Managing Across Cultures

Topics: Sociology, Social class, Social sciences Pages: 5 (1483 words) Published: March 4, 2011
International Management assignment – managing across cultures

The determinants of a culture are the evolutionary product of a number of factors, including the prevailing political and economical philosophies, the social structure of a society, and the dominant religion, language and education.

Is a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds, or conventional symbols. Language is one of the most defining characteristics of a culture. Countries with more than one language often have more than one culture. Eg Canada has English and French speaking cultures, and tensions between the two can run quite high, with a substantial proportion of the French-speaking minority demanding independence from a Canada dominated by English speakers. This is also the case in Cyprus with conflict between its Greek and Turkish cultures. Another issue with international enterprises must consider when conducting business in foreign countries is the Problems that often arise through improper translation. For eg. Sunbeam Corporation used the English words ‘mist sticks’ for its mist-producing hair curling iron when it entered the german market, only to discover that after expensive marketing campaigns that mist means excrement in German. Another issue for international managers is the unspoken language referred to as nonverbal communication. Many nonverbal cues such as hand signals, facial expressions and distances when communicating are culturally bound. Eg. Many western businessmen feel that latin Americans are invading their personal space and can be seen backing away during a conversation as the amount of distance between two people communicating os often further apart in western countries. So the American may feel the latin American is being pushy and aggressive whilst the latin American may interpret such behavior as aloofness, resulting in a lack of rapport between two businesspeople from different cultures.

Formal education Formal education is the medium through which individuals learn and acquire knowledge, language and social skills. Education not only plays a key role in a society, but the availability of a pool of skilled and educated workers seemed to be a major determinant of the likely economic success of a country. Education is also a large contributor to the overall attractiveness of a country to international managers. Countries with good formal education in place are often seen as a determinant of national competitive advantage and are often an important factor when guiding the location choices of international businesses. For eg. Many economists attribute Japans current economic success to their excellent education system. Post world war 2 Japan possessed nothing except a strong emphasis on education leading to a large pool of literate, educated and increasingly skilled human resources. Now Japanese uni’s graduate many more engineers per capita than in the US for example. Making Japan an extremely attractive country for foreign investment. Similarly is the case of India and its huge emphasis on IT, Which has lead to Bangalore becoming one of the IT capitals of the world.

Is defined as a system of shared beliefs and rituals that are concerned with the realm of the sacred. Which often shape ethical systems and encourage moral principles and values used to guide and shape behavior. Some scholars have argue that the most important business implications of religion, center on the extent to which different religions shape attitudes towards work and entrepreneurship, and the degree to which religious ethics affect the costs of doing business in a country. Eg. Hinduism is the 3rd largest religion in the world with approx 750 million adherents. Because of india’s strong ties to Hinduism it has become a problematic and difficult country to conduct business in for numerous reasons such as that Hindus believe that individuals should be judged not by their material achievements but by...
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