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The Cultural Environments Facing Business


The Cultural Environments Facing Business Chapter 2 2-* Culture Defined Culture: the specific learned norms of a society that reflect attitudes, values, and beliefs ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Cultural Environments Facing Business

The Cultural Environments Facing Business
  • Chapter 2

Culture Defined
  • Culture the specific learned norms of a society
    that reflect attitudes, values, and beliefs
  • Major problems of cultural collision are likely
    to occur if
  • -a firm implements practices that do not
    reflect local customs and values and/or
  • -employees are unable to accept or adjust
  • to foreign customs.

Cultural Dynamics
  • Cultures consist of societies, i.e., relatively
    homogeneous groups of people, who share
    attitudes, values, beliefs, and customs.
  • Cultures are dynamic they evolve over time.
  • Cultures are influenced by language, religion and
    geographical boundary.
  • Cultural value systems are set early in life, but
    may change because of
  • -choice or imposition
  • -contact with other cultures.

The Nation as a Point of Reference
  • The basic similarity amongt people within
    countries is both a cause and an effect of
    national boundaries.
  • National identity is perpetuated through the
    rites and symbols of a country and a common
    perception of history.
  • Subcultures may link groups from different
    nations more closely than certain groups within

Cultural Formation and Change
  • Societal values and customs constantly evolve in
    response to changing realities.
  • Cultural imperialism is brought about by the
    imposition of one culture upon that of
  • Certain elements introduced from outside a
    culture may be known as creolization,
    indigenization, or cultural diffusion.

Language as a Cultural Stabilizer
  • Isolation from other groups, especially because
    of language, tends to stabilize cultures.
  • Some countries see language as being so important
    that they regulate the inclusion of foreign words
    and/or mandate the use of the countrys official
    language for business purposes.
  • See Map 2.2 and Fig 2.2

Religion as a Cultural Stabilizer
  • Religion is a major source of both cultural
    imperatives and cultural taboos.
  • Major religions include
  • -Buddhism
  • -Christianity
  • -Hinduism
  • -Islam
  • -Judaism
  • See Map 2.3

Social Stratification Systems
  • Ascribed group memberships are defined at birth
    they may include gender, family, age, caste, and
    ethnic or national origin.
  • Acquired group memberships are based on ones
    choice of affiliation, such as political party,
    religion, and social and professional
  • Social stratification affects both business
    strategy and operational practices.

Factors Affecting Work Ethics
  • The desire for material wealth vs. the desire for
  • Protestant Ethic
  • Live to work or work to live?
  • The expectation of success and reward
  • Assertiveness (Hofstedes masculinity vs.
    femininity index)
  • Need satisfaction (Maslows Hierarchy)
  • See Fig 2.4
  • Motivated employees are normally more
    productive, and higher productivity leads to
    lower costs.

Factors Affecting Relationship Preferences
  • Power distance, i.e., the psychological and
    social distance between superiors and
  • Individualism vs. collectivism
  • Individualism represents a desire for personal
    freedom, time, and challenge.
  • Collectivism represents a dependence on the
    organization as well as a need for a safe

Factors Affecting Risk-taking Behavior
  • Uncertainty avoidance, i.e., ones tolerance
  • of risk (UK vs. Belgium)
  • Trust, i.e., ones belief in the reliability and
    honesty of another (Sweden vs. Brazil)
  • Future orientation, i.e., the need for immediate
    vs. delayed gratification (Canada vs. Italy)
  • Self-determination vs. fatalism (insurance sales)

Factors Affecting Information and Task Processing
  • Selective perception of cues
  • Information obtaining
  • -low-context cultures explicit N. Europe
  • -high-context cultures implicit S. Europe
  • Information processing
  • -monochronic work sequentially N. Europe
  • -polychronic multi-task S. Europe
  • Whereas idealistic cultures are principle
    driven, pragmatic cultures are detail driven.

Factors Affecting the Communication Process
  • Different spoken and written languages
  • Silent language may be different too.
  • -color associations
  • -conversational distance
  • -perception of time and punctuality
  • -kinesics body language and gestures
  • Problems in communication may arise, even
  • when nations share the same basic language
  • (e.g., British, Canadian, and American English).

Managerial Issues Associated with Cultural
  • Accommodation to the host culture
  • Cultural distance degree of similarity
  • See Map 2.4
  • Culture shock and reverse culture shock
  • Managerial orientations
  • Polycentric
  • Ethnocentric
  • geocentric

Factors Affecting Strategies for Instituting
Cultural Change
  • Impact on the host countrys value systems
  • Cost/benefits of change (Is it worth?)
  • Resistance to change
  • How to reduce resistance
  • Participation in decision-making
  • Reward sharing
  • Role of opinion leaders
  • Timing
  • Opportunities to learn from abroad

  • Culture is dynamic and evolves over time.
    Economic development and globalization are two
    engines of cultural change.
  • In addition to being part of a national culture,
    people are simultaneously part of other
    cultures, such as social and professional
    associations and business and government
    organizations. continued

  • Host cultures do not always expect firms and
    individuals to conform to their norms in some
    instances they may choose to accommodate
    differences in traditions.
  • International firms should make a concerted
    effort to identify ideas and behaviors in host
    countries and foreign cultures that can be
    usefully applied across the whole of their