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How Authority and Decision-Making Differ Across Cultures

Overall, there’s been a big trend in that kind of global elite to move to more and more egalitarian methods of management, which is something that we teach in US business schools. So no matter where you come from, if you go to Harvard, you’re going to learn about management by objective, and 360 degree feedback, and empowerment, open door policies.

But that being said, the countries that are emerging in the world that, like China and India, are really the countries that the world is looking to for growth and opportunity. Those are countries where more hierarchical patterns of management or top-down styles and management are deeply instilled. I believe it’s really important that we stop and ask ourselves: just because I learned to be an egalitarian manager at that business school I attended in the US, doesn’t mean that that’s the future.

Lots of insight in this discussion from the HBR IdeaCast from Harvard Business Review.

A significant point in here boils down to the idea that building in time for preparation supports the widest variety of approaches to decision making, particularly as businesses begin to span across regions and cultures.

All together, developing an understanding these different approaches is yet another dimension of the ability to adjust one’s work style situationally to create a positive result.