Our argument is that culture is the most neglected part of management; culture matters. Converging cultures While everyone starts growing into the same habits, culture is hard to be detected. In large cities however people with different cultures get together (NYC). Management is not just a set of principles and techniques than can be universally applied. It is different in every country and culture depending on its habits. The argument is due to an economic or technological lag. Convergence is supported by management educations. National pride can stop or prevent foreign occupation due to the desire to develop their own style of management. By comparison, the difference in management approaches can be seen. We need to consider how culture can be a powerful source, undermining or shoring up our effectiveness as nations, as businesses and as managers. Culture knowledge can be used as a competitive advantage. Culture as a source of competitive advantage / disadvantage Michael Porter has argued that nations derive competitive advantage from a set of countrylevel factors such as the availability of resources, the size and sophistication of the market, the nature of government intervention, and the type of strategic linkages or networks. Each country has its unique advantage at one point, only to become liabilities when the environment changes. Managers therefore need to evaluate the extent to which national culture can interfere with their company’s efforts to respond to strategic requirements, now and in the future. Every cross-border alliance has its conflicts and misunderstandings, however this may be unrecognized. The trouble is to recognize what matters and how much it does. Recognizing culture We only perceive our culture when we step out of it. Culture serves as a lens through which we perceive the other. Recognizing cultural differences is the necessary first step to anticipating potential threats and opportunities for business encounters. For many people discussing cultural differences is considered to be dangerous since differences are believed to be a source of conflict. These discussions are thus avoid. Another reason of avoidance is ‘stereotyping’. However if they are not discussed they cannot be managed. Stereotypes represent mental files that are used to help process new information by comparing it with past experience and knowledge. The problem is the way they are used. Stereotypes must be accepted to go beyond them. It is easier to think of prototypes instead of stereotypes thus they can vary around a set of core characteristics. Members of the same culture are expected to have more in common than with members of the others. It is also important that a specific individual may more or less behave in line with their own cultures. The Johari window (p 12) can be used to stimulate awareness. National identity (how we see us) and image (how they see us) has important consequences for the country’s role in the global economic and political arena.
Chapter two – Exploring Culture
Exploring on the surface: artifacts, rituals and behavior; the underlying assumptions are the values and beliefs which are given to explain the ‘on-the-surface’ behavior. The search of meaning Part of the problem is the definitions of culture and the proliferation. Observing behavior is not enough, the meaning of the behavior is important. This distinction is important as the 1 imemsummaries.nl
same behavior can have different meanings and different behaviors can have the same meaning. There is a difference between espoused theory (what people say) and theory in use (what people mean). These are difficult for outsiders to detect. Universal: etic, group: emic. Interpretive approach: the search for meaning calls for an interpretive approach. This approach involves extensive observation and interviewing to provide detailed descriptions. So-called grounded theories...