Cross-Culture Analysis: Which Country Boasts Which Skills?

by
May 10, 2016
Cross-Culture Analysis: Which Country Boasts Which Skills?

A recent article on HBR.org highlighted some very interesting information regarding leadership strengths and skills by country or place of origin. The presents the results of a study carried out by Cultural DNA author Gurnek Bains and his team, which involved the analysis of reports on 1,500 senior executives to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and then ranked the presence of different skills by geolocation as follows:
-United States
-Middle East
-India
-Latin America
-Europe
-China
-Sub-Saharan Africa

Here are the reported results.

Top 5 Locations Producing the Best “Thinkers”
The first area to be ranked was “thinking”, which was split into five sub-categories. According to Gurnek and his team, the locations producing the top “thinkers” are as follows:

United States produces the most action-oriented thinkers
China produces the most analytical thinkers
The Middle East produces the most commercial thinkers
Sub-Saharan Africa produces the most creative thinkers
Europe produces the most strategic thinkers

Top 4 Locations Boasting “Leadership” Qualities
The next area to be ranked was leadership, where Gurnek and his team again split skills into five sub-categories.

India boasts the most authoritative leaders
Sub-Saharan Africa boasts the most team-developing leaders
The Middle East boasts the most organised leaders
Europe boasts the most inclusive leaders
Europe also boasts the most visionary leaders

Top 3 Locations with the Most “Self-Aware” People
In the category of how self-aware people tended to be, Gurnek and his team split this into two sub-categories.

India and Europe both tied in first place for the most generally self-aware people
The Middle East came out miles ahead in terms of producing people with more specific growth-oriented mind-sets

Top 2 Most “Motivational” Locations
Gurnek and his team divided the category of “motivation” into three relevant qualities which all contribute to how much a person is likely to motivate others.

Latin America is leading the charge in terms of pure ambition
Europe seems to have the most people who motivate with authenticity
Latin America again wins in the sub-category of emotional resilience

Top 2 Locations with “Interpersonal” Skills
The next category to be compared by location was that of how interpersonal people were showing to be. This was split into three sub-categories.

Latin America displayed the most signs of people who were engaging
India appeared to be the best place for finding people who could form bonds
Latin America again took first place with the final category of collaboration

Top 2 Locations where People are Most “Able” to Perform
Although the study grouped these last two sub-categories as “Other”, we think that it makes more sense to group them under the umbrella of “Ability”.

Sub-Saharan Africa won the title of people with the most experience
India came in front with the number of people considered most knowledgeable

Profiling Skillsets by Geolocation
Based on the above information, we can begin to start building pictures of the type of people and leaders found most in various places around the world.

The United States seems to be all about action. Getting things done, and doing them now.
China scored very highly on their analytical skills, which suggest they are problem solvers who can calculate the most efficient solutions.
The Middle East is all about the money. Commercial thinkers with growth-oriented mind-sets, their passion for turning profits is served well by their ability to get themselves organised.
Sub-Saharan Africa is brimming with creative and experienced people, who work well in teams.
– Europe seems to have people who apply strategic thinking to find hidden ways of achieving their big visions. Their high scores in self-awareness suggests a lot of empathy, which is perhaps why they are also the most inclusive.
India looks like its people operate best once a pecking order is established. With their authoritative attitude, self-awareness, and ability to form bonds, structure is likely a big part of business. This is possibly also why they score so highly on knowledge – the more they know, the higher up the chain of command they can go?
Latin America is bursting with enthusiasm and passion. The most emotionally resilient crowd, they engage others around them with their infectious ambition and ability to collaborate.

In your experience, how accurate would you say the descriptions above are? Personally, I think they are to be taken with a pinch of salt. Many of the scores were very close, and we have only taken the winning locations and at face value, too. For example, both the United States and China are rated on only one single area of expertise – and they scored very highly in others. And besides, it is no good putting too much reliance on statistical trends and suggestions anyway – especially when it comes to judging people based on location. After all, does this not begin to border on prejudice and generalisation? Either way, it was a fun little exercise to explore, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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