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Alfonsus "Fons" Trompenaars (born 1953) is a Dutch author, public speaker and consultant in the field of cross-cultural communication. His books include: Riding the Waves of Culture, Seven Cultures of Capitalism, Building Cross-Cultural Competence, 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and Innovating in a Global Crisis. Trompenaars experienced cultural differences firsthand at home, where he grew up speaking both French and Dutch, and then later at work with Shell in nine countries.
Fons Trompenaars is ranked in the Thinkers50  of the most influential management thinkers alive and shortlisted for the T50 Global Village Award as making substantial strides in the contribution to the understanding of globalization and the new frontiers established by the emerging markets in 2011 and voted one of the top 20 HR Most Influential International Thinkers 2011 by HR Magazine. Trompenaars is recognised around the world for his work as consultant, trainer, motivational speaker and author of various books on all subjects of culture and business. As founder and director of Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, an intercultural management firm, he has spent over 25 years helping Fortune 500 leaders manage and solve their business and cultural dilemmas to increase global effectiveness and performance, particularly in the areas of globalisation, mergers and acquisition, HR and leadership development.
Fons has translated his approach into innovative, practical and profitable results in all areas of international business for such companies as BP, Philips, IBM, Heineken, AMD, Mars, Motorola, General Motors, Merrill Lynch, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, ABN AMRO, ING, PepsiCo, Honeywell.
His 13 books include best seller and “Book of the Year” Riding the Waves of Culture (3rd ed 2012), Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business, Culture for Business, Riding the Whirlwind: Connecting People and Organisations in a Culture of Innovation, Innovating in a Global Crisis and The Global M&A Tango: How to reconcile cultural differences in mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships.
Together with his colleagues and co-founder Charles Hampden-Turner, Trompenaars directs a consultancy that works with top companies to provide training and consulting services in the areas of sustainability and globalizations, as well as training and development for diversity, cultural awareness, innovation and leadership.
1. Universalism vs. particularism (What is more important, rules or relationships?) 
Universalism vs. particularism describes how people judge other people’s behavior.
The Universalist attaches great importance to the observance of rules. The behavior tends to be abstract. In universalist, rule-based societies there are certain absolutes that apply across the board. They apply regardless of circumstances or particular situations. What is right is always right in every situation and for everybody. A Universalist tries to apply the same rules in all situations. To remain fair a universalist will not make differences between people from the narrow environment, such as family, friends or members of the so-called ingroup and the wider community, such as strangers and members of the outgroup. Wherever possible, personal feelings and emotions are put aside and the Universalist prefer to look objectively at the situation. To remain always fair everyone is equal as there are no differences. Finally, rule-based behavior refers to the tendency that exceptions in the rule construct could lead to weaknesses. It is feared that once exceptions are approved, could be a door down the system.
The Particularist assesses more the specific circumstances or the personal backgrounds. In particularism societies in any situation behave depends on the circumstances. What is right in one situation may not be right in another. A Particularist must therefore sustain, protect or discount this person no matter what the rules say. People in such societies treat their family, friends and members of their ingroup as best they can. The other people around them are on their own. Their ingroup will take care of them. The in- or outgroups are clearly distinguished. A particularist always differences between individuals. No one is seen as the same, everyone is treated as unique. Personal feelings are down here, in contrast to the Universalist, not aside, but as a support. In practice both kinds of judgment is used. In most situations it is encountered that they reinforce each other.
Countries who can be seen as universalism societies: USA, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, France. Countries who can be seen as particularism societies: Brazil, Italy, Japan, Argentina, Mexico and Thailand.
2. Individualism vs. collectivism (communitarianism) (Do we function in a group or as individuals?) 
This dimension is with Hofstede´s homonymous dimension almost congruent. Fons Trompenaars describes an individualistic culture as the characteristic of a modernizing society, while communitarianism can also apply to modern society when thinking of mass media control and polularism. Both dimensions are more complementary than opposing. Each can be effectively reconciled by an integrative process, a commintarianism that learns its limitations from particular instances, and by the individual voluntary addressing the need of the larger group. Although they are complementary there are still differences between:
The individualist Sweden culture sees the individual as the end and improvements to communal arrangements as the means to achieve it. The process of decision-making in individualistic cultures is usually very short. A lonely individualist makes decisions in a few seconds. While this may make for quicker deliberations, it will often be discovered month later that the organization has conspired to defeat the decisions. Delays due to implementation problems are followed by short decision-making. To get all involved people in one direction individualist will frequently ask for a vote. Making mistakes in an individualistic culture means that the individualist is punished for it and therefore becomes a better team-member.
The communitarian Brazil culture sees the group as its end and improvements to individual capacities as a means to that end. Yet if the relationship is truly circular, the decision to label one element as an end and another as a means is arbitrary. By definition circles never end. Every “end” is also the means to another goal. Further communitarian cultures prefer plural presentations. In unexpected demands a communitarian wishes to confer with those back home. Those communitarians at a meeting are delegates, bound by the wishes of those who sent them. Looking at the decision-making process, a communitarian decision takes much longer than an individualist would take. It takes so much time, because there are sustained efforts to win over everyone to achieve consensus. Usually there will be detailed consultations. Consensus will be achieved, because of pressures to agree on collective goals. While making mistakes the communitarian logic is the reverse to the individualistic one. They believe that through team membership they support individuals so that they become better individual workers. If a mistake is made only the immediate group needs to know this. The reconciliation lies in the fact that the group has taken care of the individual’s mistake and no extra punishment is required. On closer examination communitarian and individualistic cultures are reconciled. This is closer to our own conviction that individualism finds its fulfillment in service to the group, while group goals are of demonstrable value to individuals only if those individuals are consulted and participate in the process of developing them. The reconciliation is not easy, but possible.
3. Neutral vs. emotional (Do we display our emotions?) 
Trompenaars third dimension addresses the importance of feelings and relationships.
In a neutral culture people do not carry out their feelings but keep them carefully controlled and subdued. Instrumentality and rationality are of action in the foreground. People in such a culture are not necessarily cold or unfeeling, nor are they emotionally constipated or repressed. The emotions they show are often the result of convention. In neutral cultures, where emotions are controlled, irrepressible joy or grief will still signal loudly.
Members of cultures, who are high emotional, showing their feelings plainly by laughing, smiling, grimacing, scowling and gesturing. These people find immediate outlets for their feelings. The feelings, which are shown are signaled, in contrast to the neutral culture people, more loudly still in order to register at all. But in such cultures it is difficult to find words or expressions, which are adequate for the strongest feelings, since they have all been used up. Both factors, however, again cannot be separated completely but should be considered in combination. When expressing feelings, one is looking for corresponding emotions in the opponent. An emotional person is looking for a direct emotional response against their emotion and vice versa.
4. Specific vs. diffuse (How separate we keep our private and working lives) 
This dimension is sometimes referred to as "concern-/commitment-dimension", which is expressed at the level of an individual affected by a particular situation or action.
In specific-oriented cultures areas of life such as work and family are recognized widely. A member of a specific-oriented culture is more open in the public space but very closed in the private one. Other characteristics of people in such a culture are directness, being to the point and purposeful in relating. There are often principles and consistent moral stands independent of the person being addressed.
In diffuse-oriented cultures areas of life such as work and family are closely linked. A diffuse-oriented person is more closed in public space but is very open in private space. In contrast to the specific-oriented persons, diffuse-oriented are indirect, circuitous and seemingly aimless in forms of relating. High situational morality depends upon the person and context, which is encountered.
5. Achievement vs. ascription (Do we have to prove ourselves to receive status or is it given to us?) 
This dimension refers to the question of whether the status of an individual results from his religion, origin or age or the status has mainly to do with his own performance.
In achievement-oriented cultures a title is used only when it is relevant to the competence an individual brings to the task. Respect for managers is based on the individual's knowledge and skills. Decision-making is challenged on technical and functional grounds. In this kind of dimension the status of an individual refers mainly to his own performance.
In ascription-oriented cultures a title is extensively used when these clarify one in an organization. Respect for a manager is based on seniority and hierarchy. Decision-making is challenged by people with higher authority.--In an ascription-oriented culture a status refers to the religion, origin or age of the individuals. In addition there is a different way in which societies look at time.
6. Sequential vs. synchronic (Do we do things one at a time or several things at once?) 
This dimension deals with the question of how people in different cultures manage time. Therefore Trompenaars defines in this dimension two ways of managing time. For him there is a sequential and a synchronic way to manage time.
Managing time sequentially means that people feel time as a series of passing events. A sequential person has crucial path worked out in advance with times for the completion of each stage. People with this kind of understanding time hate to be thrown off their schedule or agenda by unanticipated events. They tend to schedule very tightly, with thin divisions between time slots. For them it is rude to be few minutes late because the whole day’s schedule is affected. Time is seen as a commodity to be used up. Lateness deprives the other of precious minutes, like ¤"time is money.
For synchronic time management events have a past, present and future, which is interrelated, so that ideas about the future and memories of the past shape present action. People who are adopting this method tracking various activities in parallel like a juggler with six balls in the air. Looking at the various activities, someone in a synchronic time management culture, has a final activity seen as goal and possibly interchangeable stepping-stones to reach it. A person is able to skip between these stones. Additionally, a synchronic person, who is not been greeted spontaneously, even if the person is still doing an activity (e.g. talking an the telephone), is a slight. People in this kind of culture, showing how they value people by giving them time, even if they shown up unexpectedly. Synchronic people are, in contrast to sequential ones, less insistent upon punctuality. The passage of time is not unimportant, but it is often necessary to give time to people with whom they have a particular relation. Synchronic or polychronic styles are extraordinary, especially for those who are unused to these methods. As well, people who are doing more than one thing at a time, like a synchronic adoption one, insult those who do only one thing at a time, and the other way round.
Further Trompenaars says that people creating instruments to measure time, how they shape their experience of it. The experience of time means that people consider a past event now, or envision a future event. Past, Present and Future are compressed. Time is hereby not mentioned to individuals but to whole groups or cultures.
The last important difference is the attitude of the culture to the environment.
7. Internal vs. external control (Do we control our environment or are we controlled by it?) 
The first of these orientations is called internal control. This kind of culture tends to identify with mechanisms, that is the organization is conceived of as machine that obeys the will of its operators.
The second, external control, tends to see an organization as itself a product of nature, owing its development to the nutrients in its environment and to a favorable ecological balance
- The Seven Cultures of Capitalism: Value Systems for Creating Wealth in Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands with Charles Hampden-Turner (1995)
- Riding The Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business with Charles Hampden-Turner (1997)
- Building Cross-Cultural Competence: How to Create Wealth from Conflicting Values with Charles Hampden-Turner and David Lewis (2000)
- 21 Leaders for The 21st Century with Charles Hampden-Turner (2001)
- Mastering the Infinite Game: How East Asian Values are Transforming Business Practices with Charles Hampden-Turner (2001)
- Did the Pedestrian Die: Insights from the World's Greatest Culture Guru (2003)
- Business Across Cultures (Culture for Business Series) with Peter Woolliams (2004)
- Managing People Across Cultures (Culture for Business Series) with Charles Hampden-Turner (2004)
- Marketing Across Cultures (Culture for Business Series) with Peter Woolliams (2004)
- Managing Change Across Corporate Cultures (Culture for Business Series) with Peter Prud'homme (2005)
- Servant-Leadership Across Cultures: Harnessing the Strengths of the World's Most Powerful Management Philosophy with Ed Voerman (2009)
- The Enlightened Leader: An Introduction to the Chakras of Leadership with Peter Ten Hoopen (2009)
- Riding the Waves of Innovation: Harness the Power of Global Culture to Drive Creativity and Growth with Charles Hampden-Turner (2010)
- The Global M and A Tango: Cross-cultural Dimensions of Mergers and Acquisitions with Maarten Nijhoff Asser (2010)
- Cross-cultural management textbook: Lessons from the world leading experts, Introduction by Edgar H. Schein with Charles Hampden-Turner, Meredith Belbin, Jerome Dumetz, Juliette Tournand, Peter Woolliams, Olga Saginova, Stephen M. R. Covey, Dean Foster, Craig Storti, Joerg Schmitz (2012)
See also 
- PND: 113516541
- Karaian, Jason (3 March 2008). "Trompenaars Hampden-Turner Consulting's Fons Trompenaars". CFO (magazine). Retrieved 21 January 2011.
- "Thinkers50". Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- Trompenaars, Fons; Hampden-Turner, Charles. "Riding the Waves of Culture"
- Woolliams, Peter; Trompenaars, Fons. "Business weltweit: der Weg zum interkulturellen Management"