How Much Sleaze Is Too Much? Putting Cultural Theory Into Practice.

Topics: Geert Hofstede, Cross-cultural communication, Ethics Pages: 4 (1837 words) Published: November 8, 2012
How much sleaze is too much? Putting cultural theory into practice.

Since the world entered the new century globalization of all aspects of people’s lives has increased. More and more companies have been transformed into MNEs. According to Rugman and Collinson (2009) the number of employees working across borders nearly tripled over the last 20 years, exposing managers to various socio-cultural and ethical issues. Geert Hofstede argues that “culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster” (cited in The Economist, 2008, para.4). I used an article by Asbjorn Osland ‘How much sleaze is too much’ as a real life scenario while examining the cultural frameworks. The main character Eric is a field director for an American company- Development International (DI). DI assigned Eric to work on an international assignment in Senegal (Africa). While in Senegal, Eric was exposed to various cultural and ethical issues, the key issues included bribery and different social values and norms. Lacking support from the management of DI Eric deals with all challenging situations by himself; decisions that previously he perceived as highly unethical/unacceptable now become a norm (Osland, 2003). By applying cultural frameworks, such as Hofstede’s dimension of culture, this essay will try to explain a) what DI could do to help Eric b) examine the effectiveness of cultural frameworks I used Hofstede’s cultural framework to understand the extent of understanding that DI could gather before sending Eric to Senegal. The framework examines a foreign society from five different perspectives: power distance (PDI), uncertainty avoidance (UAI), individualism (IDV), masculinity (MAS) and long-term orientation (LTO) (see Appendix 1). According to Hofstede (1993) understanding these five aspects can help us predict the way a society operates. Hofstede (2001) and Husted (1999) found that societies with high PDI,...
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