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United States/West Africa: A Comparison
Of Home and Host Cultures
LeAndra Evans
Upper Iowa University
BA 488-Economics of International Business
January 21, 2011

United States/West Africa: A Comparison
Of Home and Host Cultures
Introduction
What is culture? Culture—according to many scholars is “a system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living” (Hill, 2009). Because, culture is characterized by individual persons; race, ethnicity, and creed are not always common, thus the existence of pop and hip-hop cultures. As businesses continue to operate on a global level, diversity is becoming inherently important. When a firm decides to send managers abroad; careful consideration must be taken to ensure that the cultural characteristics of the home culture can be integrated into those of the host culture.

Venturing out on a new business opportunity; I have decided to open a new telecommunications company in Sierra Leone. Located in North-Western Africa, Sierra Leon is the prime location for establishing telephony. Before setting up operations; I would like to become better acquainted with Western African culture—that is to be certain that my United States (US) culture and business practices will not have a negative impact on those of Sierra Leone; for this have turned to Geert-Hofstede.com. Geert-Hofstede is a psychologist who is known for his studies and research on how culture impacts work ethics and values (Hill, 2009). In his seven year research, Hofstede compared cultural dimensions in forty countries and divided this into four (or sometimes five) areas that summarized each culture. The dimensions included: Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism (IDV) (opposite collectivism), the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), and Masculinity (MAS) (opposite femininity), and Long-term Orientation (LTO). Power distance refers to the extent that less powerful members accept and...
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