The coconut and the peach - understanding cultural analogies

The coconut and the peach - understanding cultural analogies

By GlobalLk | Added Dec 9, 2015

Working in Switzerland with local teams in a Global Company is always interesting.

We work hard to avoid national stereotypes, but the influences of history, politics, geography and a multitude of other variables shape national culture.

In Erin Meyer's article One Reason Cross-Cultural Small Talk Is So Tricky she talks about the 'coconut cultures', which are hard to break into. However, once you are through the hard exterior there is space for friendship.  On the other hand, 'peach cultures' are easier to penetrate but once you get in you are blocked at the core by the pit, making it harder to develop deep relationships.

This analogy certainly comes into the discussion for expats as well as for diverse teams. Having worked with this organization around the world, I'm reminded of the differences in communication and relationship-building across cultures.

However, once there is awareness, it is easier to navigate, adapt and set reasonable expectations in both work and social situations.

Have you experienced 'coconut' and 'peach' cultures? How did you adapt to it?

Culture is dynamic, not static. 
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