Business Across Cultures Summary

Topics: Culture, Sociology, Cross-cultural communication Pages: 2 (435 words) Published: August 28, 2013
According to the text, Business across cultures by Fons Trompenaars and Peter Woolliams, cultures can be observed as being three-layered. The first layer consists of explicit features that can be easily identified: Clothes, food, language and similar tangible attributes. The second layer is more difficult to observe but is still relatively easy to get familiar with: it consists of values and norms within a culture. In a way, values define norms because once a core value is established, behaving according to it becomes a norm. The text uses a simple example of correct clothing: If it is considered appropriate to dress in a certain way during Fridays, it becomes expected of everyone to act according to that value; a norm. The third layer is comprised of the implicit contents of a culture; the basic assumptions, routines and methods of dealing with everyday troubles. Implicit culture is learned only by spending extended times within the culture and the way this layer functions within the culture is so basic that the members do not give any thought to it- they just act. It is noteworthy that cultures are not different only between countries but also within countries. As the text article puts it: “Once you are part of a culture, there is a tendency to see the differences within.”

The article also presents a way of dealing with cultural differences. The old way, as they present it, is just to recognize the differences and respect them, but ultimately just ignore those dilemmas and work around them. Trompenaars and Woolliams suggest that instead of ignoring the differences, it is wiser to reconcile values and create sorts of 'hybrid cultures'. The article states that integrating differences can enable effective interaction and help the organization to create additional value in the process.

The article also identifies the common seven types of dimensions in which dilemmas usually occur. Without listing all of them, the dilemmas between cultures commonly rise...
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