Paper for National Seminar on
BUSINESS RESTRUCTURING: CREATING VALUES in GLOBAL ERA
Cultural Challenges in Cross-boarder deals
Dr. Aarti Arora
Culture is “the thought and behaviour patterns that member of a society learns through language and other forms of symbolic interaction-their customs, habits, beliefs and values, the common view points which bind them together as a social entity…..Cultures change gradually picking up new ideas and dropping old ones, but many of the cultures of the past have been so persistent and self contained that the impact of such sudden change has torn them apart, uprooting their people psychologically”. Characteristics of culture: Culture is derived mostly from the climatic conditions of the geographical region and economic conditions of the country. It is a set of traditional beliefs and values which are transmitted and shared in a given society .
Prescriptive: It prescribes the kinds of behaviour considered acceptable in the society. It limits product choices to those which are socially acceptable. For example, consumption of alcohlic drinks is acceptable in the West, but it is not socially acceptable in India and it is socially and legally unacceptable in Saudi Arabia. Similarly, smoking is medically unacceptable in the USA.
Many Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, prohibit alcohol for religious reasons. Drinking alcohol in public places, such as streets and parks, is against the law in most of the United States and in some European Countries. But, is legal in other such as Belgium and Germany. In The Netherlands it is not specifically illegal by law, but many cities and towns prohibit having an open container.
Socially Shared: Culture is based on social interaction and creation. For example , child marriage in India during the 18th and 19th centuries were meant to protect the teenaged girls. Chinese parents, at one time preferred their female children to have small feet. The practice of the Sikhs wearing turbans and keeping a knife was originally out of the necessity of protecting themselves from the invaders from other countries.
Learned: Culture is acquired through learning but not inherited genetically. If a person absorbs or learns the culture of the society where he is raised, that learning is called socialization or enculturation. However, some people learn the culture of the society other than the one in which they raised. Such learning is called ‘acculturation.’ The societies of Asian and African countries complain that their cultures are being contaminated by the Western influences.
Subjective: Culture is subjective in the sense that people of different cultures have different ideas about the same object. Regarding the object of marriage the parents of the bridegrooms in many countries offer money ( dowry ) to the parents of the bride whereas the situation in India is quite opposite. This is because, the parents of the bridegrooms in other countries pay dowry as a compensation for raising the bride while the parents of bride in India pay dowry to the bridegroom to meet the expenses of establishing a new family.
Life-time employment or permanent employment, has been the rule in big Japanese companies beginning with the first economic success in the 1920s. It gives Japanese workers the important feeling of job security as part of Japanese management culture, and in turn, elicits a high degree of company loyalty.
Cumulative: Uncertainty of rains, crop and thereby income in developing countries over the years resulted in the culture of saving for to the next year. Thus, culture is based on the accumulated circumstances over the hundreds or even thousands of years.
Dynamic: Culture is not immune to change. It goes on changing. The present generation youth want to become slim. Therefore, they reduced fat contents in all the food items unlike the previous generations. Further, the present generation youth would like to work smart but not hard...
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