In management theory, it is recognized that national culture is an important factor determining the specifics of organizational behavior and development, the role of a manager in the organization, the nature of communication with staff and decision-making style in the company. Affiliation of the organization’s staff member to a particular cultural group influences the way he interacts with others in terms of subordination, collegiality and conflicts.
Criteria for defining differences
The dominant communication type in the culture is of great importance for the typology of business cultures. Under this feature, all nations can be ranked by the degree of contextuality of culture. Better understanding of culture can be achieved due to the classification schemes of Professor of Anthropology E.T. Hall (1990), who divided cultures into high- and low-context ones.
Communications in high-context culture depend largely on the context of non-verbal part of a message, while communications in low-contextual cultures are based on the verbally expressed message. “High-context” means that intuition, situation, and tradition play a large role in interpersonal relationships. In such a society, the agreements reached in oral communication are strictly implemented, and there is often no necessity in a written contract. Typical cultures of high context exist in some Arab and Asian countries (Hall, 1990).
“Low-context” is exactly opposite: interpersonal contacts are distinctly formalized, for communicating the strong expressions are used, the meaning of which does not depend on situation and traditions. Business relationships require mandatory conclusion of detailed contracts. Cultures of low context are in the Western industrialized countries. Between the extreme examples of high and low-context cultures, there are the rest majority of countries showing various combinations of features of both types (Hall, 1990).buy an essay
In general, in regards to business processes, the cultures with higher value of context are characterized by: weak pressure on the buyer, long sales cycle, strong influence on employee and customer, desire to avoid controversy, muted background, and situational circumstances. At the same time, the cultures with low context, on the contrary, show strong pressure on the buyer, short sales cycles, weak participation of employee and customer, confrontation, black and white contrasts, well-defined obligations (Derr et al., 2002).
Communications in high-context cultures are characterized by indirectness, economic orientation, high expectations from the listener, importance of the form, low changeability, comprehensive and unambiguous rules. Communications in low-context cultures are precisely directed, explaining, not applying much expectations to the listener, emphasizing the content, not unified, easy changing, with rules allowing different interpretations (Derr et al., 2002).
Cultures with the higher meaning of context require secret knowledge, share responsibility for their subordinates; these cultures are ethical, situational, and have the division on “us” and “others”; while cultures with lower significance of context are based on the law and are rather closed; in these cultures, each is responsible only for oneself (Hall, 1990).
Thus, the culture of any society requires knowledge of some of its efficient criteria. Following the logic of Hofstede, in this regard, the culture can be characterized by four criteria (Hofstede, 1991; Hofstede 2001):
– The length of the hierarchy describes the perception of equality between people in the society and organization. The greater the gap between the upper and lower class is, the longer the hierarchical ladder.
– Display of uncertainty state refers to the attitude of people towards their future and their attempts to control their destiny. The degree of uncertainty is the higher, when greater is the attempt to plan and control the life.
– Individualism expresses the desire of people to act independently or to give preference to group choice. The greater preponderance in the direction of individual liberty and personal responsibility is, the higher the degree of individualism.
– Masculinism describes the manner of behavior and preferences to male and female values accepted in the society. The stronger the male principle is, the higher masculinism is.
Forty countries were studied using these criteria and eight cultural regions were identified: Northern, English-speaking, German-speaking, more developed Roman-speaking, less developed Roman-speaking, more developed Asian, less developed Asian, Middle East. For example, the Northern region is characterized by a short hierarchy, high masculinism, high degree of individualism and middle degree of uncertainty. German-speaking group is characterized by great length of the hierarchy, high degree of uncertainty and masculinism and a somewhat smaller degree of individualism. Developing countries show the great length of the hierarchy, high degree of masculinism and low values of individualism and uncertainty (Hofstede, 2001; Peterson & Sondergaard, 2008; Moore, 2005).
However, such structuring of culture is difficult to apply directly to an international business where cultural differences present an interest, on the one hand, for developing the correct behavior of the direct executors of business program on the given market, and on the other, for building a behavioral model of an aggregate consumer as the end point of movement of any goods (Mcsweeney, 2000). To detect the interaction of culture and business, let us view the detailed and specific list of variable cross-cultural issues that being interrelated with each other and sometimes intersecting, nevertheless allow structuring extensive data describing the cultural section of each local market. These variables include language, religion, social organization of the society, its values and attitudes, education and technology level, law and policy (Mead, 2004; Holden, 2001; Usunier, 1998; Tjosvold & Leung, 2003).
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