Plenair the dutch and the americans chris brewster
The Dutch and the Americans
understanding and benefiting from cultural differences
Visiting Professor of HRM, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
An old cross cultural joke
Last month, a world survey was conducted by the UN. The only question
asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the
food shortage in the rest of the world." The survey was a huge failure...
• In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.
• In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.
• In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.
• In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.
• In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.
• In the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.
• In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant, and
Some basic stats
world health-care: world spending on health-care
Netherlands 17 9
USA 37 1
>> behaviour What
>> practice customs
>> beliefs Why
Culture: a learned collective phenomenon distinguished from
inherited human nature and one’s unique personality.
Specific to group or
Influence of Culture on Behaviour
The danger of “culture”
• The mind is a sequential, pattern forming, and a pattern reinforcing
Values & Attitudes
The dimensions of culture
How does society answer the questions:
Who am I? (people’s qualities as individuals)
How do I see the world? (relationship to nature)
How do I relate to others? (human relations)
What do I do? (primary activity)
How do I use time?
How do I use space?
The Dutch culture & the American culture
Not all the same
(East coast/ West coast; Rotterdammers/ Amsterdammers)
Speak English (sort of…)
Agendas, timekeeping matter