Cultural orientation toward the future differs between countries and strongly correlates with the level of competitiveness of the country. That was one of the findings of Mansour Javidan and his colleagues in the Project GLOBE (see this month’s issue of the Harvard Business Review). Since 1993, the project examines the inter-relationships between societal culture, organizational culture, and organizational leadership. Through a survey of over 17,000 middle managers in 61 societies, they found clear international differences in several areas, one of them being “future orientation”.

Their study finds that the Singaporeans have the most future oriented culture. Singapore is followed by Switzerland, the Netherlands and Malaysia. Russia, Poland, Hungary and Argentina were least future oriented. As the graph above shows (click to enlarge), there is a strong correlation between the level of competitiveness (based on the World Economic Forum rankings). In addition correlations were found for factors like GDP per capita, level of innovativeness, happiness and confidence.

The article does not say anything about the causal relationships between culture orientation and these factors…

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