Cross Cultural Issue in International Business
Culture is a complex concept with numerous definitions. The definitions range from all-encompassing to limited areas of interest. As documented by Kroeber and kluckhohn (1985), there are over 160 definition of “culture” alone, and great deal of material has been published on this topic. Rosinski defines culture as “the set of unique characteristic that distinguishes its members from another group” (2003, p.20). Because every individual belongs to multiple groups, we operate within multiple cultures that transcend nationality to include geography, professional disciplines, organizations and their subcultures, social life, gender, and sexual orientation. Hofstede’s (1980, p.25) definition “the collective programming of the mind, which distinguishes the member of one human group from another” is the most cited since 1980s. As defined by Schein, culture is an iceberg, with behaviors signaling the 10% visible part, and non-observable values and norms comprising the 90% below the surface (Rosinski.2003). Trompenaars uses an onion ring model of culture. He assigns artifacts and products as the visible tip, and relegates norms and values as the inner layer which surrounds a core of basic assumptions (2003). The dimensions of culture are: Power Distance (PDI)
Power Distance pertains to the inequality of power in institutions and organizations. The central concept of power distance is defined as “the extent to which the members of a society accept that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally” (Hofstede, 1984.p.831). Hofstede (1984) further explained that “the power distance and stratification systems which operate in a society are extremely culturally dependent “.Power Distance, varying from high to low, is designed to measure how equally or unequally power is distributed within a society and how readily inequality is accepted. According to with superiors. Hofstede (1984), individuals with low power distance cultures are less likely to tolerate class distinctions, are likely to prefer democratic participation, and are less afraid of disagreeing with superiors. In contrast, individuals from a high power distance more easily accept inequality in distribution of power, perceive differences between superiors and subordinates an natural, and believe superiors perceive differences between superiors and subordinates as natural, and believe superiors are more entitled to special privileges than are individuals from low power distance cultures. The question used in hostage’s survey best express the relationship between people with power and their subordinate. These questions deal with perceptions of the superior’s style of decision-making and colleagues’ fear of disagreeing with superiors, and with the type of decision-making which subordinates prefer in their boss PDI scores differ strongly across occupations a well…”(Hofstede, 1984,p.65).
Individualism is the degree to which people in societies prefer to act as individual rather than as members of groups. Individualism is the belief that everyone is expected to put their own interest ahead of the group(Golden & Veiga, 2005). Hofstede(1984) used the dimension of individualism in which ties between individuals are loose or tight. Further, he explained that individualism as a fundamental component of societal norms and “it affects both people’s mental programming and the structure and functioning of many other types of institution besides the family: educational, religious, political, and utilitarian”(p.149). According to Hofstede (1984). In societies with high individualism, people focus on themselves rather than on the group(s) to which they may belong. In this perspective, an individual is seen as unique and whole, or having a self-identity which is separable an does not depend on group affiliation. In constract, societies with low...
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