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American Business Culture


American Business Culture The American Experience and Value System Personal Qualities Communication Protocol Mores and Morality The Business Climate – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American Business Culture

American Business Culture
  • The American Experience and Value System
  • Personal Qualities
  • Communication
  • Protocol
  • Mores and Morality
  • The Business Climate

American Values
  • Independence
  • Freedom
  • Individualism
  • Competition Free markets
  • Skepticism toward central government

The American Experience
  • Searching for the American Dream
  • Dislike of centralized systems which limited
    personal development
  • The importance of success
  • Material success as a measure of personal
    development U.S. consumer debt 14 trillion
  • Success is individualindividualism vs. feudalism
  • The emphasis on initiative vs. govt intervention

Indvidualism Positives and Negatives
  • Creates a need to perform because people are
    evaluated rewarded on individual performance.
  • Make you customer a performeryou will save your
    company X and increase its latteral
  • Remember the strain and worry that Americans are

Indvidualism Positives and Negatives
  • Self-improvement maniaAmericans want to be
    better so show them how your product will make
    them seem better.
  • The negatives include the feeling that failure is
    individual inspite of the fact that often it is
    the result of circumstancesespecially today.

Positive Thinking
  • Positive thoughts are rewarded and negative
    thoughts often penalized.
  • Americans can fail to see the situation in a
    critical light and over-estimate what they are
    capable ofespecially since individual
    performance is the basis of their survival.
  • Analysis/criticism can be viewed as negativism.
    Thus self-deception can result.

Positive Thinking
  • A contradiction given the present situation
  • The American economy is in shanbles, 7 million
    jobs have been lost and Americans are worried
    about losing their job.
  • Yet they are expected to be positive, which may
    help them keep their jobs, while their situation
    is the opposite.

Positive Aspects of American Business
  • Relatively limited government regulationpro
    business orientation
  • Favorable tax structure
  • Access to venture capitalpro risk
  • Can-do spirit which encourages entrepreneurship
  • Huge consumption-oriented market

The Mood in the U.S.
  • Main St.
  • Desparation loss of jobs, homes, homelessness
  • The greatest fear loss of job, home and health
  • Rising anger against Wall St.
  • Nickle and Dimed
  • A state of denial

Existing Illusions
  • The American Dream of social mobility is still
  • Free markets benefit everyone
  • Regulation prevents initiative and is bad for
  • Tax breaks for the rich generates GDP growth
  • The U.S. is the greatest nation in the world.

Negative Aspects of American Business Culture
  • Tremendous pressure
  • Job insecurity
  • Highly competitiveSwim with the Sharks without
    being eaten alive
  • Short term thinking
  • Hype
  • Wall St. mentalityquick profits, little
    responsibility, gambling, moral hazard.

Personal Qualities
  • Assertiveness
  • Loyaltyin spite of job insecurityCorporate
    downsizers fire 1/3 of staff
  • Team player--informative
  • Outgoingsociable enthusiastic
  • Confidence
  • Toughness, drive dedication

Communication Style
  • Informal
  • First names and nick names
  • Joking and bantering (one-upsmanship)
  • Extrovert behavior (highly respected)
  • Uncomfortable with silencethe Japanese weapon
  • Time is money--be brief
  • Conflict and confrontation accepted
  • Exhibit confidencehype?

  • Dress--formal in business, informal socially
  • Time--punctual in business, 20 minute rule
  • Limited gift giving (Christmas)
  • Achievement based respect, not seniority
  • Not as rigid rules as Asia and perhaps Europe

Mores and Morality
  • The importance of religious affiliation
  • 2/3 go to church regularly
  • Churches and civic organizations are meeting
    places for making connections
  • Puritan tradition-- Sexual modesty (at least
    publicly) is a must
  • You must appear to be moral, but morality does
    not always extend to business dealings--i.e.
    Enron, Tyco, etc.

  • Stock options and huge salaries
  • 300 times the average worker-12 million is the
    average for C.E.O.s in Fortune 500
  • In order to justify these, C.E.O.s are tempted
    to cook the books.
  • 1970-2000 over 700 companies were caught doing
    this aided by auditors.
  • Billions of have been stolen from the
    publicemployees and stockholders and yet none of
    the Wall St. financial firms have yet been fined.

The New Religion
  • Positive thinking and attactions
  • Mass churches where the congregation is motivated
    rather than preached the gospel.
  • The message is thinking positively and God will
    reward you.
  • I believe God wants to give us nice things.
  • Think like God. Think big. Think increase. Think
    abundance. Think more than enough.
  • Corporate religion, religious corporations.

Political Correctness
  • Conservative and distrust of social democracy
  • Life is a jungle, creates initiative
  • Best not to tout the value of social democracy
  • Harassment is the kiss of death
  • Avoid discussing politics
  • Labor relations--union membership is frowned
    upon Walmart

Salaries and Benefits
  • Paid vacations--2-3 weeks
  • Cant be taken consecutively
  • 50 hour week not uncommon
  • Unpaid overtime for managers
  • Meritocracy, not seniority
  • Never ask about ones salary
  • Health insurance--must be negotiated
  • Most benefits must be negotiated--no free lunch

  • Voluntary organizations are often meeting places
  • Americans are joiners--Rotary Club, etc.
  • Gentleman sports--tennis, squash, golf, hunting,
    alpine skiing are meeting places
  • Smoking is frowned upon
  • Expected to adapt to American values

Topics of Conversation
  • Sportsknow the situation of the local teams. TV
  • American accomplishments
  • Both as a nation and the accomplishments of the
    company with which youre dealing
  • Find common interestshobbies
  • Get them talking about what they are in to
  • Taxes in Norwaytheyll love it

Topics of Conversation
  • Avoid mentioning the Norwegian social welfare
    system and that Norway is 1 on the UN human
    development index and that the U.S. is 13 and
    that the U.S. is 8th on the social molbility
  • Avoid mentioning health care reform and how
    popular Obama is in Europe
  • In fact just avoid political issues, regulation
    collective governmental responsibility.

  • Tough negotiators
  • High/Low balling is common
  • Keep your bottom line a secret
  • Your opponent will be looking for it
  • Americans may promise more than they can deliver
  • A result of high expectations
  • Hype is common

Employer--Employee Relations
  • Short-term thinking
  • The quarterly report
  • The basis of fat bonuses for execs
  • Layoffs and firings
  • Increases stock value
  • Creates a loyalty dilemma
  • No job security, no loyalty
  • Its a jungle out there
  • Informality does not mean concern

E-E Relations Continued
  • Teamworking is important
  • Requires good communication skills and
    information sharing
  • Bosses can be tough and demanding, but
    performance is rewarded
  • You must showcase yourself to be promoted
  • Teamworking and competition for promotion--a

Differences Between Norwegians and Americans
  • Decision makingindividual vs. group
  • Getting individual Norwegians to take
    responsibility for a decision.
  • Identification and self-definition through ones
    jobare Americans more dedicated?
  • Separation between job and private life
  • Service mindedness
  • The protected Norwegian workerprotects
    incompetence? Sick leave as a way out.
  • Openness and self-promotion.

Differences Between Norwegians and Americans
  • Bureaucracy and regulation
  • The ease of starting new businesses
  • Employee protection
  • Distribution of wealth
  • 20 of Americans own 89 of the total wealth
  • Risk taking and access to venture capital