The 7 Mental Images of National Culture

Leading and Managing in a Globalized World
By Huib Wursten, edited by Erika Visser and Pia Kähärä


The Mental Images can simplify your life as a leader or manager by helping you make sense of culture, mapping out best practices and different rules of the game.

Huib Wursten





Popular management techniques are often dysfunctional or counterproductive as they do not take context into account. Written by one of the most experienced cultural consultants in the market, this book demonstrates to global managers and leaders that the key to global success lies in their ability to analyse the likely effects of management techniques and employment policies in different national contexts. Huib Wursten introduces you to a system: the “7 Mental Images” a powerful combination of Prof. G. Hofstede’s dimensions of National Culture that will help readers navigate and adapt their leadership and management styles efficiently to the local context.

In the 7 Mental Images of National Culture, Huib describes the seven cultural “rules of the game” in managing and leading international organisations, including topics such as:

  • how culture affects the way meetings are ran
  • how delegation is taking place
  • how decisions are made
  • how change can be managed,
  • how customer service should be organised
  • and many more of these crucial issues.

To illustrate each of these topics, the author selected real experiences and cases based on his 30 years of experience within the different layers of international companies and organisations.  And to make it even more relevant to our ever-changing business context, new cases and exercises specifically developed for the book by Associate partners of Hofstede Insights from around the world are included. 




About Huib Wursten: 

Senior Associate Partner of Hofstede Insights and the intellectual father of the “7 Mental Images”, Huib Wursten was born and raised in the Netherlands, in 1942. He has spent his consulting career advising companies and supranational organisations on how to manage global teams. His expertise lies in translating international global strategies and policies into practical applications for management for a variety of Fortune 1000 companies, as well as public and private organisations in over 85 countries.


"Culture is a complex topic. Running a global organisation is therefore by definition complex. Huib combines his decades worth of experience in strategic cultural training, consulting and coaching with our research based approach to culture, resulting in concrete case studies enabling you to simplify global business complexity while retaining maximum local impact."

Egbert Schram, Group CEO, Hofstede Insights


Huib has been an inspiration throughout my career. He prepared me for many of my postings abroad, trained many of the teams I had the privilege of being the manager of and shared with me his enormous knowledge and insights on how to be respectful and successful in an international environment. This book is a must-read for everyone that works abroad or does business with other cultures.

Frank Rövekamp, currently a non-executive director in an international environment former Chief Commercial Officer Vodafone Group


"Huib's work on cultures is not only deeply rooted in proven and tested research, but he makes it accessible for practitioners in clear and simple language. Traveling professionally through multiple cultures myself, I can attest that the insights of this book are indispensable for a multi-national manager or expat. On many occasions I have been reminded of my own cultural expectations when I ran into misunderstandings or outright communication failure."

Jens Schulte-Bockum, Chief Operating Officer, MTN Group


"Does your manager tell you what to do or merely has a consultative voice? How important is the consensus among peers vs. the speed of execution? We all answer these and dozens of other questions differently depending on the cultures where we were raised and taught. What we may attribute to shortcomings of our employees or bosses may represent a deeper clash of tradition embedded in us from early in life. After working in Russia, America and the Netherlands, managing projects in Japan and China, serving on boards for UK and Cyprus companies, interacting with colleagues and customers from over hundred countries, I cannot overestimate the importance of Huib’s work. His book is a must for anyone working with people from other cultures and a great reading for those who don’t but want to understand the world better."   

Inna Kuznetsova, COO, 1010Data and boardmember, Global Ports Investments PLC