BUSI604_B16 – INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
This paper allows the opportunity to take an in depth look into the culture of the country of Columbia and how the culture affects business within the country and how it ultimately compares and contrasts with The United States. The research is broken down into four areas: The major elements and dimensions of culture in Columbia; how these elements and dimensions are integrated by locals conducting business in Columbia; a comparison of culture and business of Columbia and The United States; and finally implications for US businesses that wish to conduct business in Columbia. It is the author’s desire that this paper will provide the information to be beneficial to a businessperson about to work in Columbia.
Culture is defined as the "set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize a society, or in the business sense, an organization” (Saterlee, 2009). Knowing these dimensions of a foreign country beforehand determines how successful someone working in a multinational company could be. A business manager must learn and adapt to their environment. Knowing and understanding the people and what makes them tick should be the top priority of a business manager working over, or alongside, foreign co-workers. Working in different countries requires building a specialized set of skills that can be achieved by simply researching the country’s climate, culture, etc. and it’s these skills that can make or break deals (Gabrial, 2012).
The major elements and dimensions of culture in Columbia
Background and History
Columbia is a country rich in culture and history. Artifacts place the earliest Indian tribes in present day Columbia as far back as 1200 B.C. The Spanish conquistadors discovered and settled in the coastal areas in 1500. The Spanish settlers were responsible for establishing the Roman Catholic Church, governance, and education in Columbia. Columbia declared their independence on July 20, 1810 and achieved it in 1819. The country is made up of a broad mix of Indians, Spanish descent, and those with African origins. “The distinct groups have their own customs, social patterns and cultural adaptations and are classified into three cultures: those in the interior, those in the countryside, and those residing in the coastal areas” (Everyculture). The groups rarely unite for a common goal.
Geert Hofstede Analysis for Columbia
Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. The dimensions are as follows: Power Distance (the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally), Individualism versus Collectivism (preference of a loosely-knit social framework versus a preference for a tightly-knit framework), Masculinity versus Femininity (preference for achievement, heroism, assertiveness, and material reward for success versus a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life), Uncertainty Avoidance (expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity), and lastly, Long-term versus short-term orientation (belief that truth depends very much on situation, context, and time versus a great respect for traditions, normative thinking, and a strong concern with establishing the absolute truth). Columbia has a high power distance score, which means that inequalities amongst people are simply a fact of life. Columbia is among the lowest of individualistic scores. This means it is one of the most collectivistic cultures in world. This means that loyalty, belonging to in-groups, and relationships take priority, Conflicts are avoided. Columbia ranks high on the masculinity/femininity scale, therefore making it a masculine society. Columbian’s...