Culture, Gender and Ethical Issues in Communication

Sessions 1, 2

Objective
• What is culture? • What is the relevance of culture in business or market? • What is the nature of the relation between culture and market/business?
– Is the relation one of conflict/resistance? Or – Is it one of convergence?

• Does culture shape the market? Or the other way round.

culture can be broadly conceptualized as • Set of convictions. • Simply it is how we lived (time past). how we live (time present) and how we wish to live (time future). .What is Culture? • Even though there cannot be any simple/definite answer. and code of conduct of a group over a considerable period of time. framework of understanding and perception.

an individual will be a part of a group only when he follows the common norms of the group. . • Thus culture helps in creating shared identity.What is Culture? • Essentially the culture regulates the relation between the individual and the larger group in which he resides.g. • For e.

 Our way of living.  Even though this change is not visible instantly. even the way we dress . our beliefs. we may ask.eat or talk changes over time and they are part of larger shift in a cultural paradigm. why or how does this change take place?  The two vital elements that facilitate change are Choice and conflict .What is Culture?  Additionally one of the most important element of any culture is “change”.

What is Culture? Conflict and Change A change takes place only when there is a tension or conflict between the belief system of the past and the changing reality and experiences of the present. Conflict is almost always followed by an implicit choice in favor of the demands of the present reality. . Almost all cultures continuously experience different kinds of conflict and thus evolve and alter itself over time.

What is Culture? Conflict and Change The controversies surrounding the film “The Dirty Picture” can serve as an example of this conflict. womanhood etc vs Changing notions of morality and womanhood that is less judgmental and appreciates boldness.etc. The recognition of a national award to the actor is also an implicit choice in favor of change Also relevant are the various legislations that try to protect women against any harassment at workplace and home . Age-old belief system about morality. .

Also cultures which are heterogeneous and more open to alternative belief system change more often than those which are homogeneous and closed. historically heterogeneous) and Saudi Arabia.What is Culture? Conflict and Change It is important to remember that government and judiciary play significant role in bringing about long-term change. India (diverse. .

The relevance of culture in business and market Understanding culture is relevant because Greater cross cultural interactions in recent years Continuous expansion of business and market across nations and across communities ( Ikea opening stores in Saudi Arabia for instance) Continuous migration of workforce and labor. Culture and market are no longer separate or insular but are interconnected .

Significant change in the mindset of people. Hence the constant expansion of “need”.The relevance of culture in business and market What are the factors behind these expansions in the recent decades? The fall of the Berlin wall in 1988 signaling the fall of communism The disintegration of Soviet Union signaling a new economic and social paradigm Economic reforms in countries like India bringing in open economy.the desire for a better living-better in terms of material comfort. . “need” is driven both by market and by culture.

the only difference was mother and child featured in the commercial was Japanese .How Does Market interact With culture Advertising diapers in the USA and Japan by the same company A best selling diaper brand in USA somehow could not penetrate Japanese market Essentially the were same commercial to advertise the product .

• The company. .Market and Culture • While investigating the reasons behind sluggish response it was found out that Japanese mothers did not respond to the core message of the commercial which was – This diaper would save time for mothers who are mostly employed. • Japanese mothers are mostly housewives and therefore the core message was not effective. while launching and promoting the product failed to understand the basic cultural difference between USA and Japan.

Conflict • This can be an example of a resistance to a product . .not because of its quality but because of the interpretation of usefulness of a product driven by cultural difference.

Convergence • Just after Sepoy Mutiny in India. for strategic reasons in defense and thus to have better connectivity the British Raj undertook a massive plan to construct railways in India • This project was partly funded by British citizens at 5% perpetuity • This definitely helped the British monarchy to maintain law and order and to send reinforcements .

.Convergence • However following was the unintended consequence – Creation of a pan Indian national identity – The Railways remain the most potent symbol of the nation to this day • This is an example of how a market initiates a cultural sensibility.

Conflict and Convergence • A conflict arising due to cultural difference may force market to adapt to different culture • Convergence: Market is the driving force behind the creation of a cultural paradigm .

Further Questions • The recent controversies surrounding Ikeas advertising in Saudi Arabia: an example of conflict or convergence? .

Gender and Communication • What is gender? • Why the issue of gender relation is important in business and business communication? • Relation between language and gender? .

What is Gender? • Male and female is biologically determined • Gender – masculine and feminine – is socially determined depending on the role traditionally played by the male and female in society – Social perception of male = bread earner. protection (warrior) – Female = raising and nurturing family .

gender was nothing more than a division of labour. Business and Organisation • Traditionally in primitive economies (like agrarian economy). technology helped many jobs to become typically gender neutral • However. technology has not yet substituted the role of motherhood . partly because of the nature of the job • With time it turned into a hierarchy • Post-industrialisation.Gender.

• Existing gender stereotypes create a communication barrier in organisations • Though professional communication should ideally be gender neutral. business etc.Gender. most often that is not the case . Business and Organisation • Therefore the role of women as mothers vs as professionals remain as the central tension to this day in workplace.

think male’ • What should be mode/style of communication when the boss is a male and there are few female subordinates? .Gender and Communication Barrier Instances • What should the mode/style of communication in a predominantly male workforce headed by a woman superior – The conventional wisdom of ‘think manager.

Gender and Communication Barrier • The efficacy and limits of informal communication in previous two scenarios • For instance the informal style of communication (pat on the back for appreciation of a good work. decision making over a cup of coffee)may not work well for a male boss and a female subordinate or viceversa .

especially with relation to gender or should it adapt? .Gender. Communication and Market • The engagement of the market • Refer to the already mentioned case of Saudi Ikea – Ikea airbrushed the figure of the mother from its advertisement following the religious and cultural norms of Saudi Arabia • Should a company abide by its declared marketing principles irrespective of cultural differences.

Language and Gender • English language which reflects and creates social norms is obviously not gender neutral – “All men are equal” – “Man is born free” – “Housewives” • There is an attempt to make language more gender neutral – “Homemaker” not “Housewives” – “Workforce” not “manpower” .

Ethical Communication • The attempt to encourage gender neutral vocabulary in organisations stems from an ethical concern – to reduce marked male dominance • Tampering information which is intended for public domain that often influence decision making is the basic form of unethical communication .

Ethical Communication • Pharmaceutical companies often suppress part of the findings of clinical trial and release the part which help them obtain clearance from drug controllers • Insider trading: private communication often precedes public communication for monetary benefit • Enron: tampered with the balance sheet .

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