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Past Issue • Jul-Sep 2013

Stories Matter: What Global Leaders can Learn from Different Cultures

As physical boundaries across the globe become obsolete, how can cultural empathy and human psychology help build effective and responsible leaders? In a talk at the Indian School of Business, Devdutt Pattanaik, leadership consultant and author, described the role of myth and stories in shaping beliefs and behaviours, and highlighted how an understanding of these can be of value to global leaders.

Globalisation has brought to Indians the ability to interact with people from across the world. This has exposed us to the values embodied in different cultures, thereby giving us a flavour of norms different from those we are used to. Moreover, a common denominator has emerged in the form of English as a method of communication among the audiences of the “global village.” However, in spite of the common portal, it is imperative to appreciate the nuanced beliefs of people from across the world (or indeed, the organisational spectrum) in order to understand them and their behaviour, Devdutt Pattanaik explained in his lecture “Factoring Culture into Leadership in the Global Village” at ISB recently.

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