SOCIAL/ CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT

Meaning of Culture  

As Geert Hofstede, a noted Dutch writer and academic has nicely put it, culture is the Software of the mind-the social programming that runs the way we think, act and perceive ourselves and others. As Mitchell observes, culture ³is a set of learned core values, beliefs, standards, knowledge morals ,laws and behaviors shared by individuals and societies determination how an individual acts, feel, and views oneself and others.

Francis Merill formulates the concept culture as follows: 
     

Is the characteristically human product of social interaction; Provides socially acceptable patterns for meeting biological and social needs; Is cumulative, for it is handed down from generation in a given society; Is meaningful to human beings because of its symbolic quality; Is learned by each person in the course of his development in a particular society; Is therefore, basic determinant of personality ; and Depends for its existence upon the continued functioning of society but is independent of any individual or group.

Elements of culture  

     

Language verbal non-verbal Religion Values and attitudes Manners and customs Material elements Aesthetics Education Social institutions

LANGUAGE
Language capability serves four distinct roles in international business:   

Language aids information. Language provides access to local society Language capability is increasingly important in company communication, whether within the corporate family or with channel members. Language provides more than the ability to communicate. It extends beyond mechanics to the interpretation of context that may influence business operation.

Nonverbal language 

International body language must be included in the nonverbal language of international business. For example: An American manager may, after successful completion of negotiations, impulsively give a finger-and-thumb OK sign.

RELIGION  

Religion defines the ideals for life, which in turn are reflected in the values and attitudes of societies and individuals. Such values and attitudes shape the behavior and practices of institution and members of cultures. Religion has an impact on international business that is seen in a culture¶s values and attitudes towards entrepreneurship, consumption, and social organization.

VALUES AND ATTITUDES 

DIFFERENCES IN CULTURAL VALUES AFFECT THE WAY PLANNING IS EXECUTED, DECISIONS ARE MADE, STRATEGY IS IMPLEMENTED, AND PERSONNEL ARE EVALUATED.

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS 

Changes occurring in manners and customs must be carefully monitored, especially in cases that seem to indicate a narrowing of culture differences among peoples.

MATERIAL ELEMENTS 
  

ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE SOCIAL INFRASTUCTURE FINANCIAL AND MARKETING INFRASTUCTURES TECHNOLOGIES ADVANCED

AESTHETICS 

EACH CULTURE MAKES A CLEAR STATEMENT CONCERNING GOOD TASTE, AS EXPRESEED IN THE ARTS AND IN THE PARTICULAR SYMBOLISM OF COLORS, FORM AND MUSIC.

EDUCATION 

International firms also need to know about the qualitative levels of education, namely varying emphases on particular skills and the overall level of the education provided.

Social Institutions 


The family unit Social organization also determines the roles of managers and subordinates and how they relates o one another.

SOURCES OF CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE 
 

EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE WRITTEN MATERIAL TRAVEL

Culture and organizational behavior 
      

Centralized vs. Decentralized decision making Safety vs. Risk Individual vs. Group Reward Informal vs. Formal procedure High vs. low organizational loyalty Cooperation vs. Competition Short-term vs. Long-term Horizon Stability vs. Innovation

Making culture work for business success 
    

Embrace local culture Build relationship Employ locals in order to gain cultural knowledge Help employee understand you. Adapt product and processes to local markets. Coordinate by region.

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