Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

We may be uncomfortable with some cultures we must learn to respect others’ cultures because we share the World.

Written by: on September 11, 2022

There is a common belief that the world is fast becoming a globalized and virtual village, and it’s for a good reason. The greatest contributor to globalization is technological advances that have made communication, commerce, and even travel easier across geographical and other barriers. The ease of communication, commerce, and travel has increased interaction between people across cultures, necessitating the need for the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own. Understanding and respecting other cultures enhance interaction, business success, and harmonious working relationships. Erin Meyer, an author, and professor, in her book, The cultural map, has developed a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business.[1] She has developed an 8 scales system model that can be used to show how cultures vary along a spectrum. The scales include Communicating scale running the low context, where they state exactly as they mean, or in high context, where they infer from the context of what is being said; evaluating performance and providing negative feedback, where some are direct with sincere feedback as opposed to sandwiching the negative feedback with three positive affirmations; persuading either with principles first or with applications first; leading, where it runs from egalitarian on one extreme to hierarchical on the other extreme end; deciding which scale runs from consensus in Western nations to top-down, especially among the Eastern hemisphere nations; trusting scale running from task-based to relationship based; a disagreeing scale that runs from confrontation to non-confrontation; and scheduling scale that runs from linear time to flexible time.[2]

As a leader who has interacted with people from different continents but had never thought about culture in the way that Meyer presents it, my interactions with foreigners were guided by my prior leadership training, which has been based on understanding human nature and adapting to personality differences. Meyer has helped me to better understand the additional dimension of cultural differences that affect success in business dealings with foreigners and impact cross-cultural team dynamics. As I read the book and the examples are given, it was like light bulbs were being switched on as I could relate to my previous experiences while interacting with people from different cultures. I have previously felt like Americans were treating me in a condescending way as they try to explain things like I do not understand, so I was able to understand their low context culture as opposed to my high context culture, where I’m supposed to read between the lines. At the same time for them, they state it as they mean. I am only now getting to understand why my daughter, who attended her undergraduate studies at George Fox University, would always resent the way her American collegemates would treat her “condescendingly,” I cannot wait to have my daughter and my second-born son, who is working in Phoenix read this book which will be very helpful for them in navigating their cross-cultural environment.

This book was a great read though there was not enough time to read the whole of it. I was also able to listen to the video by Erin Meyer on her book The Culture Map and the PPT and the video presentation by Dr. Karen Tremper on Intercultural Competency as we visit Cape Town; for the Advance, I feel more prepared for the advance and will seek to understand the culture of Cape Town as appropriate.[3] This is a book that I will add to my reference library and share with the people that I lead and my leadership mentees. We recently started working in Liberia in West Africa. Our organization is laying the ground for partnership with an existing school and church and starting a new school in a different location. This knowledge of the eight-scale system of cultural dimensions will be helpful as we work with Liberian nationals. We are also laying the ground for growth in other African countries, and this knowledge could not have come at a better time. As a Christian leader in my organization, I lead people from different subcultures within Kenya, which has in the past been polarized along tribal lines. The country has made big progress in addressing this polarization, but cultural differences are still a factor in organizational leadership, and this knowledge will be helpful.

The knowledge of the culture map will be an added consideration in my holistic ministry research work. As I work towards developing protocols for entry into new vulnerable communities, the culture of the local community will be a significant consideration. It is clear that understanding the culture of new communities, especially as we enter into other countries, is critical for the successful establishment of holistic ministry.[4]


[1] Meyer, Erin. The Cultural Map: Breaking Through The Invisible Boundaries of Global Business. (New York, NY, USA. Public Affairs. 2014).

[2] Kathryn Lead. The Culture Map by Erin Meyer: Summary and Review. The Culture Map by Erin Meyer: a summary and review – Kathryn Read

[3] Video by Erin Meyer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tixSx2EMmOs and PPT and Video by Dr. Karen Tremper. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tixSx2EMmOs

[4] I am a co-founder and leader in the ministry organization, Missions of Hope International, www.mohiafrica.org, which uses an integrated ministry approach using church planting and discipleship, education of the next generation, economic empowerment, and Restoration through preventive health education and curative health services, focusing on vulnerable communities in Kenya and Beyond.

About the Author


Mary Kamau

Christ follower, Mother of 3 Biological children and one Foster daughter, Wife, Pastor, Executive Director of Institutional Development and Strategy in Missions of Hope International, www.mohiafrica.org.

One response to “We may be uncomfortable with some cultures we must learn to respect others’ cultures because we share the World.”

  1. mm Henry Gwani says:

    Mary, as always thanks for your insight and excellent application of the text. I identify with your comments about feeling like I’m being spoken to in a condescending way in my previous interactions with some friends from the west, meanwhile they were just being true to self and communicating in a low context form 🙂 Now we know better. Best wishes in your new work in Liberia.

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