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I think that it is helpful to understand the culture of the people you are dealing with when doing business, but only to a certain extent. You cannot rely too much on studying about a culture first, because you risk getting stonewalled by stereotypes. You need to know the people as well, not just their culture.
Research should be free of personal bias. This is easier to say than to do, since we all have our opinions on just about everything, and it is hard to distance ourselves from these opinions. In business research you are often trying to determine what sort of products or services would be popular and profitable. To do this effectively you have to define research that accurately reflects the needs and desires of consumers in general, rather than yourself.
I have not had any experience in a "professional life", but I have seen CSpan interview of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, the former president of Notre Dame. According the the interview, as a priest he had take a vow of poverty, and David Rockefeller appointed him the the Board of Chas-Manhattan Bank (now known as JP Morgan Chase Bank). Rockefeller wanted Father Hesburgh on the board to act as the Banks moral compass. Whenever the board set a policy, Rockefeller would ask Hesburgh if the policy was the right thing or the moral thing to do. If the policy did not meet Father Hesburgh's standards, the bank did not follow the policy.
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