Conductors and Leaders  
Precision and Synchronicity  
The Unfinished Symphony  
Chapter 11. Irish Conversations
Early History  
English Oppression  
Identifying Links  
Intersection of Gaelic and English  
Prayer as Conversation  
A Free-Flowing Conversation: Irish Hospitality  
Places of Conversations: Irish Friends and Families  
Ending a Conversation  
Chapter 12. The Canadian Backpack and Flag
Historical Background  
Egalitarianism and Outlook  
The Canadian Mosaic  
Canadians as Non-U.S. Americans  
Chapter 13. Australian Outdoor Recreational Activities
Capturing the Imagination  
New Realities: Beyond Stereotypes  
Equality Matching Among the Tall Poppies  
Chapter 14. French Wine
The Maturation Process  
The Changing Portrait  
Part V. Market-Pricing Cultures
Chapter 15. American Football
The Tailgate Party  
Pregame and Halftime Entertainment  
Strategy and War  
Selection, the Training Camp, and the Playbook  
Individual Specialized Achievement Within the Team Structure  
Aggression, High Risks, and Unpredictable Outcomes  
The Church of Football and Celebrating Perfection  
Chapter 16. The Traditional British House
The Traditional House  
History, Politics, Economics: Laying the Foundations  
Growing Up British: Building the House  
Being British: Living in the House  
Part VI. Cleft National Cultures
Chapter 17. The Malaysian Balik Kampung
Returning to Nearby Roots  
Authority Ranking  
Reinforcing Common Values  
Chapter 18. The Israeli Kibbutzim and Moshavim
Zionism, Types of Judaism, and the Palestinians  
A New Country  
Continuous War  
Religious Conflict  
Explicit Values  
Size and Behavioral Outcomes  
Traumas, Worldview, and Personality  
Chapter 19. The Italian Opera
North and South  
The Opera Metaphor  
The Overture  
Pageantry and Spectacle  
Chorus and Soloists  
Chapter 20. Belgian Lace
Wallonian Versus Flemish  
History of Lace  
A Land of Contrasts  
Cooperation and Harmony  
Part VII. Torn National Cultures
Chapter 21. The Mexican Fiesta
Historical Background  
The Mexican Fiesta  
Primary Focus on People  
The Emphasis on Religion  
Experiencing the Present  
Freedom Within the Social Order  
Chapter 22. The Turkish Coffeehouse
A Unique History  
Islam and Secularity  
Recreation, Communication, and Community Integration  
A Male Domain  
A Modest Environment  
Life Outside the Coffeehouse  
Looking Ahead  
Part VIII. The Base Culture and Its Diffusion Across Borders (Clusters of Nations): The Example of China
Chapter 23. China’s Great Wall and Cross-Cultural Paradox
The Great Wall: Long, Tortuous, and Complex History  
Confucianism and Taoism  
Sun Tzu, War, and the Marketplace  
Chapter 24. The Chinese Family Altar: The Expatriate Chinese Outside of China
The Importance of Family  
The Expatriate Chinese  
Chapter 25. The Singapore Hawker Centers
Origins of the Hawker Centers  
Singapore’s History  
Ethnic Diversity but Unity  
The Power of Women  
Synthesizing Traditional and New Values  
Part IX. India: Tradition, Modernity, and Diversity
Chapter 26. India: The Dance of Shiva
Shiva’s Dance  
Indian Culture: Early History  
Cyclical Hindu Philosophy  
The Cycle of Life  
The Family Cycle  
The Cycle of Social Interaction  
The Work and Recreation (Rejuvenation) Cycle  
Chapter 27. India: A Kaleidoscope of Diversity
The Kaleidoscope of Religions and Cultural Celebrations  
Images of Festivals and Feasts  
Cell Phones, Call Centers, and Curriculum: Images of Change  
The Changing Image of Cricket  
Part X. An African Perspective
Chapter 28. The Nigerian Marketplace
Social Dynamism  
Balancing Tradition and Change  
Chapter 29. South African Townships
An Insider’s View  
An Outsider’s View  
Chapter 30. The Sub-Saharan African Bush Taxi
Basic Operations  
A Short History of Africa  
African Time Orientation and Fatalism  
Communalism and Community Sharing  
Hierarchy in African Society: Seating Arrangements in the Bush Taxi  
Part XI. The Struggle for Cultural Identity and the Splintering of Nations: The Case of the Russian Empire
Chapter 31. Russian Ballet
An Apt Metaphor  
A Flourishing Art  
Echelons of the Ballet  
Drama and Realism  
The Russian Soul  
Chapter 32. Estonian Singing
Lyrics, or the Painful History of the Proud Nation  
Vocalists, or Simple Pleasures Inspired by Nature  
Performance, or Singing as a Weapon  
Audience, or Estonia on the Global Stage  
Chapter 33. The Polish Village Church
Historical Background  
Central Place of the Catholic Church  
The Partitioning and Polish Identity  
Part XII. Same Metaphor, Different Meanings
Chapter 34. The Spanish Bullfight
The Bullfight Begins  
Sol y Sombra  
The Pompous Entrance Parade  
Audience Involvement  
The Ritual of the Bullfight  
Chapter 35. The Portuguese Bullfight
Pride in Traditions  
Stratification Amid Unity  
Artistry and Human Gore  
Profitless Bravery  
Part XIII. Popular Music as Cultural Metaphors
Chapter 36. The Brazilian Samba
Evolution of the Samba  
Small-Step Circularity  
Physical Touch  
Spontaneous Escape  
Paradox of Dancers  
Chapter 37. The Argentine Tango
The Tango’s Evolution  
Tango Music and Composers  
The Dynamics of the Dance  
Tango Singers and Their Lyrics  
Gender Relations  
Applying What We’ve Learned  
Part XIV. Overlapping Cultural Metaphors for Geographically Related Nations
Chapter 38. Cultural Metaphors for the Caribbean
A Brief History of the Caribbean Region  
Cultural Metaphors for the Caribbean  
Personal Experiences With Caribbean Metaphors  
Developing Complementary Cultural Metaphors  
About the Authors


Instructor Resource Site
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Instructor Resources include a phrase/term glossary and an instructor's manual comprising the following:

I.        REPRINTING OF MARTIN J. GANNON’S Working Across Cultures: Applications and Exercises. Please note that some of the Learning Modules refer specifically to this book.


1.   Learning Module: The Hawaii Case Study

2.   Learning Module Exercise on Generic Metaphors for Culture and Defining Culture

3.   Learning Module Involving Class Members in the Description of their Root Cultures in the First Class and Later in the Course

4.   Learning Module on the 14 Parts of the Sixth Edition

5.   Learning Module on the Extended Table of Contents and the Systematic Use of Cultural Metaphors through the Major Features of Each Cultural Metaphor

6.   Learning Module focusing on the strengths and limitations of the Dimensional Approach

7.   Learning Module: Debating the Relative Strengths and Limitations of Dimensions and Cultural Metaphors 

8.   Learning Module on chapter 1 Using Slides, Discussion Questions, and Exercises

9.   Learning Module Exercise on Time

10.  Learning Module on Creating Paragraphs and Surveys for Studying Cultural Metaphors

11. Learning Module on Cultural Metaphors and Business: Other Applications

12. Learning Module on Language

13. Learning Module on Types of Communication

14. Learning Module on Cross-Cultural Paradoxes

15.  Business Ethics and Decision Making Learning Module

16.  Cross-cultural Negotiations’ Learning Module

17.   Learning Module on World Religions

18.  Learning Module on Global Leadership and the Manager’s Role in Different Nations

19.  Three-Culture Joint Venture Exercise

20. Learning Module on the Long-Term Effects of Violating Cultural Norms and Values: The Case Study of the Hong Kong Orchestra and the Exercise “The Story of Upoli”

21. Learning Module: The Relative Effectiveness of Single-Culture and Multiple-Cultures Cross-Cultural Groups

22. Learning Module Involving the Individual Interviews

23. Learning Module: The Deaf Culture

24.  Learning Module:  Specific Suggestions for Using the Internet, Films, and Cross-Cultural Training Videos



V.     MULTIPLE CHOICE AND ESSAY QUESTIONS FOR THE NINE CHAPTERS NOT REQUIRED FOR EXAMINATIONS (Note: It is the Instructor’s Choice to Add to Examinations and Course Requirements)



Excellent book. We use it for international work placements. Students like the approach and examples very much. They do, however, find the book's price steep for their budget.

Miss Radmila Radojevic
Faculteit Communicatie & Journalistiek, Hogeschool Utrecht
January 20, 2016

Brilliant book for students with a keen interest in global diversity.

Mrs Angela K Midgley
October 21, 2015

Very innovative approach to intercultural management, interesting and engaging for students. It is a very good complement to more "formal" text books used to convey the key concepts on the subjects.

Miss Cintia Otero
Economic Science, Universidad de Buenos Aires
June 23, 2015

This book will be recommended but need to become evaluated by the students over some time.

Dr Monne Wihlborg
Health Science centre, Lund University
June 22, 2015

On of the best books on the market, both philosophically interesting but will also provoke some critical thinking for its readers.

Mr Matt Kirby
Performance, Falmouth University
June 11, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 15

Chapter 23

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Martin J. Gannon

Martin J. Gannon (PhD, Columbia University) is Professor of International Management and Strategy, College of Business Administration, California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM). He is also Professor Emeritus, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland at College Park. At Maryland he held several administrative positions, including the Associate Deanship for Academic Affairs and the Founding Directorship of the Center for Global Business, and received the University’s International Landmark Award. In 2014, Professor Gannon received the Outstanding Educator Award from the International Management Division of the Academy of... More About Author

Rajnandini K. Pillai

Rajnandini Pillai (PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1994) is Professor of Management at the College of Business, California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM). She is also Executive Director and founding member of the Center for Leadership Innovation and Mentorship Building (CLIMB) at the university. Her areas of research interest are leadership and cross-cultural management. She has published her work on charismatic and transformational leadership, leadership and voting behavior, and cross-cultural differences in organizational justice in some of the leading journals in her field such as The Leadership Quarterly, Journal of... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483340074