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What I learned in 40 years while working in 35 countries: CULTURE MATTERS John Daly A couple of useful books: Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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What I learned in 40 years while working in 35
John Daly
A couple of useful books Culture Matters How
Values Shape Human Process Lawrence Harrison and
Samuel Huntington Information Technology in
Context Chrisanthi Avgerou and Geoff Walsham
Doing Business in a Hostile Investment
Climate http//
  • The term "culture" has two usages or definitions
    within the World Bank.
  • The first, wider, definition describes particular
    shared values, beliefs, knowledge, skills and
    practices that underpin behavior by members of a
    social group at a particular point in time (with
    potentially good and bad effects on processes of
    poverty reduction).
  • The second definition describes creative
    expression, skills, traditional knowledge and
    cultural resources that form part of the lives of
    people and societies, and can be a basis for
    social engagement and enterprise development.

In 1952 Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn,
American anthropologists, published a list of 160
different definitions of culture. http//vlib.ant
B2B and B2C Crafts Sales B2B and B2C Fabric
Sales B2C Traditional Foods B2C Ritual products
(Pizza, Cakes, Goats) Music TV Programs
(Brazil) Film (Bollywood) Developed Country
Examples Japan Games, Anime
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Rule 1 If anything can go wrong it will. Rule 2
Even in nothing can go wrong, it will
anyway. Explanation You didnt take culture
into account.
It is hard to generalize about Culture! There is
some evidence that there is a Culture of
Poverty That predictable cultural shifts occur
with economic development That technological
change induces cultural changes That younger
people are more likely to show the new cultural
Culture is not static it changes over time!
What are some of the things that seem to be
related to culture?
  • Attitudes toward Authority
  • Fatalism
  • Trust
  • Beliefs about Corruption
  • Willingness to Work with Outsiders
  • Attitudes toward Time
  • Openness in Interpersonal Dealings
  • Attitudes toward Technology
  • Attitudes toward Private Enterprise and
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Attitudes toward Employment.

Unintuitive cultural values are as likely to
work for you as against you.
In parts of Asia you can cause serious offense by
sitting so That the soles of your shoes face the
person you are talking to.
My Irish relatives take great pleasure in baiting
authority, Especially by appearing stupid and
letting the boss get himself In Trouble.
In Latin America it is sometimes helpful to
designate American time or Local time when
making a date.
My rich, highly educated, cosmopolitan friend in
Colombia Assumed he understood other Colombians
better than I did Simply because he was Colombian.
Clues to a Persons Cultural Values, Expectations,
Nationality Ethnicity Age Gender Religion Educatio
n Income
Profession Organizational Affiliation Social
Class Occupation Sector of Occupation Urban or
Rural Location International Experience
Whose Culture Counts in Your Business Decisions?
Clients, Employees, Managers, Financiers,
Owners, Customers, Regulators, Competitors,
Neighbors -- Everyone
Look for Different Patterns of Interpenetration
of Institutions
What is done in formal versus informal
institutions What is done in organizations
versus what is done in the market Patronage Nepo
tism Community versus Enterprise.
Americans are sometimes seen as Litigious
because we use formal legal institutions where
others use informal community
institutions Bureaucratic because we use formal
organizations where others use informal
community institutions Cold because we separate
business roles from family and associative roles.
Suggestions (Things I learned at my mothers knee
and other low joints.) Read about the
relevant cultures (be they ethnic,
organizational, professional, or economic) Look
for unintuitive behavior, and consider possibly
unjustified cultural assumptions you may have
made Dont assume that your cultural values are
necessarily shared Be sensitive to clues that
values are not shared. Consider if there are any
cultural assumptions that underlie your business
(e.g. trust in institutions) and
consider whether they are likely to be shared by
key actors. Remember, other folk are just as sure
about their cultural values as you are about