Forward thinking: navigating the complexities of cultural differences in a global environment

Erin Mayer
Erin Mayer

Understanding cultural nuances is essential to any business. It is also the core of Erin Meyer’s work. As a Senior Affiliate Professor in the Organisational Behaviour Department at INSEAD and the author of The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business, Erin specialises in the fields of cross-cultural management, intercultural negotiations and multi-cultural leadership.

She focuses on how the world’s most successful global leaders navigate the complexities of cultural differences in a global environment. Her research and writings have led to multiple articles across New York Times,, Sunday paper and Times of India. She’s also a contributor to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) where her article, ‘Getting to Si, Ja, Oui, Hai, and Da’, was the most read article of HBR in 2015.

For over a decade, Erin has studied how people in different parts of the world develop trust, communicate, make decisions and perceive situations in the workplace differently.

Leaders have always needed to understand human nature and personality differences to be successful in business—that's nothing new. What's new is the requirement for twenty-first century leaders to be prepared to understand a wider, richer array of work styles than ever before and to be able to determine what aspects of an interaction are simply a result of personality and which are a result of differences in cultural perspective, she says in her book, The Culture Map.

The Culture Map

Her framework enables international executives to pinpoint their leadership preferences and compare their methods to the management practices of other cultures. Erin has taught thousands of executives from five continents to understand cross-cultural complexities impacting their success and to work more effectively across these differences.

Erin won the ECCH 2010 European Case Award for Best Human Resources Management Case of the year for her case, Leading Across Cultures at Michelin. Most recently Erin was selected by Thinkers50 as one of the 50 most influential business thinkers of 2017. She was one of HR magazine’s Most Influential Thinkers in 2017 and 2018 and only has more great work in store for the coming academic year.

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