In business school, we are taught to develop solutions around textbook concepts. I'm guessing that many of us, when we start working, end up wondering why these solutions don't give the same results that were reflected in our school grades. It appears we might have been miscalculating.
David Brooks introduced the concept of emergent systems in his article. "Emergent systems are ones in which many different elements interact. The pattern of interaction then produces a new element that is greater than the sum of the parts, which exercises a top-down influence on the constituent elements."
Theories always come with a default ceteris paribus. What we, or at least my friends and I, often err in doing is taking a situation apart and analysing each element one by one. We then try to make sense of what the majority says. It is not wrong. Teachers cannot mark us down for that, but reality will.
For one, culture is an emergent system. The effects of interactions work bottom-up and top-down simultaneously. Because of such, the elements of cultures have to be studied differently "as wholes and as nested networks of relationships".
Now that's a reason to look forward to a graduate trip to Vietnam: cultural exploration!
And also a reason to look forward to work! Cultural management is one of the key consideration staples that makes the PR menu so attractive. If only I can place my order now.