THE 101: Cross Cultural Issues in Tourism & Hospitality | Assessment No.2|
Culture, as defined by Geert Hofstede, is the "the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another". (Hofstede, 2011) It is due to the research carried out by scholars such as Hofstede and Fons Trompenaars that we are able to understand cultural values, and the difference in cultures more thoroughly. This information gives us the ability to understand, and interact people for other cultures that may be drastically different from our own. Such research also gives a basis by which social and business dealings can be held. (itim International, n.d) Knowledge of other cultures is imperative when dealing with business relations; it has been helpful in the age of globalization where cross-cultural business is at a dramatic rise, and even aids in such things as the training and communications. It is also crucial in the face of tourism and social life, as it gives us the understanding of how people from other cultures function as a result of their particular set of cultural values. The aim of this essay is to provide a deeper understanding between the cultural differences between two very different cultures: those of China and the USA. The essay is divided into two parts: the first will explore the different cultural dimensions present in a social and business context according to the research by Hofstede and Trompenaars. The second part will give an example of a practical application of this information in the hospitality industry, and will provide recommendations upon which American hotels can better accommodate Chinese guests. As mentioned above, Hofstede was a Dutch scholar who performed intensive research in order to fully understand his five cultural dimensions, of which this essay looks more deeply into three: Power Distance, Individuality and Long Term Orientation. From his results, we can compare the differences in these dimensions between China and the USA. (itim International, n.d)
As can be seen, there is a remarkable difference in all the indexes, especially in PDI (China 80, USA 40), IDV (China 20, USA 91) and LTO (118, USA 29) (China, 2011). These figures give us a starting point to understand these differences more thoroughly. Power Distance is the extent to which people respond to inequalities in different organizations and institutions. (Hofstede, 2011) The PDI of China is considerably high, meaning there is “ high level of inequality of power and wealth within the society” (Patent, 2009). In social terms, this means that authority figures such as the father of a family are given utmost respect to. Furthermore, in all situations, one must address a person by their title is order to give them the respect of their status. This is also reflected in a business atmosphere, where hierarchies are clearly defined. Those on top of the hierarchy are respected, and unquestionably obeyed by those lower in the hierarchy, who are given clear instructions of what is to be expected of them. (Patent, 2009) There is a limited level of communications between these different levels. This is a fact that is prevalent and accepted all throughout Chinese society. On the other hand, the PDI of the United States is very low, and almost leans toward egalitarianism. “This is indicative of a greater equality between societal levels, including government, organizations, and even within families. “ (Hofstede, 2011) Socially, Americans are more comfortable around one another, regardless of their ranking. This is reflected in social life, where this is much lower emphasis on titles and qualifications. It is apparent in day-to-day dealings in which Americans greet each other by shaking hands and often call each other by first names, regardless of the person’s title. In a business context, leaders may be respected, but more so for their...