In summary, the article highlights that the way cultures deal with authority is not necessarily the same as decisions are reached
For instance in Japan, decisions are typically reached in consensus with teams discussing and then passing a recommendation to their superior who then takes the well prepared and sounded decision.
On the contrary, Americans tend to be very egalitarian demonstrated by flat hierarchies and empowering employees, however when it comes to decision making the superior tends to take them without spending too much time on wider consensus building.
Though HBR somehow forgot the Swiss (yes I have reported back to HBR on this issue :-)), I like to add that the Swiss on the other hand like to involve stakeholders extensively and aim to also consider minorities. This tends to take longer time to reach a balanced decision where everyone has been consulted and conflicts have been dealt with bilateral. Often referred to as Swiss Compromise.
The article doesn't just explain differences but gives some useful tips how to build bridges between cultures, two things I noted for myself and like to share with the wider audience:
1) Be aware of your your own and others' natural culturally driven decision making style, some good tips in the article and
2) call things out what they are, such to avoid any misunderstandings. Be clear if a decision is 'hard' and to be implemented, or 'soft' meaning you all agree something being a good idea but needing some more thoughts before a firm decision can be taken, so no work should be started yet.
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