REVIEW: Dr. Paula Caligiuri — Build Your Cultural Agility (BOOK)

A decorated and acclaimed professor of international business at Northeastern University, Dr. Paula Caligiuri approaches her work with the cool, informed ruminations of an experienced academic. Yet what she covers is arguably a growing, post-modern set of tenets and skills actively promoted about the workplace during and before the Covid-19 pandemic. Cultural contentiousness has proved one of the most hotly debated topics in recent times, particularly when it comes to various fields in business.


With sociopolitical issues like sexual harassment, hiring biases, and pay disparity having front row seats at the public discourse, Caligiuri expertly advocates for a progressive-minded set of approaches when it comes to maintaining corporate relations, but without a heavy hand. She backs up her statements with facts, statistics, and validated experience in her field, and because of that comes out the best culmination of informed advisor and social justice advocate. Part of this lies in her ability to communicate vast, sometimes subjective concepts in clear, eloquent prose. The title of her book, Build Your Agility: The Nine Competencies of Successful Global Professionals, should be evidence-enough of this on its face.


As the title suggests, Caligiuri breaks down her philosophy into nine, explanatory categories. Each category has approximately seven chapters, further breaking down the specifics so the reader comes away with a well-rounded and thoroughly articulated argument of her approach to said cultural differences. The first category is particularly well-structured because it introduces the concepts she promotes about cultural integrity without the context of the christened ‘novel environment’ many professionals find themselves in. Such ideals, she argues, should be universal regardless of outcome with respect to societal organization or technological enhancements, due to evolution in corporate practices or because of unforeseen events. This makes the reader feel motivated, empowered even, in what she has to say long before she highlights their application in the temporary constructs many have deferred to because of mandated isolation and health concerns. It’s this sort of interactivity that elevates Build Your Agility from other similar business and advice sub-genres of the non-fiction topical field, in part because Caligiuri never feels preachy nor ideologically conceited.


Like fellow professionals distilling the more intangible fields of various sociopolitical-related issues (ideological peers like Stacy L. Smith at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism come to mind), Caligiuri is informed and generous of spirit enough to make such information understandable to the widest possible audience. There is no sense you’re reading something based out of personal opinion, or inherent bias. With hands-on technical examples, Caligiuri makes both the pragmatic and conscientious case for improving relations at the workplace, so one fits not into a solitary, exclusionary sphere of professionals but has full range and fluid access to all of them across a global margin.

Colin Jordan




Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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Colin Jordan

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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