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The Role of Culture


Adapted from Table 4-1: Priorities of Cultural Values: United States, Japan, and Arab Countries ... imaging shows,' MIT News, January 11, 2008 (Massachusetts ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Role of Culture

The Role of Culture
  • The Meanings and Dimensions of Culture

Mark McKenna BUS 162, International and
Comparative Management San Jose State University
Chapters 4, Hodgetts, Luthans and Doh,
International Management Culture, Strategy and
Behavior , 6th edition (New York McGraw-Hill
Irwin, 2006) Adapted from PowerPoint slides by
R. Dennis Middlemist, Professor of Management,
Colorado State University
The Nature of Culture
  • Culture
  • Acquired knowledge that people use to interpret
    experience and generate social behavior
  • forms values
  • creates attitudes
  • influences behavior.

Characteristics of Culture
Values in Culture
  • Values
  • Basic convictions that people have
  • right and wrong
  • good and bad
  • important and unimportant
  • Learned from the culture in which the individual
    is reared
  • Influence ones behavior
  • Differences in cultural values may result in
    varying management practices

What are your top 10 values?
  • Age/seniority
  • Authority
  • Belongingness
  • Collectiveness
  • Competition
  • Compromise
  • Cooperation
  • Devotion
  • Directness
  • Efficiency
  • Equality
  • Family harmony
  • Family security
  • Freedom
  • Go-between
  • Group consensus
  • Group harmony
  • Independence
  • Indirectness
  • Individualism
  • Hospitality
  • Openness
  • Parental guidance
  • Patience
  • Quality
  • Self-reliance
  • Time

Priorities of Cultural Values
Table 4-1 Priorities of Cultural Values United
States, Japan, and Arab Countries
United States Japan Arab Countries
  • Freedom
  • Independence
  • Self-reliance
  • Equality
  • Individualism
  • Competition
  • Efficiency
  • Time
  • Directness
  • Openness
  • Belonging
  • Group harmony
  • Collectiveness
  • Age/seniority
  • Group consensus
  • Cooperation
  • Quality
  • Patience
  • Indirectness
  • Go-between
  • Family security
  • Family harmony
  • Parental guidance
  • Age
  • Authority
  • Compromise
  • Devotion
  • Patience
  • Indirectness
  • Hospitality

Note 1 represents the most important cultural
value, 10 the least.
Adapted from Table 4-1 Priorities of Cultural
Values United States, Japan, and Arab Countries
Distribution of Values Across Cultures
French culture
U.S. culture
Adapted from Figure 42 Comparing Cultures as
Overlapping Normal Distributions
U.S. culture
French culture
How the Americans see the French
How the French see the Americans
  • arrogant
  • flamboyant
  • hierarchical
  • emotional
  • naïve
  • aggressive
  • unprincipled
  • workaholic

Adapted from Figure 43 Stereotyping from the
Cultural Extremes
A Model of Culture
The explicit artifacts and products of the society
The norms and values that guide the society
The implicit, basic assumptions that guide
peoples behavior
Adapted from Figure 41 A Model of Culture
Cultural Convergence in International Business
  • A reasonably strong relationship has been found
    between a managers level of success and his or
    her personal values
  • Based on surveys of managers in four countries
    (U.S., Japan, Australia, India)
  • More successful managers
  • Share values that are pragmatic, dynamic,
  • Take an active role in interaction with others
  • Less successful managers
  • Tend toward static or passive values
  • Take relatively passive roles in interacting
  • It may be useful to consider these differences in
    selection and placement decisions

Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions
  • Extent to which less powerful members of
    institutions and organizations accept that power
    is distributed unequally
  • High power distance countries individuals defer
    to those in higher status positions centralized
    and tall organization structures
  • Low power distance countries individuals more
    likely to question authority flatter and
    decentralized organization structures, smaller
    ratio of supervisors

Power Distance
Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions
  • Extent to which people feel threatened by
    ambiguous situations and have created beliefs and
    institutions that try to avoid such situations
  • High uncertainty avoidance countries people have
    high need for security, strong belief in expert
    knowledge organizations more structured and rule
    based, less risk taking
  • Low uncertainty avoidance countries people more
    willing to accept risks associated with the
    unknown less structured organizations with fewer
    written rules, more risk taking, higher employee
    turnover, more ambitious employees

Power Distance
Uncertainty Avoidance
Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions
  • Individualism
  • Tendency of people to look after themselves and
    their immediate family only
  • In countries high in individualism there tends to
    be greater support for individual initiative,
    promotions based on market value
  • Collectivism
  • Tendency of people to belong to groups or
    collectives and to look after each other in
    exchange for loyalty
  • In countries high in collectivism individual
    initiative is often questioned, promotions based
    on seniority

Power Distance
Uncertainty Avoidance
Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions
  • Masculinity
  • Cultures in which the dominant social values are
    success, money and things
  • In countries high in masculinity emphasis is on
    earnings, recognition, advancement, challenge,
    and wealth high job stress.
  • Femininity
  • Cultures in which the dominate social values are
    caring for others and the quality of life
  • In countries high in femininity emphasis on
    cooperation, friendly atmosphere, employment
    security, group decision making olow stress and
    more employee freedom.

Power Distance
Uncertainty Avoidance
Masculinity/ Femininity
Trompenaars Cultural Dimensions
  • Sequential approach
  • People do only one activity at a time, keep
    appointments strictly, prefer to follow plans as
    laid out (United States)
  • Synchronous approach
  • People tend to multi-task, view appointments as
    approximate, schedules are seen as subordinate to
    relationships (France, and Mexico)
  • Present oriented/future oriented
  • Future is more important (U.S., Italy, and
  • Present is more important (Venezuela, Indonesia,
    and Spain
  • All three time periods equally important (France
    and Belgium)

Trompenaars Cultural Dimensions
The Environment
  • Inner-directed people believe in controlling
  • Includes U.S., Switzerland, Australia, Belgium,
    Indonesia, Hong Kong, Greece, Singapore, and
  • Outer-directed people believe on letting things
    take their own course
  • Includes China and many other Asian countries

Brain Function and Culture
Absolute tasks involved judging whether lines
shown in a sequence of figures were the same
length, regardless of the size of surrounding
squares. Relative tasks involved judging whether
the lines were in the same proportion to the
squares, regardless of their absolute size.
Source Cathryn M. Delude, Culture influences
brain Function, MIT imaging shows, MIT News,
January 11, 2008 (Massachusetts Institute of
Synthesis of Country Clusters
Adapted from Figure 48 A Synthesis of Country
World Civilizations (Huntington)
Culture and Management
  • Centralized vs. decentralized decision making
  • Safety vs. risk
  • Individual vs. group rewards
  • Informal vs. formal procedures
  • High vs. low organizational loyalty
  • Cooperation vs. competition
  • Short-term vs. long-term horizons
  • Stability vs. innovation

Assignment for Wednesday
  • Review the exercise on page 123, A Jumping-Off
  • Put yourself in the position of an international
    consultant or manager
  • What differences would you anticipate between
    Spain and the US?
  • How might lessons learned in Spain need to be
    adapted for operations in Italy?
  • How would France differ from both, and from the