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Differences in Culture

Differences in Culture

Societies differ along cultural dimensions What is culture? How/why do social structure, religion, language influence cultural differences? What are differences between culture and values in the workplace (corporate culture)? Culture changes over time. What are some reasons behind this? Implications for business managers

Cultural Appreciation
Values Customs Aspects of culture Symbols


What is Culture?

a societys (groups) system of shared, learned values and norms; these are the societys (groups) design for living
Values: abstract ideas about the good, the

right, the desirable Norms: social rules and guidelines; guide appropriate behavior for specific situations
Folkways: norms of little moral significance
dress code; table manners; timeliness

Mores: norms central to functioning of social life

bring serious retribution: thievery, adultery, alcohol

Cultural Diversity

represent personal or socially preferable modes of conduct or states of existence that are enduring.
Why doesnt McDonalds sell hamburgers in India?

Cultural Diversity

are norms and expectations about the way people do things in a specific country.
Why were 3M executives perplexed concerning lukewarm sales of ScotchBrite floor cleaner in the Philippines?

What is Culture?
the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group over another Culture, in this sense, includes systems of values; and values are among the building blocks of culture

Geert Hofstede

National Culture
Nation is a useful:
Definition of society

similarity among people a cause -- and effect -- of national boundaries

Way to bound and measure culture for conduct of


culture is a key characteristic of society can differ significantly across national borders
also within national borders

laws are established along national lines

Culture is both a cause and an effect of economic and political factors that vary across national borders

Religion, Ethics and Culture

Religion: system of shared beliefs about the sacred Ethical systems: moral principles or values that shape and guide behavior; often products of religion Major religious groups and some economic implications

Christianity Islam Hinduism Buddhism Confucianism

protestant work ethic Islamic economic principles anti-materialistic, socially stratified anti-materialistic, social equality hierarchy, loyalty, honesty

Language: Culture Bound

Language, spoken private does not exist as a word in many

languages Eskimos: 24 words for snow Words which describe moral concepts can be unique to countries or areas Spoken language precision important in lowcontext cultures
Language, unspoken Context... more important than spoken word in

high context cultures

Non-Verbal Gestures

Non-Verbal Gestures

Non-Verbal Gestures

Non-Verbal Gestures

Cultural Diversity Chevy Nova Award

Dairy Associations huge success with

the campaign Got Milk? prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico

It was brought to their attention the Spanish translation read, Are you lactating?

Cultural Diversity Chevy Nova Award

Clairol introduced the Mist Stick, a curling iron into Germany Only to find out that mist is German slang for manure.

Cultural Diversity Chevy Nova Award

When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used US packaging with the smiling baby on the label.

In Africa, companies routinely put pictures on labels of whats inside, since many people cant read.

Cultural Diversity Chevy Nova Award

Pepsis Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation in Chinese translated into Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave

Cultural Diversity Chevy Nova Award

Coca-Colas name in China was first read as Kekoukela, meaning Bite the wax tadpole or female horse stuffed with wax, depending on the dialect.

Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent kokou kole, translating into happiness in the mouth.

Cultural Stereotypes
Cultural stereotypes: values and behaviors considered typical of a culture

Are they valuable?

Yes, if they reduce uncertainty about what expatriate can expect. No, if used to label an individual unlike the stereotype

Education and Culture


Medium through which people are acculturated Language, myths, values, norms taught

Teaches personal achievement and competition

Critical to national competitive advantage
Education system

may be a cultural outcome

Individualism Vs. Collectivism (Hofstede)


to which people in a country prefer to act as individuals rather than in groups Describes the relations between the individual and his/her fellows

Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede)


of need to avoid uncertainty about the future Degree of preference for structured versus unstructured situations
Structured situations: have tight rules may

or may not be written down


uncertainty avoidance: people with more nervous energy (vs easy-going), rigid society, "what is different is dangerous."

Masculinity Vs. Femininity (Hofstede)


of roles and values in a

society Masculine values prevail:

assertiveness, success, competition

values prevail:

quality of life, maintenance of warm

personal relationships, service, care for the weak, solidarity

Confucian Dynamism (Hofstede)

Attitudes towards Time Persistence Status in society Face Respect for tradition Gifts and favors

Managerial Implications

vs Polycentrism Must a company adapt to local cultures or can corporate -- often home-country dominated -- culture prevail? Cross-cultural literacy essential Do some cultures offer a national competitive advantage over others?