Dissertation on Culture

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Literature Review

2.1 Introduction to the chapter

Many research and studies have been proposed to explain and attempt to provide a clear indication to the extent in which culture, as a factor, have been involve in shaping up the choice of business ventures, particularly in the Asia context. Although the literature covers a wide variety of such theories and studies, this chapter will focus along the concepts of 3 main themes which will emerge repeatedly throughout the literature reviewed. These themes are: national and organizational culture of companies in Asia country, the role of culture and its importance in the area of business practices and decisions and how government/s plays its role in the aspect of shaping the culture in Asia countries. Although the literature presents these themes in a variety of contexts, this literature review will primarily focus on understanding cultures, the role and the importance of culture in shaping up the choice of business ventures in Asia market.

2.2 Introduction to Culture in Asia Country: National and Organizational Culture

The term ‘culture’, defined by Fletcher and Fang (2006) is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another and is also the guider of selection of appropriate responses in social situations, social interactions and business interactions trait. But what exactly are the types of cultures in that is more highly related to business, especially in the Asia country? Denison, Haaland & Goelzer (2003) provided 2 main streams of business-focus culture, “National culture of the local country and the organizational culture of local companies functioning in the Asia country”. These two main streams of culture serve as a basis but a practical and essential factor in understanding the culture in Asia country.

2.2.1 Understanding National and Organizational Culture

Much research has been done to carefully define the meaning of national and organizational culture. In particular, Kanter (2008) define national culture in the Asia context as one that has little specific characteristics such as language, religion, ethnic and racial identity, and cultural history which influences family life, education, economic and political structures, and, of course, business practices whereas Taylor et al (2008) define organizational culture in Asia country are defined as 'a system of shared values (that define what is important) and norms that define appropriate attitudes and behaviours for organizational members (how to feel and behave). Additionally, Maitah (2010) further highlight on the importance of understanding these set of culture, as a basis of formulating the business strategies and evaluate the differences carefully, especially in the Asia market that differs itself due to the cultural diversity from that of the Western ones. Though these may have been based upon research, the common question for company is to examine the extent to which the information on the national and organizational culture of the local companies is genuine and apply widely in the country. As such, public perceptions and company attempt to examine and analyse the cultures may not match due to the public’s lack of contact with the rest of the country, especially in larger countries in Asia, like China and India. It’s therefore crucial for companies to identify the “right culture” to be use as a benchmark when deciding the feasibility of a business opportunity. Taylor et al (2008) has mentioned in his report that national culture are the critical factors in which it decides the way the people live, interact and perceive actions. Interestingly, Bruton et al (2003) also suggested that organizational culture that deviates too far from the norms in the society (national culture) faces great challenge in dealing with the locals. Additionally, Witt and Lewin (2007) mentioned that government has great influence in shaping and neutralizing the national...
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