This research by social scientists from Bulgaria, Germany and Taiwan started with the question of how a comparison of the institutional cultures of these three countries could be done. ‘Institutional culture’, here, refers to the traditions of society as well as to the values of particular institutions. The authors attempt an answer by exploring problems of cultural comparison, by describing the research process as a meeting of cultures, by developing an agreed upon conceptual framework to orient the analysis. They exemplify their approach in comparable descriptions of the core cultures and of the related economic-political exchange cultures of the three countries. This allows a contrast between the institutional cultures of different ‘civilizations’, and the authors provide a matrix of traditions and exchange patterns for empirical research on particular economic phenomena. The data basis is literature at hand on the history of mentality as well as on the history and sociology of societies and institutions. The research was carried out in 1997/8.