Hard vs. Soft

Everyone likes hard factors more than soft factors. Hard factors can be observed, defined, quantified. Soft factors, in contrast, are difficult to observe, define, quantify. Everyone likes hard. That’s understandable.

But what about national culture? How Germans define quality. How Americans persuade. How Germans set up their work processes. How Americans manage business relationships. Have you ever tried to integrate those complex differences in thought and action?

That’s hard stuff. National culture, who we are, where we come from, how we think and how we work. It is our self-understanding, our self-definition. It is deeply-rooted, almost impossible change. 

National culture is hard, in the deeper, truer sense sense of the word. It is complex, not quantifiable, difficult to describe, more difficult to manage, and very difficult to integrate. Culture is hard, not soft. In fact, culture might be the hardest of the hard factors in the global economy.

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