Fons Trompenaars and the power of publishing

23 November 2015 by in 100+ Management Models, Book publishing, Business and finance, Current events, Nine visions of capitalism, Publishing for business

Last week celebrated cross-cultural management guru Fons Trompenaars rose in the influential Thinkers50 global ranking of business thinkers. Trompenaars climbed to 33rd place partly due to his recent book, written with Charles Hampden-Turner, Nine Visions of Capitalism but mainly, according to Stuart Crainer who created Thinkers50 with Des Dearlove in 2001, due to a significant increase in citations of his work during the last two years.

The Thinkers50 ranking, often described as the Oscars of management thinking, is a celebration of the very best new management thinking as well as those ideas which stand the test of time. Crainer says he is looking for “ideas with a potential impact that extends beyond the business world to address issues ranging from reducing poverty to building a sustainable model of capitalism.”

Trompenaars’ success shows the value to consultants of publishing paradigm-shifting content in an accessible, peer-reviewed context. Self-publishing seems not to have the credibility of commercially published works. Barry Gibbons, former Global CEO of Burger King and author of ten acclaimed business books says: “A published book (accent on ‘published’) can bring a string of powerful indirect benefits. It can boost a CV. It can take the place of a business card, with 1000 times the impact. It can open up lucrative speaking or consulting opportunities. It can enhance an author’s reputation in a defined target market.”

Trompenaars’ ideas on cross-cultural development have been published widely in reviews such as Harvard Business Review and Intercultural Management Quarterly but he has also had a major impact with books like 100+ Management Models: How To Understand And Apply The World’s Most Powerful Business Tools, Servant Leadership across cultures and The global M&A tango: How To Reconcile Cultural Differences In Mergers, Acquisitions And Strategic Partnerships. Most of Trompenaars’ books are jointly published by Infinite Ideas in the UK and McGraw-Hill in the US.

Trompenaars and his team have developed a unique resource in the cross-cultural and other databases they have developed over thirty years. He adopts a measurement and data-driven approach to benchmark, inform, advise and diagnose client problems and provide practical solutions. He maintains that organizations need stability and growth, long-term and short-term decisions, tradition and innovation, planning and laissez-faire. The challenge is to integrate these opposites, not to select one at the expense of the other. You have to inspire as well as listen, to make decisions yourself but also delegate and you need to centralize your organization around local responsibilities. Trompenaars’ work is unique in that his focus has been to use his research on culture to find reconciliation of differences rather than simply identifying them.

John Naisbitt, author of Megatrends, described Nine Visions of Capitalism as “an important and brilliant book. With deep insights on China, it helps us understand a world undergoing extraordinary change.” Trompenaars recently sold his business, Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, to KPMG for an undisclosed sum. It is impossible to calculate the effect of these deep insights in the books and articles on the sale price but it’s fair to say that Trompenaars’ global Thinkers50 ranking which itself depends so heavily on publishing gave it a significant push in the right direction.

FREE ebook: 10 Management Models

27 February 2015 by in 100+ Management Models, Business and finance

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Fons Trompenaars and Piet Hein Coebergh are renowned business leaders and have compiled the most comprehensive list of management models to help you improve your management and leadership style.

The book, released in September, has been well received by business managers and lecturers alike and was a Times book of the week in January.

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Top 10 management models for your business #10: The blue economy, Gunter Pauli (2010)

8 October 2014 by in 100+ Management Models, Business and finance

by Fons Trompenaars and Piet Hein Coebergh, co-authors of 100+ Management Models.

Model 99

Problem statement
How do we turn poverty into development and scarcity into abundance with what we have?

Gunter Pauli is an entrepreneur, author and initiator of the Blue Economy. His concept is about stimulating entrepreneurship while setting new and higher standards of sustainability, and also keeping associated costs down. The goal is high: to create 100 million jobs and substantial capital value through 100 innovations before 2020. This approach contrasts with the Red Economy (socialist planning, which didn’t work) and the Green Economy (which tends to require strong investments in unclear projects, benefiting only the happy few). The Blue Economy business model wants society to shift from scarcity to abundance ‘with what we have’, by tackling issues that cause environmental and related problems in new ways. The theory highlights benefits in connecting and combining seemingly disparate environmental problems with open-source scientific solutions based upon physical processes common in the natural world, to create solutions that are both environmentally beneficial and which have financial and wider social benefits.

How to use the model
The concept of the Blue Economy is supported by the methodology of the Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives network (ZERI), including the following sets of instruments:

  • Five kingdoms of nature: bacteria, algae, fungi, animals, plants; a classification that is inspired by the work of biologist Lynn Margulis;
  • Five design principles, to work with these five kingdoms of nature (all following the key idea that there is no such thing as waste);
  • Five intelligences: emotional, academic, artistic, eco-literacy (systems thinking) and capacity to implement;
  • Twelve axioms of economics: principles of purpose, growth, productivity, cashflow, price, quality, competitiveness, place, innovation, diversification, management and thermodynamics.

More information can be found at

As for combining seemingly disparate environmental problems with open-source scientific solutions, theories about innovation can be used, as well as creativity techniques like brainstorming, bi-sociation, lateral thinking and Yellow Thinking.

The ZERI movement is engaged in a wide range of projects that are recorded and shared online through

For academic as well as practical purposes, initiatives like this one contribute to a better
understanding of what sustainability can mean for society in practice.

Blackburn, W.R. (2007) The Sustainability Handbook: The Complete Management Guide to Achieving Social, Economic and Environmental Responsibility, Washington, Environmental Law Institute.
Hitchcock, D., Willard, M. (2009) The Business Guide to Sustainability: Practical Strategies and Tools for Organizations, New York, Earthscan.
Pauli, G. (2010) Blue Economy – 10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs, Taos, Paradigm Publications.

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Top 10 management models for your business #9: Balancing transparency, Piet Hein Coebergh and Edi Cohen (2009)

24 September 2014 by in 100+ Management Models, Business and finance

by Fons Trompenaars and Piet Hein Coebergh, co-authors of 100+ Management Models.

Model 97

Problem statement
What is the optimum level of transparency for an organization?

Transparency seems to be growing worldwide, yet people differ widely in their assessments of the value and impact of transparency. To explore the risks and benefits of transparency, consultant and former financial journalist Edi Cohen and lecturer and consultant Piet Hein Coebergh reviewed literature on transparency and interviewed 33 (Dutch) achievers in science, politics and business on when individuals or organizations should be transparent about who they are, what they want and what they do. Their research showed that decision makers vary greatly on the dilemma of when to be transparent. Optimists believe that the benefits of transparency outweigh the disadvantages; pessimists believe the opposite. Perceived benefits include increased access to valuable information and increased opportunities to raise one’s voice, leading to emancipation of deprived people. Perceived risks include increased juridification (as people tend to regulate more when they know more) and decreased privacy.

How to use the model
With the help of history professor James Kennedy, Coebergh and Cohen constructed a concave function that reflects how different levels of transparency are experienced. When there is little transparency in a given environment, people find it difficult to trust each other and hesitate to behave flexibly. When people open up and behave more transparently, mutual trust is raised and behaviour becomes more flexible. Conversely, redundant transparency results in people feeling over-monitored, making them feel mistrusted. Juridification – the burden of rules that govern a group – typically measures redundancy of transparency. The reconciliation of the dilemma between emancipation and juridification is governed by the individual and collective morality, taste, ethics and intelligence of stakeholders, as some people deal well with tough information, while others don’t.

The model helps to identify the risks and benefits of transparency for individuals or organizations. This aids in assessing to what extent transparency should be more or less pursued in a given context.

The pros and cons of transparency are increasingly being researched. For global societies, Kirstin Lord found that ‘the information revolution may not lead to security, democracy or peace’ (2007). For publicly listed corporations, Coebergh (2011) found that transparency (in corporate strategy) significantly contributes to corporate reputation and to liquidity of stock. In a historical essay, Manfred Schneider (2013) also shows that the human urge for transparency is constantly growing, leading to societal control increasingly replacing societal trust.

Coebergh, P.H., Cohen. E. (2009) Grenzen aan transparantie, Amsterdam, Business Contact.
Coebergh, P.H. (2011) ‘Voluntary Disclosure of Corporate Strategy: Determinants and Outcomes – An Empirical Study into the Risks and Payoffs of Communicating Corporate Strategy’, available online at Social Science Research Network.
Lord, K.M. (2007) The Perils and Promise of Global Transparency: Why the Information
Revolution May Not Lead to Security, Democracy, or Peace, New York, State University of New York Press.

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The only management models book you will ever need

14 September 2014 by in 100+ Management Models, Business and finance

Hundreds of models have been developed to track, measure and forecast business solutions, but as fashions shift how can we apply these theoretical frameworks effectively in real organizations?

Now, for the first time, business leaders can find all the most important models in one place. 100+ management models, the new book from international management experts Fons Trompenaars and Piet Hein Coebergh is a handy reference containing precise summaries of more than 100 classic management models. Each model is presented clearly and concisely, showing what problem it is intended to solve and how it might be used within an organization. All models also contain a helpful visualisation to aid understanding.

100 Management ModelsEach model is categorised under one of nine approaches to business: sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship, strategy, diversity of cultures, customers, human resource management, benchmarking and results, leadership, and implementation. At the end of each section there is a summary of the key dilemmas that tend to emerge from the particular function. This is an ideal book for both university students on management courses and business strategists wishing to find out which management models can work best for their organization.

You can view the contents list and see some sample models on this page.

Fons Trompenaars is the world’s leading cross cultural management expert. He is founder and director of Trompenaars Hampden-Turner (THT), a renowned consulting firm in the field of intercultural management. He is the author or co-author of eleven books on culture and business, including the global bestseller, Riding the waves of culture. His books have been translated into a dozen languages. Piet Hein Coebergh is an expert in formulating and communicating corporate strategy. He is lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Leiden and managing consultant at Coebergh Communications & PR. He is author or co-author of a dozen books and articles on communication, governance and e-commerce.

‘I highly encourage students, academics and leaders in business and government to take note of the latest sustainable business models, theories and best-practices set out in this book. The reason is straightforward: we all have a responsibility to make the much needed transformational change towards a more sustainable and equitable world.’

 Paul Polman, CEO Unilever and Chairman World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

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Top 10 management models for your business #8: Communication and employee engagement

10 September 2014 by in 100+ Management Models, Business and finance

by Fons Trompenaars and Piet Hein Coebergh, co-authors of 100+ Management Models.

Model 68

Problem statement
How can employee engagement be strengthened through communication?

Academic and former communications professional Mary Welch connects insights on HRM, leadership and communication in her view of employee engagement. The roots of her model can be traced back to the work of Daniel Katz and Robert Kahn, who discussed the importance of engaging with employees in their 1966 classic The Social Psychology of Organizations. This was taken up in 1999 by Gallup’s Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their book First, Break all the Rules, that claimed that engaged employees drive customer loyalty and that ‘The right people in the right roles with the right managers drive employee engagement’. Since then, business interest in the concept has prompted demand for the provision of employee engagement consultancy services, which has been met by companies including Gallup, Aon Hewitt, Mercer, Towers Watson, Hay Group, Kenexa and BlessingWhite. These companies, among many others, offer a series of reports and tools (widely available on their corporate websites) to support the bottom line by measuring and strengthening employee engagement.

How to use the model
This conceptual model illustrates the possible impact of communication on employee
engagement at an organizational level. Engagement is recognized as a three-component construct comprising emotional, cognitive and physical dimensions, associated with dedication, absorption and vigour. The three psychological conditions necessary for engagement (meaningfulness, safety and availability) that Robert Kahn identified in his later work are integrated into the model. Commitment is associated with engagement and is affected by leadership communication, so the model integrates the constructs of organizational commitment as an antecedent of engagement. It positions aspects of leadership communication from senior managers in relation to employee engagement. Communication is a psychological need of employees, which organizations have to meet to maintain and develop employee engagement. Aspects of internal corporate communication are positioned as influencing engagement variables on the one hand (by promoting commitment and a sense of belonging), and as communication engagement outcomes on the other (through awareness and understanding). The model conceptualizes innovation, competitiveness and organizational effectiveness as organizational outcomes of employee engagement, which can be promoted by effective internal corporate communication.

The model encourages communicators to consider potential engagement effects of
communication strategies and tactics as well as the communication needs of employees. In combination with a wide choice of tools that are available on the Internet, typically provided by consulting firms who offer additional services for analysis and implementation, the model serves as an academic reference and possible framework for improvement plans.

Despite its importance for leaders of organizations, there is considerable academic confusion about the meaning of employee engagement and its contribution to performance. On a theoretical level, however, there appears to be consensus about the strong role of communication. This is in line with how various authors on management theory define the importance of communication in leadership, including John Kotter’s 8-step process for leading change (discussed earlier in this Part), with step four being ‘communicating the vision for buy-in’. Surprisingly, corporate communication literature has not yet adequately considered the concept of engagement. This may be due to confusion concerning the concept, and to concerns about overlaps with other constructs such as commitment. This model tackles the gap in the literature, modelling the role of internal corporate communication in enhancing employee engagement.

Albrecht, S.L. (2012) Handbook of Employee Engagement: Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.
Groysberg, B., Slind, M. (2012) ‘Leadership is a Conversation’, Harvard Business Review, June, pp. 75–84.
Welch, M. (2011) ‘The Evolution of the Employee Engagement Concept: Communication Implications’, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 16:4, pp. 328–346.

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