Cultural sensitivity

Photograph by David Mellis

Photograph by David Mellis

I have had a great many conversations about the word culture in the various roles I have held over the years. Consequently I also tend to read a lot on the subject, particularly when it comes to business culture.

Perhaps the standout quote from all I have heard and all I have read belongs to economist and author Corinne Maier, whose book Bonjour Paresse (Hello Laziness) is a best-seller in her native France.

“Business culture is the crystallization of all the stupidity of a group of people at any given moment. This mini-patriotism is a dense mass of stale-smelling habits, aptitudes and oddities of dress and behavior, which verge of caricature. Rewritten by the management, it becomes official history, with its own heroes and festivals designed to motivate the worker and encourage identification wit the company, unified and indivisible. It manifests itself in an orgy of pointless seminars, unwearable T-shirts, badges and so-called motivational slogans. All these insufferable disasters are to the firm what busts of Marianne and statues of Joan of Arc, the immortal symbols of “republican values”, are to France.”


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