Fons Trompenaars

Fons TrompenaarsFons’ message to you:

“Despite the global recession, or even because of it, leaders in every industry and in every part of the world need to move away from retrenchment towards a vision of sustained growth, with innovation as the primary route to that growth. Innovation needs to regain its central place in corporate life.”

Much has been written about creativity and innovation, and there are plenty of books about corporate culture and innovation in organisations. Trompenaars latest book ‘Innovating in a Global Crisis’ brings all these ideas together. He brilliantly reconnects people, teams and organisations to create constant renewal of talent and motivation.


Listed regularly since 2001 as one of the world’s most influential, living, management thinkers Fons Trompenaars is recognized the world over for his work as consultant, trainer, motivational speaker and author of various books on the subject of culture and business.

As founder and director of Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, an intercultural management firm, he has spent over 20 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.

Professional Experience

Fons began his career in the Personnel Division of the Royal Dutch Shell Group in 1981, where he looked at job classification and management development at the Shell Research Laboratories in nine different countries. Here he met his partner, Charles Hampden Turner, with whom he has pioneered the Seven Dimensions of Culture and Dilemma Reconciliation philosophy into a powerful approach for reconciling cultural differences.
With his growing team of consultants he has translated this approach into innovative, practical and profitable results in all areas of international business for such companies as: BP, Philips, IBM, Heineken, Applied Materials, AMD, TRW, Mars, Motorola, General Motors, Dow Chemical, CSM, Telfort, Wolters Kluwer, Gerling NCM, Merrill Lynch, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, ABN AMRO, ING, PepsiCo, and Honeywell.


Fons Trompenaars interest in cultural differences began at home, where he grew up speaking both French and Dutch. He 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 has been awarded the International Professional Practice Area Research Award by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).


  • Managing Across Cultures
  • Multicultural Management
  • International Teambuilding and Remote Management
  • The Management of Strategic Dilemmas
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability
  • Leadership for the 21st Century
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Cultural Due-diligence in Mergers and Acquisitions


2012 – Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business 3rd edition

2009 – Innovating in a Global Crisis – Riding the Whirlwind of Recession

Quite a different atmosphere takes hold when boom turns to bust, an atmosphere we may think isn’t well suited to innovation. However the misery of the recession is a cliché and we would be wise to search beyond it in order to discover and implement new business practices.

2009 – Servant Leadership Across Cultures: Harnessing the strength of the world’s most powerful leadership philosophy

The challenge is to define an appropriate and effective leadership framework that is sufficiently robust to realize a successful and sustainable future that includes a perspective that transfers to the dynamics and competing demands of this modern (global) business. The concept proposed is that survival needs to be based on a reconciliation of the dilemmas created between the competing demands a leader faces from the fundamental components described in classic general system theory ~ namely those of internal business processes, employees, shareholders, society and customers. New solutions are required that are grounded in a strategy that is aligned with the organisation’s values.

This approach identifies how to connect and embody the many, competing values that make organisations so complex and explains how servant leaders enable others to consistently achieve their highest performance and innovative pathways.

2007 – Riding the Whirlwind – Connecting People and Organisations in a Culture of Innovation

The book brilliantly reconnects people, teams and organizations to create constant renewal of innovation, talent and motivation.
Fons is the author/co-author of 10 books, including the best seller Riding the Waves of Culture, Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business, published by Nicholas Brealey (1993). This book has been translated into eleven languages (including Chinese, Japanese, Turkish and Russian) and the Dutch translation of this book was awarded “Book of the Year” by the Order of Experts and Consultants on Organization (OOA). Some of his other books include: the Building Cross-Cultural Competence (John Wiley, 2000), 21 Leaders for the 21st century (John Wiley and McGraw Hill, 2001), Did the Pedestrian Die (Capstone/Wiley) and the Culture for Business series, which comprises four books.