British linguist Richard D. Lewis created diagrams that capture negotiating characteristics across 27 different countries

Culture shock is at times an unfortunate reality of international travel. The surprises that arise when immersed in another culture are part of the adventure, but when conducting business abroad, cultural misunderstandings can lead to unsuccessful negotiations. Renowned British linguist Richard D. Lewis attempted to provide a solution for this issue by charting the typical negotiating techniques in nearly thirty countries around the world.

Lewis, who brought the popular language school Berlitz to East Asia, Portugal and Finland, is the founder of Richard Lewis Communications, which provides cross-culture communication services and training to individuals and organizations around the world. The communication charts he created are featured in his book When Cultures Collide, first published in 1996. These diagrams use width to indicate the range of conversation, and grey blocks to mark a potential obstacle. Culture-specific behaviors are noted as well, resulting in a fairly comprehensive, if generalized, picture of each country's communication habits.

EXCLUSIVE MEMBER CONTENT
PSFK provides access to this article and every report, case-study, interview, and analysis that we publish for our members. PSFK Professional Membership also unlocks accessto unlimited customized research assistance and our database of over 100,000 insights on innovation trendspanning across eight industry sectors—from culture and brand to retail and customer experience.
Already a members? Log in