Fons Trompenaars

Background

Fons Trompenaars studied Economics at the Free University of Amsterdam and later earned a Ph.D. from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with a dissertation on differences in conceptions of organizational structure in various cultures. He experienced cultural differences firsthand at home, where he grew up speaking both French and Dutch, and then later at work with Shell in nine countries.

Professional experience

Fons joined Shell in 1981 and moved into the Personnel Division for Shell in Rotterdam. From 1985, he worked in job classification and management development at the Shell Research Laboratories in Amsterdam. In 1989 he founded the Centre for International Business Studies, a consulting and training organization for international management. Since 1998 we operate as Trompenaars Hampden-Turner. Fons Trompenaars has worked as a consultant for Shell, BP, ICI, Philips, Heineken, TRW, Mars, Motorola, General Motors, Nike, Cable and Wireless, CSM and Merrill Lynch.

Expertise

Fons Trompenaars is known all over the world for his work as consultant, trainer, motivational speaker and author of many books on the subject of culture and business. He has spent over 25 years helping Fortune 500 leaders and professionals manage and solve their business and cultural dilemmas to increase global effectiveness and performance, particularly in the areas of globalization, mergers and acquisition, HR and leadership development. 

Publications

Fons wrote Riding the Waves of Culture, Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business. This book sold over 120,000 copies and was translated into French, German, Dutch, Korean, Danish, Turkish, Chinese, Hungarian and Portuguese. He is co-author of Seven Cultures of Capitalism, Building Cross-Cultural Competence and 21 Leaders for the 21st Century with Charles Hampden-Turner. Recently he published Riding the Whirlwind, a dynamic new take on creativity and innovation. Fons has co-written an article with Peter Woolliams entitled “Lost in Translation” regarding culture and failure, which was published in the April 2011 online issue of the Harvard Business Review.

Awards

In 1991 Fons was awarded the International Professional Practice Area Research Award by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). He was mentioned as one of the top 5 management consultants, next to Michael Porter, Tom Peters and Edward de Bono in a leading Business magazine in August 1999.

Fons was voted one of the top 20 HR Most Influential International Thinkers 2011 by HR Magazine. He is also ranked in the Thinkers50 to be one of the most influential management thinkers alive in November 2011 and shortlisted as making substantial strides in the contribution to the understanding of globalization and the new frontiers established by the emerging markets.

In 1994 the translation of his book Riding the Waves of Culture was awarded “Book of the Year” by the Order of Experts and Consultants on Organization (OOA), a Dutch management organization.   The third edition has just recently been published stateside and in Europe in 2012.

Positions

  • Co-Director at the Servant-Leadership Centre for Research and Education (SLCRE) at the Free University Amsterdam.
  • Member of Advisory Board Webster University Leiden.
  • Distinguished Advisor of Centre for TransCultural Studies at Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore.
  • International Director at the International Society for Organisational Development.
  • Faculty member at the Global Institute for Leadership Development (GILD).
  • Judge of the Fons Trompenaars award for Innovation and Creativity at the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).

RSS the THT Blog

  • We're getting multi-culturalism all wrong - Patheos (blog) June 4, 2017
    Patheos (blog)We’re getting multi-culturalism all wrongPatheos (blog)And here I have pulled Riding the Waves of Culture, by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, off the bookshelf. This was a book that was given to us as reading material when we were preparing for our expat assignment in Germany, and it was … For the full article, please see here: htt […]
  • The new geography of management - Chartered Management Institute April 7, 2017
    Chartered Management InstituteThe new geography of managementChartered Management InstituteCultural theorists Charles Hampden-Turner and Fons Trompenaars believe that such companies owe their success to ignoring Western advice and plotting a distinctively Chinese course. Their genius, they posit, has been to integrate elements that, to the … For the full art […]
  • Got Strategic Goals They Won't Happen Without The Right Corporate Culture - Mondaq News Alerts (registration) April 2, 2017
    Got Strategic Goals They Won’t Happen Without The Right Corporate CultureMondaq News Alerts (registration)It is therefore crucial to ensure that the firm’s values are lived by its individuals in their day-to-day work, and that they fully reflect the firm’s ambition and strategy. Thanks to the acquisition of the research firm THT, founded in 1985 by Pr. Dr … […]
  • Hard M&A Deals Need Soft Skills, Says Grant Thornton - CFO innovation ASIA March 28, 2017
    Hard M&A Deals Need Soft Skills, Says Grant ThorntonCFO innovation ASIAIt’s a statement backed up by Fons Trompenaars, a management consultant and author who specializes in intercultural issues. He has claimed that two out of three mergers fail due to not taking care of cultural issues. “The difficulty is not in the … For the full article, please see: ht […]
  • Redefining our company values to support growth - Real Business December 20, 2016
    Real BusinessRedefining our company values to support growthReal BusinessOne of our major projects over the last year has been to re-evaluate our company values and behaviours. Some people may think of this as more of a “nice to do” and I know that some of our staff thought it a bit “fluffy” to start with, but in my view it … For the full article, please see […]