Sex, lies and stereotypes: putting cultural tips for doing business in France to the test

Karin Speedy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In response to research pointing to failures in international business stemming from a lack of cultural understanding, it has become fashionable in recent years to include sections or even chapters on 'culture' in international business texts. Indeed, a number of books dedicated to the subject of the cultural aspects of doing business in foreign countries, including France, have appeared. As in other areas of international business, however, North American authors dominate the literature. While this interest in things cultural is, on the face of it, commendable, many of these international business writers are forgetting that their own inherent cultural assumptions and preconceptions are exposed when they write on 'other' cultures. At times, they reveal more about their own culture than that of the 'foreign' one. How valid can advice on a given culture, in this case French culture, written from the point of view of another culture with its own prejudices be? Can it be 'correct' or are we entering the realm of stereotypes? And is the guidance relevant to cultures outside America? In order to answer these questions, this paper discusses the findings of research carried out in France in 2002. Fifty published 'tips' for doing business in France were gathered and 'tested' on French business people. In many cases, the results indicate that the advice given is, at best, superficial or stereotypical, at worst, erroneous.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Zealand and Europe
Subtitle of host publicationconnections and comparisons
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, New York
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9789042019041
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Publication series

NameEuropean studies : an interdisciplinary series in European culture, history and politics
ISSN (Print)1568-1858


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