Cultural Dimensions 1 Running head: CULTURAL DIMENSIONS Cultural Dimensions Kimberly Piorkowski Grand Canyon University BUS 602-Managerial Communications Cultural Dimensions 2 Each country has a different set of cultural values and belief systems. It is important to be aware of these in the international world of business to avoid conflict and allow work to run smoothly. When considering the Geert Hofstede analysis for the country of South Africa, there is a strong emphasis on individualism. South Africans ranked very high in all categories of the Hofstede model. Inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within South Africa over the years, which indicates a high power distance index. The country scored high on the category of individualism, meaning individual rights are valued within this society. With a high masculinity score, there is a big gender differentiation, with a strong male influence dominating the power structure. This aspect of the culture is very similar to American society today. In South African culture, business and appointments are conducted on time and on schedule similar to American society, where it is frowned upon to be late for work. The danger in cultural analysis is stereotyping…A more useful approach is to think in terms of cultural norms: saying most people in a group behave a certain way most of the time, expressed as a behavior, not as a judgment (Munter, 29). In regards to the communication objectives and style, it is important to focus in terms of the culture. In South Africa, business deals are not rushed and are carefully thought through. They also a prefer win-win type of situation. (http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm). The objectives of time and attitudes are also important to consider. Consider cultural attitudes toward time: you may want to set a different objective in a culture that is relative, relaxed, and tradition-oriented about time than you would in a culture that is precise and future oriented toward time. Think also about the cultural Cultural Dimensions 3 attitude toward fate: the objective you set in a culture believing in a deterministic fate may be different from one set in a culture believing in a human control fate (Munter, 29). Influence tactics must be dealt with sensitively, especially with the particular country of South Africa. Pressure should not be applied as it may cause individuals of a different culture to respond negatively. A good method to persuade an audience on decision making is to emphasize the benefits for the audience. Tangible benefits such as profits, bonuses, or merchandise of a product are most likely persuasive to an audience. Mentioning career benefits is a positive approach as something that may improve the quality of an individ ual’s job. This strategy should get their attention. While South Africa has similar cultural values as the U.S., such as high scores on individualism, masculinity, and a high power index distance, it is important to communicate effectively to avoid conflict management. It is important to stick to the main objectives when dealing with members of an audience, particularly with their questions. Keep the entire audience involved by calling on people from various locations in the audience and by avoiding a one-to- one conversation with a single member of the audience. When you answer, maintain eye contact with the entire audience, not just with the person who asked the question (Munter, 95). The country of Australia is interesting to research when dealing with international business. The Geert Hofstede analysis shows the high level of individuality Australian's hold dear. This is reinforced in their daily lives and must be considered when traveling and doing business in the country. Privacy is considered the norm and attempts at personal ingratiation may meet with rebuff. Uncertainty avoidance is relatively low with a family centered culture and a stable society (http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm). Cultural Dimensions 4 Australia also highly values individualism and has a low score in regards to uncertainty avoidance. This is very similar to the U.S. value system. In a strong and solid society such as Australia’s, it is important to persuade in business by using credibility. Shared values and establishing a “common ground” with an audience is a great way to build a business partnership. People tend to be more persuaded by people they like. So, taking the time to meet your audience or business partners one-to-one, to establish a relationship, to uncover real similarities, and to offer genuine praise will make you more persuasive in the long run (Munter, 16). Appealing to people’s emotions by telling a story or joke in an introduction may help make a connection and warm up to a personality of a speaker. To avoid conflict management, especially with people in such an individualistic society, confusing and hostile questions should be dealt with sensitively and cautiously. Controlling questions is a good method to use to avoid conflict. In these cases, you need to decide whether you want to (1) regain control yourself by refocusing on your communication objective or (2) change your focus midstream by turning the question back to them (“What do yo u think we ought to do?”) (Munter, 96). When a hostile question is asked, it is important to emphasis that there is an understanding of why they are upset. Emotion should not be shown in the exchange. Appeal to their emotions by stating what is in the best interests of everyone. While sometimes hostility/conflict cannot be avoided, it is important to anticipate and prepare beforehand for this to occur. If there is time to think and mentally outline different angles of reaction from an audience, then the response outcome will be better. In a country that is very different from our own, Guatemala’s official language is Spanish, so this is important to consider when establishing relationships and partnerships. The Cultural Dimensions 5 U.S. must either provide translators or have fluent bilingual employees to conduct business in Spanish, if the clients or business partners in the country do not speak English well. The Hofstede analysis for Guatemala is similar to it’s Latin American neighbors. Uncertainty avoidance ranks highest which indicates a high concern for rules, regulations, controls and issues with career security – typically, a society that does not readily accept change and is risk adverse. Guatemala also has a high power distance ranking which indicates that inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within society. Individualism ranks extremely low which signifies a society of a more collectivist nature and strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group (http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm). Since there is not a significant emphasis on the cultural value of individualism, this must be taken into account for business dealings in communication style. Consult/joint meetings may be ideal for this particular culture. This approach encourages ideas and does not force information. It is more of a collective communication approach. It also fosters group participation and discussion. It would also be effective for this culture to make an overall group decision or consensus. The more you can learn about your audience-both as individuals and as a group-the more likely you are to achieve your desired outcome from them. Find out about demographic issues, such as age range, education, occupation, socioeconomic status, ethnic origin, gender, culture, and language fluency. Knowledge and beliefs, such as backgrounds, opinions, and values are also important to research (Munter, 11). This information can be very effective when one wants to establish a business partnership. If knowledge is expressed that one knows certain aspects of people’s lives, and Cultural Dimensions 6 establishes a common ground, then the audience is more likely to listen and take interes t in what the speaker has to say. For those who work in international business, it is sometimes amazing how different people in other cultures behave. We tend to have a human instinct that 'deep inside' all people are the same - but they are not. Therefore, if we go into another country and make decisions based on how we operate in our own home country - the chances are we'll make some very bad decisions. Geert Hofstede's research gives us insights into other cultures so that we can be more effective when interacting with people in other countries. If understood and applied properly, this information should reduce your level of frustration, anxiety, and concern. But most important, Geert Hofstede will give you the 'edge of understanding' which translates to more successful results http://www.geert-hofstede.com/. It is important to exercise great caution and sensitivity with international business. For success to be achieved, communication style and strategy must be appropriate depending on the specific culture. It is also very important to be tactful and learn about a culture before traveling there or speaking with people from a different country. All of these factors must be taken into account to avoid conflict management and be successful in managerial communications. These principles and attributes are at the very heart of every successful organization. Cultural Dimensions 7 References International Business Center. (2003). Geert Hofstede cultural consequences. Retrieved October 26, 2008, from http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm. ITIM – Creating Cultural Competence. (2003). Geert Hofstede™ cultural dimensions. Retrieved October 26, 2008 from http://www.geert-hofstede.com. Munter, M. (2006). Guide to Managerial Communications (7th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Pages to are hidden for
"Cultural Dimensions"Please download to view full document