Chapter Three

Differences in Culture

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Chapter Overview

• What is culture? • Social Structure • Religious and Ethical Systems • Language • Education • Culture and the Workplace • Cultural Change

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What is Culture?

“Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and other capabilities acquired by man as a member of society.” - Edward Tylor

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What is Culture?

“A system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living.” - Hofstede, Namenwirth, and Weber

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Components of Culture

• Values • Norms • Society

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Folkways and Mores

• Folkways: Routine conventions of everyday life.
- Little moral significance - Generally, social conventions such as dress codes, social manners, and neighborly behavior

• Mores: Norms central to the functioning of society and its social life
- Greater significance than folkways - Violation can bring serious retribution
• Theft, adultery, incest and cannibalism

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Culture, Society, and the Nation State
• A society is a group of people bound together by a common culture • There is not a strict one-to-one correspondence between a society and a nation state • Nation State:
- Is a political creation - May contain a single culture or several cultures

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The Determinants of Culture

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Social Structure

• Social structure refers to its basic social organization • Two dimensions that are particularly important include:
- The extent to which society is group or individually oriented - Degree of stratification into castes or classes

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Religious and Ethical Systems

• Religion: a system of shared beliefs and rituals that are concerned with the realm of the sacred • Ethical systems: a set of moral principles, or values, that are used to guide and shape behavior
- Most of the world’s ethical systems are the product of religions

• Among the thousands of religions in the world today, four dominate in terms of numbers of adherents:
Christianity with 1.7 billion adherents Islam with 1 billion adherents Hinduism with 750 million adherents Buddhism with 350 million adherents

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Religious and Ethical Systems

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Language

• Spoken
- Verbal cues - Language structures perception of world

• Unspoken
- Body language - Personal space

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Education
• Formal education plays a key role in a society

- Formal education: the medium through which individuals learn many of the language, conceptual, and mathematical skills that are indispensable in a modern society - Also supplements the family’s role in socializing the young into the values and norms of a society - Schools teach basic facts about the social and political nature of a society, as well as focusing on the fundamental obligations of citizenship - Cultural norms are also taught indirectly at school
• Examples include: respect for others, obedience to authority, honesty, neatness, being on time • Part of the “hidden curriculum”

- The use of a grading system also teaches children the value of personal achievement and competition
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Culture in the Workplace

• Four dimensions of culture
- Power distance - cultures are ranked high or low on this dimension based on the particular society’s ability to deal with inequalities - Individualism versus collectivism - this dimension focuses on the relationship between the individual and his/her fellows within a culture - Uncertainty avoidance - this dimension measures the extent to which a culture socializes its members into accepting ambiguous situations and tolerating uncertainty - Masculinity versus femininity - this dimension looks at the relationship between gender and work roles
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Work-Related Values for 20 Selected Countries

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Problems with Hofstede

• Assumes one-to-one relationship between culture and the nation state • Research may have been culturally bound • Survey respondents were from a single industry (computer) and a single company (IBM)

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Cultural Change

• Culture is not a constant; it evolves over time
- Since 1960s American values toward the role of women have changed - Japan moved toward greater individualism in the workplace

• Globalization will continue to have impacts on cultures around the world

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Cultural Change

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Managerial Implications

• Cross-cultural literacy • Culture and competitive advantage • Culture and business ethics

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Looking Ahead to Chapter 4

• Ethics in International Business
Ethical Issues in International Business Ethical Dilemmas The Roots of Unethical Behavior Philosophical Approaches to Ethics Ethical Decision Making

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Values
• Values for the bedrock of a culture • They provide the context within which a society’s norms are established and justified • They include attitudes toward
Individual freedom Democracy Truth Justice Honesty Loyalty Social obligations

• Values are also reflected in the political and economic systems Return
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Norms

• Norms are the social rules that govern people’s actions toward one another

Return
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Society

• Society refers to a group of people who share a common set of values and norms

Return
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Individual vs. Group Orientation

• Individual societies tend to view individual attributes and achievements as being more important than group membership • Emphasis on individual performance can be both beneficial and harmful

• Group societies see groups as the primary unit of social organization • Group members
- Often form deep emotional attachments - See group membership as all important

- Encourages entrepreneurship - Can lead to high degree of managerial mobility
Return

• Emphasis on the group can be both beneficial and harmful

- Strong group identification creates pressure for mutual self-help and collective action - Discourages managers and workers from moving from company to company - Discourages entrepreneurship

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Social Stratification

• Social stratification refers to the fact that all societies are stratified on a hierarchical basis of social categories • Strata are typically defined on the basis of characteristics such as family background, occupation, and income • Societies are all stratified to come degree but they differ in two related ways
- Social mobility refers to the extent to which individuals can move out of the strata into which they are born - The extent to which the stratification of a society affects the operation of business organizations, this is known as significance
Return
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Christianity

• This is the most widely practiced religion in the world, approximately 20% of the world’s people identify themselves as Christians • Christianity grew out of Judaism and has monotheistic beliefs • Christianity can be subdivided into three separate organizations
- The Orthodox church - The Roman Catholic church - Protestants which is an umbrella for several denominations

Return
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Economic Implications of Christianity
• Several sociologists have argued that protestants have made a significant economic impact • Max Weber commented
- That business leaders and owners of capital, as well as the higher grades of skilled labor, and even more the higher technically and commercially trained personnel of modern enterprises, are overwhelmingly Protestant. - That Protestant ethics emphasize the importance of hard work and wealth creation (for the glory of God) and frugality (abstinence from worldly pleasures). - That the combination of hard work and the accumulation of capital, which could be used to finance investment and expansion, paved the way for the development of capitalism in Western Europe and subsequently in the United States.
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Islam
• The central principle of Islam is that there is but the one true omnipotent God

- Islam requires unconditional acceptance of the uniqueness, power, and authority of God and the understanding that the objective of life is to fulfill the dictates of his will in the hope of admission to paradise

• According to Islam, worldly gain and temporal power are an illusion • Other major principles of Islam include:
Honoring and respecting parents Respecting the rights of others Being generous but not a squanderer Avoiding killing except for justifiable causes Not committing adultery Dealing justly and equitably with others Being of pure heart and mind Safeguarding the possessions of orphans Being humble and unpretentious Return
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Economic Implications of Islam

• The Koran establishes some explicit economic principles, many of which are pro-free enterprise
- The Koran speaks approvingly of free enterprise and of earning legitimate profit through trade and commerce (the prophet Mohammed was once a trader) - The protection of the right to private property is also embedded within Islam - Islam is critical of those who earn profit through the exploitation of others

• Given the Islamic proclivity to favor market-based systems, Muslim countries are likely to be receptive to international businesses as long as those businesses behave in a manner that is consistent with Islamic ethics
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