Publications by Gabor Holch in English
Foreign firms in China must move up, on or out
China-based businesses often find themselves in the crossfires of trade wars, internal and international political showdowns. Here are three ways to rebuild challenged China strategies.
Plan Ahead: What businesspeople should know about China’s Five-year Plans
China-watchers will be very familiar with references to five-year plans. But even among such experts, not many know where the plans originated from.
Why China’s soft power erodes in an outspoken age
Some claim that soft power is an elusive concept on which we should agree. But soft power is carefully quantified by researchers worldwide, and outreach programmes influence but do not equal soft power, as Beijing is painfully aware.
WeChat, Zoom, TikTok and the future of Chinese technology culture
Do Chinese technology companies develop tools and visions for the next generation of global connectivity, or for a protected, China-specific digital ecosystem?
Virtual Humanity: Culture still matters in online teamwork
Sterile, orderly and efficient remote-work solutions still feature conflicts between different workstyles.
Hide and seek: Cooperation and competition in China-US relations
A SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in a mixture of cooperation, competition, coersion and codependince in China-US relations.
Business lessons from China’s Covid-19 transparency policy
Debates over the reliability of China's Covid-19 statistics have far-reaching lessons for business decision-makers.
Lost in Translation
Culture clashes between global headquarters and China branches.
Corss-Cultural Leadership Skills are Not What You Think
Engage your teams through individual strengths to create trust, community and results rather than emphasizing cultural differences.
People Development: Stop Spending, Start Thinking
Acknowledinging the battle between our modern urge to consume and the instictive need to grow is essential for productive people development.
Leading millennials: The disruptive return of a million-year dillemma
Research on millennials makes fascinating reading. Never before have we dedicated so much time and effort to understanding the talents, needs and tastes of next-generation workers. But results don't come easily.
Economic Relations and Political Dialogue between the EU and East Asia (VDM Verlag, 2009)
Despite their historical ties, interaction between the European Union and East Asia was long restricted to little more than trade and development projects between certain European nations and their former Asian colonies. The book deals with the role the European Union plays in the East Asian region, based on my research in international relations and diplomacy at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and afterwards. (Click the cover for details.)
Recommended Books on Culture and Leadership
Books by experts and academics at the cutting edge of intercultural leadership are a major source of this blog and my consulting solutions. I read (and re-read) each book in this carefully selected list, and some of the authors have supported my work in person. They represent the latest & greatest in decision-making, neuroscience, intercultural management and much more, and I do believe that reading them with the right attention can be a life-changing experience.
The Culture Map
One of the best intercultural business books ever written, whose Amazon introduction does a perfect job: " Whether you work in a home office or abroad, business success in our ever more globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own." Meyer stays away from cultural clichés, doesn't deny how emotional we get when our cultural concepts are challenged ("discussing cultures is like discussing mothers"), and leaves the reader with practical suggestions. (Click the cover for details.)
For those who are willing to invest their time, money and brain power on the high end, this book by cross-cultural academic Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai will be an eye-opener. Building on an extensive volume of previous research, Nguyen redefines cross-cultural management for the requirements of the 21st century, showing that it must follow cultures that dynamically evolve over time, just like societies and markets do. The book presents conclusions that business leaders can directly apply in global strategy, human resources, change and performance management. (Click the cover for details.)
Leadership and Management in China
Leadership cultures in China is a woefully misunderstood and under-researched topic, fraught with simplistic stereotypes. To my knowledge, Amazon's introduction correctly claims that "this is the first book to explain how ancient Chinese thinking and Western ideas have shaped the development of leadership styles in China. Leadership theories associated with Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, the Arts of War, and the writings of Mao and Deng are analysed by both Chinese and Western experts". Extensive case studies from China, and Chinese businesses abroad make this book an essential manual for executives doing business in or with China. (Click the cover for details.)
HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing Across Cultures
Must-read is not an exaggeration in this case: this volume contains paradigm-shifting articles in intercultural management and leadership. My personal favourite is "L'Oreal Masters Multiculturalism" by Hae-Jung Hong and Yves Doz, a practical case study showing how this cutting-edge organisation manages intercultural talent in creative ways. (Click the cover for details.)
Genes vs Cultures vs Consciousness
An extremely creative booklet that elaborates on Hofstede's original idea that cultures are differently coded software for the mind. With this, the author disruptively kicks the concept of intercultural comparison into the information age, touching upon various fields including behavioural science, neuroscience, evolutionary theory, cognitive science, information technology and artificial intelligence. (Click the cover for details.)
Wired for Culture
Wired for Culture is an erudite journey into the evolutionary and genetic origins of human culture, going back to to the origins of our species when continents followed a different arrangements. The scientific depth and detail makes it a somewhat heavy reading, but those who take the time will never look at family and corporate values, nations, religions and online opinion wars the same way again. (Click the cover for details.)
Leading with Cultural Intelligence
Leading with Cultural Intelligence is a widely used textbook on intercultural leadership. Although much of its content is too conventional for my taste, the author also places some widespread but simplistic leadership advice into a practical context. I also find the book's cases, some first-hand and some collected, quite useful. (Click the cover for details.)
The Leading Brain
The understanding of how our brains work has radically shifted, exploding long-held myths about our everyday cognitive performance and changing the way we engage and succeed in the workplace. Combining expertise in both neuropsychology and management consulting, neuropsychologist Friederike Fabritius and leadership expert Dr. Hans W. Hagemann (my colleague at the Munich Leadership Group) present powerful strategies for achieving top performance, cultivating trust and building strong teams. Based on global leadership programs, some of which I personally delivered, it has what you always wanted to know about the brain and leadership, but may have been afraid to ask. (Click the cover for details.)
Uncommon Sense in Unusual Times
In this creative booklet, developer of the Global DISC assessment system Csaba Toth starts from his highly personal encounters with intercultural existence, and ends up with a detailed introduction of the scientific principles underlying his behavioural profiling and coaching system. Best of all, like similar books introducing profiling tools, purchasing the book includes a free Global DISC assessment and practical tips for interpreting, applying and sharing its results. (Click the cover for details.)
We don't like to hear the opening statement of this book, but we should: "Within each corporation are anywhere from a few to hundreds of separate tribes." Tribal Leadership contains deep and thoughtful insight about the nature of human communities and their dynamics in a corporate environment, and the surprisingly simple leadership lessons that derive from them. Some of its methods, such as starting one-on-one while fixing a dysfunctional team, confirm old wisdom. Others are less obvious, but just as practical.
The Age of Pluralism
True to the changing nature of business and global leadership, David's book combines seemingly contradictory approaches to working across cultures: the personal, the professional and the poetic. This makes it an enjoyable read, while it also offers an insight into two powerful methodologies that would otherwise take many more hours of reading time. One is the Bamboo Strong method from his previous book from that title. Another is the Global DISC personality assessment method, which is used by leading multinationals to align their management teams' personal strengths with the requirements of international leadership jobs. (Click the cover for details.)