Cover image for Breaking through culture shock : what you need to succeed in international business
Breaking through culture shock : what you need to succeed in international business
Marx, Elisabeth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; Naperville, IL : Nicholas Brealey, 1999.
Physical Description:
xv, 233 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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HD58.7 .M3747 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Why do some international managers succeed while nearly half of their U.S. counterparts fail? According to insider Elizabeth Marx , the answer is culture shock--the failure to adjust to people with different motivations, behaviors, and ways of making decisions.

Author Notes

Dr Elisabeth Marx is a Director of Norman Broadbent International, the world-wide executive search company. She focuses on the search for and psychological development of international executives and carries out research on boardroom issues. Based in London, she works throughout Europe and the United States and lectures on management topics internationally. Her work on management issues is frequently covered in the national and international press as well as on radio and television.
She trained in psychology at the University of Marburg (Germany), gained her doctorate at Oxford University and was previously a lecturer in psychology at the National University of Singapore.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Marx defines culture shock as "the experience of foreignness," and calls it both an occupational hazard and an opportunity. She sees its effects in her work as director of international consultancy for the executive search firm Norman Broadbent Selection. She also experienced it firsthand when, as a psychologist, she went to Britain to complete her postgraduate studies. Designed as a "self-coaching guide," Marx's book examines the phenomenon of culture shock as she details the three sides of the "culture shock triangle": emotions, thinking, and social skills and identity. She offers coping strategies for moving from euphoria to depression to contentment, from stereotyping to culturally effective thinking, and from national to transnational social skills and an international identity. Marx also outlines practical steps one can take to further a successful international career, summarizing characteristics of the world's main business cultures and considering the impact on one's personal life and family. --David Rouse

Choice Review

According to Marx, director of a worldwide executive search company, about one-third of US managers posted overseas fail. In this practical and well-written book, she centers in on the critical factor of culture shock or "the experience of foreignness" and probes how to be internationally effective by developing one's ability to adapt. In the first four chapters Marx offers a new model--the culture shock triangle--that shows managers how to behave (social skills and identity) differently, think differently, and balance their emotions. In part 2, she addresses how to understand the business cultures of Germany, France, the UK, the US, and China; raises issues of dual careers and single managers; gives tips about career management; discusses three high-profile chief executives; and advises about managing international managers. Marx wraps up the work with a self-appraisal guide/checklist. Recommended not only for junior and senior managers aspiring for professional success in different cultural settings, this excellent guide is also valuable reading for international business students and business academics. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections. J. W. Leonard; Miami University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Part 1 Experiencing Culture Shock -- Learning to Adaptp. 1
Chapter 1 The Culture Shock Trianglep. 2
Culture shockp. 5
Symptoms of culture shockp. 6
Phases of adaptationp. 7
The culture shock trianglep. 11
Emotionsp. 13
Thinkingp. 15
Social identity and social skillsp. 16
10 steps for minimizing culture shockp. 18
Chapter 2 Balancing Your Emotionsp. 20
The challenges of international workp. 21
Mixed feelingsp. 23
Effects on job performancep. 24
Type Ap. 27
Stress checklistp. 31
Effective strategies for coping with stressp. 33
Dealing with your emotionsp. 38
Chapter 3 Thinking Differentlyp. 39
Understanding other peoplep. 41
Culturep. 42
Three dimensions of culturep. 47
Orientationp. 49
Task approach -- structured versus fluidp. 53
Communication and presentation stylep. 56
Cross-cultural effectivenessp. 59
Thinking across culturesp. 61
Chapter 4 Behaving Differentlyp. 62
How your identity, expectations and goals will changep. 62
Joining the cocktail set or going native?p. 64
How to adaptp. 69
The importance of networkingp. 72
Part 2 Conquering Culture Shock -- Achieving Successp. 77
Chapter 5 Understanding Business Culturesp. 78
Germanyp. 79
Francep. 82
UKp. 84
USAp. 88
Chinap. 91
Another look at cultural differencesp. 94
International mergersp. 96
The challenge of international teamsp. 100
Checklist of behavioral indicatorsp. 103
Chapter 6 Frequent Flyers to Dual Careersp. 105
Swinging singlesp. 105
Honeymoons and nightmares in relationshipsp. 107
Frequent flyersp. 111
Dual careersp. 117
Checklist for working partnersp. 121
Universally adaptable children?p. 122
Practical advice: the relocation checklistp. 124
Medical issues in tropical countriesp. 128
Coming home -- the biggest culture shock of all?p. 131
Five steps to an easy personal reentryp. 135
Chapter 7 Managing Your Career Successfullyp. 136
How international work affects your lifep. 137
Seasoned executivesp. 141
Young high flyersp. 143
First timersp. 146
A new career patternp. 147
International developmentp. 149
Making a smooth returnp. 156
Tips for cross-border applicantsp. 159
Planning a successful international careerp. 160
Chapter 8 International High Flyersp. 162
Peter Job, Chief Executive, Reutersp. 162
Win Bischoff, Chairman, Schrodersp. 170
Walter Hasselkus, Chief Executive, Rover Groupp. 177
Chapter 9 Managing International Managersp. 184
Selectionp. 186
Preparation and trainingp. 187
Ongoing supportp. 188
Repatriationp. 188
Main problems in international assignmentsp. 188
What the best companies dop. 189
What managers thinkp. 192
Meeting managers' expectationsp. 194
Recommendations for best practicep. 195
Chapter 10 Are You an Effective International Manager?p. 209
Motivationp. 210
Expectationsp. 212
Personalityp. 215
Communication/relationship skills/people orientationp. 217
Ability to deal with stressp. 219
Self-reliancep. 220
Evaluation of the self-assessmentp. 221
Referencesp. 225
Indexp. 229